(Close Window)
Topic: 20th Century Silk Routine
Message: Posted by: SolitarySoul (Mar 18, 2009 03:08PM)
Hi all. I'm new to the Café, but 30 years in magic.

I'm looking for a good 20th Century Silk routine. I have a custom made set, that I've used for years in my kids show, but have always felt that my routine isn't as strong as it should be; the audience reaction has always been good, but only because the effect itself is so good.

Any suggestions? (If it could be used for adults as well as kids, that would definitely be a bonus)

Message: Posted by: magicians (Mar 18, 2009 03:27PM)
My routine, simple but effective. Just listen to the kids. I did it very fast for a red ribbon drug intervention show.
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Mar 18, 2009 07:00PM)
Hello Jeff:

A routine I use is the Arnold Furst old time melodrama story from his book. It's now part of the Kid Stuff series of books, I believe the Arnold Furst routine is in volume six.

Message: Posted by: SolitarySoul (Mar 19, 2009 05:40AM)
Thanks for the ideas guys!
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (May 17, 2009 09:36PM)
I combine it with Silk to Egg. It furnishes a way to vanish the silk from 20th Century Silks and a place to find the "missing" silk once you crack the real egg.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: magicians (May 18, 2009 05:32AM)
Get crackin, BOB.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (May 19, 2009 02:46PM)

You don't know how glad I am that the silk has vanished!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: MMysteries5 (Dec 9, 2009 09:01PM)
Magicians, your method is just awesome combined with the appearing cane!
Message: Posted by: Thom Bliss (Feb 8, 2010 08:08PM)
Personally, after performing 20th century silks (which, perhaps, we should be calling "21st century silks"), I do a blendo with the three silks. Once the one silk vanishes (if not before) everybody knows that the vanished silk will appear with the other two. The blendo comes as a complete surprise.

Although I don't do it, I've heard that some performers get very good results by showing the third silk tied between the other two before they show that the silk has vanished. It has a bit of a "sucker" aspect to it, because spectators might think that there is still a silk in the vanishing device. Of course this won't work if you do a bare-handed(?) vanish,

Along the same lines, instead of just vanishing the silk, something else might be found in its place. Both Bob Sanders and magicians do this, each in hos own way. But the object it changes into might be something you use in your next effect, or something that disappeared earlier and was never found again. If it's something you don't want, its reappearance (again and again) could become a running gag. Or, for magicians only (I don't think that this would work for layman), when you go to show that the silk has vanished, you could find a bra!

Message: Posted by: Anatole (Feb 8, 2010 08:39PM)
Thom Bliss has a point about the name referencing 20th century silks. Albenice had a "visible" version that he called "40th century silks" (the two silks at the beginning are held separately, one in each hand. The two silks never come near each other and the third silk still appears tied between them.)

When I came up with my streamlined version, I called it "Third Millennium Silks." I guess you could call it hyperbolic hocus pocus.

Joe Smiley had a 20th century silks routine that he used in his amusement park show, using a space travel patter and very large silks. Ah, those were the good ol' days. Joe would invite some of the local Norfolk magicians to stop by his trailer on the amusement park grounds between shows. He was a classy performer from the old school and did illusions as well the like neon rod through girl and even the buzz saw illusion with his wife Georgi.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Feb 8, 2010 09:51PM)
Joe was quite a guy. I still have his promo photo. I remember him telling me that he always opened with silks and closed with the flowers. He had just gotten a new set delivered from Horace Marshall. Little did I know that I would someday be making the flowers learning from Horace.

I did get to meet Joe later in life at an MAES convention. He was hard working pro.

He did the that big St. Bernard from the TV box, Neon light through the girl, Where do the ducks go, and the Indestructible Girl. I remember Georgina sitting in that darn black head box in the blazing sun on a county fair stage while Joe pattered on and on. It's a wonder she did not pass out.

Message: Posted by: Walking Bob (Feb 8, 2010 10:55PM)
There was a real nice idea in the Linking Ring a few years ago that goes something like this.

Bring up a spectator that wants to help perform an effect, tie the two silks together and put them in the spectators pocket. Use magic dust or a wand and tell a story about the knot is suppose to disappear. Keep peaking into the spectators pocket and act confused as to why the knot has not come untied and disappeared. After a few attempts decide it is not working and go on to something else. Vanish the off colored silk. Again look confused but in the end the spectator finds the silk in his own pocket and all ends well. I may have missed a few details but that is the basic idea.

Have a nice day,

Walking Bob in Iowa
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Feb 23, 2010 07:43AM)
In relation to a post above about the blendo, using the remaining three silks in a blendo provides me the transition I need at times to get to another prop. For instance, going to the blendo sets me up for a body steal. That enables me to do product placement in sales meeting, awards banquets, etc. (It also gets me out of the silk routine to go to rope, etc.)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: David Charvet (Feb 24, 2010 06:45PM)
Ade Duval performed a "repeat" 20th Century where 5 silks would vanish, one at a time in different ways, and reappear, one at a time, tied between the two silks - eventually making a chain of 7 silks held between his two assistant. Very effective and stage-filling with minimal props.
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (Feb 26, 2010 12:25PM)
On 2010-02-24 19:45, David Charvet wrote:
Ade Duval performed a "repeat" 20th Century where 5 silks would vanish, one at a time in different ways, and reappear, one at a time, tied between the two silks - eventually making a chain of 7 silks held between his two assistant. Very effective and stage-filling with minimal props.
That sounds pretty cool, David!

I love the 20th century silks. I prefer the vanishing silk to have a unique pattern or color scheme though. Just my preference.
I built a routine that involves a child from the audience. It was based on David Ginn's Clatter Box routine and uses a change bag, break away fan, break away wand, and a real wand (and I just realized that a set of nesting wands could work as well...hmmmmm). The routine has a couple of don't look don't see moments and some strong visual comedy by play but at the end the child helper looks the hero and there is a real magic moment and great applause cue. I designed it for my kids Birthday shows, but it was so popular with my audiences that I put it in my family resort shows as well and it gives me the chance to use a younger child as a helper for a fun routine.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Aug 9, 2010 06:27AM)
For some reason, I hear people speaking of 20th Century Silks as a prop only for childrens magic. That is very short sighted to my way of thinking. My audiences are typically adult audiences. (Of paying audiences, adult audiences are about the only growing audiences in the USA market!) The 20th Century Silks play well to them. Even better, they actually process the patter that holds the show together. Of course, there is not much available that is more visual magic than silk for color, movement, and size.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Aug 9, 2010 10:15AM)
I have used 20th century for Mother- Daughter banquets, Christmas shows, and several other types of shows.

I change the patter line and background music.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 9, 2010 10:52AM)
You can see a young Fantasio performing the 20th Century Silks on the new Ed Sullivan Amazing Stars of Magic video just put out on the market.

The link is

A lot more great magic is on this DVD for just $16.95. Highly Recommended for everyone.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Aug 9, 2010 02:14PM)
Special 20th Century Silk combinations offer a plethora of unique routine possibilities. By all means, explore them. They can be very entertaining and reputation builders.

I have special routines for the The Red Hat Society, birthdays of elderly adults, football teams, false ending to shows, and even to say "Thank You". Scheme! The 20th Century Silks are great props.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- Don't forget that 24" silk sets work well too! For dove magicians they have special benefits.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 9, 2010 02:27PM)
A very different presentation on the 20th Century Silk routine can be found in the book, Tony Marks Aristocrate of Deception Book from Bev Bergeron.


Also Peter Scarlet from England has a unique visible jumping 20th Century Silks he explains in his lecture. More involved but very magical.
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (May 30, 2018 04:15AM)
I there are multiple double or even triple 20th century silk effects in the Rice.
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (May 30, 2018 04:16AM)
What I mean by this is more then one silk vanishing and reapering.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 13, 2018 07:17AM)
Since this thread has been "awakened", I'll talk about my 20th C. Silks.

Frank Ducrot (stage name of T. Francis Fritz) was a New York magician, and magic shop owner. Over the years, Frank had bought up 39 different shops that were going out of business! He said that, if he bought one more, he would call himself, "Ali Baba"!)

Frank was the magician who "invented" the 20th Century Silks (way back in the 20th Century!). It became a very popular trick. The props were flashy, packed small, and the set up was minimal.

I had experimented, as a mid-teen magician, with a 20C routine, sold by Percy Abbott, called "Yellow Joe" (or "The Gangster's Waterloo") I soon realized that the routine had too much talk, and, too little action, plus the finish wasn't that good. I cut it.

About 35 years later, I developed my own routine, that was funny, involved a little boy, could fill 3 minutes with laughs, and applause, AND, could be padded to fill 3 more minutes, without stalling. The finish was strong enough to get a big laugh, and, applause for the kid.

The basic 20C routine, needed less than a minute to set, and the pad, needed about 2 minutes to set! It has been next to closing in the elementary school program for about forty years.

I wrote it up in my book, "Dick Oslund -- Road Scholar". IT DOESN'T NEED A RED VELVET BAG ON A STICK, TO VANISH THE 18" SILK!!! (I use Burling Hull's ancient bare hand vanish of a silk, that he called "Elusive Silk". I eliminated the very awkward p**ming of an 18" silk. I use a "standard size" Vernet. It's so easy, even I can do it! (It's on page 263)
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Jul 13, 2018 02:46PM)
Gee Dick, and I just love my Red Velvet Bag on a Stick!!!! I Love your book by the way!!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 14, 2018 05:17AM)
Hey Dan! Thanks, for your very kind "book review"! (The "reviewer" in the "Linking Ring" hated it!!! --I quit the I BOTHER MAGICIANS, after 67 years, when I read his comments.) I've mailed it to Asia, Australia, Europe, and, North America!

I usta have one of those red velvet bags, (I did the necktie cutting, when I could buy neckties for less than a buck! --back in the '40s!)
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Jul 14, 2018 11:07AM)
Dick, Reviews and evaluations are just one person's opinion. I just take them with a grain of salt. Those who can do, DO, and those who can't DO, teach (or give their opinions). I have been there with over 71 years of life! My opinion GREAT BOOK!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 15, 2018 08:45AM)
Egad! I'll need to go downtown, and buy a bigger hat, tomorrow! Thanks Dan, you have given my ego, a real lift!
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Jul 15, 2018 01:08PM)
You deserve a bigger hat!! You have done what others have wished to do in there life of magic!
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Jul 17, 2018 03:09PM)
Dan Ford:

You're right on the money! And I have been VERY priviledged to have Dick as my good friend and mentor for the past 30+ years! He has taught me more about ENTERTAINING than any magician I have ever known!
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Jul 17, 2018 03:49PM)
You were a lucky guy Rainboguy!!!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 16, 2018 06:27AM)
I was "surfing the net" this AM, and landed here to check out the latest comments!

Thanks, Rick and Dan for your your "ego building" comments!

Once I figured out how to do the 20th C so that it ENTERTAINED (it DID take me a few years!) I soon moved it to "next to closing" in the elementary school program. I found that, it also played very well in the Kindergarten thru High School program! (The basic routine runs 3 minutes, and the high school folks, really enjoyed the little boy's expression when the tied silks were displayed!)

It's great for a family night program, too! I can pad the basic routine from 3 minutes, to 6 minutes, when I need to fill an hour! It just takes 1 1/2 minutes to load my Demon Wonder Box, and I get a "false climax" that FILLS THE STAGE WITH SILK!

20C meets ALL of my CRITERIA! I always (silently) thank Frank Ducrot when I pick up the silks for 20C!
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Sep 14, 2018 07:30AM)
People would be surprised how many different routines and colored sets I use. Combined with Silk to Egg, it is a pretty standard part of my shows because it works as well on stage as it does working surrounded.

Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Sep 14, 2018 05:41PM)
Bob Sanders 20th Century Silk Props are the best I have seen. Highly recommended!

Hope you're doing well, Bob!
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Dec 24, 2018 04:05PM)
Thank you Rainboguy. Information about our silks and silk props is available from us at Amazedwiz@yahoo.com