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Topic: Gimmicked Blendo vs. Ungimmicked: Which Is Better?
Message: Posted by: magicinsight (Dec 28, 2004 11:41AM)
I was doing some basic research into which of the many blendos that are available to purchase. There are gimmicked blendos sold that require a lot of detailed folding and set up and I saw a quick set blendo sold by Stevens Magic Emporium. There are also ungimmciked blendos sold by P&A and Hughes Magic. The gimmicked blendos are self-contained but do require either a great deal or at least a some set up. They tend to be on the bulky side and there is always a chance that they can malfunction if they were not properly set up. However, they are very magical in that the silks can be shown separately (except for the 4 square blendo where the silks cannot be shown separately)and the magic happens instantly.

The ungimmicked versions are less bulky and are fool proof in operation. However, they do require an extra prop (change bag, mirror tube, etc.) to effectuate the magic and therefore may tend to appear less magical.

I would appreciate comments and suggestions as to which of the different blendos and blendo methods are recommended, especially for children shows with adults in the audience.

Thank you very much for your help.

Message: Posted by: Jimmy Joza (Dec 28, 2004 01:07PM)
One of my favorite blendo effects (at least that's what I consider it) is Duke's Dye Version. Here is a description from Encyclopedia of Silk Magic Volume 4: "Five silks are pulled from a paper tube. Two spectators are asked to help. Each is handed two silks and the performer keeps the fifth silk. Each of the silks is returned to the paper tube and the last silk is tied around the paper tube. A silk is partially removed from each end. Spectators pull the ends slowly stretching acroos the stage to show the four silks have transormed into a multicolored 25 foot streamer. The paper tube is unrolled to show it empty."

This item is available from Abbott's. I only bought the gimmick and the instructions from them because I am using specific colors for routines building up to Duke's Dye Version and I had a streamer (24 ft. long by 12 inches wide) made up for me using those colors. I like this routine because it has audience participation and it plays well with both children and adults. Duke Stern would write a message on the inside of the paper tube that the audience would be able to see at the end of the routine. David Ginn also used this routine a lot in the past. It was either Stern or Ginn who had a routine using this like a memory test ("which color went in first?").

I know you were asking about the more "standard" blendos but I thought I would recommend this. I would also recommend Pavel's Blendo Full of Holes as a variation --- this uses a combination Knots of Silks and Blendo Effect. However, it does involve a different type of tube (a combination massal/ghost tube which can be used for other routines).

I'm sure others on this site can be quite helpful about the other blendos you were asking about. Good luck!

Message: Posted by: magicinsight (Dec 28, 2004 01:16PM)

Thank you very much for your comments. They werer very helpful. Do you receommend the regular Duke Dye Version or the junior version? Is the regular version using the 25 foot streamer too long to use in a parlor or classroom setting?

Thank you again for your help and courtesy.

Best regards,


P.S. Do you ever go to Jackson Heights to try some of the Colombian restaurants?
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Joza (Dec 28, 2004 03:47PM)
I prefer the regular Duke Dye version. I have the junior version somewhere around but to me the regular version plays so much better. In a classroom, you can even have a student or two who are seated hold the streamer as it is pulled out so the streamer can go around part of the room or from the front of the room to the back of the room as opposed to from one end of the stage to the other.

Oh, by the way, I do sometimes frequent the Colombian restaurants? How could you not? Are you a New Yorker, too? And if not, how do you know of Jackson Heights?

Peace and all good things,

Message: Posted by: Foxbiz (Dec 28, 2004 04:19PM)
Tom Jones of Wild Magic has a blendo in his lecture notes. Done with small silks tied together in the begining and then producing the blended one.
Duane Laflin has several methods on his tapes and website.
You can also use a TT to blend several small ribbons into a 1"x36" ribbon. I think Jay Scott Berry sells this.
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Dec 28, 2004 05:09PM)
Hi Michael:

Concerning the "gimmick vs. ungimmicked" question, I think it depends how you plan on using it. All the gimmicked versions I know of cannot be handled by the spectators, so if you're planning on volunteers handling the blendo, a gimmicked version is not a good option.

I don't see anything negative about using a change bag (or other prop) to do the dirty work when doing a fun routine for kids. Now, if you're doing a quick, visual trick as an opener, I can think of a few versions that are better than the change bag or other device.

There was a time when I did a bag blendo as part of a silent act done to music. The black is shown, silks are put in it, and WHAM - it has transformed into a 36 inch picture silk. I still remember getting "oohs" and "aaahs" from the kids. I think P&A may still sell bag blendos.

Another blendo effect I'm having fun with right now is Splendo. You can get is at Laflin Magic. It does use a black tube where you stick the silks in, but it is the most clever thing I've seen in ages. It's super-simple too, and the big silk that comes out is not gimmicked in any way.

I hope this helps you.

Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Dec 28, 2004 09:23PM)
As per blendos, threre are advantages and disdavantages to each. Both have their place.

The method Tom Jones uses is the one Neal Foster taught and I use. It requires a bit of handling and you are somewhat limited as to the size of the final silk. The prepared blendos, which I have just started making again, are a little more difficult to set up not really too bad. They allow you to produce a larger silk at the finish. I did a 30" x 45" for Arden James. You have to learn how to do as with any prop. I really do not think it is any harder to set than the one Joe Stevens is making up now. There is also the Blendo in bags that work well and set up pretty easy if you have a justification for the bag. The Splendo is a good blendo but you are limited to the design of the finished silk. I also make the bag blendos.

Duke's Dye Version is a good semi blendo. Tommy Windsor always carried a 12' and 24' silk depending on the area in which he would be working. I have dyed up a couple of streamers special with a solid red at one end and a solid blue at the opposite end of the streamer. Then when you produce the streamer (using the memory test idea), the kids do not think anything has happened at first. Abbott's still make the gimmick but it is a little on the tight size for the silks. Did you know the original gimmick was a Contandia tomatoe paste can?

I think the best way to decide which to use is 1)where it will be used in the show (can you pick it up in the middle of the act or is it an opening effect and 2) what do you want the final silk to be (Art silk, logo, designs, and what size).

Hope this all helps. Check out Rice's for more ideas on Blendos than you will ever use.
Message: Posted by: magicinsight (Dec 29, 2004 07:07AM)
Dear Mr. Hughes,

Thank you very much for your reply and comments. I did not see your bag blendos on your site. I would appreciate it if you can kindly provide me with a description of the designs available and the pricing.

Also, you stated that the Abbotts' dukes dye tube gimmick is too tight for the silks. Did you mean the gimmick is to tight for your silks and streamers or for the ones that come with the effect? If I wanted to use your silks and streamer (with the blue and red at the end of the streamer, would the Abbotts' gimmick work well with your silks? If not, where would I obtain a suitable gimmick for your silks?

Do you have your Geni 20th century effect with the "magic carpet" mat available? It appears to be a very nice efffect and story plot.

I also appreciate the other members' comments. They were all very helpful.

Best regards,


P.S. I am from New York (Queens) and am very familiar with Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Dec 29, 2004 03:54PM)
I have used the full size Duke's Dye Version effect for 30 Years. All you have to do is have the spectators hold the ends and you step back and extend your arm upward in a tight performing area. It goes over well on stage or in a living room.

I have the mechanical Rice's Blendo, have done it a long time. It does not take that long to set up, one you learn the method. If using the silks ahead of time, I just do a switch of the one silk from a hat on the table.

Abbott's also sells a none gimmicked instruction on the blendo. I uses sleight of hand and a ditch. Instructions are only a few dollars. I like the least amount of apparatus as possible, so that is why I chose the Rice Blendo.

Personally, I would not consider Dukes Dye Version and a blendo the same effect. One is to a 36" design silk and the other a streamer. One uses spectators and the other doesn't.

Abbott's gimmicks is made for 'their' 15" silks to be used in it. I bought Rice 15" silks and they work perfectly. Todays thin silks would fit very easily into the gimmick and I would use the diamond silks for Duke's trick, leaving more then enough room in the gimmick.

Thought --- planning --- is all it takes.
Message: Posted by: eb02 (Dec 30, 2004 01:44AM)
I am using a non-gimmick Blendo for many years. This set is not requesting any other props. Its a 36 + 2-18 silks. Its all a mater of folding the silks and counting them. Very easy to do. There is non-gimmick Blendo for sale on http://www.magicauction.com/Mag_auc/Silks.htm
Check you privet message as well.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Dec 30, 2004 09:21AM)
The Genii 20th Century is still available. I am getting ready to make up some sets.

As per the gimmick for the Duke's dye version, get it from Abbott's. It is their effect and I will not make the gimmick, only the silks. The gimmick will hold 4 15" 6 momme silks. The fifth silk is used to tie arround the tube. Fitting the streamer in is not a problem as any size paper will do. If you need larger, you can use it. Only getting the silks into the gimmick. Also you can write on the inside of the paper a message to reveal as the tube is unrolled at the end.

As per the bag silks, I need to get my website updated but have not had the time to do so. I just made a bag blendo for a ProKids performer with a custom painted silk. I can make them up with custom silks or use the readily available dragon, butterfly and rabbit in hat silks that are copies of Rices. They are thin so I have to back them with other silk. Or if you want to buy a Rice silk I can put it into a blendo form. Cost will varying according to what silk is on the outside and if you want the artwork on both sides or just black on the backside. Figure about $245 and up.

I do consider Duke's a blendo in that small silks transform into a large streamer. Not maybe a traditional blendo, but very close. I have also seen the unprepared blendo done with a streamer instead of the 36" silk.

Let me know if I can help further.
Message: Posted by: Rice (Dec 30, 2004 11:51AM)
The Rice Blendos, made by Harold Rice with the original Rice art silks are on our website item #384 under silk tricks. They sell for $225. They come complete with instructions and three 18" solid silks that match the colors in the selected blendo. Patterns available are: dragon, clown, rabbit and butterfly. The patterns can be seen under Rice's silks. All original Rice blendos have black backgrounds.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Dec 30, 2004 06:38PM)
I would definitely get a Rice Blendo if you want a self contained with a top quality art silk. They are much heavier silk, properly constructed and should give you years of use. A prepared blendo is really not that hard to fold up and do. It just takes a little practice.