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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Ade Duval's "Rhapsody in Silk" (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Glenn Godsey
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Is anyone familiar with this? Apparently, in the 1940's and 50's, Duval practically filled the stage with silks, all produced from a single cylinder. It was his whole act. Magic Inc. produced a book on it in 1962. Has anyone seen the act or the book? I am wondering if it might be worth tracking down. Smile
daveazz
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Check with Micky Hades at http://members.shaw.ca/mickyhades/
He has one for around 7.00 for the book.

Dave
hugmagic
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I saw Landis Smith do a version of the act twenty years ago. The orginal Duval act is well laid out in the book from Magic Inc. The load areas from the original Duval act still would work but there are several problems.

His act was based around P&L phantom tubes, loads, and switches. Obviously, it would cost you a fortune if you could find the necessary P&L props.

I made a set up for girl with a slightly bigger tube, a bullet load, and a switch tube. This let her accomplish almost the same thing without as many reloadings. The silk Duval used was very, very thin and consequently wore out quickly. Silk is not cheap so I would go for a little less silk and heavier weight.

Magic Inc. in Chicago published the book with the entire details of the act.
Is the act worth doing....ABSOLUTELY!!! Audiences like color and flash. Here is an act that weighs almost nothing and will fill a stage. It is not for everyone but start with the Duval book to understand what it was about.

I know of no film unfortunately of this act.
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Torkova
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Years ago I saw about 30 seconds on tape of Duval doing the silk act. Very fast moving, running all around the stage and making lightning fast loads and steals. Very impressive. I wish I still had that tape!
Mike Maturen
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Somebody posted almost six minutes of video of Duval doing his silk routine. They said it was from the SAM library. You might want to check there.

I just bought the book from someone here on the Café...and I am looking forward to reading it, then modifying the routine to fit into my act.

Mike
Quote:
On 2003-11-17 14:58, Torkova wrote:
Years ago I saw about 30 seconds on tape of Duval doing the silk act. Very fast moving, running all around the stage and making lightning fast loads and steals. Very impressive. I wish I still had that tape!
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Dick Oslund
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I never saw Duval's Rhapsody. Vaudeville was about dead, when I came along. Jay Marshall (who had closed a lot of vaude houses!) told me all about it, though.

No question! Audiences love the flash! I wonder, though, where you would be able to book it. Cruise ships want more than "ten minutes". Vegas, maybe, but it would take a well established agent to get you booked.

In the waning days of vaude., Ade was playing a theatre in London. (a 'five a day' house)Sitting in the dressing room in the basement (it had a window opening on the stage door alley)resetting the act (about an hour's work) for the third time that day, Ade and True, heard two fellows who apparently had just exited the house, talking, as they walked up the alley. One asked his friend, "Well, Alf, which act did you like best? --I liked those performing dogs!" "Not me," said Alf, "I liked the bloke with the blooming rags!"

If you enjoy (!) building an act like the Rhapsody,and want to spend the $$$ for the props, go for it! But, don't plan on getting rich off performing it. And, be sure to buy a good iron!
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mtpascoe
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The actual film of Duval doing the act is jumbled and you can't follow it. That's too bad because I always wanted to see it as well.

You can still do the act as part of a show. If you reduce it a bit it won't be so redundant. If I was to do it, I would make sure I’d bring along one of those travel steamers where you fill water in it. Because you are correct, it would take a lot of ironing.
Bill Hegbli
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Dick Oslund, you really should read the book, Ade Duval performed well into the 1950, not only Vaudeville but places like Radio City Music Hall in New York. He even appeared on television. He also had a longer act with some other magic effect from what I gleaned from the pages and research.

One of the reasons he developed the Silk Act is just for the reason and attitude you reflect in your above post. The act is expensive, it is time consuming to prepare and only took minutes to present. So he took advantage of the lazy magician of the time and today, to present an act no other magician would even go through all that trouble to create and show on the stage of the world.

He must have been one of the best salesmen in the world. He was also adaptable to the times. Into the 1960 he was doing a talk act with props like the Die Box with a Clock, remember Abbott's Elusive Clock Die Box. Can you believe he even did the Vanishing Milk Pitcher, again, he actually took the trouble to haul a liquid trick around with him. He is credited with the invention of the Smoking A Thumb trick, but his short concise routine is entertainment plus in my book.

Even up until his death he was always planning a return to show business, and I bet he would have been successful even in todays difficult performing arena.

I wish I could have seen him perform, here is just a little example of his persona on stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cspgwXwlbE4

He captured my attention even in that small clip, I believe he may have been one of the greats in magic. But as a working performer, such a yourself, very few knew about him. He was not invited to work magic conventions until his final show at the start of his last return to show business. His illness returned.

I only missed seeing him by a few years.

Adaptable would be the word for him when it comes to society changes. He did perform outside of America, went to Europe, Australia, and such. He was one of the high paying acts. We hear of Cardini getting the highest paying fees, so did Ade Duval. He was a man who could develop work at any time in our society, so it seems from his long successful career. Not many performers can be successful on the "Come Back" road in Show Business, but he could in this ever changing world.

Jay Marshall of Magic Inc. knew him and started marketing his line of tricks. The 1st silk book, and his Repeat Vanishing Silk were the 1st offerings. Duval just took to long to get material to Jay to market. His illness slowed him down on tasks, and thus it took a long time to get things accomplished. So we all do not have but only 2 of his offerings get the feel of his thinking to creating magic. He even did the Multiplying Golf Balls from Magic Inc. (Ireland's as we knew it, in the day.) It was published in Genii Magazine and is as the others short, concise, and to the point, with a little magic thrown in.

You may have even ran into him while at Magic Inc. visiting Jay Marshall, who knows. Well, I just wanted to mention a few things I read about Ade Duval, and point out he was more then a Phantom Tube magician.
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David Charvet
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Thanks for the book plug, Bill! You'll find it on my website.

And yes, Ade was much more than just the silk act and the "Rhapsody" production from the Phantom Tube. That production was just 3 minutes of the act.

It would still be a great closing for an act or show. Just be prepared to devote the time to building, rehearsing and re-setting it every time!

(One reason Duval had no imitators.)
Dick Oslund
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Hey Bill!
Thank you for the great background and information on Ade Duval. I'll respond more in detail in a day or so!
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Bill Hegbli
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David Charvet, no problem, as I want to thank you very much for your publication of that book. It is truly inspirational in many ways. It sets beside my books of John Booth Classics, the Faucett Ross book, the Ken Brooke books, Tony Marks book, and Alan Wakeling book.

Beside the Phantom Tube, he did a string of silk magic effects taking the act to 11 minutes, if I remember correctly. He did the Duval silk dying tube and the 20th Century Silks, but like Tony Marks, it was not just a production, vanish and appearance between 2 knotted silks, but it involved several more productions, vanishes, and appearances, between the already string of 3 knotted silks.

Dick Oslund, I was surprised you took out Duke's Dye Version, as I many times had back to back shows and always took the 3 to 5 minutes to load the tube. Some tricks are just to strong to leave out, in my opinion. Variety is a good thing in a one man magic act. You can only do so many jumbo 3-1/2 of Clubs card tricks. There are not that many "always ready" prop tricks around. Dye Box and Topsy Turvy Bottles are 2 that come to mind quickly.
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mtpascoe
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If memory serves me correctly, he started off in the Chautauqua circuit with a big show. Then he did Vaudeville with the Phantom Tube. Magicians only remember him for just two things, the Rhapsody act and the smoking thumb. But he did a full magic show. And he even was around to perform on television.
Dick Oslund
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I'm back!
Yes, I missed some of the GREAT acts as I grew up in Northern Michigan in the '40s. No TV yet, and definitely few chances to see magic shows. Most of my teen years, I saw only school show magicians, and side show (circus and carnival)magicians. My folks took me to Milwaukee in November of '45,(I was 13) to see the Blackstone Show (I did get to meet him!)

Graduating HS in '49, I was doing shows until the Korean mess came along and I was in the Navy for four years. Got to an IBM convention in Chicago ('50)and saw some great acts there.

So, I had a 'sheltered life' (!) and though I had heard for example, the name Duval, I never knew much about him except that he did a 'silk act' (!) Interestingly, I can't remember Jay and I ever discussing Ade Duval. I knew he put out the book on the Rhapsody, but since that wasn't practical for school assemblies, I read it, but never even considered doing it.

I do remember Jay mentioning the smoking thumb, but we never got into great detail. (Again, THUMB SMOKING WOULDN'T 'GO' IN A SCHOOL SHOW!!!)Anyway, Jay said that Ade would not tip the work on the gimmick~~and after seeing the film clip you've provided, I can understand why, he wouldn't tip it.

I was absolutely delighted to see him do the thumb smoking on the film clip. What marvelous showmanship! (makes me wish I had been a smoker~~!!!???

I've seen (somewhere in a post) parts of the silk act. It was in black and white, but I could picture it in my mind! (WOW!) --but in a one man show,doing bureau booked school tours, it would have been impossible.

I remember meeting and seeing Tony Marks in Wichita in the '70s. He did the "long" 20th C. silk bit. We got together for coffee after his second show and it was almost daylight when the session broke up! Hee Hee. On the second show that night, he kept missing the box (table) with his thimbles, and he adlibbed: "I need to get a bigger box!"

Having spent about ten years of "off road time" (summers) living in COLON, MICHIGAN, yes, I do remember the Jess Thornton Clock Die Box. I did the 'standard' box as a kid in my home town, but only one season in the school show. I was touring the Dakotas and KNEW that it hadn't been done by others touring ahead of me. I used the Davenport English Style box, then.

Back to Ade..Just watching the thumb smoking, I must agree with you that he was certainly one of the greats. Timing! Showmanship! PERSONALITY!!!

For about ten years,('68 to '78) I was a 'regular' guest in the Charlie Miller Suite at Inc. and met many of the top magicians that I wouldn't have met otherwise. Unfortunately, Ade Duval was not one.

Thanks again,for taking the time to pass along some background information on a real pro.!

I'll comment on Duke's Dye Version in another post. It was,and is, a real "worker"!
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Darkwing
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Dick,

Tell us more!!!! I could read these kind of post from guys like you, Bill and Richard for hours. So much I can get our of these stories from you guys.

David Williams
Bill Hegbli
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Dick Oslund, I learned a long time ago the hard way to never say never. The school of hard knocks can hurt. I watch magic acts, to see how the performers perform. How they create the magic. Their movement, their patter lines. The magic is important, but if it just a standard trick, I really don't notice much.

I never watch an act for the sole purpose to see if his tricks are for me. I pay attention, as I may not every have a chance to see it again in a lifetime.

An example would be Tenkai form South America, I hope I have that name right. He did a dove act, with Fickle Fire before Fickle Fire was known to the general magic population. He did a lecture on his dove productions at a magic convention, I walked out, as I was doing a patter act. Well, fast forward 5 years, and I got into dove productions very heavily. I looked and spent over $500 back in the 1980's just seeking the "real" way to produce doves.

Another example is when I seen Terry Seabrooke do his Borrowed Bill in Sealed Envelope in Zippered Wallet routine. I had gotten the trick from England's Harry Stanley Magic Studio, but never did anything with it. The instructions were more of an outline then the instructions I was use to getting from Ken Brooke and Supreme Magic. Fast forward again 10 or 15 years to an Abbott's Get-Together evening show, and who appeared on stage, but Terry Seabrooke. Well, I laughed for 20 minutes with the trick that was setting at home in a box.

I comment on these experiences because of your comments a couple time in your post that it was not for your type of traveling school shows. That may be true, but I also cater to the kind or type of magic I would like to do all the time.

I guess you have more of business attitude toward your magic tricks you chose for your "full time" act. Which is good business sense. I do do that when I when I am looking for material when that would fit in my more popular show. Just like today, the interests in magic is being driven toward close-up magic. Close-up magic selling has become a huge business, but it does not fit any of my shows, so I don't bother, but back in the 1970's I was doing Close-Up Magic, and realize it is a waste of time and money for me today. I only have bought 3 close-up trick in the last 10 years. Those I only bought to see the gimmicks as I have a heavy interest in a classic effect, so I was looking if anything new was developed. To my surprise, they only used gimmick principles from the 60 years ago or more, but doubled the use of the gimmick's design.

I do regret missing your act at the little magic convention in the south some years back, but I did not walk out, I was just late talking to other performers.

My experience was much worse then yours as a youngster. My influence was only Ed Sullivan and Mark Wilson on television, and with a local magic shop in town, and my brother taking his little brother downtown to the YMCA for swimming, I would have never been bitten with the magic bug. I guess I was 10 back then. Only had see our local magic store owner "Dick Stoner", do a show years earlier at the "patrol boy" (The no longer have them, we have Crossing Guards now, show at a local high school downtown.

To bad your conversations with Jay Marshall never got around to Ade Duval, but from what David Charvet writes, he did not mingle much with magicians. He was like you, or more so, always working. When he wasn't working, he was making new tie dyed silks for his next season of shows.

My purpose of referencing the Smoking A Thumb video was for you see his persona on stage. I know smoking is not for everyone today or years ago. And I certainly, had no intension that you or anyone else should do the trick or even smoke. I guess I relate to it, because my father was a pipe smoker. So I find it a humorous and mystifying trick. Lastly, it is the only other reference besides the poorly age depleted film copy of his silk act.

Even from that terrible viewing of his silk act, I see his "energy" on stage at the time. I not the he pulled this silks out to the tube and tossed them upward high into the air. I have never seen a production did in that manner. From all the stories of magician from years ago, they were slow moving and what one would say, "boring" on stage. So I was totally surprised at his fast passed movements. The film could be sped up a bit by the lack of frames per second, but still he was fast moving for his time in show business.

What did I learn from watching that segment of film. To do silk production, heck no, but to use large stage movements on stage, and you can create excitement with only your method in handling your props. I believe they refer to that as "Stage Presence", now this is an example of what Stage Presence is, sort of a definition.

What did I learn from the Smoking A Thumb Kinescope, to smoke a pipe, certainly not. I learned one should learn "Tonal Inflection" and "Facial Expressions" to create personality and character. I also learned or validated, the use of the laugh or chuckle to tell the audience what you said is meant as funny. Our local notable magician here is town "Dick Stoner" does that in his act. He says a line and does a quiet laugh, or a cheery voice with the next patter line. Sort of still laughing from the previous comment. Did you note what would be an insult to audiences today, "mind your business", but he makes a funny pouty face to break the sting of the comment.

The old saying, "Baggers cannot be choosers" comes to mind here. If there were other examples of film, I would have referenced them, but "THERE IS NOT" so we work with what we have.

Sorry if smoking offended you, I did think twice before posting the YouTube reference, but "THAT IS ALL WE HAVE TO MY KNOWLEDGE" in the world on this famous and almost forgotten professional magician.

To sum up the lessons:

Use tonal inflection in your voice.
Use facial expressions when appropriate.
Use large body movement when on stage to empathize the huge production.
Talk to your audience, to pull them in.
Be humorous even if you cannot be funny like a comedian. Lean to laugh at yourself.
A magician can use manipulation magic props in a patter act, with patter.
Instead of just doing descriptive magic patter, try to make it relational to yourself or the audience.

Setting the stage is important, and if you can have an assistant, that is the best way to present magic in a timely and fast pasted manner. Look for an assistant over a table. Cardini also used his wife as an assistant, instead of a table. The only container was for the lit cigarettes. Mr. Electric used a box table, but not to work off of, he used his assistant.

After a trick is bought, that is when the work is begun to make it a magic miracle. It is not only the trick, but sometimes it helps to have something unique.
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Dick Oslund
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I meant to get back sooner, but "...the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley..."

I was not 'offended' by the thumb smoking! I was fascinated! --and not just by the smoking! Just the chance to study his timing, line delivery, and in general his showmanship, was worth my time! I'll go back and see it again and again. There are some things that one can't get from a book. To study acting, go see the actor!

I will 'cover' Roy Mayer (one of my mentors) in my upcoming book. The second time I saw him do a school show, he GOT ME! He was closing with a silk production from a phantom tube. I knew what a phantom tube was, but had never owned or used one. He jerked out a "whole bunch" of silks. A lot more than a phantom tube could hold. Backstage, after the show, I said, "Roy! A phantom tube can't hold that big a load!" Roy chuckled and replied< "Gotcha, eh?!" Then he showed me the sw***h! (I had never seen Duval. I had heard of him, but only knew the name of his act! When Roy passed away, I helped Bernice dispose of his props. (I bought them!) The tubes (home made by Roy) were included. When I do a full hour for a promotion show, or on 'special occasions', I use the tubes. First tube: a string of 12" tied corner to corner almost fills the average proscenium stage. (I use "1/2" silks) A 6' Rice Dragon is in #2 tube. I can load both tubes in a few minutes. Roy had Bernice to load in his school show. With me, it's only in the special occasion show.

Yes! I think the DYE VERSION is a great routine. (Duke was a good friend, he understood 'theater'!) I gave it a good tryout, and it played very well, Some good comedy, stage filling flash, with a big mitt at the end. But, I had to 'red light' it. I put in the mutilated parasol. NO set up, good comedy, flash,--a show stop laugh--and also a big mitt.

When Neil Foster retired from the road, he produced his "Concert of Magic". He told me that he was doing all the tricks that he loved to do, but couldn't do in a school tour. (Bureau booked school tours are K-MART SHOW BUSINESS! --FAST TURN, VOLUME, AND LOW NUT!)

BOBO and I 'tied' for number of shows performed over the years. We both estimated 20,000+. But, he had Lillian! I worked alone! He quit bureau tours, I think, in the '60s. I stayed with the bureaus. (Personal taste!) We were both happy!

I had seen Clem Magrum almost "kill himself" trying to do a school show with ten pieces of luggage! I'll write him up in the book, too. I decided early on, that I loved the business, but did not plan to die for it.

Well, that's the story (or at least a bit of it)!!!

Again, thanks for all the background on Ade Duval. It was a delight to see him --especially with the much storied thumb!
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Hayre
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Bill, it was Chen Kai, from Mexico City. (Not Tenkai from Asia)
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Glad to see this thread revived! Ade Duval was one of the greats!! He didn't like sharing the stage with other magicians. not that he didn't like magicians.. but as a pro he felt working a show with acts less professional in approach than his own, would possibly drag his efforts down a bit.

Dick Gustafson did a version of Ade's Silk production a few years back. It wasn't exactly what Ade did, but 'inspired by' is a term I would use. You can see that effort on Dick's website. I saw Dick in person at the MAES this past year. He wasn't performing, just came to the show... but meeting him again was a thrill for me!

Ade Duval had a strong personality: Elegant, gentlemanly, but he really could connect with an audience. That Smoking his Thumb video shows how powerful he was in front of a crowd. The late Al Shape used to talk to me about Ade and how good he really was.

I have some thoughts on the Duval silk production, and when time permits later this year, I hope to tackle a smaller version of it that would be practical for today's market and audiences. But it would NOT employ either a Phantom tube or Genii tube...
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Bill Hegbli
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For some inspiration I am re-posing this video a gentleman posted in another post here on the Café. You can see a little, as the quality is very poor from Black and White film, Ade Duval's energy at least.

I see Muttalated Parasol, 20th Century silks, with multiple other silks vanished and reappear between the other chain of silks, matchbox to silk, these are only a few I recognize.






Here is a performance on an early television show of Ade Duval's Smoking a Thumb routine, along with his wife as his assistant.


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FrankFindley
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From Programmes of Famous Magicians:

DUVAL - "A RHAPSODY IN SILK"

TWO ASSISTANTS —FULL STAGE —ELEVEN MINUTES —FULL DRESS
One of the most beautiful magic acts on the stage. A fast act and pleasing to the eye.

Twentieth Century Silk Routine—Saven separate silks appear, disappear, and
reappear. Performed on the bare stage with no tables or stands. The
production of the silks is real magic. Showing the hands empty—a grasp
in the air and a silk unfolds at the finger tips. A second silk is produced
from the first. The two silks are now tied corner to corner and placed
into a small glass. Hands shown empty again and another silk is produced.
This silk is vanished but is found tied between the two silks in the glass.
Other silks are produced, vanished and make their reappearance between
the silks that are tied.

Silk Blowing Routine (The original Duval Method)—After a paper tube is
shown empty, several large white silks are poked in at one end of tube,
blown through, and emerge from the other end in various colors. This
is repeated with several smaller silks and at the conclusion the paper tube
is torn in pieces to show that nothing remains in the tube.

Parasol and Silks.

Silk Production—From a metal tube, about 10 by 3 inches, an endless produc-
tion of silks and streamers is made that finally cover the entire stage with
color. A beautiful production that defies detection.
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