Zelpy (1936-2004) was the stage name of professor Dott. Giampaolo Zelli of surgery at the University of Rome.
An amateur magician with a popular stage and close up act in Europe, he was known for his silk magic. Zelpy placed second in general magic at the 1967 F.I.S.M. with his stage act, “Symphonie of Silks.” He created two other stage acts, “The Magic Statue” (1970) and “The Pigeon” (1976), in which he was the first to dress as a giant dove that produced little magicians. He first presented the latter in the U.S. in 1977 at The Tannen’s Magic Jubilee.
Zelli was a good friend of one of Italy’s top professional magicians, Tony Binarelli. Early in 1965, Zelli had been working on a divination idea using a Polaroid camera. One night that same year, the Zelli and Binarelli were discussing magic and how to make thoughts appear “real.” Several days passed and Zelli came back to Binarelli with an effect he created for the new Polaroid Camera (one of the first expensive models in Italy), and gave the camera to Binarelli for the first Polaroid divination effect.