American Masters — Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

(Rochester, NY) – For the first time, American Masters series profiles a magician: the inimitable Ricky Jay, considered one of the world’s greatest conjurers, capable of creating a profound sense of wonder and disbelief in even the most jaded of audiences. He is also a best-selling author, historian, actor and a leading collector of antiquarian books and artifacts. American Masters — Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice premieres Friday, January 23, 2015 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV and journeys into the mysterious world of sleight-of-hand and the small circle of eccentrics who are its perpetual devotees. Told largely in Jay’s own distinctive voice, the documentary traces the story of his achievement, beginning at age 4 as apprentice to his grandfather Max Katz, an accomplished amateur magician, and features rare footage of some of the most influential magicians of the 20th century: Cardini, Slydini, Al Flosso, Dai Vernon and Charles Miller.

Narrated by Dick Cavett, American Masters — Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice weaves together new interviews with Jay, his friends and collaborators, including writer/director David Mamet, and rare performance footage from his one-man shows and classic TV appearances, among them a hilarious turn with Steve Martin on Dinah Shore’s 1970s program. Filmmakers Molly Bernstein (editor, American Masters — Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About) and Alan Edelstein (Oscar-nominated producer, The Wizard of Strings) explore the arduous demands of the magician’s craft, the use of language and storytelling central to the art, and this ancient tradition’s future.

Pictured: Ricky Jay, best-selling author, historian, actor and leading collector of antiquarian books and artifacts, and, above all, a conjurer.
Credit: Courtesy of Theo Westenberger/Autry Museum

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