American Masters | Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice
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Watch Friday, January 23, 2015 at 9pm on WMHT TV.

For the first time, THIRTEEN’s 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 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 four 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 new interviews with Jay, his friends and collaborators, including writer/director David Mamet, with 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.

“All the arts are forms of magic, and the wonderment, mystery and pure joy of seeing a master like Ricky Jay perform are a thrill like no other,” says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “This intimate film makes you marvel at his genius and allows you to peek behind the curtain at many of the greatest magicians of the last century.”

“I am truly honored to be included in this iconic series, and grateful to be able to introduce viewers to the great sleight-of-hand artists who were my mentors and my inspiration,” says Ricky Jay.