For the first time in the series’ 29-year history, AMERICAN MASTERS profiles a magician: the inimitable Ricky Jay, one of the world’s greatest conjurers, a best-selling author, historian, actor and leading collector of antiquarian books and artifacts. Journey through the mysterious world of sleight-of-hand through new interviews with Jay, his friends and collaborators, including writer/director David Mamet. Tracing the story of Jay’s achievement, beginning at age four as apprentice to his grandfather Max Katz, an accomplished amateur magician, the documentary 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, the film also features rare performance footage from Jay’s one-man shows and classic TV appearances, among them a hilarious turn with Steve Martin on Dinah Shore’s 1970s program. Filmmakers Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein 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.
"Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice" on American Masters airs on Friday, January 23rd at 9 pm on channel 3.