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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Ricky Jay and his 52 assistants (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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AAAAA
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If you missed the Broadway performance, I did, or not this is a MUST have. Excellent Video.

This is a write up about the show;
"Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants

One-Hundred and fifty seats per show were sold out for the two-week-straight-one-manned show, Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants. The show was aired on HBO more than once. Jay admits that it is meant to be seen live. Directed by friend David Mamet and written and produced by himself, the show was a critical and popular success, receiving the Lucille Lortel and Obie awards. Not only that, but it broke a record as the fastest selling off-Broadway. The theater advises that the show may not be appropriate for anyone under 17. This has nothing to do with content. Jay insists on the seriousness "Magic", he says, "has been thrown away as just something for kids. If the curtains opened up and there were 20 kids in the audience, I couldn't do the show."

The curtains did open and the audience immediately starts clapping for well-dressed magician with his sleeves rolled up and nothing else with him but a deck of cards. Jay wears the jacket of his suit rolled up to the elbows in the style that was briefly popular in the more dubious discotheques of the 1980s. The set like a gaming-room office with two shelves on each side covered with old magic memoir, two doors in the back between them, and an elegant table in the middle with medieval chairs.

Jay walks up, spreads his cards on the table and introduces you to his 52 Assistants. "Notice the contrasts of style and character. They range from ingratiating simplicity to regal splendor. Some are passive and innerved, others brazing and belligerent. Some suicidal just like you and me." His genius, wisdom, and education are the first thing that show. Telling a story behind each effect, Ricky releases the history, bringing you with him. Even when he messes up, like we all do, he turns it into comedy.

After showing the same effect three times; producing four queens, he moves on to an ancient poem by William Henly. "Boos and the Blowings cop the lot." Ricky describes no matter if you cheat, con, swindle, or work, women and wine take it all. This was the introduction to his gambling lecture.

Not only could he cut the cards to all four aces, but he showed how to second deal, bottom deal, and even dealing out of the middle of the deck. He even dealt himself a full hand of Gin-Rummy. The first record of dealing out of the middle of the deck was in 1933 by a man named Alan Kennedy. Charlie Miller and Canadian Magician Dai Vernon packed their cards and went to Wichita. Ricky spent over two decades with these men in his former years learning the art of deception. They died a few years ago. Miller was 80 and Vernon was 98. You can see pictures of them on the bookcase of the fin-de-siecle gaming room that servers the show's sole set.

His next little comedy trick shows that not all him magic is serious. He has a volunteer select a card and sign it. After bringing out some mechanical animals to find it, it finally appears in the middle of a deck in an unopened pack of blue cards. He performed tricks like Everywhere and Nowhere, found in some of Jean Hugard's books whereas the selected card appears in a wine glass. A carte de visite featuring a picture of illusionist Johann Nepmuk Hofzinser is used in this effect. Then he uses Max Malini's idea of having more than one card selected. He has eleven or twelve cards selected and finds all of them in a different way that is close to impossible.

The next part of his show is for show-off purposes, throwing cards. He through a card up in the air, and upon it's return, cut it neatly in half with a giant pair of scissors. But that wasn't the hard part. He killed some plastic drummers and a rubber ducky, then set off for the watermelon. The 'rich red' inner layer was no problem, but the 'appie-dermatis outer melon layer' took some work. After five or so shots, he threw a card into the hard outer layer of the green watermelon. His last effect was the cups and balls. Going back to the first trick in the book, he describes three different versions and even uses Bosco's routine, Charlie's Miller's version, and the original routine from Hocus Pocus Jr.

You can't deny his skill and knowledge. After all, he can beat you in poker, change your card's identity, and even throw a card in a watermelon. This off-Broadway special would have my vote as a perfect 10."
Jean-Luc.R.
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QUEBEC - CANADA
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I taped the show on video.I view this wonderful act from Mr Jay once a year just to enjoy the beauty of
his magic.His eloquence ,refinement and skill are
just awsome...
Kevin Ram
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Is this video being sold?

If so where?
"Your the Italian stallion" As said by my g/friend
AAAAA
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I don't know where it can be found. Mine is from a freind who recorded it off HBO. PLease quit emailing me and asking me to make a copy for you. (not Kevin, others)
marcus2
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I agree RIVARDJLR SIMPLY THE BEST!!
saturnin
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I have this video and it is indeed very good!

Ronnie Lemieux
There is no road to happiness,

happiness is the road!
Paul Sherman
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This was the performance that got me started in magic. If you come across a copy, it's excellent.

Paul
"The finished card expert considers nothing too trivial that in any way contributes to his success..." Erdnase



some youtube videos
AaronShields
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Having seen both the live show and the HBO special, I can say that the HBO special is a real lesson in using the placement of a camera to cope with the limitations of the television medium. It's hard to imagine a better camera placement in relation to the sleight of hand techniques being performed in any shot. A real lesson in the benefits of working with a director director intimately familiar with the medium and the show.
Find out about my magic:
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zombieboy
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I too taped this a while back. I think the show is incredibly unbelivable. His presentation, coupled with his vocabulary, make for a very intellectual and fascinating show. If you can find a copy, get it. Period.
DADE
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I got my baby from a friend.The dvd has been burned a few times but still a perfect copy!!
He"s the man,i have lots of magic items,but this bad-boy is the most treasured!!

All the best
DADE.
Only when you've lost everything,are you free to do anything
MM
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ONe of my most prized videos. I made a copy to DVD. I would die if my machine ate the video, Smile
trickster2000
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Quote:
On 2004-11-05 06:18, DADE wrote:
I got my baby from a friend.The dvd has been burned a few times but still a perfect copy!!
He"s the man,i have lots of magic items,but this bad-boy is the most treasured!!

All the best
DADE.

I thought dvd's were supposed to stay the same no matter how many times it is burned?? I thought this was never released on dvd??? Pls. let me know if it is available on dvd!! I taped it on HBO a long time ago and my copy is dying out...
guido
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DVD copies stay always the same in quality as the original DVD. No matter how many times you make a copy of a copy. Because it is digitally made.
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

I recently wrote the HBO Store. The response follows:

"Thank you for contacting the HBO Store.
Not all of HBO's original programs are made available on DVD/VHS, including comedy specials.
The Ricky Jay Special is not currently available from HBO Home Video. Check the News section on the HBO.com website for announcements on upcoming HBO
Video releases for comedy specials as well as other programs like documentaries and concert events.
Unfortunately the HBO Store is temporarily closed while we build a brand new store. Once the store is reopened, you can find information on upcoming releases within 6 weeks of their release date.
If you have any further questions please email us at hbostore@hbo.com"

So there you have it. If you have a copy, it's bootleg but you have a copy. I hear the cups and balls routine is worth the price of admission. I'd love to have that!

Joe in KC
Mercury52
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Kevin Reylek
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You can see Ricky perform the cups and balls on his episode of the X-files. I don't know if it's the same as one his 52 assistants show, because I haven't seen it. I'd love to get my hands on a copy if anyone is feeling generous.

Kevin
Kevin Reylek
RS
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Where can I get a copy? Bootleg or not?
RS
Markymark
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It turns up on ebay from time to time..
''In memory of a once fluid man,crammed and distorted by the classical mess'' -Bruce Lee
IceKnight
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I have this on dvd format and it is a real gem, get it if you can!
Scott Wells
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I taped the HBO special when it was first aired. I recently transfered my video tape to DVD which can be easily burned again and again so it retains the same quality as the original tape.

yours,
Scott
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

The Magic Word podcast: http://themagicwordpodcast.com Listen to convention coverage, interviews with magicians, pictures, videos and more.

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joeytsai
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I heard in one of Ricky Jay's routines he takes the patter nearly word-for-word from Expert at the Card Table? Is this true? Which routine from Erdnase does he do?
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