Ricky Jay Death

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 30th, 2018, 5:42 am

Here's a link sent to me by my friend Bill Bowers. It's Ricky's television special, Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women from 1989. There are some amazing performances on it; the things Ricky enjoyed. I think you will, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdYto9Ehrj0

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » November 30th, 2018, 10:09 am

Another great reminiscence, this time from a (layperson) personal assistant to Ricky.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 30th, 2018, 1:07 pm

That bit from the personal assistant is quite nice, but this part is a bit disingenuous:

"The card throw is a violent, physically taxing movie, and he was often out of breath by the time he'd fired six or eight shots (his word)."

Ricky has had health issues for many years. One of them caused him to gasp for oxygen--in fact, until he lost so much weight within the past few years, I've heard that he was often on oxygen when at home. He was gasping for air in a very noticeable way long before he reached the end of 52 Assistants here in DC (which is the performance the assistant refers to above). I saw the show six times and it was noticeable to the point where you could hear the audience members wondering if he was "okay."

That was, I believe, the last (or near to the last) time he performed a full magic show. After that Rogues Gallery became the show, and it required little exertion because he performed only a few tricks.
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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » November 30th, 2018, 2:22 pm

Ricky Jay on Charlie Rose. https://charlierose.com/videos/2520

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby I.M. Magician » November 30th, 2018, 3:47 pm

I want to thank Max, Bill, and others for sharing all of those clips here on the forum for us to enjoy.

In regards to the Charlie Rose interview, I felt sorry for Ricky having to go through that. Is it me or did Charlie have a difficult time transitioning to a variety of pertinent questions? Was it painful for Ricky to endure that? Am I missing something or did Charlie Rose struggle to conduct the interview in a meaningful way? Ask some relatable and worthwhile questions for goodness sake! It seemed ridiculous and I felt like I could feel Ricky’s frustration with it, not to mention his kind courtesy. You could practically read Ricky’s mind.

Anyway, I (and I am sure many others) have been soaking up whatever Ricky Jay footage we can in an attempt to both mourn his passing and remember his contributions.

I met him once for a brief moment at a Tannen’s Jubilee in the early seventies and wish I could have spent more time in his company. What an interesting guy he was!

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bob Coyne » November 30th, 2018, 4:20 pm

Thanks to everyone who posted the various video clips and reminiscences of Ricky.

I saw him live twice...way back when he performed in Midsummer Night's Dream in Central Park. And then later on Broadway in On the Stem. I wish I could have met him in person...those who did were very lucky indeed!

One thing that jumped out at me, watching the clips, is his impish sense of humor. In particular, I noticed that in the earliest clips (e.g. his appearance on Doug Henning) his overall demeanor was very cheerful and good natured...he smiled a lot! He gradually seemed to have developed a more sardonic presence as he got older.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby jason156 » November 30th, 2018, 5:26 pm

"He gradually seemed to have developed a more sardonic presence as he got older."


Don't we all ....

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » November 30th, 2018, 5:55 pm

I.M. Magician wrote:In regards to the Charlie Rose interview, I felt sorry for Ricky having to go through that. Is it me or did Charlie have a difficult time transitioning to a variety of pertinent questions? Was it painful for Ricky to endure that? Am I missing something or did Charlie Rose struggle to conduct the interview in a meaningful way? Ask some relatable and worthwhile questions for goodness sake! It seemed ridiculous and I felt like I could feel Ricky’s frustration with it, not to mention his kind courtesy.


I've had similar feelings about most Charlie Rose interviews that I've watched. It amazed me that he was on the air so long; he was not a very good interviewer.

Bob Coyne wrote: He gradually seemed to have developed a more sardonic presence as he got older.

For a guy who had something of a reputation as a curmudgeon, I've seen a lot of pictures of him in the last week where he was smiling.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Richard Hatch » November 30th, 2018, 8:02 pm


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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » November 30th, 2018, 9:10 pm

More from NPR:
4/17/2013: Deceptive Practice review

11/8/2010: RJ on death of Charles Reynolds

12/26/2009: Rogue's Gallery

3/4/2007: Ricky Jay Plays Poker

5/10/2005: Talk of the Nation, when Extraordinary Exhibitions was released

8/27/2003: Fresh Air: Dice: Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck

12/28/2002: Dice: Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck



Two clips from the Canadian television show, The Magic Palace.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 1st, 2018, 12:05 am

Ricky Jay did not often speak of his father. But on occasion . . .

"He made his debut as a magician at the age of 7 on a New York TV show called 'Time for Pets.' 'As I recall,' Jay says, 'they announced "Now it's 'Time for Pets,' featuring George the St. Bernard and also Ricky Jay." I think the St. Bernard had it in his contract that he wasn't allowed to share the stage with anyone else. I produced a few birds and then I did a production of a guinea pig because this pet show couldn't find a rabbit.

And what happened was, my father was backstage holding the guinea pig in preparation for my doing a trick with it and it p---ed all over my father's tie. And he turned to me -- I was 7 years old, right? -- and he said "That's just like you. You get all the glory and I get all the p---." That kind of defined my family relationships at an early age.' "
Philadelphia Daily News 8 Jul 1983

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Richard Hatch » December 1st, 2018, 2:19 pm


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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Diego » December 2nd, 2018, 1:19 am

Ricky Jay gave one of the the best comeback lines ever:

Ricky told me in the late 1970's, theater director Andre Gregory asked him to help with a new play he was directing. Ricky said working with him was a very rewarding, learning experience, that he always valued.

A few years later, (1981) the movie, "My Dinner with Andre" came out and received some buzz, especially amongst the intelligentsia, who speculated/debated over it. (The film is essentially a conversation, between Andre Gregory and writer/actor Wallace Shawn, in a manhattan restaurant...the entire movie is their conversation)

Around that time, Ricky went to a party in New York, where one person was persistently/annoyingly asking everyone he could corner,
"Have you seen, "My Dinner with Andre?!"
( Asking like it was a litmus test, and opportunity to say what HE believed about it, to the rest of those so unenlightened.)
He eventually turns to Ricky asking, "Have you seen, "My Dinner with Andre?!"
Ricky's deadpan reply, as only he could give: "I've HAD dinner with Andre."

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Dustin Stinett » December 2nd, 2018, 2:13 am

Well this is ... interesting:

http://www.rarebookhub.com/articles/2525

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Jeff Haas » December 2nd, 2018, 3:49 am

Tongue-in-cheek and affectionate. Seems like a fan’s tribute.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 2nd, 2018, 11:23 am

Diego wrote:Ricky Jay gave one of the the best comeback lines ever:

Ricky told me in the late 1970's, theater director Andre Gregory asked him to help with a new play he was directing. Ricky said working with him was a very rewarding, learning experience, that he always valued.

A few years later, (1981) the movie, "My Dinner with Andre" came out and received some buzz, especially amongst the intelligentsia, who speculated/debated over it. (The film is essentially a conversation, between Andre Gregory and writer/actor Wallace Shawn, in a manhattan restaurant...the entire movie is their conversation)

Around that time, Ricky went to a party in New York, where one person was persistently/annoyingly asking everyone he could corner,
"Have you seen, "My Dinner with Andre?!"
( Asking like it was a litmus test, and opportunity to say what HE believed about it, to the rest of those so unenlightened.)
He eventually turns to Ricky asking, "Have you seen, "My Dinner with Andre?!"
Ricky's deadpan reply, as only he could give: "I've HAD dinner with Andre."


Andy Kaufman did a movie along the same lines with wrestler Classy Freddie Blassie -- My Breakfast with Blassie. So, take your anecdote and substitue Blassie for Andre and Max Maven for Ricky Jay -- I could see that happening.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Joe Lyons » December 3rd, 2018, 8:32 am

Some good stuff on Ricky here.

Also Riser, Vernon and who knows? I just started searching...

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 3rd, 2018, 9:20 pm

From the guy who translated Erdnase into Italian. . .

https://boingboing.net/2018/12/03/the-great-ricky-jay-was-the-ma.html

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 3rd, 2018, 9:57 pm

Lawrence Weschler remembers Ricky.

If you are concerned about link rot with respect to the various youtube and other videos posted here (anyone seen Ricky's performance of "The Laughing Card Trick" online lately?), this downloader does a good job of turning the online videos into MP4 files you can save on your own hard drive.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 3rd, 2018, 10:34 pm

Behind the scenes footage from "Sink or Swim"/"Hacks" with Ricky.

On Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 4th, 2018, 12:06 am

Conversation between Art Speigelman and Ricky Jay.

Podcast about his "Congress of Wonders."

"Bullseye" is an NPR podcast/show where Jesse Thorn interviews people. Ricky was on it several times. The most recent episode looks back on those interviews and excerpts several of them.
Earlier episodes which include longer segments from which these excerpts were taken include:
3/8/2016 (Buchinger)
1/20/2015 (Deceptive Practice film)
8/26/2014 (review of Learned Pigs. Jump ahead to 62:47. This youtube link may be easier to navigate)
12/22/2010 (jump ahead to 30:06; this is a rerun of a predecessor show also hosted by Thorn)
3/22/2007 (this is a predecessor show also hosted by Thorn)
2005 (this is a predecessor show also hosted by Thorn)

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Herb » December 6th, 2018, 10:50 pm

I've just posted an interview with David Roth about Ricky at "Magic in New York," my web site which covers the New York magic scene. David and Ricky were longtime friends and David was Ricky's backstage assistant on many renditions of Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants as well as the later show On the Stem.

http://www.herbsmagic.com/magic-in-new- ... david-roth

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Jim Martin » December 7th, 2018, 12:45 am

Herb wrote:I've just posted an interview with David Roth about Ricky at "Magic in New York," my web site which covers the New York magic scene. David and Ricky were longtime friends and David was Ricky's backstage assistant on many renditions of Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants as well as the later show On the Stem.

http://www.herbsmagic.com/magic-in-new- ... david-roth

Thanks you, Herb - absolutely fantastic interview with David.
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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 7th, 2018, 2:42 am

And here is a wonderful interview with Ricky at the NYPL, from four years ago. You can listen to it or download a transcript and read it.

One of his less-familiar (and earliest) acting credits is as Philostrate in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The DVD of the production is available. (note that this puts him at one degree of separation from TV's Webster.)

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Tom Gilbert » December 7th, 2018, 7:52 am

Thanks Herb, great interview.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 7th, 2018, 12:12 pm

I saw that production of "Dream," which starred William Hurt. My girlfriend at the time had found a violin in the back of a taxi, and it turned out to belong to a musician who was part of the show. He gave us tickets (which is a big deal, because the only way to get a ticket was to line up early in the morning that same day).

As I was sitting with her on a bench in the park just outside the theater before we went in, Ricky walked by. He seemed shocked to see me, as if he could not imagine a magician going to the theater to see Shakespeare.
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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby chetday » December 8th, 2018, 2:22 pm

Herb, thanks for posting that link. I really enjoyed reading Roth's memories of Ricky Jay.

Richard, here in rural North Carolina, I'm more likely to pluck diamonds off the back of a toad than I am to find a theater to view some of Shakespeare's magic, but, with that said, I continue to dive deep into the Bard's wonderful water on a regular basis. Thus, I can't resist sharing a few lines from Act 5, Scene 1, of The Tempest

... the strong-based promontory
Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth
By my so potent art. But this rough magic
I here abjure, and, when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

--- Prospero

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » December 19th, 2018, 1:25 pm

Not every review was stellar - - - -
"The crowd was ready for a good rock show, as evidenced by the predominance of pot smoke and disdain expressed toward the opening act, magician-comedian Ricky Jay.
I'm not into variety shows too much, and Ricky Jay didn't much seem like he was either. He wore out his card-trick routine early and resorted to mimicking Steve Martin's best lines."

From a review of a concert by "The Knack" in the student newspaper of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Sept 26 1979.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 19th, 2018, 2:57 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:One of his less-familiar (and earliest) acting credits is as Philostrate in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The DVD of the production is available. (note that this puts him at one degree of separation from TV's Webster.)


That website is full of great stuff, and all of it is bootlegs.
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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Brad Jeffers » December 20th, 2018, 5:40 am


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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » January 16th, 2019, 12:11 pm

Somehow, I missed reading Michael Close's December newsletter. In it he linked to a really good interview with Ricky from Believer magazine.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Peter Ross » February 12th, 2019, 7:18 pm


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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » April 26th, 2019, 1:07 am

Rolling Stone has an article about the upcoming Deadwood movie. Absent friends are remembered:

Talk turns to Ricky Jay, the magician who played card dealer Eddie Sawyer in the first season, and who recently died; the actors laugh remembering how Eddie escaped murder only because Jay refused to show up to film his death scene. Malcomson wistfully suggests he could have pulled off a similar trick in real life, that his death was just his greatest illusion yet.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » May 12th, 2019, 10:22 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Ricky Jay's final acting role.


The third season of "Sneaky Pete" is available on Amazon Prime video, now. IMDB says he is in 7 episodes.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Jason England » June 4th, 2019, 5:47 pm

Bill,

That article from Believer mentions a meeting I set up between Ricky and Rod the Hop. I was the "mutual friend" and Rod was the "gambler."

We met at Jerry's deli and I just sat back and listened as those two went back and forth talking about jazz, boxing, cheating and magic/magicians from a generation or 2 before me.

Ricky invited us up to the house afterwards (or perhaps the next day). It was the only time I visited his home and I cherish the experience. I'll never forget Ricky wondering aloud, "Are you doing what I think you're doing?!" after seeing Rod doing a tabled faro while maintaining a break. It was fun watching the wheels turn in Ricky's head as Rod initially fooled him with the move, but Ricky's experience and knowledge of card handling eventually caught up after a time or two and he was able to figure it out.

Jason

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Christopher1979 » June 4th, 2019, 10:07 pm

Wow, Jason!... How I would have loved to be a fly on a wall to see that!

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby performer » June 15th, 2019, 10:47 pm

I just found out today that the director of the Ricky Jay documentary is my cousin. What a surprise! It is a small world..............

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0437239

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » September 10th, 2019, 3:11 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:By David Mamet in today's New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/thea ... e=Homepage


Another Mamet reminiscence I just ran across.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Steve Bryant » September 18th, 2019, 12:10 pm

Yet another Mamet contribution:


http://www.threepennyreview.com/samples/mamet_su19.html


Nice gag at the end.

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Re: Ricky Jay Death

Postby Bill Mullins » September 18th, 2019, 12:45 pm

This issue of Threepenny Review that Steve linked to contains transcripts from several folks who spoke at Ricky's memorial in Los Angeles -- Sally Lapiduss, Dan Chariton, Michael Weber, Eddie Gorodetsky, Mamet, and Mark Singer. Singer's words (he wrote the excellent New Yorker profile) are also online. And you can buy a copy of the issue here.


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