Hustlers, Hoaxsters, Pranksters, Jokesters and Ricky Jay (1996)

Ricky Jay was one of my heroes. Beyond acting, writing books and being one of the best sleight of hand men ever, no one else was more devoted to capturing the history of magic than him.

Jay did not have a great childhood, said that possibly the only kind memory he had of his parents was when they hired magician Al Flosso to perform at his bar mitzvah. He was devoted, however, to his grandfather, Max Katz, an amateur magician who introduced Jay to the world of magic.

By the age of seven, he was performing, becoming the youngest magician to perform a full magic act on TV. He was also the first magician to ever play comedy clubs and probably the first magician to open for rock and roll bands.

What I love about this film is more than just seeing Jay do his illusions. I love that he let the curtain back a little and answers exactly who would sit in their room as a child for hours and hours, practicing with a deck of cards over and over.

There aren’t many celebrities that I’d want to meet. But Jay would have been one of them, even just to have a casual conversation.

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