Clip | Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice - Dai Vernon, Mentor to Ricky Jay

“If I had never seen him do magic he’d be the most remarkable person I ever met,” say Ricky Jay of his friend and mentor, the magician Dai Vernon (1894 -1992), also known as “Professor.” The life of the great sleight-of-hand artist spanned a century and in this film outtake, Jay marvels at Vernon’s powers of observation. Vernon spent time with figures such as Teddy Roosevelt and Orson Wells and also attended the famous Scopes Monkey Trial during a time when he supported his sleight-of-hand practice with a job doing silhouette cuttings. Jay recounts Vernon’s card work and a few jokes “the Professor” would play on fellow sleight-of-hand artists.

American Masters – Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice premieres Friday, January 23 at 9 pm on PBS.

Learn about other magicians and mentors who have inspired Ricky Jay and share your mentorship experience in the comments, below.