Cardini’s Top Hat

19 January 2022

The only known footage of Cardini, born Richard Pitchford, in action, filmed in 1957, has him as a suave gent in top hat and tails performing extraordinary graceful manipulation involving cards, cigarettes and billiard balls set to music. He plays the character of an inebriated gentleman who is as surprised as we are by the sudden appearance of these props. His acting and miming skill were such that it was difficult to believe that all his movement and gestures were choreographed to the second. Some of his magic is done with his hands in gloves. He was able to do this because the Suave Deceiver, as he became known, had practised his card manipulation in freezing trenches in the First Word War – and later on when recovering from injury in hospital. Pitchford was born in Wales in 1895 and died in 1973.

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