Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ricky Jay's Learned Pigs and Fire-proof Women (1989)

TV special made to tie into Ricky Jay's must read book on the odd entertainments that have appeared on the stage over the years.

The show is presented as a stage show with  Jay and friends appearing on and off stage. We get a small woman doing feats of strength, a crystal juggler, a human computer, a man playing glasses full of water, Steve Martin goofing as the Great Flydini, an automaton doing acrobatics, a quick change artist and Ricky Jay doing card tricks. Its an amazing collection of performances the likes of which we don't really see any more.

This is a great deal of fun. While nowhere near as packed with information as one of Jay's marvelous books or even one of his stage shows, this special simply highlights some of the amazing skills that people have developed over the years.

For me there most amazing thing on the show is the automaton that we see going through it's paces on a trapeze. It may look like it's attached to the bar by it's hands, but it quickly becomes apparent that it's not. How such a small  machine man was put together with gears and springs  without computer assist boggles the mind.

I have no idea if this available anywhere for viewing. I have a copy on DVD which I made from a video tape that was recorded when the show aired in 1989.  I recently pulled it our when I was talking to Hubert from Flixist about the Ricky Jay movie that played this years New York Film Festival. It seems that we both share a love of the man and his work.

If you can track down this gem do so because it's a blast.

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