My friend, Richard Turner is working this week at the Magic Castle. He is the foremost card expert in the world today, even though he is legally blind. His discipline and perfection is stunning. These photos show him in 1986 when he received his first black belt, and then in 2012 when he is 58 years old. There is only four ounces difference in his weight.
As a measure of the type of skill Richard displays in his work, let me quote Jon Raucherbaumer, an internationally recognized expert who is writing a biography of Richard Turner:
“The action of perfectly alternating playing cards, 26 and 26, is not easily named if the goal is accuracy. Even the noun “shuffle” seems inexact because it suggests clumsy randomness and asymmetrical mixing. Sure, the relative positions of the cards change, but the changes are cyclically predictable and in this regard, perfect…
“…But there are two types of this kind of Interlace: The Faro Shuffle and what can be called a Volitional Faro Shuffle. The physics of the Volitional Faro Shuffle in terms of what happens with and to the cards is identical, but the means of making this happen is different. The Faro Shuffle is semi-automatic because the two 26-card sections are butted together in precise ways and the cards will then automatically alternate. The Volitional Faro Shuffle depends on the operator’s volition. He must will his thumbs to precisely and alternately release cards until all 52 of them are interlaced. This is not automatic. It is a matter of pure dexterity and unerring timing.
“Richard’s high-lift, soft interlace table Faro Shuffles are done in less than one second. Formerly a fantasy in MacDouggal’s mind, Richard can execute a Volitional Faro Shuffle in 8.1 seconds.
“If you think this is easy, try making love while standing up in a hammock and juggling seven ice-cream cones.”
Richard Turner, my good friend Johnny Ace Palmer and I were all named in the comic book the Spirit as magic teachers to the Spirit. It was very cool to be included in such incredible company:
Richard Turner is performing in the Close-Up Gallery at the Magic Castle in Hollywood until Sunday. It is worth your time to make an effort to see this incredible and unique talent.