Cardini, Master Magician, whose career span almost half a century, was the most imitated magician the world has ever known but his skill and talent could never be duplicated making him one of the world greatest magicians.
He was born in 1895, Richard Pitchford, in a coal-mining town in Mumbles, Wales, (same village as Katherine Zeta Jones) . He joined the British Army during WW1 where he passed the time in the trenches by practicing his card manipulations. After being injured in battle was placed in a hospital were he continued to hone his magic skills.
First going to Australia to perform and then in Canada he entered the United States from British Columbia. While working his way across the U.S. he met Swan Walker in Chicago, who became his wife and life long assistant. In New York City, Cardini became an almost immediate success as audiences (and magicians) had never seen such an act. The act was not merely a magician performing tricks but an actor with strange and unexplained things happening to him. The sleight of hand, appearance and disappearance of objects, and gestures were all timed precisely and exactly coordinated to the music.
He played The Palace, Radio City Music Hall, London Palladium, Copa Cabana and other prominent nightclubs and Reviews. A command performance for the King of England in 1938. In 1957 at age 62, he appeared on one of the few magic television shows broadcast at that time. The Festival of Magic. This is the only known footage to exist of the master at work.
Among his many awards was the New England Magic Society's proclamation of Cardini as the "greatest exponent of pure sleight of hand the world has ever known".(1958 ) He was honored in 1970 with the Master Magician awarded at the Magic Castle, LA, presented but Tony Curtis. In 1999 he was named one of Magic Magazines Top Magicians of the 20th Century.
Although he has been dead for almost 30 years magician still recognized his creativity, innovation and originality. He perfected his craft with hard work and perserverance. It is easy to forget this Master's high standard he held the magic industry to.