Suite à un simple mail pour le féliciter de sa production vidéo et croyant que son
épouse répondrait du fait qu'il est presque aveugle, j'eu l'agréable
suprise de recevoir un courrier rédigé par lui.
La technologie moderne des
ordinateurs a quelque fois du bon. Par un curieux hasard, son épouse était
tombée, quelques jours plus tôt, sur mon compte-rendu et l'avait fait
traduire par un de leurs amis. Et voilà que le Gamer en question leur
écrivait ! Il accepta donc d'emblée une interview par émail que vous
trouverez en intégralité ci-dessous...
Soyez patients car elle est en
anglais et très longue, 11 pages sur mon traitement de texte. Vous y
découvrirez un personnage vraiment extraordinaire . Un passionné que rien
n'arrête dans ses défis et dont le parcours est un modèle de réussite dont
nous devrions nous inspirer....
Merci à vous Monsieur Turner en mon nom
et au nom de toute l'équipe de LSP.
Je vous laisse en sa compagnie... Je crois qu'il a beaucoup de choses à
Gamer : The first thing, as usual i think, is when ,how and why did you begin card magic and how did you learn the techniques you do so well now ?
Richard : Let me start at the beginning. When I was seven years old I watched a TV show called Maverick. At that time like Maverick did in the TV show, I knew I was going to live on Jacks and Queens. In other words, I was going to live with a deck of cards.
At seven I started making up my own really bad card moves to win against my sisters.
I would also get in trouble in school for playing with cards during class.
When I was nine I contracted a disease that caused my vision to disappear. At first I was disappointed but I believe it was a blessing from God because it gave me a fine touch with the cards.
When I was young I was a very hyper person and working with cards was also relaxing.
I started karate when I was 16 and that taught me discipline.
No matter what I was doing, going to the movies, church, riding in a car, except when I was fighting I was practicing with the cards. By the time I was twenty I could do many things others could not do, like rolling 7 coins around my fingers, one hand shuffle end to end and of course seconds centres and bottoms. However, by my own standards today, I was very bad.
I had learned things from a number of magicians including Ed Marlo. It was 1975 when I was 21 and met Professor Dai Vernon that things really changed. He took me under his wing and would give me challenges. He did not tell me the things he was asking me to develop no one else could do. I would take the ideas home and practice like a mad man until I came up with something. This is why my card work is not a mirror image of everybody else's work.
What Professor emphasized more than anything else was naturalness in your handling? He would always say, "It takes 7 years just to learn to pick-up a deck."
Most magicians have no idea what that could possibly mean.
What Vernon says about Richard
Gamer : You said you contracted an eye's disease at the age of nine, but to learn moves how did you do? Could you read or see a little? And just to judge your move using a mirror was certainly very difficult??
Can you also tell us how you met such greats like Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo? And have you, for each of these legends, a little story about them to tell us?
Richard : Yes Fabrice, trying to use a mirror was very difficult. When I was young I would need to get within 12 inches or so to see my hands. However, now I can't see anything at all when I look into a mirror. So I can not tell how wrinkled and bald I am becoming. Although because I work out I still ware the same size clothes I wore 25 years ago. However I do have other gifts. This is hard to explain but I shall try.
Think about when you look at a computer and the program is showing you how to build a house.
First I do not see this inwardly but outwardly like looking at a computer. I can watch like you watch a movie the creation of a home or what ever I want to create. I can watch as my mind puts each piece together step by step. Example, on my next DVD you will see a home I designed and had built. I have created homes, board games, puzzle games, three level patio decks, and of course what you saw with the cards.
With the cards I do not need to see a move, all I need is the idea, and my mind and fingers will do the rest. Although I did have the foundation of Professor Vernon's many years of knowledge to work from. He would show how he did the move and then tell me how it could be improved. That is where I would start.
Here is a Vernon Marlo story combined.
One week I would be with Ed and he would tell me about a move he heard Vernon talk about. Vernon would tell how he saw a gambler who could deal a card from the bottom with the hand holding the deck held flat.
Ed showed me what he thought was the move and said he was going to call it "the Vernon story."
Ed called it the Vernon story because Ed did not really believe the story was true but Ed still came up with a way to deal a bottom with an open hand.
The next week I would be with Professor Vernon and he would show me the real deal he saw the gambler do.
What Ed came up with was really bad and nothing like the real move. The move Professor showed me was amazing and a delight to watch.
I know people will ask how you could see the moves. Professor would let me get very close to his hands as well as allowing me to feel his hands as he executed the move he was showing me at the time. Ed would allow me to do the same. I just had to be careful I did not poke myself in the eye with their cigars.
Gamer : Why did you choose to learn and perform cheating moves and show more than simply card tricks, or close up effects? Did you meet real cheaters at cards in your life? And what do you think about cheaters? In fact they can be seen as thiefs too but they are also fascinating. So what's your opinion on cheating in general?
Richard : Why did I choose gambling moves as a posed to magic tricks?
The first reason, when I was young I loved to play cards and did not like to lose when I played cards with my family. All through high school I would play cards and everybody knew I must be cheating (because I always won) but they could not figure out how. And it was not because how skilled I was. My card technique was very poor. The people I played cards with just did not know what to look for.
I also have to admit as an adult I sometimes did fall to the temptation to cheat. But as a rule I made thousands and thousands from playing honestly. I use to be able to hold a card right next to my eye and figure out what it was, but I can't see them anymore, witch means no more card playing.
Through the years I have met many cheaters. Most of them could do a move or two pretty well. I have to say they admitted my moves were smoother and cleaner. But for most of them, cards were a means to an end, where for me the accomplishment of the move in itself was pleasure.
Some of these cheaters offered me hundreds of thousands of dollars to come work for them. In this case I have always said, no.
I have entertained at their million dollar homes, but I knew when they were done with me, I would be dead.
I do have a friend who is 70 years old with a pony tail half way down his back and has been cheating for fifty years. Sometimes I am hired to host Texas hold'em games for companies. I higher my friend and we are paid to cheat.
However, I just a soon hang out with my business, church, or military friends. A card cheater is like a dishonest lock smith who breaks into your home and takes your wife's jewellery. I rather trust the people I associate with. Besides, I have beautiful homes, antiques from around the world including France, I have more than I would have ever imagined.
Gamer : As you said you met cheaters, what is your opinion on the so called "Secrets" in card magic or cheating?
Richard : There are many unanswered questions out there. People have been after me for years to disclose the intricacies of my moves. I do have the privilege of Dai Vernon's century worth of accumulated knowledge with gambling moves. Professor would not show what you could not do yourself. And since I could do the moves (many in ways he could not do) he would share with me his knowledge. I consider myself very fortunate to have had this opportunity.
Gamer : Do you think that cheaters keep the "secrets" better than the magicians?
Richard : Yes, big time! The moves you saw in the Magic Castle show on the DVD I have been doing for twenty-five years and until recently card men had no idea what was going on. But because of the internet and the spread of knowledge, information is no longer able to be held. When I first did my Richard Turner The Cheat video I did not try very hard to sell them. I did the video to document my moves. I also have dozens of TV shows from around the world where I would do a move or effect for the purpose of documentation. A good example is how I would take a shuffled deck and twist out from the centre the aces.
I just found out from a friend that Ed Marlo thought the same as you that I used belly strippers. I tipped the work to a friend in 1983 and he told me he shared it with only one friend and now it has circled around the card mechanic world. In other words, dozens of mechanics now know the concept. My inner secrets for seconds bottoms and centres I have tipped to no one until just recently. But now that I have retired I am sharing more. Like I mentioned, on the next DVD will be the work for finding cards only by feel.
Gamer : And finally do you agree with the idea that there are some things (moves or concepts) which may not be revealed? But do they really exist?
Richard : Again yes. Speaking for myself, over the next year I will finally be sharing much of my work, maybe.
Gamer : In all the moves you know which ones have been the more difficult to master?
Richard : For me the most difficult to master were the stacks and deals, in particular my faro bridge strip-out. Just to table faro the cards took me years. Then to bridge them and strip them out took more years on top of that. However, my favourite move is my two card push-off second. I use this for creating miracles when it comes to dealing out winning poker or Black Jack hands.
I have estimated the number of times I have executed this particular move and it is over 43 million times, over 7 million times just in performance. That shows what obsessive compulsive behaviour can do for you, too.
But I must say the most difficult move I do is the second deal where the top card does not move as the second card is dealt.
Gamer : Do you have any advice, for our beginners and intermediate members, on the way you practice moves, on your training methods?
Richard : Yes, what I do is analyze exactly what I want the move to look like. Then I do this over and over in slow motion slowly imbedding the moves my fingers must master into my sub-conches. Once I have the move working in my mind I can then practice it with out concentrating on what I am doing. This way I am able to work on a move around the clock, while I am doing other things. For instance, like when I am at the movies, in a car, talking to people. I even practice moves while I am performing. Example, when someone is counting out the number of cards they selected I am always practicing my stud Greek deal with the remaining cards. This way no moment goes unused.
To give you an idea what my normal day with the cards looked like. From seven years old to 18 my practicing would be sporadic. However, from 19 to 41 years old I practiced a minimum of ten hours a day and on a long day I may have practiced up to twenty hours, and that was seven days a week.
From 42 to 51 years old it has been about 2 to 14 hours a day. When my son Asa Spades was born my hours dropped.
As you practice remember this, people say, practice makes perfect. I disagree. Practice does not make perfect. You can practice the wrong thing wrong for years and at the end it will be perfectly wrong. I say, (Perfect practice) makes perfect.
Gamer : In the people you met you mention Fred Robinson, could you tell a little more about him?
Richard : Fred was a true gentleman and his work was very unique. His technique for dealing from the middle with a relaxed grip was very interesting. It was a real honour to have personally seen him work.
Fabrice, here is part of a letter from Fred Robinson sent to Dai Vernon that Dai sent to me from back in 1983.
Fred said: "...The time with Richard Turner was much to short.
I'm puzzled by the response I got from several, almost all magicians regarding Richard's card work. They did not seem to enthusiastic about his work. For me, he is by far the finest exponent of crooked card dealing I have ever seen... "
At that time Fabrice my name outside the US was not well known. However, as you read further down the letter Fred seemed to believe it was more the negative attitude of his fellow magicians rather than the work because they criticized others he talked about.
Here is Dai Vernon talking about our get together in Jenii Magazine, December 1983,
The Vernon Touch: "...Richard came over to my apartment to visit Fred Robinson and they had a get together, that was relished by both. What a pair! Without any doubt, both execute seconds, bottoms and middles better than anyone in the world.
Their proficiency can only be attained, not by hours, or weeks, or months, but years of dedicated application, and especially, striving and persistence... "
Howie Schwartzman, Richard Turner and Ed. Marlo
Gamer : You practice Karate at a high level. Did this sport help you in practicing cards?
Richard : Yes, my karate Sensei was very strict. He taught me discipline and how to persevere under outrageous conditions.
My first big karate test was in August of 72.
The test took place in a dirty, graffiti covered, 30 by 50 foot brick building. This dilapidated structure had no, windows or air conditioning. And it was over 105 degrees.
I asked my karate teacher, Sensei Murphy, why he insisted on testing down in Mexico?
Murphy said, "it's because of all the law firms called, Dewey Cheatum and Howe. If you get hurt down here no one will sue."
The fighting ring was a ruff scratched up wood floor, and in the corner was a changing room with a dirty toilet.
There were also around 75 sadistic spectators crammed onto three rows of benches waiting anxiously for the blood bath to begin. There were two of us gringo's testing on this day.
The other fighter was knocked out and did not get his belt.
Then I received some encouraging words from Murphy. He said, "If these fighters try to rip your head off, don't think about it, just keep fighting."
I was encouraged!
For this belt I had to fight five bare fisted fighters. Who were unaware that I could not see their eyes from five feet away.
In the first exchange I blocked three punches with my nose. At that moment I realized this was no game, I was fighting for my life.
All I remember during the test was Murphy yelling, don't think about the pain, just wipe off the blood and keep fighting!"
I bit the dust one second after the last round ended so they gave me my belt.
I was so dazed I crawled to the restroom and when I came to my senses.
I realized that I was drinking out of a TJ toilet !
This test taught me to dig deep! I wanted so badly to give up, but I did not.
And finely after a dozen years of hard training came the big one, my black belt test.
This time the pressure was really on, because of my card fame the TV and print Media were there, including one of the biggest papers in the country, the Los Angelis Times.
To earn a black belt under this crazy man Murphy, I had to fight ten three-minute rounds, with a fresh black belt each round.
Murphy told me, "All I need to do is come out alive with spirit." I asked, exactly, what does that mean, alive with spirit?" He said, "Even if your teeth have been punched down your throat, you are still smiling."
Because of these encouraging words I trained hard. I could do 500 push-ups in 12 minutes and 9 seconds; I could bench 300 pounds, curl my body weight, and do the splits both directions.
I also learned to sense what kick or punch my opponent was going to throw.
During the test I hit some of these fighters so hard that I knocked them silly. But, they were fresh and after a few rounds I was not.
When it was all said and done, I had only one bruise, which started at my hairline and ended at my toes. I had a bloody nose, a ruptured eardrum and I fought three rounds with a broken arm, but I earned my black belt.
And the next day the whole bloody mess was spread across the front page of the Los Angeles Times sports section.
Gamer : The concentration needed may be certainly helpful isn't it?
Richard : Yes, as you see it taught me to focus.
Gamer : Isn't too dangerous for your hands?
Richard : Good question. When I use to fight I would double rap my fingers and use boxing gloves.
Gamer : Do you practice others sports too?
Richard : No, but we do have a complete Gym and pool in our home and my wife Kim, son Asa and I work out everyday.
Gamer : By extension, apart cards do you have other passions?
I also use to climb thousand foot cliffs, swing on the trapeze, and hunt sharks. When I shark hunted I had to be careful not to have one take my hand off.
Gamer : My next one is on your new DVD. Could you tell us a little more about it? And do you think you will do others DVDs in the future?
Richard : As you saw from the cover this DVD features my mucking techniques. One card man who saw it said, my method for the diagonal palm shift alone was worth the price. I think that was a little over stated but I know I paid more than that in airline tickets to go see some master do a second bottom... back when I was young.
My double signed card routine is on there. Mucks every direction and from everywhere. As well as letters and quotes I found from many of the past on greats I had the privilege of working with.
But the most revealing is showing my negative edge work and how to find the card within the deck. The application (outside the routine I show on the DVD) will probably go right over the heads of most magicians.
In Future DVD's I am going to explain each section in my first DVD. In other words, number two features mucking. Other DVDs will explain my secrets on shifts, faults deals, shuffles and so on.
Gamer : Always about your next DVD, aren't you be afraid to reveal your secrets? Don't you think that your methods could be badly exploited by magicians? Or, as they seem to be very difficult, you reveal them knowing that just few people will use them in their performances?
With growing of peer to peer systems a lot of people will have your DVD for free, it's illegal but, alas, many people do that? (Not me, I'm against such practices). What is your opinion on that?
Richard : I have done a hundred TV shows that have appeared in over a hundred countries and look how many people can do those moves. I learned them from only an idea mentioned to me. I would have loved The Cheat videos when I was just starting. If one can't learn the moves just from seeing it, even when it is spelled out only the few will take the time. I have been the most secretive about these moves and tipped to no one because I was making my living with them. But now I am going to give up (some) of my secrets, maybe.
I think people who copy a DVD is a thief and there are a lot of thieves out there. Fortunately I have made my money otherwise I would not put my work out there. And when I am dead and gone and when my son says, my father was (Richard Turner) magicians might remember who I was.
Gamer : In all the tricks and cheating demonstrations which ones do you prefer?
Richard : Three things are my favourite. The first is letting someone shuffle the cards then asking them what card game they like and where do they want to sit. Then I deal them the winning hand.
The second is cutting the aces in slow motion from the centre after they shuffle.
The reason I like these two effects is because they shuffle and choose everything. I even let them burn my hands as I deal or stop and again shuffle in the middle of the routine. Since they have no frame of reference to understand how something like that could be possible they are always amazed.
The third is cutting off the number of cards they ask for. Here is a story about cutting off the number of cards:
I was in a carpet store talking with the President of the company about new carpet for my home. He had seen me on That's Incredible and wanted me to show him how I could cut the number of cards. He kept thinking the cards must have some marks or indexing system on the side for me to get the number so quickly. I told him that I could actually do it with his personal business cards. About thirty minutes later we were back in his office at his desk and another customer came in and he gave the man his business card. Then he remembered what I earlier said about doing it with his cards. He turned to me and asked, "Are you telling me that you can do it with these?" He held up a stack from off his desk.
I told him "yes."
He said, "I don't believe it Let me see."
I said, "Okay, but lets make it interesting, double or nothing against the carpet."
"Double or nothing?" He asked questioning.
"Yes!" I told him, "you are the boss and I am good for it."
"Okay," he agreed, "double or nothing against the carpet you picked out."
He asked for 17 business cards and I gave him a stack of 17 in less than a second. He honoured the bet and gave me the carpet and it was 28 dollar a yard carpet. Back in 82 that was nice carpet.
How to recycle used decks, by Richard Turner
Gamer : How did you elaborate your gambling act?
Richard : Fabrice, I think you are trying to ask, how did I (develop) my gambling act.
Years ago I would see people do a pseudo gambling act where they pretended to deal from the middle or a second and so on.
I could do the moves for real and wondered why I should not be able to show the moves without faking them. My thinking was, you are telling the spectator, "Look, I am dealing the second card from the top." But it was actually something stupid like a two card turn over then a top deal.
Or they might say here is a centre when they shifted the cards to the bottom and instead dealt a bottom deal.
Years back I asked a great card man (Steve Freeman) why not do the moves for real.
I told him my thinking that if you can do it for real why fake it, how would the spectators know the difference. He agreed with me and that is when I started more openly doing the moves as part of my show.
Gamer : Did you do it alone or with the help of other magicians? It's very hard to find a good construction, especially for gambling acts as you need to show without explaining and to be sure it's entertaining not only for players.
Richard : I had no help in constructing my act. My thought was to start off with a move that the viewer could instantly understand and build from there. Like a face-up second deal. It needs no explanation and the audience instantly knows this takes talent. However, the move must be smooth and clean so that they can not see it when you first show the second facedown. This is what separates the men from the boys.
In my act I also let them know that I am not trying to fool them. They will understand what they are seeing. Over the tens of thousands of shows I have done, I found that this approach can be more entertaining than trying to fool them. I would also repeat something if they liked. Magicians as a rule will and can not do that.
My considerations as I constructed my act were to make the conditions that I can cheat under more and more difficult as the show moved along.
As I developed the act Professor Vernon would give me presentation considerations like, "tell them you can feel the difference in the weight of the cards, then give a spectator two cards to try and see if they can also feel the difference."
Gamer : do you have any advice to help our beginners on the forum, about the methods you use to elaborate a complete card act?
Richard : Yes, no matter how difficult the routine, what the audience is viewing must be instantly understandable. Example,
they shuffle the cards; I deal a winning hand where they choose.
They shuffle the cards; I shuffle their selected cards back to the hand they picked.
They shuffle the aces into the deck; I cut them out from where ever they like.
Gamer : Is there a question I've not asked you would like to respond? So you'll have to tell me the question and answer.
Richard : Yes here is the Question;
"In your first Richard Turner The Cheat video how come you did not completely explain how the moves were done? "
Answer: In DVDs to come I will explain more clearly how the moves are executed. But, what separates the professional from those who will never make it is being able to take just an idea and figure it out. I figured out 95 percent of those moves without ever seeing someone do them. The person that will make it, can just see the move once or be told an idea and from there will figure it out.