On this date in 1740, Matthew Buchinger, the extraordinary performer known as “The Greatest German Living” and "The Little Man from Nuremberg" passed away at age 65. Though only 29 inches tall, and born without hands or feet, Buchinger had a remarkable career as a magician, artist, performer and calligrapher. He is seen here in a self-portrait.
No one has done more to showcase Buchinger's astonishing career than Ricky Jay, who released this souvenir playing card during the run of his one-man show On the Stem.
Jay (b. 1948) is a modern renaissance man -- master magician, historian, film, stage and television actor, writer, collector and, most importantly for these purposes, one of the great modern exponents of the art of card throwing. His remarkable demonstrations of card throwing include a highly-public display on one of the early Doug Henning television specials, when Jay amazed home viewers with flying pasteboards and a giant pair of scissors.
His erudite use of the term "propelled" during his performances is one of the inspirations for the name of this blog, Propelled Pasteboards.
And the discussion of Ricky Jay brings me to another resource that I discovered while researching a recent post -- The American Printing History Association website. Their fascinating site includes discussions of many subjects of potential interest -- Chinese playing cards, ancient decks discovered in the bindings of old books, Ouija boards and so forth. Most relevant, though, as seen in this photo, Mr. Jay was their keynote speaker in 2016, and there's a post devoted to his presentation. He's seen here demonstrating a "blow book." The APHA was also kind enough to feature Propelled Pasteboards on its site.
Finally, a video clip from Mythbusters featuring Ricky Jay throwing cards:
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