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Richard Valentine Pitchford

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Richard Valentine Pitchford

Cover of Genii (1942)
BornRichard Valentine Thomas
November 24, 1895
St. Thomas, Wales
DiedNovember 12, 1973 (age 77)
Gardiner, New York

Richard Valentine Pitchford (b.1895–d.1973) was a master magician who performed under the name Cardini.


He was born in a coal-mining town in St. Thomas, Wales. He joined the British Army during World War I and passed time in the trenches by practicing card manipulations. After being injured in battle, he continued to hone his magic skills in the hospital.

Cardini performed in Australia and then in Canada where he entered the United States from British Columbia. While working his way across the U.S. he met his wife and lifelong assistant Swan Walker in Chicago.

He enhanced his performance by incorporating his magic tricks into a skit coordinated to music. One of the unusual features of a Cardini performance was that he did sleight of hand wearing white gloves.

He was president of the Society of American Magicians three times.

In 1957, he appeared on the Festival of Magic. This is believed to be the only known footage of Cardini performing his act.

Awards and honors


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  • Cardini: The Suave Deceiver by John Fisher (2007)
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 26, No. 9, November 1927, Cardini, page 301
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 33, No. 12, February 1935, Cardini, page 360
  • Cover Genii 1942 April
  • Goodliffe's Abracadabra, Vol. 8, No. 183, July 1949, AMERICAN PROFILES by Robert Lund, CARDINI, page 11
  • The New Tops, Vol. 5, No. 1, Jan. 1965, The Collector’s, Cardini, page 6
  • Cover, Genii Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 11, July 1967, Paging Mr. Cardini, by Bob Rossi, page 475, Cardini Crucified, Reprinted from Hugard's Magic Monthly, by Arthur Le Roy, page 480
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 68, No. 749, January 1974, Obituary CARDINI (RICHARD VALENTINE PITCHFORD) M.I.M.C. by JOHN HENRY GROSSMAN, page 16
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 54, No. 2, February 1974, Obituary Cardini – The Man, by John Henry Grossman, page 91
  • M-U-M, Vol. 63, No. 9, February 1974, Broken Wands, by Ed. Mishell, page 14
  • Obit Genii 1973 October
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 69, No. 10, October 1989, MEMOIRES OF A MAGICIAN'S GHOST The Autobiography of John Booth, CHAPTER 236 - CARDINI: WORLD'S MOST IMITATED MAGICIAN, page 68
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 73, No. 10, October 1993, MEMORIES OF FRIENDS PAST AND PRESENT by David Lederman, page 77
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 78, No. 1, January 1998, MEMOIRES OF A MAGICIAN'S GHOST The Autobiography of John Booth, CHAPTER 322 - THE AMAZING STORY OF CARDIWS WELSH SHADOW, p. 73
  • M-U-M, Vol. 97, No. 6, November 2007, DEFINING A LEGEND, CARDINI: THE SUAVE DECEIVER, by John Fisher. (Available from The Miracle Factory, 1909 Harvard, Los Angeles, CA 90018. $150.) REVIEW BY JOHN MOEHRING, page 73
  • M-U-M, Vol. 97, No. 11, April 2009, The Nielsen Gallery, Cardini Portrait by Tom Ewing, page 64
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Pitchford, Richard David „Dick“ = Cardini; Val Raymond, engl. Zauberkünstler (*24.11.1896 St. Thoma, Swansey, Südwales; †11.11.1973); page 265
  • Official Cardini Website, maintained by his decendants
  • Richard Pitchford - Articles about Cardini
  • It Takes All Kinds by Maurice Zolotow (1952) includes a chapter on Cardini
  • "Festival of Magic" DVD by Miracle Factory contains a 1957 TV special which includes a performance by Cardini