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New documentary features The Great Tomsoni teaching Penn Jillette one of his many classic routines; watch it this week on Showtime


Johnny Thompson really does put the “great” in The Great Tomsoni. He’s performed under that moniker for many years, in addition to creating beloved magic tricks and acts, teaching magic, and mentoring some of the best in the business. Thompson took some time out of his current work, which includes producing Penn & Teller: Fool Us, to be the subject of a documentary called Gambler’s Ballad: The Legend of Johnny Thompson.

The short documentary is airing this week on the Sho Extreme channel from Showtime. You might have caught it if you were up early on April 3, but there are additional dates for you to have a watch party:

April 4 at 6:30 am Eastern/Pacific

April 5 at 6:30 am Eastern/Pacific

April 10 at 10:30 am Eastern/Pacific

The film gets its title from one of Thompson’s signature pieces, and in the movie, he teaches Gambler’s Ballad to none other than Penn Jillette. Watch closely and you might learn more than just what makes The Great Tomsoni tick. Several other magicians, including James Randi and The Amazing Johnathan, also make guest appearances.

If this movie has got you amped to go even deeper into The Great Tomsoni’s repertoire, or if you just have good taste in magic, then check out this very special two-volume set called The Magic of Johnny Thompson that he co-wrote with Jamy Ian Swiss.

Disclaimer: One of the magicians appearing in Gambler’s Ballad is Randy Pitchford, owner of Pitchford Entertainment and GeniiOnline.