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Topic: Remembering Louis Falanga
Message: Posted by: Jim Sisti (Jun 27, 2020 08:04PM)
The magic world lost a giant as Louis Falanga, founder and president of L&L Publishing, passed away peacefully Saturday morning after his courageous battle with a protracted illness.

Born in Brooklyn NY in 1955, Louis first became interested in magic by way of an uncle who would show him simple magic tricks during family dinners. Several years later, he became more serious about magic after seeing Mark Wilson perform at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in New York and he soon developed a profound love of close-up magic, particularly card magic. The future publisher consumed books like Wilfred Jonson’s Magic Tricks & Card Tricks and Scarne on Card Tricks, learning every trick in them. He also developed the same habit that many magic kids in the New York area had, that of hanging around Lou Tannen’s magic shop in the hope of being able to rub shoulders with the many legends passing through town.

Louis relocated to California in 1973, settling in Tahoma on the shores of Lake Tahoe. He got a job first as a ski lift operator and later as a staff trainer for the Squaw Valley Ski Resort but also soon found work as a close-up magician in the many exclusive restaurants that ring the lake. It was also during this period that Louis would first meet Larry Jennings, an encounter that would change his life forever.

They became fast friends and when Larry moved to Newport Beach to assume the position of entertainment director at Magic Island, he hired Louis to act as a host at the club. At Magic Island, Louis found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of Michael Ammar, Martin Lewis, John Carney, and Daryl, a period of his life that he always remembered fondly.

It was also during this time that Louis began to develop a significant number of his own effects. He decided to incorporate these original ideas and routines into print form and enlisted the aid of a local magic pal, Mike Maxwell, to write up the material for a book. Louis Falanga’s Lake Tahoe Card Magic made its debut in 1985. Not only did it offer fourteen of Louis’ items, but Larry Jennings contributed an entire chapter of unpublished material. The book was well received by cardmen and critics alike and continues to be a good seller to this day.

Louis suggested to Larry that he put out a comprehensive book of his own work and Larry, while resistant at first, finally warmed to the idea. Louis brought in Mike Maxwell as the writer, Tom Gagnon was enlisted as the illustrator, and finally, in 1986 , The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings was ready for release.
What to call the company, though, became a dilemma but Larry had the answer. “It’s you and me, Louis. Larry and Louis. L & L Publishing.” And that’s the way it was until 1989, when Jennings signed over his interest in the company completely over to Louis.

L&L Publishing, with Louis at its helm, published many books now considered to be classics, including four volumes of The Vernon Chronicles, two volumes of The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Carneycopia, The Magic of Michael Ammar, The Commercial Magic of J.C. Wagner, and many other titles, including books by and about Ed Marlo, Harry Lorayne, Don Alan, John Cornelius, Roger Klause, and others. L&L Publishing also compiled many magic periodicals in hardcover for the first time, including The Pallbearers Review, Apocalpyse, The Chronicles, Stanyon’s Magic, and The Magic Menu.

In the early 1990s, Louis expanded the reach of L&L Publishing into instructional videos, beginning with three titles starring Bruce Cervon based on The Vernon Chronicles books. Then, in 1994, L&L Publishing released the first volumes of Easy-to-Master Card Miracles. These recordings, which featured Michael Ammar, are still, to this day, the best-selling instructional magic videos ever published.

Beginning in the very early 2000s, L&L Publishing was the first major magic producer to make the jump to DVD, and for the next decade, produced scores of instructional videos featuring such artists as Alex Elmsley, Daryl, Eugene Burger, Max Maven, Harry Lorayne, Jeff McBride, Richard Osterlind, David Regal, Joshua Jay, Simon Aronson, and many, many others.

In his personal life, Louis was a lifelong devotee of popular music (his collection of rock ‘n roll memorabilia, including signed album covers and guitars, was legendary) and he will be remembered by all who knew him as a gentle and generous man. Louis leaves two sons, scores of grateful artists and authors, and an astounding legacy to the literature of magic that cannot be overstated.

Perhaps Jeff McBride summed it up best when he said of Louis Falanga: “He changed the way we learn magic.”
Message: Posted by: MJE (Jun 27, 2020 09:11PM)
Thank you for your post. I guess I knew much less than a quarter of his story, despite buying and devouring an incredible number of his products since the mid-90s. He'll have a nice spot reserved for him in the history of magic.
Message: Posted by: MJ Marrs (Jun 27, 2020 11:46PM)
A true pioneer. I never met the man, but he’s definitely had a positive influence on my life. God speed good sir.
Message: Posted by: closeupman2015 (Jun 28, 2020 12:01AM)
Louis and I grew up in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, Same School, Same Friends So I Knew Him PRIOR to Magic. When I met him in 73 our interests were Going to Rock Concerts and Recording the Show From the Audience. Primarily The Grateful Dead. OK, ok, so Louis and I were Deadheads. granted, This Band Was NOT for Everyone. Even the Frontman Jerry Garcia(whose passing always resonated with Louis) Said The grateful dead are like Licorice. Not everyone likes licorice. But the people who like Licorice...Really LIKE Licorice. I have fond memories of Louis and Friends Coming into Berkeley Crashing at my then "home" Seeing the show..Recording the show with High End Equipment. I had to hold the Pole/microphone making sure we didn't get caught. One time one of the roadies cut Louis's Mike cable. Being Prepared, he spent ten minutes patching it up with electrical tape, right in time for the second set. Louis always made sure I got a great Second Generation Tape. Going to see and Record Pink Floyd at the Cow Palace in 75 was one of my Vast Memories I have of This Old Friend of Mine.. He was Generous in many ways, but if you visited him...as a friend, or even an acquaintance, you came Home with a maxell 90 minute tape of whatever band you liked. Louis was always High End In Most Everything He did, Including his Generosity and Sense of Fair Play. When I stayed at his Home In Tahoma, Ca., and He put sponge balls on the table, I was like...don't tell me your going into the Clown Business. Louis Amazed Me with his Sleight of Hand...and got ME Hooked. Jeff McBride was right when he said Louis Created Magicians. I was never the same after that. I was always spending money on magic. I was Broke So I was Never the same... When I moved back to Brooklyn, Louis came for a Visit and were lucky enough to have the Gracious and Talented Joe Monti Visit Louis's Moms Home, and give us tips on whatever effect we were working on. Joe knew That Louis and I were magic Enthusiasts. And Joe always gave Louis Credit for His Love Of The Art. After he Returned to lake Tahoe, yrs later, my folks passed, so I didn't spend a lot of time talking to Louis or anyone else. By that time louis had already Built a small empire and Making Land L a House Hold Word. he made Friends With Local And international Magicians Alike and treated Everyone Like a Good Friend. Watching it even from 3000 Miles away was Amazing. I cant write too much more as, Writing this for me is Bittersweet As I lost a Friend who I looked up to, and took me in as a Confidant.... I will miss our Sometimes Hour length Phone Calls, Hearing His Voice... Ive heard it Said, In order to Have a Friend You Have to Be One. He was a Friend of Mine
Message: Posted by: Poof-Daddy (Jun 28, 2020 12:04AM)
Without L&L, I would likely not be a magician today. Those VHS tapes were my best friends every evening after a long day of driving truck. I often fell asleep to them (from my long day, not the material) and to this day when I hear that tune, it relaxes me a bit. I actually just bought a download of the "WGM Endless Chain" yesterday or the day before. I think I will still be learning from the great library L&L put out for the rest of my life. He will truly be missed but I feel his "Legacy" will live on for generations.
Message: Posted by: MJE (Jun 28, 2020 07:33AM)
[quote]On Jun 28, 2020, closeupman2015 wrote:
The grateful dead are like Licorice. Not everyone likes licorice. But the people who like Licorice...Really LIKE Licorice. [/quote]

That's actually Jerry's quote, but I guess we've all said it at one time or another. I guess you and I were in the same place at the same time once in a while in our younger days.
Message: Posted by: fraughton (Jun 28, 2020 08:49AM)
I had the privilege of getting to know Louis some years ago.

My former manager and I were guests in his home a couple of times, most notably when we assisted in filming Jeff McBride videos.

Louis was quite a trickster. Jennifer, my former manager, was at the butt end of some of his playfulness, and she laughes to this day talking about his antics.

He bought my book on bizarre magic for publication, and kindly sold it back to me when my publishing landscape changed.

I have such good memories of him.

I don't really look into online forums these days, but hearing that we'd lost an old friend, I felt that I must come and stand to be counted among my old friends in expressing my love for Louis.

Rest in peace Louis.
Message: Posted by: SmittyWitty (Jun 28, 2020 12:16PM)
RIP Louis. Like many here I also purchased many, many, VHS tapes and DVDs over the years. Never knew the man nor his story, so thanks to Jim Sisti for the fine write-up.
Message: Posted by: Sixten (Jun 28, 2020 01:04PM)
So sad to read this. May he RIP.
Message: Posted by: Jiggery-Pokery (Jun 28, 2020 06:35PM)
[quote]On Jun 28, 2020, fraughton wrote:
I had the privilege of getting to know Louis some years ago.

My former manager and I were guests in his home a couple of times, most notably when we assisted in filming Jeff McBride videos.

Louis was quite a trickster. Jennifer, my former manager, was at the butt end of some of his playfulness, and she laughes to this day talking about his antics.
Yes ! I join with Michael in remembering Louis as a good person, a good friend, and all the crazy good times. (even the worst pranks he pulled on me still bring smiles)
He is not gone as long as we remember him - and he leaves a legacy that changed the way we all learn and share magic.

Shalom !

Vanah Jen Lauxman Lutin
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jun 29, 2020 09:01AM)
Although I never met Louis in person, he and I exchanged a lot of snail-mail and e-mails over the years when I was illustrating L&L's books that collected the magic of Ed Marlo, John Bannon and Alex Elmsley. He set a high standard for the quality of both the text and illustrations/photographs in magic books, as well as the quality of the binding, pages and dust jackets.

Not content to be a driving force in print material, he smoothly segued into non-print via video instruction--first on VHS tapes, then DVDs. He even branched out into distributing magic tricks when he published Michael Skinner's "Ultimate Three Card Monte" complete with the gaffed Bicycle cards. As a giant in the world of magic publishing, he preserved the legacy of many giants in all aspects of the art of magic--even to the extent of purchasing the rights to Hans Zahn's massive library of Videonics instructional videos--including Dai Vernon's "Revelations" videos.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: David Eichler (Jun 30, 2020 06:22PM)
RIP Louis. While I never had the occasion to meet him, many, many of his videos and DVDs have been in my library for well over 20 years.

Message: Posted by: lynnef (Jul 1, 2020 03:32PM)
Like Poof-Daddy (and perhaps many others), I got into magic through L&L. Those tapes and books were the beginning; and they also introduced me to the magicians themselves. I still remember the thrill of finding the catalog in my mailbox! RIP Louis plus a special thanx for the post of Jim Sisti Lynn
Message: Posted by: bbeishline (Jul 1, 2020 06:52PM)
Jim, that's a very nice write up. Like several others posting here, I never met Louis and I didn't really know anything about him personally but have a great fondness for L&L. Condolences to those who knew and loved him, and best wishes for L&L to continue to build on his legacy.
Message: Posted by: lynnef (Jul 2, 2020 04:19PM)
After reading Jim Sisti's excellent eulogy, I would like to know of any tributes, stories or eulogies about Louis forthcoming, especially coming from the L&L artists themselves. He seemed to be the hidden spectator in several tapes, like when David Regal eg would be comically deluged by cards and David would say in a faux cynical way "thanks Louis". Lynn
Message: Posted by: CSMTREE (Jul 24, 2020 08:18PM)
What a great loss to the Magic community. Rest in Peace