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Larry Jennings - A Private Lesson Review

Official Review

January 4th, 2007 3:06pm
Rating:
Reviewed by P.T. Murphy
On “A Private Lesson”, Larry Jennings performs and explains two of my favorite Jennings’ routines. The first being Larry’s wonderful Chop Cup routine, which was performed by Doug Henning, and a killer version of Open Travelers. On this DVD Jennings also performs and explains many other great routines that have made him the legend that he is today.

(For more details see the detailed liner notes by Richard Kaufman, posted above.)

Filmed by Louis Falanga almost thirty years ago, this DVD captures a very casual and very private session with master sleight of hand artist Larry Jennings. The thing that I love about this DVD is that you feel as if you are right there at Chez Falanga hanging out with Jennings. The atmosphere is so relaxed you can hear somebody cooking lunch in the background!

Do not buy “A Private Lesson” if you are looking for a “performance” DVD. Jennings does little performing on this DVD. What he does do on this DVD is open up and explain, in a very unpretentious atmosphere, the handlings of some of his pet routines.

Buy this DVD if you are a serious student of sleight of hand and want to learn from a master.

For only thirty dollars "Larry Jennings a Private Lesson" is a steal!
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Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Larry Jennings - A Private Lesson

Author: Larry Jennings
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Larry Jennings was one of the greatest sleight-of-hand artists who ever lived. Over the course of his 64 years, he developed many classic plots in card and coin magic. Lots of Larry's magic has been described in books, videotapes, and DVDs. But, the books often failed to capture the nuances in his work, and he was usually nervous during the shooting of the formal videos and DVDs.

During the early 1970s, Larry left his home in Los Angeles - where he had moved to study with Dai Vernon - and relocated to Lake Tahoe, California, to open his own plumbing business. There he met Louis Falanga, who became Larry's student and friend. One day in Louis' living room, Larry allowed himself to be videotaped describing 12 of his favorite routines:

  • Jennings' Chop Cup
  • Don Alan's Lump of Coal (LJ. Version)
  • Peripatetic Coins
  • The Chinese Connection (explanation only)
  • Cigarette Manipulations
  • Larry's Linking Ring Routine
  • Coins Through the Table (with Pop-Up Move)
  • L.J. Four Coins Across
  • Coin Through Spectator's Fist
  • Open Travellers
  • Nowhere and Everywhere Again
  • The Visitor

This was the perfect setting for Larry - he was relaxed and in his prime, just making a personal video for a friend. The quality is exactly what you'd expect from a 30 year-old home video made in someone's living room, and you can even hear someone frying up some bacon in the background. Considering that great material, we can forgive the technical shortcomings (though the tape - original Beta master - has been put through a state-of-the-art digital clean-up).

At the time, few of the routines on the videotape were in print. It is now a quarter-century later and Larry Jennings has been dead for a decade. Most of the items on the tape were later published, but some details and fine points were inadvertently omitted. Other routines, such as the Linking Rings, Lump Of Coal, Coins Through Table using the Pop-Up Move, were never published. All of the routines are superb examples of the finest in close-up magic and some of these, such as the Chop Cup routine, benefit from the best recorded explanations Jennings gave.

Having had the pleasure of watching a copy of this videotape many times over the years and now, through the generosity of Louis Falanga, you will too. So slip the DVD into your player and step back in time to when Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, men were visiting the moon on a regular basis, and Larry Jennings was knocking'em dead.
- Richard Kaufman

Running Time Approximately 67min


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