Late-Night Legerdemain

Infomercial magic coach Larry Anderson insists that he's not a magician. He'd much rather discuss his life as an actor, producer, game-show host and "budding director." Nevertheless, the 49-year-old Minnesotan has charmed $9 million from insomniac TV viewers with his 12th infomercial product, "JawDroppers" (prior offerings include "The George Foreman Party Grill" ). For $59.90, the four-video "JawDroppers" package (www.jawdroppers.com) helps nonspecialists "break the ice with strangers, or that special someone of the opposite sex" with feats of illusion using everyday objects. In a Sherman Oaks bistro (after Anderson draws a lady from a nearby table with a string-cutting illusion), we get tricky.

You reveal how magic tricks are done. Aren't you messing with the IBM [International Brotherhood of Magicians]?

All art forms should be passed down. Anybody can learn for free in the library. These tricks have been taught for years; you can read them on the back of a cereal box.

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What do you love about this art form?

It's so pure. It transcends any cultural barrier. It's always a delight to see our physical laws defied with lightness. To me, magic means: You're gonna fool me, you're foolin' with the physical universe.

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And the chicks?

Oh, man, yes indeed. It makes you intriguing. For me, after magic everything changed. I went from a geek to instantly becoming interesting.

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You did magic for John and Julian Lennon?

I was magic advisor for Bill Bixby on the Paramount prime-time drama "The Magician." It was Julian's favorite show, so John brought him on the set. [Later] I performed for Paul McCartney at [the former estate of actor] Harold Lloyd. When people asked, "Who's your favorite Beatle?" for me it was, "Who's your favorite Beatle you did magic for?"

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You acted on the fourth and final Lucille Ball sitcom, "Life With Lucy"?

As Ted McGibbon, her befuddled son-in-law. Lucy insisted to Aaron Spelling that I play the role. But it was never determined what I did for a living. I never left the house!

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What's your weirdest infomercial?

"Create-A-Frame." A decorating kit for picture frames, with colored bits of cloth and paper, ribbons and rags that get pushed through a plastic frame with holes in it. It was just awful.

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By the way, what's a "finger flicker?"

That's esoteric magic-ese for a sleight-of-hand artist, one who does close-up magic.

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