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Lou Lancaster

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Lou Lancaster
BornLouis Lancaster McClung
October 31, 1936
Richmond, Virginia
DiedJuly 05, 2008 (age 71)

Lou Lancaster (October 31, 1936 - July 5, 2008) performed under Chan-Lou, Chan Lu, The Charlie Chan Of Magic.


His mother was a teacher, which might explain why he became an avid reader. He joined the Navy when he turned eighteen and traveled the world meeting magicians such as Johnny Paul, Johnny Platt and Dai Vernon. Lancaster obtained a degree as a ceramics engineer.

He worked for Mark Wilson creating and building illusions for his television shows.

In the 1960's, Lancaster performed at the Magic Castle (18 times), Harvey's Casino and Hotel in Lake Tahoe (performing Chop Chop's act as Chan Lu, "The Charlie Chan Of Magic"), the Moulin Rouge in San Francisco & the Capitol Inn in Sacramento. He also toured for years around the country performing school shows.

During the 1970's in New York City, he was featured at Mostly Magic, The Magic Towne House, the Club Ibis and was the resident magician at Brown's Hotel in the Catskills. He was a regular at the Saturday cafeteria get-togethers in Manhattan known as the New York Magic Table. He also performed aboard cruise ships. In the 1980's, he was the resident magician at Magic Island in Newport Beach, California and also the one in Houston, Texas.

When videos were relatively new, he shot a home tape featuring many techniques and effects.

When his mother became ill in the 1990's, he moved to Virginia to care for her for several years until she passed away. Afterwards, he sold his mother’s house and moved to Hollywood near the Magic Castle. Lancaster lived in Brea, California from 2004 to 2007 where for a time he had a workshop making magic illusions.

In late 2007, he moved to a senior facility in Las Vegas.

Lancaster was referred to as the most talented unknown in magic by Dai Vernon. He responded back that Dai Vernon was the most talented unknown outside of magic.

He claims he came up with the idea for the The Twister Illusion in New York by combining the Head Twister and the Disembodied Princess to make a twisted body be shown inside the cabinet after the head has been spun around.[1]

Lancaster was a teacher and mentor to many magicians including Jeff McBride.[2][3]

Honors and Awards

  • Cover of Linking Ring August 2005


  • Tricks Of The Trade - A Professional Looks at Commercial Close-up Magic (1985)


  • IMS Magic Academy, Vol. 04: Card Manipulations by Lou Lancaster (1992)
  • IMS Magic Academy, Vol. 10: Classic Routines by Lou Lancaster (1994)
  • IMS Magic Academy, Vol. 19: Gambler's Secrets Exposed by Lou Lancaster (1994)
  • IMS Magic Academy, Vol. 26: The Linking Rings by Lou Lancaster (1996)
  • IMS Magic Academy, Vol. 33: Rope Magic by Lou Lancaster (1996)
  • IMS The Best of The Best, Vol. 37 – Lou Lancaster : Self Working Card Tricks (1997)
  • IMS The Best of The Best, Vol. 38 – Lou Lancaster : Tricks With A Storyline (1997)


  1. Linking Ring August, 2005, page 36
  2. Obit Genii 2008 September
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