Flaco

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Cesar Munoz » 12/21/04 06:52 PM

Flaco was a well known Manhattan magician in (I believe) the 70s and 80s. Anyone have any good Flaco stories? What ever happened to him? I didn't know him well--but every time I ran into him at Tannen's--he was very generous with help, advice and knowledge. He seemed to be a wealth of knowledge and a skilled practitioner of the art.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/21/04 07:04 PM

Flaco was a great guy--saw him up at Tannen's many times and he even helped me move once. Very enthusiastic.
Unfortunately he died about a decade ago.
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Postby Cesar Munoz » 12/21/04 08:48 PM

Richard,

I'm not surprised to hear that he actually helped you move. Flaco was a take action guy who thrived on connecting with others.

He sold me my copy of Greater Magic. He was always selling something--but he always gave a lot in return!

I'd love to be able to piece together more of his story. He was a "character"--he probably has an interesting story.

Cesar
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Postby Guest » 12/21/04 08:59 PM

I first met Flaco (Gilbert Hernandez)around 1974 at Tannen's Magic Shop then located at 1540 Broadway, here in NYC. He was on welfare, living at that time with his mother and supported himself by working the streets, and sometimes shilling for his son (who was later shot)who threw Three Card Monte on 47th Street. Flaco at one time worked at Show World and Peepland on 42nd Street dispensing quarters to its patrons.

Flaco was good at what he did. Lou Lancaster showed him Vernon's Linking Rings that he really perfected - dare I say - better than Vernon?!!
He hung with Frank Garcia who got him a stint on the Joe Franklin Show. When Flaco was your friend, he would give you his shirt. I could tell stories of him acting as a bodyguard to a certain Magic Dealer when trouble arose.

When he wasn't your friend, he could front stab AND back stab with the best of them.

Flaco, in his few remaining months became emaciated, but still managed to mix with the magicians and perform his magic. When he passed away, in the mid 90's, his friend Carl Albright helped with the funeral arrangements.

All of us in the New York magic community miss Flaco.
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Postby Cesar Munoz » 12/21/04 09:19 PM

Doug,

Wow--your post brought back vivid memories of Flaco talking about his son doing three card monte on the streets. He was very proud of him.

Cesar
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Postby Guest » 12/22/04 03:55 AM

I met Flaco more than a decade ago. He shared the Han Ping Chin Matrix with me, and I,ve done it ever since. I have a tape recording of Flaco instructing me on Vernon's Cups and Balls. After he past away I purchased his Chinese Rings. Dai Vernon once wrote a nice praise for Flaco mentioning his magical apptitude, knowledge, and generosity.
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Postby Matthew Field » 12/22/04 04:03 AM

I remember Flaco from my many visits to Tannen's, at 1540 Broadway,on 32nd Street, and then on 25th Street. His ready smile, his warmth and his enthusiasm were all contagious, and he was, as others have mentioned, always ready to share some magic.

I was sorry to hear of his passing, and it's great to have him remembered here.

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Postby Guest » 12/22/04 07:22 AM

I met Flaco around '87 when I first started hanging around Tannen's and we struck up an instant friendship. When school was out over the summer I hung out with him about 3 or 4 times a week. I'd buy him a cup of coffee and he'd show me everything he knew or was working on. He was a bear at sleight of hand but most of the time did not know who to credit for a move and I helped him with that. One time when he was short on money, we went out and worked the street on 34th and Broadway. When we were done performing he told the crowd if they did not have any money to please throw in beer, pot, methadone or whatever they had. The look on the faces of the crowd was priceless. Through him I met Tony Spina and ended up working at Tannen's for a number of years. One time Mohammed Ali came in and Flaco and I performed for him for about 3 hours non-stop.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/22/04 07:56 AM

Flaco was one of the few non-tech/non-collectors who had access to much of what was around NYC. I would show him what I was working on and anything he wanted to know about. He would sometimes suggest I ask people about things of theirs for tricks. He was one of those rare people who actively made the social situation in magic better.
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Postby Mari » 04/02/11 02:46 PM

I know this is a bit of a necropost, but I'm Gilbert's niece. I never met him, but I knew from my Dad that he was a magician and had some connection to Frank Garcia. I'm staying at my grandmother's/Gilbert's old apartment now and would be glad to hear more stories about him.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/02/11 03:03 PM

He was a good guy, a friendly guy. He had an odd sort of manic energy about him.

And he was strong as an ox.
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Postby jctse » 06/06/12 06:05 PM

He was the type of person you never ever forgot. When I was a kid (in the 80's) I would travel from Philly to Tannen's to hang out with him. Afterward we'd goto a nearby cafe or his place to practice and watch magic videos.

His Magic was art and his character was even more magical. I moved to CA in the early 90's and regret losing contact with him. If anyone has any pictures or videos of him please post... I would be forever grateful. jctse@yahoo.com

Thanks much
JT
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Postby MaxNY » 06/07/12 12:55 AM

Yeah, he was strong as an Ox! He showed me the trick where the rubber band "walks" back to you. He had a great story about some guy in Mexico. I always wondered if that story was true?

He would walk across Tannen's to greet you when you walked in, than made you feel like this was "OUR THING"....Magic. Not just a club, or clique...this was much deeper. We were Magicians!

I loved his magic word. I always wanted to steal it, but was so afraid of him. It was "Zumba" heavy on the ZZZZuum ba
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Postby Tom Ladshaw » 06/08/12 10:57 AM

I only met Flaco a couple of times, but he was a great guy....very friendly. Once when I was visiting Tannen's he made me get behind the counter and do a card trick for him. He acted like whatever it was I'd done - something simple, I'm sure - was the greatest thing he'd ever seen. He called over the other few folks in the shop and asked me to do it again so they could see it. He applauded loudest and made an out-of-towner feel truly welcome. My buddy Bob Friedhoffer took a photo of the moment.

Flaco must've been a great shill for his son.... that day in Tannen's, he sure convinced me I was a star!

-- Tom Ladshaw
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Postby luigimar » 06/10/12 06:24 PM

Good story Tom, those moments make one wish to have been there!!
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Postby RJH » 06/15/12 11:47 PM

I am Flaco's oldest nephew and am proud to learn of his legacy amongst his peers. He left our family a treasure of handwritten notes and drwaings in a series of notebooks on his perception of magic and his thoughts. If anyone is interested in these notebooks, kindly let us know.
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Postby RJH » 06/15/12 11:51 PM

Flaco was a wonderful uncle to me and my brothers living in NYC. We loved watching him perfect his hand manipulation techniques and I especially marveled at his excitement about the magic business. Unfortunately, no one in the family followed in his foot steps. We kept his priceless notebooks for future reference, and hope to share it one day.
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