After a career of playing guitar professionally with well-known swing bands of the ’40s and ’50s such as Louis Prima, Frankie Carle and Guy Lombardo, De Fusca auditioned for a job at a CBS TV studio. He won a role in a daily soap opera “Hiram Hopps Blue Valley Junction,” in which his guitar playing was nearly a daily feature. Despite good reviews and a name sponsor, the show folded after one season. Lou is the first to admit the show was mediocre at best.
His obvious talent drew a request to join the TV station, and he remained there for about seven years, doing nearly everything in front or in back of the camera. Those were challenging days, De Fusco fondly recalled: “Television was in its infancy. Everything except the news and movies was done live, and it really got your adrenalin running full throttle.”
About this time he got into script writing for the local shows and wrote many musical jingles for TV ads. Some, such as the Maxwell House Coffee jingle, are still being aired today. “No residuals in those early days of television,” he added with regret. Despite a heavy workload, he continued to teach guitar and does to this day.
When asked about the immense popularity of the guitar, he answered with a gleam in his eye, “Isn’t it wonderful! The guitar has become the most popular instrument in the world because it lends itself to all styles of music. It’s not heavy and you can carry it with you wherever you go. I just love teaching it.”
De Fusco has written five books, including his biography, “It Must Have Been the Pasta!” A new book, “That Rainy Day,” is due out soon and will be available on Amazon.com and in bookstores.
For more information on guitar lessons, call De Fusco at 925-684-4647 or 760-484-3729
– Contributed by Cheryl Schultz