Welcome to the Calvacade of Magic Presented By Kirk Kirkham

My Father was the Magician known professionally as Kirk Kirkham, his real name was Charles and many folks called him Chuck. He lived from 1926 to 2001. He was an active professional performer from the time he was sixteen years old. Magic was the only living he ever had. He toured with the USO after World War II, did the spook show circuit and television extensively in the 1950's, did thousands of club dates, school shows, and more television in the 60's, continued performing in the 70's but also became a well regarded prop maker who produced equipment for other magicians and attractions around the country.

Currently, David Copperfield has the largest private collection of illusions in the world, but prior to his success and collection, my father may very well have been the previous holder of that title. He owned parts of Thurston's Wonder Show of the Universe and Mysteries of India. He acquired much of the core of his collection from Will Rock back in the early 50's but continued to add to it the rest of his life. He knew and worked with Harry Blackstone Sr., Percy Abbot was a mentor to him. Dante was a personal friend, and he owned famous illusions that belonged to all of them.

My goal is to keep his legacy alive here in cyber space, and provide some historical context to the Southern California Magic scene in the 60's and 70's. I have had virtually no contact with the Magic world since my Mother passed away in 1994. My Dad suffered from Alzheimer's in his last years and he could not write the book that he always said he would get to someday. I don't know enough about magic to write competently concerning history, practice and technique. I can however provide an historical context for my Father, a man who knew almost everything about magic during the 20th Century. He had a huge library, subscribed to dozens of magazines, and had met every important magician of the second half of the century. He was consulted by many of the experts that now make up the intelligentsia of the magic community. He was also a mentor to many fine magicians and scholars of magic. I hope to hear from some of those people as a result of this blog.

Welcome to the Magical World of Kirk Kirkham.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crystal Casket 1970/Net Vanish

This was a beautiful prop my Father made in the garage at the house we rented on Pine Valley Drive in Alhambra. The two years we lived there were very busy times in his career. We did The IBM Convention, Built the Portable stage he used in the shopping center shows, created a Santa Illusion for Kids to see Santa at the North Pole, and he and my older brother Chris ran away with the Circus for several months. This shot is taken on the driveway of the house. Our neighbor to the north was the busybody who called the cops every time he ran any machinery. Technically, all you are supposed to do in the garage is park your car. So he moved all of his project out on the drive-way to work. It made more noise and irritated the neighbor lady even more. I'm sure she was glad we did not buy the house. I think this prop was traded with a guy named Don Nordoff. He was the ringmaster of the circus and he had several props my Dad wanted for some shows, including a light bulb suspension that he improved immeasurably.

This shot is of a Net Vanish that he built for a magician named Peter Reveen. The traditional vanish is done on a large stage in front of a curtain. This was designed to be done where there was no Fly Gallery but there was still a backdrop. This shot is taken on the same driveway above from a slightly different angle. That is my younger brother Kirk with Dad in the picture (Yes, my parents used his stage name to name my little brother). You can also see our Australian Shepard "Blue" on the stair platform on the left.


  1. I met your Dad around 1985. Lynn Townsend from Milson Worth introduced us. We had a wonderful afternoon together. He regaled me with info about he and your Mom's career and lots of other great magicians including Orson Welles. He took me to the storage space and showed me his illusion. I especially remember the Radio Teleportation Cabinets from the Will Rock Show. Do you still have his Crystal Casket? Magically, Al Belmont, belmontmagic@verizon.net

    1. Six months late in replying. I have not been keeping up at all, and I've developed some bad habits as a result. My sincere apology for this late response. I unfortunately have very few of his props. Most of the equipment he sold before my Mom died and what was left after he came to live with us was parceled out to various collectors. I can't say who ended up with the Crystal Casket. Thanks for coming by and leaving a message. My Dashboard was not set for this site and I did not notice your comment until today. My Dad loved to talk to everyone about Magic, I'm glad your memory was a good one.