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.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

David Avedon Custom Prop

This is a picture of David Avedon, a magician that came to us with an unusual request. He wanted a park bench that turned into a theatrical trunk. I sadly read that he died just a year or two ago. He appears to have been an odd sort of performer with an interesting take on life. My Dad would have talked to him about the wisdom of the effect, but ultimately it was his call to make. As you can see, he is seated on the bench here in this first shot.

I don't know what the figure on the bench was supposed to represent. David had a very artistic approach to things and there may have been some narrative or pantomime involved. I never saw the final product in his act, but I know that the effect worked flawlessly and very smoothly. With one simple movement the bench transforms visibly into the trunk that the magician can sit on or cart off stage. I think you could also open it so maybe the figure ends up inside of the box.

You can see the trunk now on the ground right at David's feet. The trunk/bench was designed and constructed by my father at his workshop, storefront, office. The location was the old Owen's Brothers Warehouse at 1240 South Chapel in Alhambra. He took over the lease at that location for several years in the mid 1980s. Many of the best memories I have are of the times he and I worked together on a project. I spent two full summers working there as well as filling in at various times over those years.

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