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

Haunted House of Mystery

Here is a promotional flyer for an attraction that my dad was doing when he first came out to California. It is really pretty clever. On the front is a drawing of a spooky house.

When you open the flyer it actually pops up the point of the roof so the interior is twice the size of the cover. Here you will find pictures and a little more description of what the effect entails.

On the back is contact information and some more description. My parents were headquartered out of my Grandparents house in South Pasadena, so that was the contact info. No cell phone or web sites in those days. I wonder how many times my Grandmother must have answered questions about a Haunted House.

The art work was clearly done by my Mother, she had a great talent for this kind of thing. She had been the main Window Dresser at Jacobsons Department store in Battle Creek before they got married.  I think I have the actual typewriter that this was prepared with. The lettering is very familiar. I have no idea what happened to the prop.

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