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, November 13, 2011

Linking Ring Photo Quiz from May 2011

This is the cover of the Linking Ring Magazine from earlier this year. Linking Ring is published by the I.B.M., International Brotherhood of Magicians. It is one of the many organizations that my father was a member of. He was not really a political kind of guy when it came to Magic Hierarchies. He was not a snob about magic, but he did see that there was a difference between professional and amateur organizations. He did not want to immerse himself in the bureaucracy that comes from running a professional organization. He was a working performer and did not always have the time to devote to such energies. He was heavily involved with the Hollywood Chapter of I.B.M. Ring 21, the Carl Fleyming Ring.

This was a feature in the current years May edition, placed by my good friend Gary Frank. Gary was a friend of my fathers in his later years. Gary has been of incalculable assistance in helping me sort through all of my Dad's materials and also brokering sales of much of his remaining equipment. He is as much as anyone, helping to keep my Dad's name alive in Magic circles. Let's face it, the new generation does not want to be weighed down by the history and battles of old timers. There are new mountains to climb, but long before Criss Angel, David Blaine and the other well known performers of today came to prominence, the magic world was dominated by vaudeville performers and the generation of magicians that followed them.

Gary is a magic historian, who has written books on some of the early twentieth century magicians. He is currently working on a article for MAGIC Magazine on my father. I can never repay him for the kindness he has shown us by his friendship. The work of digging through literally tons of materials that may have worth or may be junk is thankless. He arranged this little photo quizzes appearance in the Linking Ring Magazine. The write up is very nice.

We saw Penn and Teller in Vegas a few years ago and they have a clever act, I do think however that they play a little fast and loose with the way they see themselves. They are Magicians, not a couple of guys who just know some cool stuff. I remember how they went to pains to separate themselves from some guy in a greasy tuxedo, pulling rabbits out of a hat. Many of the same tricks they do have been done by those who came before them. I know one way to be seen as hip is to diss those that younger people see as old fashioned, but I don't think old fashioned is uncool. It always felt cool to me to tell my friends what it was that my dad did for a living. My Dad has been dead for nearly ten years now, and he was not all there for almost ten years before that, but I still remember him and the way he loved working an audience. Look at the picture featured in the magazine, that dude and those girls were cool. Thanks Gary for keeping this part of Magic History alive.


  1. Hey Richard,

    I am enjoying reading this blog, (just started to, in fact.) Just looked to me like there weren't many comments, and thought I'd let you know I was reading.


  2. Thanks, I'm just getting started. Are you a Magician, or did you just happen by? I haven't really been promoting the site yet, but as soon as that article gets published, I will try to get some more readers. Hope you enjoy and keep coming back.--Richard

  3. I would call myself an amateur magician.
    I am interested in magic, and now some stage magic and its history.

    Good luck,