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, December 9, 2011

Death Basket of India Manufacured

This is the version of the Hindu Basket Trick that my Dad made in the late 1970 or early 1980s. As you can see, it is not really a basket at all, but rather an angled box with a rattan facade. The swords were made with aluminum and the handles were formed using a plastic process that my Dad's friend Mark Gregory had developed. They used the same material to make disecto arm choppers and die boxes and a coin penetration box for close up magic.

I disliked the idea of a faux basket, but as I recall there were problems finding an actual basket and the magician that wanted this needed something sturdy that they could use to hold other props as they took it on the road. Dad was not am artist, but he did have an eye for detail and the paint job on most of his work was exemplary. The bamboo style legs here are really a creative application of spray paint and lacquer.

No comments:

Post a Comment