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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

IBM 1986 Show in Long Beach

The same year my Dad did his show at the Beckman Auditorium in Pasadena, he did this convention show. I am sure that most magicians (hell most of all of us) have a variety of ephemera laying around. I found this small sized program schedule which lists the Kirkham show featuring Illusions from Thurston.

On other parts of the schedule, you will find the names of Stan Allen and Mike Caveny. Both of these guys were in the Long Beach Mystics and became fine performers and authorities on their own, but I remember them from the big shows we did in 1968, 1969 and 1971. They worked as assistants on those shows. Also listed is James Hamilton who was one of our best friends in the last magic years and still does his "Alexander" act in San Fransisco. I have not heard from these fellows in a number of years, like I said I have been out of the Magic Scene for almost two decades. I do know that they continue to thrive and my Dad was always proud to see how well they were doing. "Nino" is listed as the protege of Frakson. Nino was a buddy of my Dads who always seemed to be around. I have no idea what became of him.

I also have a couple of tickets to the show. It took place on my Dad's 60th birthday. I don't think he did any major performances after this point. He continued to do some small club dates and the Pick Pocket Act. I know he also did close up at parties after this, but I don't think he ever did a full stage show after that year. He had already begun to have some trouble remembering his routines.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Richard, I was your Dad's assistant starting in the late 60's. My husband Bill Keeler and I both assisted Kirk Kirkham! That's me in the Thurston Sawing and on stage with Bill (wearing glasses)in the photos in the Kirk Kirkham "For the Love of Magic" February issue of Magic Magazine. Kirk would make a standing statement before performing the Thurston Sawing, offering a reward of one million dollars for anyone who could prove he used two girls, as you well know, he could never lose the bet! We have fond memories working with Kirk and Phyllis, they were a great team together and left a lasting impression in the magic world! I keep in touch with my dear friend Nino who still resides in Los Angeles. Connie Keeler McLeod