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The World Needs Magic – JOHN CALVERT

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John CalvertJohn Calvert (August 5, 1911 – September 27, 2013) was an American magician who performed on stage in the United States and worldwide for eight decades. He even took his magic show to Broadway.

Siegfried and Roy cited him as an inspiration, and Bess Houdini said that he was second only to Harry Houdini in “playing the part of a magician.” Calvert impressed many of Hollywood’s most famous personalities with his sleight-of-hand and he invited some of them to perform in his stage shows. Among the stars he counted as friends were Cary Grant, Danny Kaye and Gary Cooper.

Calvert spent much of his life in Hollywood and his magic and illusions won him thousands of fans as well as close to fifty film roles, including three movies during the 1940s in which he played the detective known as the Falcon. He was also the subject of a biographical documentary entitled John Calvert – His Magic and Adventures.

John Calvert As The FalconCalvert became fascinated with magic at age eight when his father took him to see the magician Howard Thurston perform in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shortly afterward, he performed his first trick for his Sunday school class – he made an egg appear from under another boy’s coat.

He did his first magic tour when he was eighteen, performing in town halls in rural Kentucky. Through the depression years and into the 1940s, he continually increased the size of his magic show, adding illusions and personnel. Like Thurston and Houdini before him, he gained notoriety by performing daredevil stunts for publicity. He transported his show’s equipment and personnel worldwide in his Douglas DC-3 airliner, and in later years on his yachts.

John Calvert - Forever YoungCalvert remained active well into his later years, traveling the country with his magic acts and entertaining audiences with a mixture of charm and storytelling panache. At 100 he appeared at the London Palladium.

Calvert lived to be 102 years old and this interview was conducted in 2012 in Dallas when he was on tour for his 100th Birthday Tour. The interview was conducted by Dal Sanders and it was recorded by Jason Van Sickle. This is the first of the interviews that would become the documentary series, “THE WORLD NEEDS MAGIC”.

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Jason Van Sickel and Dal Sanders continue working on the documentary titled THE WORLD NEEDS MAGIC. This documentary will celebrate The Art of Magic and how The Society of American Magicians has helped to elevate and advance that art.

Executive Producer: Dal Sanders

Producer/Director/Editor: Jason Van Sickel

Graphics: Marc Rouse & Chris Marrs

Special thanks to The S.A.M. Magic Endowment Fund for helping get this project started.

  1. David L. Anders,Sr. says:

    I was at an Oakland Magic Circle show where John Calvert performed. I was very Impressed and my girlfriend, son & I got to talk with John in his motor home after the show. A great Honor. When will the documentary be available for purchase? Please let me know.

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