You’ve heard the story before, a Canadian entertainer gets their big break coming to the US to kick start their career. Names like Mike Myers, Seth Rogen, Pamela Anderson and Alan Thicke among others. Often you hear the response from Americans, “I didn’t know they were Canadian”. Growing up in the ’70’s, I recall watching a show on the CTV network called the Amazing Kreskin. For whatever reason, I always thought he was Canadian until I had a chance to see his show and interview him.
At age 78, Kreskin continues to amaze reading people’s thoughts and entertaining, as he made 362 appearances last year.” People ask me when I’m going to retire, Kreskin shares. “I tell them 10 days after my funeral”. While many people think I’m Canadian because of the Amazing Kreskin show, I’m actually from New Jersey. I do consider Canada my second home.”
Kreskin’s journey has been an interesting one. He performed for a number of years touring in both Canada and the US and gaining traction on the talk show circuit. He performed regularly on the Mike Douglas Show, Merv Griffin and the Johnny Carson show an incredible 88 times. “I always thought I’d have a TV show one day, I just didn’t know when or where. Back in those days, my schedule was really busy, in some cases doing two shows on the same day.”
The Canadian story takes shape in the late 60’s as the head of CTV had heard about Kreskin’s unique shows and thought there may be an opportunity to make it a TV series. He decided to send a CTV researcher to attend Kreskin shows around North America for the next 6-7 months. The scout concluded that it would make a good TV show that could succeed for a year or two.
That decision proved to be a good one as The Amazing Kreskin show thrived for five and a half years starting in Ottawa during 1970 and later being picked up by the Toronto station, with syndication later in the US and UK. “One year it was the second highest rated show, only to Hockey Night in Canada”, he laughed.
“My whole career has been an adventure,” Kreskin states. In addition to Kreskin’s TV show and touring he also helped law enforcement in solving crimes. “I was involved in 84 cases.”
“Recently, I had been speaking about my law enforcement experience about a case that happened 35 years ago. About a week later, I was doing a show and had asked an audience member to be part of a card effect I was doing. I asked him if he knew me and to my surprise he said yes. He said 35 years ago you helped solve a hit and run case and I was the victim. I recall that I assisted four witnesses in piecing together a license plate number which lead to finding an individual who had stolen the car. We later learned that the criminal was a member of the mob!”
Kreskin recently published a book “Conversations with Kreskin and continues to make TV appearances on Fox news and recently the Jimmy Fallon show. Asked about the opportunity to view episodes from the 70’s he announced that there are a number of episodes that can be seen online at Hulu.
He concludes the interview with a tease about an up coming announcement that he’s very excited to share. “I hate to leave you with a cliff hanger, but that’s the nature of the business.”