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Winning Smiles
John Kimmons & Charlie

Kimmo (John Kimmons) performed his first magic show at the age of 15 back in 1983. Two years previously, famous children’s entertainer WILFRED TYLER had given the enthusiastic young lad a selection of Supreme Magic catalogues and he had spent month after month pouring over the contents, planning out shows and ordering props with saved up dinner-money from school!

It was two weeks after his first show that he attended his first ever Blackpool Magic Convention and met up with his idol - Edwin Hooper of Supreme Magic. All was not well on the Supreme stand that day! The staff had left the price list behind in Bideford and there was complete chaos as everyone struggled to work out what to charge for the props on display. Seeing an opportunity, John stepped in and put his encyclopaedic knowledge of Supreme catalogues to good use - calling out the prices in an almost ‘rainman-esque’ fashion while Edwin and his staff demonstrated and made sales. This was the start of a long relationship with EDWIN and Supreme. He became a fixture on the Supreme stand at all major conventions throughout the world and had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the finest magicians the world has ever known.

John Kimmons & Charlie on stage at Blackpool Magic Convention.
"Axtell Expressions has played a massive part in my success as an entertainer."
John Kimmons

At a convention in Italy, John saw his first Axtell puppet - a Chat Racket Bird. He couldn't resist it and soon it became a feature in his children's shows as a silent puppet routine. John had toyed with the idea of ventriloquism but it wasn't until the demise of Supreme that he decided to add this particular string to his bow. In what now seems a rather reckless move, he advertised the "Kimmo and Friends Magic and Ventriloquism Show" and started taking bookings before he'd even found a puppet!

He finally created his first vent character - Tony the Tiger (a Supreme "Animal Crackers" Puppet) and it was an instant success! Bookings were flooding in, but soon poor old Tony started to come apart at the seams and John needed a replacement. He'd just taken delivery of his first home computer and decided to search the web for "Axtell Expressions", The company that made "Chat Rachet"!! Imagine his surprise and delight to discover the range of fantastic puppets on offer! The Drawing Board was his first purchase, followed shortly after by a cheeky little guy called "Willie the Kid".

"Something about that grinning, cheeky face seemed to call out to me!" Said John. "I knew this would be the start of a lifelong partnership".

Willie was soon re-named "Charlie" and took on many of Tony Tiger's personality traits. Suddenly clients stopped asking for "John" or "Kimmo" - They wanted to know if Charlie could come to their party! The little latex boy had taken on a life of his own.

Many other Axtell puppets have been guests in the Kimmo show, but Charlie is always there, always the star.

So when the opportunity to enter the "CHILDREN'S ENTERTAINER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS" at the 2008 Blackpool Convention came his way, John didn’t have to think too hard about who would be his partner during his 15 minute performance.

"I took a huge risk", said John "I wore a plain black suit and went out there with nothing but a rope trick and an Axtell puppet. Up against acts with motorbikes and pyrotechnics I didn't think I stood a chance".

The risk paid off - the audience in the Blackpool Opera House voted him Champion. Quentin Reynolds had this to say about his act that day: "John gave an excellent performance that was truly world class. He didn't waste a single moment of his time on stage and got down to business straight away. He opened with Pavel's Red and White ropes, also known as The Jumping Knot of Pakistan. This was the best presentation of the trick I've seen. John then went into his vent routine which is, I think, also on YouTube. When he cracked the gag about insurance claims, it got such a reaction, you could feel the atmosphere change in the audience. I turned to Stephen, who was sitting beside me and said, "He can stop now, he's won."

It really was a world class performance by one of the very best in the business.

In case you don't know, John is booked to lecture at Kidology in September and I'm sure his win at Blackpool will boost the attendance.

The big surprise came during the award ceremony on the last night of the convention, when it was announced that John had won the prestigious "Ken Dodd Comedy Award" for outstanding comedy performance at the convention. This is the first time it has EVER been awarded to a CHILDREN'S ENTERTAINER.

Axtell Expressions has played a massive part in my success as an entertainer.’ Said John.


John will be presenting his lecture, "Talk to The Hand" at KIDOLOGY 2008 in Wolverhampton, England.

Young John with Axtell's Chat Racket
Kimmo with a group of excited kids!
John and his hand made Tony Tiger
Kimmo & Charlie visit Axtell Studios
You can contact John Kimmons by email here.
Kimmo & Charlie At Blackpool.
Famous UK Comedian Ken Dodd presents John Kimmons with the Ken Dodd Comedy Award and the 1st Place "Children's Entertainer World Champion" award!
Photos provided by John Kimmons & Andy Clockwise, used by permission.
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