A place where beginners can participate, ask questions, and post their views. However, beginners typically ask a lot of questions about sources, tricks, books, and so on. In fact, all magicians are interested (or should be) in the provenance of tricks, ideas, and related matters. This department will service these needs.

Postby Guest » 04/17/03 07:55 PM

I recently purchased a 4" chrome "zombie" and I'm a little unclear on a few points.
The company's name slips my mind, but I do recall them being located in Canada. A few years back I purchased a dove pan and lotta bowl from them and was more than pleased. But not this time.
The instructions are so poorly written I feel there must be something missing. I'm looking for a way to improve the effect. Does anyone have any information they'd like to share?

Postby Guest » 04/22/03 08:09 AM


The manufacturer's name is Morrissey. This is a basic beginner's zombie set. Larger and more expensive zombies and different design gimmicks s/b readily available from your favorite dealer. General Grant sells a nice, reasonably-priced gimmick, which fits on two fingers. It is more comfortable than the standard gimmick and allows you to have much better control of the apparatus.

Additional source materials include The How To Book on the Zombie and Further Tips on the Zombie by Joe Karson, the inventor of the effect. These booklets are relatively inexpensive and contain a lot of information.

I highly recommend Volume 2 of The Books of Wonder, which has invaluable information on this effect, including the real work on Tommy Wonder's unique re-design of the apparatus. Tommy Wonder's ideas take the original ball on a stick concept to a whole new level.

There are a number of video sources. I have not seen these, but Tim Wright and Dick Losander have released videos on this effect. Last but certainly not least, my friend Marc DeSouza has a beautiful zombie routine on his Prize Winning Stage Magic video. Well worth checking out.

Good luck!


Postby Guest » 04/22/03 10:05 AM

I have the Tim Wright video and it is a great primer to a Zombie routine. Jeff Mcbride also has a segment on the Zombie in his "Magic on Stage 3" video. Both have helped me. I played with my Zombie for 2 years before I ever performed with it. Not that it's difficult, I just wanted it to look great before I ever shared it.

Postby Guest » 06/21/03 03:28 AM

If you want more help get the Losander video and gimmick, it really makes the zombie birliant :)

Postby Guest » 06/26/03 07:59 PM

Ed Lopez wrote a great post with good advice. I hope he won't mind if I correct one little detail. The author of the book "Further Tips on Zombie" was Neil Foster. He was, during his lifetime, probably the greatest living exponent of the Zombie. His performances at magic conventions did much to popularize the effect.
The Tommy Wonder books are great, including his Zombie. He also discusses if briefly on his new set of DVD's released by L & L.
Best wishes,
Dennis Loomis

Postby Magic Ian » 07/21/03 05:47 AM

My favorite method is using the 2-finger zombie flash gimmick and vanishing the ball in a servante before the flash goes off.
Available from most dealers, Theater effects, or e-mail me (I have one in stock).
Zombie to flowers is cool as well. You ditch the gimmick, retain the ball only, then split it for spring flower production.
Magic Ian
Posts: 11
Joined: 04/30/08 06:58 PM
Location: Florida

Postby Robert Allen » 07/22/03 07:43 PM

I respectfully disagree about the zombie to flowers. To me the whole point of the zombie is that spectators are looking at a metal ball, and they should instinctively assume that it's somewhat heavy. Hopefully too heavy to be manipulated by a thread, etc.

To be the devils advocate, I've seen the zombie blown by several jugglers and clowns, as a gag. I.e. "woooooooow see the ball float? Aha! Gotcha, see it's just a ball on a stick". Still if you're going to perform it, I think it should be done with mystery. A hollow silver ball popping open and having paper flowers pop out is just not that mysterious IMHO.
Robert Allen
Posts: 616
Joined: 03/18/08 11:53 AM

Postby Jim Riser » 07/22/03 09:41 PM

FYI - There are significant variations in zombie balls. The balls themselves are not all made the same. To the casual looker they do all appear the same. Possibly the best zombie balls were the ones spun at Rings n Things when Mike Brazill was in charge. The two halves were of different thicknesses of metal. This made the machined joint or seam much more subtle and significantly less visible than the usual rolled lip joint. In addition, the top half of the ball which would land down, if dropped, was more dent resistant. I agree with Robert that the ball should appear to be heavy - even solid. The old R n T balls with their improved seam helped to create this illusion.

As for the gimmick, I have designed and prefer a major modification of Tommy Wonder's ball gimmick as described in his books. No, I am not marketing this variation as I prefer to keep it exclusive at this time. A good ball and a different gimmick can greatly improve this effect. Of course, practice and a good routine help :)
Jim Riser
Posts: 1020
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Tucson, AZ

Postby Guest » 07/24/03 09:46 PM

The gimmick Jim refers too by Tommy Wonder is very similar to the gimmick currently sold by Dirk Losander, who btw does a wonderful zombie routine available in video form with alot of great handling ideas.
Also if my info is correct a zombie made using the original R-N-T die should be available soon.
Both the gimmick and zombie can be purchased at:
The right equiptment can be the difference between a "ball ona stick" and a very visual peice of magic.

Return to Reference Room