(Close Window)
Topic: Best Zombie ball for gimmick-less routine?
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 15, 2011 11:28AM)
Hi all,

I have to say, I've always hated the Zombie ball. I guess I have seen too many bad performances that looked like... well, a ball on a stick. ;) Funnily, the thought never occurred to me that that same routine could be done well... without any gimmick... purely by mime techniques.
Then I saw Raymond Crowe. And after so many years that routine finally got me fascinated. I have a strong background in mime and acting myself and still happen to hate the "gimmicky" version. So, I would definitely like to work on a gimmick-less routine similar to Crowe's.

I have been reading a lot about the Zombie here in the Café and have looked at a lot of sites selling different versions of the ball: Uday, Vernet, Viking, Morrissey, Rings N Things, Ickle Pickle... (am I missing any brands?). Unfortunately, most threads at some point turn to the Zombie gimmick.

But which of these makes is best suited for Raymond Crowe's routine? I read that the Morrissey ball is not so well suited (supposedly, the hole is too shallow). Is that true? The TNR ball, on the other hand, seems okay, supposedly. The latter is quite expensive, however. What about Viking and Ickle Pickle?

Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Marc
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 15, 2011 11:56AM)
Is this what you are referring to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O1D-uktSH0

I would suggest you 1st purchase the Raymond Crowe DVD and see what he suggests.

I would think that it is the Morrissey Zombie you are looking for, it will do well for this purpose and they make a 5" ball.
http://www.morrisseymagic.com/zombie1a.htm#z

For the ring or hoop, you can get a 12" ring here:
http://www.klamm-magic.com/cgi-bin/web_store.cgi?cart_id=8087619_8669&keywords=LI011&exact_match=on
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jul 15, 2011 01:51PM)
You can use basically any ball and do most of the moves with the exception to the hoop passing. You need a magnet on one end of the ball. I will have to watch the DVD again, but I don't think Crowe mentioned where to get the ball.

If you do mime like I do, get the DVD, it's a must. The moves are wonderful and you will be able to do it better than most with your mime training. Also, if you don't like the "ball on a stick" way of doing the Zombie, read Tommy Wonder's thinking on it. It might change your mind on using the stick approach. I plan on using a combo of both.
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 15, 2011 02:23PM)
Thanks for your quick replies.

In fact, I do already own the DVD by Raymond Crowe. Bought it from a local magician and found it quite amazing.
However, as mtpascoe already pointed out, on the DVD Raymond does not tell us, what ball exactly he is working with. It seems to me, he manufactured it himself from some easily (?) availabe items... or had someone make one for him.

Regarding the Morrissey ball: I read in another thread here in the Café that the hole is quite shallow. If that's true (is it?), then Raymond's technique should not work so well? So, my question would be: Which kind of balls have a hole that's both deep and tight enough?
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 15, 2011 03:02PM)
Unless they have changed there manufacturing process, I have not found your statement about the Morrissey Ball to be correct.

From watching the video, I also do not see how this would effect the illusion of a floating ball.

Lastly, it is the only one available on the market that comes close to what is seen on the Raymond Crowe video.

All that you have mentioned are smaller balls and some do not come apart for gimmicking the ball.

I see you live in Europe, I don't have any knowledge of your magic craftsman in Europe, so you will have to ask around over there.

You mentioned price and that is why this is your best solution for poor magicians. I don't think $26.00 for a Zombie is extremely expensive and $18.00 for a hoop is out of line. Everything else will be in the $200.00 range or more for custom work, if you can find anyone to do it. Then R&T Balls do not come apart for gimmicking, and some of the others you mentioned are the same way. If you cannot afford $44.00 plus postage, then forget the idea of presenting this effect.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 15, 2011 03:11PM)
Hello, as the resident ball fanatic...
stay far away from the Morrissey ball, worst out there now.
The Viking is the best of the affordable now, he imports them from Italy.
The R&TII is pricy, I think even more than the Owen Magic Supreme, which I love.
I got to work a bit with the Crowe video before it's release with a few balls.
PM me or call me if you want details on non-gimmick work.
Magically,
Walt
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 15, 2011 05:26PM)
Mine method will work with any zombie ball.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dngkNbjkQRo
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Jul 15, 2011 05:49PM)
Is there a 'seamless' Zombie ball available for this effect? I see no seams on Raymond Crowe's Zombie. I think the Morrissey ball is seamless, but am not positive. The Viking Ball is really beautiful and super high-luster chrome, but I see a seam [unless it is just the lighting]. While most magicians might not think the seam can be seen, I think it might just be important in this Naked Zombie, when I consider the handling.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 15, 2011 06:03PM)
The Morrissey not only has a seam, it does not have a flange so the seem meets, it is just two halves that are jammed together, I had a long conversation about this with Herb when he was alive and his attitude was "why should I make'em right if they still buy them made wrong."

Because of the way balls are spun I know of no brand now or past that is seamless in aluminum (or rarely plastic for that matter) so it's a case of how good and close are the hemispheres on the ball.

I know even the Owen (that has yet a different seam closure) is not just one ball, and I'd doubt the R&T II current model has no seam (though for the price it should be flawless) I've only seen the older R&T so far.

And anyone is welcome to give me a call so I don't have to type all same this information out several times a year on the Café. Thanks.

Magically,Walt
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Jul 15, 2011 10:06PM)
I have a Vernet-like Zombie that I bought in Japan. Jeff McBride talked me into getting that one. It is a nice prop, but I have yet to use it in a routine. It also has a seam and a tiny opening for the gimmick. ;)
Message: Posted by: Lawrens Godon (Jul 16, 2011 05:50AM)
@Marc Christopher :
Have you considered trying some contact juggling move ?
When I do my routine people often think about it as a "floating ball" ^^
Here a are some moves (not a routine) I like to play with :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT_p7eRLppY
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 16, 2011 08:51AM)
All of the zombie balls described have just as much a gimmick as mine. Naked zombie uses his t***b as the gimmick, all of them have some sort of atta****ent. None of the posts are by their creator or manufacturer. PLUS, my ball has no seam, it was the precursor to the Fab magic vaccuum plated plastic ball. I distributed this in 1976 using the standard "miracle ball" gimmick intended for styro-foam (small hole the size of a coat hangar wire.)
I can "mimmick" the naked zombie moves plus float 18" out there with or without a cloth. The only true gimmickless effect is contact juggling.
I called it the spirit of 76" floating ball. Marshall Brodien was going to distribute it for me but I couldn't meet his production criteria, so I went with Robbins.
That was the year I did the original "mime ball" shown in the video which was designed for Jeff McBride who was performing at the Orange County Fair (age 16).
Jeff was doing a ball back then and did some of the Crowe moves plus isolation moves. My ball method lent itself to a transition of methods from "th**b" to my gimmick or standard gimmick.

The plastic is seamless but there is a plastic weld mark.

----------
My link is on point because of the discussion of mime moves with zombie balls that do not use the standard zombie gimmick.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 16, 2011 09:25AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-16 06:50, lawrens wrote:
@Marc Christopher :
Have you considered trying some contact juggling move ?
When I do my routine people often think about it as a "floating ball" ^^
Here a are some moves (not a routine) I like to play with :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT_p7eRLppY
[/quote]
I always loved your work. I am working on using zombie with contact methods.
One additional method to achieve the transition from isolation moves to a "crowe-like" movement was the suction cup th**b gimmick which allowed for the movement away from the hand. This could be done with finger or th***.
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Jul 16, 2011 10:18AM)
Ian, the zombie could be done with the other tt or ft methods and I bet they could be orchestrated beautifully. PS: I enjoyed your video link :)
Autumn
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 16, 2011 10:36AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-16 11:18, Autumn Morning Star wrote:
Ian, the zombie could be done with the other tt or ft methods and I bet they could be orchestrated beautifully. PS: I enjoyed your video link :)
Autumn
[/quote]
Thanks Autumn,
I have been working with ball methods for 35 years. I never wanted to duplicate existing methods. The tt or ft gives you just the bit of extension needed to disassociate hand movement from ball action. The suction device was just a method of quick detachment in order to go into isolation moves.
The nice thing about the suction cup is that any non porous ball could be used then the standard hole could be incorporated as well for some of the Crowe moves.
------
The dilemma most magicians have is that a smooth orchestration is rough. You can do a quick move during a standard routine just for variation.
-------------
When I first did my ball effect (at Tannens camp for the inmates 1978), I started out with a cloth on the ball, then slowly removed the cloth (to gasps), then did the extra moves that were very unique back then. My device can be released and then do mime moves. I timed the un-veiling of the ball during a thunder cue on "eye of the tiger" music.
-----------
My ball does not use suction cups.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 16, 2011 11:07AM)
--As far as I know Raymond is the person to have worked so extensively on floating the ball without a gimmick, and I can’t imagine much being added to his work, as he says though, mime and acting training are a must along with being familiar with magic technique.

--The Viking Ball is the standard (used by Karson) four-inch ball. As I said he gets them from Italy. The ball has a very high shine (a good thing with the mime) and the **** goes deep and gets smaller as it recedes, so it should accommodate both th**b and f****rs, you don’t want too tight a grip though. The seam is tight on the Viking as well and it’s round (unlike some that are almost egg shape.) The one horrible thing is the gimmick, so just toss it away.

--The next best is the Owen Magic Supreme, it expensive. and is high quality. I believe they have five inch (or 4 1/2?) and seven inch (don’t get the seven it weights a lot.) I prefer the four inch I think they are more deceptive and logical for some reason, so I’d only get the Owen if you want the extra quality and size, and check about exact size first.)

--I have not seen the current R&T II as yet, however think that price is amazingly high. I’d have a very long talk with them before I spent that kind of money. I know the original R&T from twenty years ago was good (but not for that price) and when Jake owned R&T II I could have vouched for his quality, but he sold the company before he made this product.

--Abbotts who own the original patent on the ball, no longer manufacture them and carry the Morrissey for convenience sake.

--I am sure the Ickle Pickle balls are still made in India, they are smaller at 3 1/2 inches and don’t have as good a shine as others, twenty years ago they made a nice version themselves, but now they job them in.

--The balls made in India (which are not good) are at least better than the Morrissey balls, which are cheaply made, made incorrectly, and frankly embarrassing.

--A combination is often the most deceptive alternative, Jeb Sherrill in his 2 DVD Set “Zombie Reanimated” covers almost everything that can or will be done with the ball in an encyclopedic style, he’s charming and knowledgeable, and If you like Zombie, you really should have this set.

--As I mentioned, I had a preview copy of Raymond’s DVD and had no problem with my (no longer made) original Abbott’s ball, or the Viking, or the Owen, so I think you’d be okay there.

--This effect is so easy to do wrong and so hard to do right, but completely worth the work. I’d say with Raymond’s DVD and Jeb’s Set you’d have a lifetime of satisfying work.

Magically, Walt
Message: Posted by: Alexander Wells (Jul 16, 2011 11:31AM)
Raymond Crowe advocates using a plastic ball both for durability and a less visible seam.
I searched for dealer produced zombies but none fit the bill. In the end I bought a 140mm silver plastic Christmas decoration and modified it (using fimo and epoxy resin).
It's perfect.
Total cost under £5
The finish is comparable to Chrome. It's lighter than a metal ball and the size feels better. The seam on the metal balls spoil the fixed point illusion.
Make your own.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 16, 2011 11:46AM)
Wow! I don't have much to add, but where do I begin??

Just to play Devil's Advocate for a moment... I have seen the presentation section of Crowe's DVD, and was impressed. However, with the current popularity of the "As Seen on TV" Fushigi Ball, I'd say a savvy magician would need more than the gimmickless methods to impress an audience, as if they are PERFORMING MAGIC, and not just juggling. There are certainly portions of a gimmickless routine that defy the logic attributed to contact juggling, but I think they are perhaps a little too subtle. Magicians, familiar with all the above, would be able to recognize the differences much more quickly, and would therefore be more easily impressed. They would know "what can and cannot be done", so I fear their state of being impressed would be on a higher esoteric plane. A lay audience would be prone to more quickly associate all moves with what they are familiar with. Truth doesn't matter.

It goes back to that philosophy that magicians can know 90% of a method and still feel as if they don't know how something is done. A layman can discover 10% of a secret, and feel as if he knows it all. As usual, magicians are finding themselves guilty of thinking through their own eyes, and not those of the audience.

In my opinion, a MAGICAL routine, would need definitive elements that offer no doubts that the ball is floating in space, and disconnected from the magician. Otherwise, he is simply a juggler, albeit perhaps a good one. The standard Zombie methods can do this, as there is (or can be) a presumed disconnect, in spite of the cloth. The only better visual would be by use of th****.
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Jul 16, 2011 12:40PM)
Ian:

I saw you perform your "floating ball/ zombie" at Tannens magic camp in 1984 in near blackness in what was then the new theater at the Oaklawn Military Academy... You said THEN (28 years ago) that you were on the verge of releasing it.

It's never come out.

I can only assume that is because
a) you're the only one who can do it.. via real magical powers or something
b) you can't really do it at all and it's just camera trickery.. when it's live.. it's merely a projection
c) it's not practical.. and can only be performed in near dark and only under very special circumstances.

poop or get off the pot.

On an unrelated note.. I don't think that a plastic christmas ornament ball has enough weight for the momentum needed for contact juggling.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jul 16, 2011 02:07PM)
Even though many have seen the Fushigi Ball on TV, the numbers that have bought it is less. Granted there was a lot of people that bought it, the numbers will never equal the amount that saw it on television. With that being said, those that saw it, think that the secret is in the ball. I have a keen eye that can see like the audience can (at times) and even though I knew it was contact juggling, I figured the lay audience would assumed the ball took a life of its own. Why would they sell it otherwise? (Ha, ha if they only knew).

Of course, when they bought it and saw the work they would have to do with it, probably through it off to the side with their Sham Wow and Yoshi Blade.

I don't think they will equate what Crowe does as Contact Juggling. The memory of the audience is short on some things (but gosh darn it, they still remember that we use our sleeves to hide things).
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 16, 2011 02:21PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-16 13:40, makeupguy wrote:
Ian:

I saw you perform your "floating ball/ zombie" at Tannens magic camp in 1984 in near blackness in what was then the new theater at the Oaklawn Military Academy... You said THEN (28 years ago) that you were on the verge of releasing it.

It's never come out.

I can only assume that is because
a) you're the only one who can do it.. via real magical powers or something
b) you can't really do it at all and it's just camera trickery.. when it's live.. it's merely a projection
c) it's not practical.. and can only be performed in near dark and only under very special circumstances.

poop or get off the pot.

On an unrelated note.. I don't think that a plastic christmas ornament ball has enough weight for the momentum needed for contact juggling.
[/quote]
You got me,
a) I am probably the only one who can do it, but I discussed it with a guy named Jeff (forgot his last name- he has a zombie dvd out) and he was working on some moves as well with a similar gimmick.
b) no cameras
c) Is most correct, but it doesn't stop me from trying. I did it with very god lighting at the video show (which was in 2007), but I had good audience position, the video was shot from the side of the stage, so I darkened it.

I have released it to a few magicians. One guy was floating a gun in a 007 theme. Another floated a candle.
I am working on brighter lighting conditions with black art back drop and lights toward the audience.
-------------
I only mention my effect when zombie conversations arise on the Café and I get a lot of PM inquiries, so, it may seem excessive to some of the professional posters who follow zombie threads but I get what I need out of it.
Glad you were ther years ago.
---------
On a release note: I only sold through distributors years ago and was going to release it but Robbins already carried my "Spirit ball", and Tannens did not want to compete with Spina's astrosphere which looked similar. So, I shelved it and only take it out every 30 years or so.
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 17, 2011 04:44AM)
@lawrens: Thank you for your suggestion. I have, indeed, already thought about doing a few moves from contact juggling to convey the impression that the ball floats. I would like to try the mime techniques, as well, however. Just have to find a way to combine those two.

@Walt: Thank you very much for your PM and your help! That was more or less exactly the information I was hoping for. Much appreciated. (I guess, I'll order a ball today.)

@Michael: You may be right in that Crowe's routine might look more impressive to magicians than to laymen (if I understood your point correctly?). I admit, it might be easier to convey a "magical impression" (whatever that might be) with gimmicks that with a routine like Crowe's.
To me, however, there lies a certain poetic aesthetic in conveying the impression of magic by pure movement, i.e. mime. I don't care so much, if my audience knows how "it's done". If I can make them open up, so that they experience the magic, *even though* they know how it's done, I have achieved, what, to me, (magical) theater is all about.

@Ian (magicians): Your video is nice and your technique looks undeniably interesting. However, I was specifically asking for help with gimmick-less methods - and I did not just mean "standard-gimmick-less" methods.
In particular, I was interested in which balls are best suited for Crowe's technique (considering weight, size, d***h and w***h of the h**e and so on). While your method might use some very basic mime moves, as well, having seen your video has not really helped me find a suitable ball.
No offense, but it seems your postings have turned the thread into a discussion of gimmicks again. You wrote: "I mention my effect when zombie conversations arise on the Café and I get a lot of PM inquiries, so, it may seem excessive (...) but I get what I need out of it." I guess, that's what's called "thread hijacking": http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=thread%20hijacking
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 17, 2011 10:36AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-17 05:44, Marc Christopher wrote:


@Michael: You may be right in that Crowe's routine might look more impressive to magicians than to laymen (if I understood your point correctly?). I admit, it might be easier to convey a "magical impression" (whatever that might be) with gimmicks that with a routine like Crowe's.[/quote]

This is not exactly what I was saying. I think Crowe is an excellent magician. I don't necessarily think though, that everyone else is (although some are). In order to perform via these methods, at this level, one has to take the "magic" well beyond what the audience understands as commonplace. otherwise, there is no magic.

As I said, I was playing Devil's Advocate. The reason was simple... to encourage the magician not to stop thinking too soon. It is for exactly the same reason that many Zombie performances suck. Those magicians are incapable, or unwilling to put forth the effort to turn methods into magic.

[quote]
To me, however, there lies a certain poetic aesthetic in conveying the impression of magic by pure movement, i.e. mime. I don't care so much, if my audience knows how "it's done". If I can make them open up, so that they experience the magic, *even though* they know how it's done, I have achieved, what, to me, (magical) theater is all about.


[/quote]

Therein lies a fundamental difference... It is perfectly acceptable to entertain and impress an audience with movement, dance, juggling, or whatever "understandable" means may be employed. I am confident that your performances are that and perhaps more. However, such performances (with no direct reference to yours) while perhaps "magical" and beautiful, are by definition, performance art. It has always been my contention that "magic" requires mystery at its core. Magic defies logical and physical explanation. Worldly understanding must elude the observer.

From an audience's viewpoint, how something is done, and how it feels, while perhaps intertwined, are two completely different things.

A gimmickless ball routine can certainly be beautiful, But I feel that even the tiniest of glints that say without question that the ball is unnattached will do wonders for amplifying the "magic" of the rest of the routine. Methods that employ gimmicks, such as Zombie or Okito Ball, if used in combination, can tremendously augment a gimmickless routine and support the "magic". This would be true even if the gimmick method were employed only for a brief second. It has already been shown that ungimmicked methods (whether or not you consider the thumb a gimmick) can augment an otherwise gimmicked routine.
Message: Posted by: Alexander Wells (Jul 17, 2011 11:09AM)
[quote]

On an unrelated note.. I don't think that a plastic christmas ornament ball has enough weight for the momentum needed for contact juggling.
[/quote]

Quite right. Neither would a metal zombie. Crowe's routine doesn't involve body rolls, butterflies etc. It uses mime rather than what we think of as contact juggling.
Crowe says he uses a plastic ball for his routine.
If you did try to do contact juggling with a zombie you would give the game away...
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 17, 2011 01:38PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-17 11:36, Michael Baker wrote:
This is not exactly what I was saying. I think Crowe is an excellent magician. I don't necessarily think though, that everyone else is (although some are). In order to perform via these methods, at this level, one has to take the "magic" well beyond what the audience understands as commonplace. otherwise, there is no magic.
[/quote]

I totally agree.


[quote]
[quote]
To me, however, there lies a certain poetic aesthetic in conveying the impression of magic by pure movement, i.e. mime. I don't care so much, if my audience knows how "it's done". If I can make them open up, so that they experience the magic, *even though* they know how it's done, I have achieved, what, to me, (magical) theater is all about.
[/quote]

Therein lies a fundamental difference... It is perfectly acceptable to entertain and impress an audience with movement, dance, juggling, or whatever "understandable" means may be employed. (...) However, such performances, while perhaps "magical" and beautiful, are by definition, performance art. It has always been my contention that "magic" requires mystery at its core. Magic defies logical and physical explanation. Worldly understanding must elude the observer. (...)
[/quote]

Hmm, I see your point and to a certain degree I can agree to what you are saying. I don't want to take this rather philosophical discussion too far (not in this thread, at least), so let me say just this:

Dance, juggling, mime and other forms of performance art are really just that: performance art. I would definitely not put them on a level with what we call "magic". (And by saying this I do not want to belittle these performances.)
When I am saying that I don't care much if the audience knows "how it's done", I mean exactly that. I do not mean, however, that I don't want to use any secret techniques at all. Of course, I do. After all, obscuring the exact techniques for achieving a certain effect is exactly what sets magicians apart from, say, (contact) jugglers.
Nonetheless, I have to say, I really don't care much, if my audience happens to know my techniques (from books, the masked magician or whatever). I do not want to reduce "magic" to the secrets and gimmicks.

What is more, I feel that it is very difficult to make a "gimmicky" performance look "gimmick-less", no matter how expertly the gimmick is handled. I guess, I am okay with using, say, the Zombie gimmick very sparingly. Maybe as a "bonus" at the end of an otherwise purely gimmick-less routine.
But in general, I think, an intelligent audience will always attribute routines that seem "too magical" to "some unknown device". With performances based on movement, mime, (mis-)direction, focus etc. they at least give the performer credit for being the one who creates the magic.

But, again, I do not want to carry this too far. Maybe in another thread?
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 17, 2011 02:01PM)
Marc Christopher, I totally disagree with your comments in the above post. I can only say if you truly feel that way, perhaps you are in the wrong Internet forum altogether. Coming on a Magic forum and asking how to present a trick putting aside all the known advantages is puzzling and gutsy of you as well. Most magicians just work it out for themselves then prove their intention through winning a competition or giving a great performance.

In magic, we want our audiences to enjoy the presentation and at the same time wonder if what they are seeing is truly possible. That is where the mystery comes into play for magic.

Perhaps if you go to some magic conventions and witness professional magician from around the world perform you may get a chance to view a truly mystifying floating ball effect. I know I have, and it was delightful.
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 17, 2011 02:38PM)
@wmhegbli: I am not sure what provoked you to post such a harsh reply to what I have written.

As you might know, in magic there is usually more than one method for presenting an effect: some methods use gimmicks and gaffs, some don't. Take, e.g., the effect known as the "Invisible Deck": As you might know, the deck is gimmicked. But a lot of magicians have tried to achieve the same effect with an ordinary deck of cards. Would you also argue that these magicians are "putting aside all the known advantages" and that they, too, would be wrong in this forum?

I merely asked for help with finding a suitable ball for a routine by Raymond Crowe, whose work I find amazing. Mr. Crowe chose to use mime techniques for presenting an effect, which is usually performed with a gimmick. I do not know, what made Mr. Crowe develop a gimmick-less routine, but he did an amazing job, don't you think? So, what is wrong or "gutsy" in asking for help with that exact routine?

Finally, I would like to ask you not to take your arguments down to the personal level. You are implying that I'm inexperienced. Let me tell you that I have performed magic professionally for many years, been at a lot of conventions, witnessed a lot of professional magicians and participated in a few championships. But all of that is besides the point of this thread. So, let's keep that out of the discussions.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 17, 2011 03:41PM)
[quote]
... so let me say just this:

Dance, juggling, mime and other forms of performance art are really just that: performance art. I would definitely not put them on a level with what we call "magic". (And by saying this I do not want to belittle these performances.)
When I am saying that I don't care much if the audience knows "how it's done", I mean exactly that. I do not mean, however, that I don't want to use any secret techniques at all. Of course, I do. After all, obscuring the exact techniques for achieving a certain effect is exactly what sets magicians apart from, say, (contact) jugglers.
Nonetheless, I have to say, I really don't care much, if my audience happens to know my techniques (from books, the masked magician or whatever). I do not want to reduce "magic" to the secrets and gimmicks.

What is more, I feel that it is very difficult to make a "gimmicky" performance look "gimmick-less", no matter how expertly the gimmick is handled. I guess, I am okay with using, say, the Zombie gimmick very sparingly. Maybe as a "bonus" at the end of an otherwise purely gimmick-less routine.

But in general, I think, an intelligent audience will always attribute routines that seem "too magical" to "some unknown device". With performances based on movement, mime, (mis-)direction, focus etc. they at least give the performer credit for being the one who creates the magic.

But, again, I do not want to carry this too far. Maybe in another thread?
[/quote]

Your own words caused my comments. It sounds like you totally have no respect for the art of magic, or you don't understand what magic is and how it should be presented. I you want to go in another direction then magic, that is fine. This is not the forum for creating a new art form. I see it as disrespecting the art of Magic.

Your question on the ball was answered in the 1st few posts.

Oh, and I never heard of you, so sorry, but I don't know who you are and what you have accomplished.
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 17, 2011 04:14PM)
[quote]
Your own words caused my comments. It sounds like you totally have no respect for the art of magic, or you don't understand what magic is and how it should be presented. I you want to go in another direction then magic, that is fine. This is not the forum for creating a new art form. I see it as disrespecting the art of Magic.
[/quote]

First of all: Who are you to define with any authority "what magic is and how it should be presented"? If you have never met any magician who had a different opinion than you, I suggest you head over to the forum "Food for Thought", where a lot of knowledgable magicians discuss these and other questions.

I don't see how "creating a new art form" based on techniques from the "art of magic" could be seen as disprespecting that very art? But, in any case, I am not trying to do this.

I wrote: "I do not want to reduce magic to the secrets and gimmicks." How is this disrespectful? I am trying to use what I learned in illusionary mime and physical theatre to enhance what my audience experiences during my performances. And I really cannot think of a better way of showing my respect for the art of magic than trying to enhance it.
Or is there a limit as to how I am allowed to approach magic? Do I HAVE to use gimmicks to show my respect? Does Raymond Crowe not respect the art of magic?

Finally, yes, my question was indeed answered in the first few posts. However, Michael Baker offered some interesting thoughts to what I wrote. These I wanted to reply to.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 17, 2011 04:44PM)
You don't seem to stay on with what you are saying. It was your words and how you said it. So who are you to say these things. It is not my understanding of magic, it is documented history. Read Dariel Fitzkee trilogy.
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 17, 2011 05:08PM)
I cannot easily respond to you, if you don't tell me, what you mean. What is it exactly that I wrote that you find so disrespectful? What are you referring to by "these things" and who do you think I have to be to say them? What is "documented history" and how have I contradicted that history?

I did read Fitzkee. And many others.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jul 17, 2011 06:18PM)
If you are a good mime, you can use the stick with the zombie and make it look like real magic. It's all in the attitude. Please check out Tommy Wonder's take on it and you will change your mind. And also it will solve your problem. My mime teacher was not a magician, but everything he did looked like magic. He said his goal was not to create dance like moves, but to blow away the minds of the audience. He did this by creating the illusion so well that what he did looked real even though the audience knew there was nothing there. He attacked his techniques like a magician.
Message: Posted by: Brad Jeffers (Jul 17, 2011 10:30PM)
These plastic Zombie balls from Fab Magic look interesting http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-55079769872886_2163_91613167

Or how about http://Yardlover.com/silver-stainless-steel-gazing-ball These are stainless steel and come in a variety of colors. The turquoise stardust looks very attractive!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 17, 2011 11:19PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-17 14:38, Marc Christopher wrote:
I do not want to reduce "magic" to the secrets and gimmicks.[/quote]
Of course, neither do I! :)
[quote]
What is more, I feel that it is very difficult to make a "gimmicky" performance look "gimmick-less", no matter how expertly the gimmick is handled. I guess, I am okay with using, say, the Zombie gimmick very sparingly. Maybe as a "bonus" at the end of an otherwise purely gimmick-less routine.
But in general, I think, an intelligent audience will always attribute routines that seem "too magical" to "some unknown device". With performances based on movement, mime, (mis-)direction, focus etc. they at least give the performer credit for being the one who creates the magic.[/quote]
This is precisely why I think we are NOT on opposite sides of the fence here. This is not a matter of all or nothing. Please allow me to lay out an example...

Suppose a magician decided to create, or recreate a Zombie routine that relied on mime techniques to accomplish the illusion of a ball defying gravity. The audience would very likely surmise that the illusion was created by exactly the methods used... regardless of how much they enjoyed the routine, or "suspended disbelief", etc. This in itself is not a problem.

However to me, this presents the ideal opportunity and the best time to hand them a brief second that unequivocally destroys what they believe to be the truth. Nothing need be done overtly, but it must defy all logic up unto that point.

Let's assume that they are at a point where they have become accustomed to seeing the ball tossed from one hand to the other, only a few inches perhaps. But then, at the proper moment the ball is tossed but instead of the expected outcome, the ball travels those few inches in slow motion. This episode lasts but a mere 1 1/2 seconds, but forces the audience to completely doubt what they think they know. By then, the magician is back to the methods originally employed, i.e., no gimmick.

Such a routining technique would avoid the problem you mentioned of a "too magical" performance.
[quote]But, again, I do not want to carry this too far. Maybe in another thread?
[/quote]
If there is more to discuss. :)
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jul 18, 2011 02:45AM)
The idea of the non gimmick is not to be a purest. A gimmick may be the perfect solution if it does its job and that is fool the audience. The trouble with most people that do the zombie is that it looks like a ball on a stick. The object of the Naked Zombie is to use the ball with the hole principle and go one step further. You use your phalanges as the stick. It is shorter, but the benefits is that you get to remove the scarf that hides the stick. This can seem some time like a hindrance to the mystery.

Once again, going back to Tommy Wonder. Watch him do the Zombie. He bypasses this hindrance and makes it actually look like the ball is floating.

I don't understand why there is no Youtube video of Tommy Wonder doing the zombie with the ball. All they have is his FISM act where he floats a birdcage. However, there is one of Losander doing Tommy's floating ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ2us_lF4xo. I like his technique. This shows you that even the Zombie can be made to look like a floating ball.

The gimmick is designed different. You can see Tommy doing this on Zombie Ball DVD by L & L.

I feel if you combine both the Wonder ball and the Crowe Naked Zombie, you would have the perfect mystery.
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 18, 2011 05:16AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-18 00:19, Michael Baker wrote:

(...)
Suppose a magician decided to create, or recreate a Zombie routine that relied on mime techniques to accomplish the illusion of a ball defying gravity. The audience would very likely surmise that the illusion was created by exactly the methods used... regardless of how much they enjoyed the routine, or "suspended disbelief", etc. This in itself is not a problem.

However to me, this presents the ideal opportunity and the best time to hand them a brief second that unequivocally destroys what they believe to be the truth. Nothing need be done overtly, but it must defy all logic up unto that point.

Let's assume that they are at a point where they have become accustomed to seeing the ball tossed from one hand to the other, only a few inches perhaps. But then, at the proper moment the ball is tossed but instead of the expected outcome, the ball travels those few inches in slow motion. This episode lasts but a mere 1 1/2 seconds, but forces the audience to completely doubt what they think they know. By then, the magician is back to the methods originally employed, i.e., no gimmick.

Such a routining technique would avoid the problem you mentioned of a "too magical" performance.
[/quote]

I absolutely agree. This is also why I think we were never "on opposite sides of the fence". :)

In fact, the example you are giving perfectly illustrates how I like to treat gimmicks and gaffs in general. I just wish there was a way to achieve a very open "slow motion" movement without a cloth. Do you happen to know a technique?
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 18, 2011 06:15AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-18 03:45, mtpascoe wrote:
The idea of the non gimmick is not to be a purest. A gimmick may be the perfect solution if it does its job and that is fool the audience. The trouble with most people that do the zombie is that it looks like a ball on a stick. The object of the Naked Zombie is to use the ball with the hole principle and go one step further. You use your phalanges as the stick. It is shorter, but the benefits is that you get to remove the scarf that hides the stick. This can seem some time like a hindrance to the mystery.
[/quote]
I wouldn't go so far as to call the fingers a "gimmick" (as Ian did) or compare them to the "stick" normally used in the Zombie routines. But I basically agree to your thoughts.

Although mime techniques can create the illusion that the ball is floating freely, an observant spectator will naturally realize that the ball does not really float away form the hands. To me, this is not a disadvantage: It makes the effect believable and tightly links the routine to the performer. In that sense I would call it "pure". (And the fact that I can do away with the cloth or scarf adds to the "purity".)
I do see, however, the advantage of using a gimmick briefly, as in the example mentioned by Michael.

[quote]
Once again, going back to Tommy Wonder. Watch him do the Zombie. He bypasses this hindrance and makes it actually look like the ball is floating.
[...] There is [a video] of Losander doing Tommy's floating ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ2us_lF4xo. I like his technique. This shows you that even the Zombie can be made to look like a floating ball.
[...] I feel if you combine both the Wonder ball and the Crowe Naked Zombie, you would have the perfect mystery.
[/quote]
I have seen Tommy Wonder perform the Zombie ball and admire his technique (I don't like Losander's version so much). I also think, combining these two approaches would make a great routine. Personally, however, I would really like to work without a cloth.

In most Zombie routines, the cloth or scarf does not really make much sense. Why is it there in the first place? There certainly are routines, where the cloth is well motivated - the bird cage being a good example. Such routines, however, make it necessary to create a good (sometimes rather elaborate) setup for motivating something that has to be there for technical reasons. Personally, I like the simple and direct "floating ball" approach (without any elaborate or even story-like setup) better.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 18, 2011 06:31AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-18 06:16, Marc Christopher wrote:


In fact, the example you are giving perfectly illustrates how I like to treat gimmicks and gaffs in general. I just wish there was a way to achieve a very open "slow motion" movement without a cloth. Do you happen to know a technique?
[/quote]

Well, this is how most magic effects should be created! Imagine the effect, and then find a solution that achieves that end! This is a much better approach than beginning with a method in search of a trick (not that we were doing that!).

Having watched Ian's ball routine, I think he comes close to creating that illusion. Unfortunately, I think his method has severe limitations. These woefully point to suspected methods, which for me were somewhat confirmed by an ill-timed camera flash.

My next thought would be Okito techniques, which needn't be elaborate... just enough of a self-contained rig to complete the task before disappearing ahead of potential discovery.

I am then reminded of a profoundly unique manipulation act by Dr. Peter Gloviczki, who I would consider one of the world's magical geniuses. In his billiard ball sequence, he at one point placed the last ball on his arm near the shoulder, and it visibly "walked" along his arm, coming to rest in the final open space between his fingers. It was a beautiful moment in the act, and rarely do I ever witness something that to me conveys pure magic as this did. Of course I won't disclose his methods which he explained in one of his lecture notes, but suffice to say they were simple, yet elegant and brilliant.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 22, 2011 03:49PM)
The perfect Zombie has been created and Steven's Magic is selling it. With this on you hand out the Zombie ball for inspection to the audience. When an if the ball is passed back to the stage and handed to the performer, a Zombie routine commences. Then the ball is handed out to the audiences again.

A perfect ball with no seam, no holes. This is a wonder. So great. So perfect. To bad there is not a demo video.

http://www.stevensmagic.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=117&products_id=112772
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 22, 2011 04:10PM)
"When and IF the ball is passed back to the stage??? Ha-ha!!!

Magician: "Here."

Spectator: "Thanks... bye."
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Jul 22, 2011 04:31PM)
OOh! Very nice, Hegblini! I like that one so much I might have to have it! Luna Shimada also produces a beautiful ball that is amazing. Her routine is absolutely elegant. I don't have a link, but maybe someone can post it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 22, 2011 05:31PM)
There is no indication what the New Generation Zombie Ball is made of, plastic, aluminum, steel, latex or what.

There are just to many unanswered questions to purchase this without seeing it 1st hand. Anyone in Wichita, Kansas care to take visit to Stevens Magic and report back on what they seen in this new prop?
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jul 22, 2011 06:13PM)
Getting back to the original argument, does it have a magnet at the end so it can be used for the Naked Zombie?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 22, 2011 06:35PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 19:13, mtpascoe wrote:
Getting back to the original argument, does it have a magnet at the end so it can be used for the Naked Zombie?
[/quote]

The ad says no.
Message: Posted by: jazzy snazzy (Jul 22, 2011 07:10PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-22 18:31, wmhegbli wrote:
Anyone in Wichita, Kansas care to take visit to Stevens Magic and report back on what they seen in this new prop?
[/quote]

Right, and see if they have Zombie Polish to get rid of audience fingerprints.
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Jul 23, 2011 06:28PM)
Wmhegbli has missed the point... again.

It's a pretty floating ball, but is BY FAR not the perfect "zombie ball"..

The point of having a metal ball is to show a heavy object is defying gravity.

What's the point behind having a metal ball as your "zombie ball"? Because it's supposed to be HEAVY. That's why all the zombie balls to fire.. zombie ball to flowers... etc always seemed so out of touch to me. What was the point of a metal zombie ball if you're going to break it in half to show it was hollow? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

To pass a zombie ball out to the audience has the same issues. You're handing out a ball that doesn't weigh anything!!

I understand that doesn't give away the exact secret, but you're showing them that it's not metal and not heavy!

A REAL "zombie ball" should be metal.. should be as seamless as possible... and should have a finish like a STEEL BALL BEARING!! It should LOOK HEAVY!~

NOW.. I'm not saying that anything that is NOT that, is not a zombie ball.. but it's not what was INTENDED as a zombie ball. Skulls, candles, light up balls, bird cages et al. are floating objects.. but not really a "zombie ball."

The method seems as if it's one that's been on the tip of my (almost rhymes with tongue) years.. but I can't say that what's floating... always stays floating when weighed down with a cloth.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 23, 2011 07:22PM)
Do you have any references to back up your statements? Joe Karson did not mention any of your comments while inventing Zombie. Neil Foster, considered the premier expert on the Zombie and who invented the climaxes you mentioned did not present them as you described. He made them transformations. Not puzzles.

Dicky Deans Zombie to fire bowls is more of what you may be referring to, but Neil Foster made it a magical transformation.

Again, you did not detect my "tongue in check" post as it was written, and experienced manipulator would have understood my post.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 24, 2011 08:04AM)
Get real guys, Joe Karson used a 2 piece toilet ball float with a massively visible welded seam. As far as the split ball finale to flowers or fire. This came about as something that could be done with the seamed balls of yesteryear. When you get lemons, make lemonade.
The Crowe zombie is beautiful to watch (as a magician), handing out any prop is a waste of time. You can't let everyone touch it anyway.
Besides, once everyone looks at the perfect sphere, you can just switch it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 25, 2011 07:29PM)
When Abbott's was making the Karson Zombie, the balls did not come apart, they were sealed together. The video Tim Wright gives on his Zombie video shows Karson with a silver ball doing a quick Zombie action. He may have discovered as you say, but every idea starts somewhere. If it wasn't for that toliet float, we may not have the Zombie today.

I think this new Zombie may be just the thing for the magicians that need everything examined. They only have to do one trick in their show. Have each of the members of the audience examine the ball. Sounds very entertaining to me.

Oh, and switching would be cheating, is there a DVD on switching things. The new magicians cannot do anything without a DVD to show them how.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 25, 2011 09:56PM)
--I so totally agree than handing out or passing around a ball-- or any prop for that matter, is a waste of stage time, lags the pace, and is running when you’re not being chased.

Don’t pass a ball-- and don’t even feel guilty enough to switch it. Instead make Magic, perform the “impossible” don’t worry about proof. Your audience wants to believe more than they want to solve.

--The historical intent of the floating ball was to be a heavy object defying gravity, a near impossibility to the audience. A light object “somewhat defying gravity” is not nearly as theatrically sound.

--Now, I’m not certain if you are to be taken tongue in cheek again, or if you’re making a statement-- a smiley face symbol would so help to clarify these things-- I’ll have to assume the first, that your have tongue securely in cheek.

I do think the very early Abbotts balls were sealed, they were still in two half-spheres, as that’s the only way you can spin the metal, but they probably had a very tight sealed seam.

It was Neil Foster’s influence at Abbott, I think, that the split ball was manufactured, it was probably a tad easier to make, and he was using it to do his split “ball to spring flowers” finale by the mid-to-late 1950’s. (Though to me this looks like ball to colored crumpled tissue, not real flowers.)

--No muggle is going to care about your seam or your brand of toilet ball-- if they are transported by the Magic and not looking to evaluate your props.

All this talk about no gimmick-- what gimmick-- what came first the chicken the egg or the toilet ball-- sort of skirts the main issue: None of these props, none of these versions, is worth a rat’s-butt if the skill and theatricality is not there to produce a wondrous and enchanted moment in the act.

--Raymond Crowe produces such an effect-- Neil Foster produced such an effect (finale not withstanding.) Work to make your magic that effective first, then see if your version deserves the very best props available.

Walt
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 27, 2011 08:48AM)
Just in case anybody else is also looking for a suitable Zombie ball, I would like to give you a quick feedback as to what I received...


After Walt had suggested I try the Viking Zombie ball (thanks, Walt!) I ordered one about 10 days ago (this is what I ordered: http://www.vikingmagic.com/?nd=full&key=1274). I received the package today (I live in Europe, which is why it took a bit longer).

Quite frankly, I have to say, I'm happy to have ordered this ball. Not because it's so amazingly well crafted, however. No, I'm happy to have chosen this ball, because if this is really the best affordable version out there (apart from the RNT2, which costs a small fortune), I don't even want to know what the others look like.

I realize I'm being a bit unfair now. The Viking ball looks nice and seems reasonably well crafted. Unfortunately, the two halves were separated and also quite a bit bent, when they arrived, so that I had to carefully bend them back to fit the halves together... but that was a minor problem.

I was surprised, however, that no matter how hard I tried to make the halves fit well together, the seam remained clearly visible. Now, I really don't care much, if there is a visible seam or not. I firmly believe that when performing a Zombie routine, good acting and mime technique is far more important than that stupid seam. What is more, I realized later on (when I entered the room where I had positioned the ball) that the seam can't even be seen well from, say, five meters away. So, for all practical purposes that shouldn't be a problem.

Nonetheless, considering the amount I had paid I would have expected the seam to look a bit nicer. If it's true that the Morrissey ball is even worse, I would think they it's really really bad.

I also would have hoped the hole to be a bit deeper. Admittedly, I found I can control the ball quite well with my second finger. (It's a bit to wide for my third finger, though. Unless I stick it in quite deeply.) The hole is only about 1cm deep, however. I guess, a deeper hole would make the work a bit easier and would also allow me to use different fingers.


The bottom line for me is that for the routine I have in mind the ball is alright. It's not the expensive, beautiful, flawless silver ball that I would have wished for. But it's okay. And for the money I can really recommend it.


P.S.: As a sidenote: Someone mentioned that we have to live with the fact that there really is no way to make those seams invisible, as this is how the balls are made. I have to say I doubt that:

There is a well-known company in Austria (called WMF; I don't know if this company is known outside Europe) which mainly sells kitchen appliances and cooking utensils. In one of their shops I recently found some really beautiful silver balls (made from aluminium). They are virtually flawless, have no visible seams, are really really cheap and come in many different sizes. The only thing that prevents them to be used for Zombie routines is that they don't have a hole.
Admittedly, I haven't done any research - but I would think it can't be too expensive to have somebody put a hole in these balls...

I wonder: Why is it that normal, everyday objects, suddenly become so much more expensive as soon as they are sold to magicians?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 27, 2011 10:44AM)
I found WMF website, but have not been able to find the balls you mentioned. Can you give any more info?
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 27, 2011 02:43PM)
I'm sorry it came bent, I'm sure George would exchange it for a non-bent one that might fit tighter.

Yep, other than R&T or Owen (and their seams show as well) that's the best of the affordable balls. The Viking seam is not as tight as it could be, but not as bad as the other commercial ones, even the Abbotts was quite visible. I can't even comment on the new R&T ball but I doubt the seam is invisible. The depth in mine is about one-inch. And the polish has enough shine that the seam vanishes from about six feet.

I've seen non-seam balls, but they've been light stainless steel, and I don't believe they're spun, but molded. I've not seen any in the USA as light as a zombie ball, they've been at least twice the weight, and I don't know a clean or practical way of gimmicking them, if you figure it out, put a post in the Secret Sessions area later.

It is a shame that in the "tradition" of magic makers, few have been willing to offer extremely high quality when it comes to specialized and difficult to make props such as these, I for one would pay the price.

Thanks for the feedback post,
Walt
Message: Posted by: Marc Christopher (Jul 27, 2011 03:53PM)
@Michael: I checked the WMF website and couldn't find the balls, either. I found them in one of their shops, really cheap, and bought a few of them in two different sizes.
To be honest: I am not perfectly sure, if they are really aluminium. They could be stainless steel. But they look great and I really can't feel any difference in weight, compared to the Viking Zombie ball.

These balls are not from WMF, but from what I can see in the picture they seem to be quite similar:
http://www.neckermann.de/Silberkugel%2022%20cm/5100148_3439129,de_DE,pd.html
and
http://www.hood.de/angebot/41821345/3x-edelstahlkugel-deko-schwimmkugel-rosenkugel-kugel.htm
They are about 20$, mine were a bit cheaper.


@Walt: Thank you for the feedback. I know a few craftsmen here in Vienna and plan to visit them soon. If they come up with a good solution for gimmicking the balls, I will let you know, for sure.


Thanks again for your help.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 27, 2011 06:12PM)
Thanks for the links. The translation says they are steel.

What is the general purpose of these things? I may try to locate something locally.
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Jul 27, 2011 07:42PM)
I have a bunch of hollow steel balls... they can't be used as Zombies as they are too heavy.. I'm glad they were $3.00 each on sale. Now they decorate my living room.

Wack-o-Magic has been doing preliminary (as in a year or more from now) research into a more perfect zombie ball.. with details that I've mentioned to Alan Z at Owen.. and his first comment was "I'd never thought of that." It made me proud.. and frustrated that sometimes you don't' need to think outside the box.. you just need a new perspective.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 27, 2011 10:51PM)
So sorry to hear your Zombie was not satisfactory. I believe Viking Magic has gone the way of many magic dealers and importing India products and not informing the purchaser. I believe this because I ordered a well known Viking Product and it turned out to be made in India and not by Viking craftsman.

If I was to purchase a Zombie Ball, I would have went with Ickle Pickle LaGrande Zombie Ball before I would go with many of the others on the market. Why, because Ickle Pickle is sort of a spin off of the original Rings & Things Company. As I have heard that the tooling and some of the Craftsman R&T used during their 'in business' days, was purchased by Ickle Pickle Products Company, located in the same geographical location.

The R&T Zombie was made with a sharp lip so the seam was next to perfect. So I would select this model to take a chance on sight unseen purchases. The promotional picture shows the ball as dull, but the copy says is it shiny, so which is true I currently don't know. Even so, if it was not polished, it is a simple matter to shine the ball up with Jeweler's Rouge and a buffing wheel.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 27, 2011 11:17PM)
Sorry forgot the retail picture of Ickle Pickles product. And would you believe, http://www.hocus-pocus.com currently has a 30% sale on this item. It is an American made product and getting a discount, wonders never cease.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 28, 2011 08:04AM)
[quote]It is a shame that in the "tradition" of magic makers, few have been willing to offer extremely high quality when it comes to specialized and difficult to make props such as these, I for one would pay the price.

Thanks for the feedback post,
Walt[/quote]
When I lived in the NY area, I would travel to the Javetts center merchandise show. I would meet with Bob Little, Dushek, and sometimes see Petrik at the show. We each go down different isles and come back with objects that could be applied to magic. I mention this, because the silver sphere we seek is sometimes a product that is already being made. Rather than have the expense of tooling up a metal spinner, we find a ball in a display shop, furniture maker, or ornament company. This explains the mediocre but passable zombie balls seen in the lower price ranges. Canal street was another great source for magic applications.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 28, 2011 10:11AM)
I must disagree on several points, as a performer who actually owns almost all versions of the floating ball:

--Marc did not say the ball was “not satisfactory” in fact he said it was fine, but had a bit of shipping damage and that it was not a perfect product.

Viking does NOT get their balls from India. Without knowing that fact it is sad to begin a rumor. The are made and imported from Italy, and George then does a quality control check so only the best ones are sold.

--The Ickle Pickle ball was once very good, and as you say, one similar, to the old R&T one, but please buy the new one to check your current facts.

--It now has a sheen rather than a mirror polished surface. Due to the way it is finished, jeweler’s rouge definitely will not bring the ball up to where it should be.

--There is as noticeable seam in the Pickle, as in any other current ball, as you can see in their own photo, due to the more matt finish the seams appear more visible to me as well.

--IMHO for the list price of about $50 it is no better or worse than other versions on the market. You can compare the Viking and Pickle on their site photos which are quite representative of the respective products.

My two-cents,
Walt
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 28, 2011 12:01PM)
Was the ne-generation zombie discussed? hocus pokus magic.
"This is the next generation of zombie! Over two years in the making, this zombie ball can be inspected BEFORE and AFTER your performance. The only thing your spectators will see is a beautiful silver sphere.

As a matter of fact, with this new approach to the zombie you will not be limited to only floating a sphere. You can also float a Cell Phone, a cup, a can, etc.

The freedom to float other items is great for anyone wanting to do something different. This will leave you open for a wide Varity of presentation possibilities. Everything you need to get started is included in the price.

Unlike most zombie balls on the market, this beautiful sphere;
Does NOT come apart
Does NOT have those ugly seems
Does NOT have a hole in it
Does NOT use Magnets
Does NOT use sticky stuff
Does NOT use thread, or string
Best of all, this Is NOT a balloon...

Includes:
1 Zombie Ball
1 Gimmick
Foulard"
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Jul 28, 2011 12:12PM)
Ian..

go back and read the thread.. this was discussed at some lenght in the middle of the now incredibly hijacked and off topic thread.

My repsonse to it is just below that..


and the rest is interesting.. but completely off topic.

Winnebago tends to do that to threads.. even when they start to lead to interesting places..

This thread should be locked as it seems to be unfixably off topic.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Jul 30, 2011 10:24AM)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zgNz6VZPtU&feature=related
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Jul 30, 2011 10:41AM)
Charlotte Pendragon now opens the second act of her show with this,
not a zombie, nor ungimmicked, she still does a nice job with it.
Yeah, let's lock this topic, I agree.
Walt
Message: Posted by: Mattia (Aug 21, 2011 07:45AM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-15 12:28, Marc Christopher wrote:
Hi all,

I have to say, I've always hated the Zombie ball. I guess I have seen too many bad performances that looked like... well, a ball on a stick. ;) Funnily, the thought never occurred to me that that same routine could be done well... without any gimmick... purely by mime techniques.
Then I saw Raymond Crowe. And after so many years that routine finally got me fascinated. I have a strong background in mime and acting myself and still happen to hate the "gimmicky" version. So, I would definitely like to work on a gimmick-less routine similar to Crowe's.

I have been reading a lot about the Zombie here in the Café and have looked at a lot of sites selling different versions of the ball: Uday, Vernet, Viking, Morrissey, Rings N Things, Ickle Pickle... (am I missing any brands?). Unfortunately, most threads at some point turn to the Zombie gimmick.

But which of these makes is best suited for Raymond Crowe's routine? I read that the Morrissey ball is not so well suited (supposedly, the hole is too shallow). Is that true? The TNR ball, on the other hand, seems okay, supposedly. The latter is quite expensive, however. What about Viking and Ickle Pickle?

Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Marc
[/quote]

Tommy Wonder said:"Unfortunately Zombie ball is very easy to do...bad". I think it's not a bad trick at all,but too many bad performances ruined it a bit.
Personally I worked on Zombie for many years,and now I'm proud to say that I have a very good and entertaining zombie ball routine. Audience loves it. Regarding Your question,I think that the best zombie to use in this case should be about 4 inches in diameter:not too big(hard to handle) and not too small(difficoult to see in a big theatre),very light to be lifted easily and absolutely dent-proof.
My advice is to go to a magic shop and try them all. When You find one with approximately these charateristics,buy it.
Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Alexander Wells (Aug 21, 2011 10:29AM)
If the zombies on the market don't fit your requirements, why not make one from a suitable ball?
Doesn't anyone have a drill or a Dremel?
It doesn't take Tommy Wonder levels of engineering skill to make the necessary adaptations.
I frequently find that I have to make my own props for my act when the marketed items are not suitable or don't exist.
Surely this is part of the fun of being a magician?

Make one!

Neal
Message: Posted by: Mattia (Aug 23, 2011 08:08AM)
Neal is right. I made some zombies with christmas balls. You can choose size,colours,wheight and whatever You want!
Message: Posted by: ThatsCool (Mar 3, 2012 10:56PM)
Any info about this at all?

ZOMBIE , NEXT GENERATION.
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 4, 2012 06:37PM)
I wrote to Viking about their $45 imported zombie and asked about the size of the female part and if it was similar to the diameter of a nickel, which would work with my big hands. The answer was yes. And I was in the garden department at Walmart, they have some nice gazing balls with magic potential. So many balls, so little time.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Mar 4, 2012 07:16PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-03 23:56, that'sCool wrote:
Any info about this at all?

ZOMBIE , NEXT GENERATION.
[/quote]

Yes there is a forum for this ball. Do a search.
Message: Posted by: ThatsCool (Mar 7, 2012 06:12PM)
[quote]
On 2012-03-04 20:16, wmhegbli wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-03-03 23:56, that'sCool wrote:
Any info about this at all?

ZOMBIE , NEXT GENERATION.
[/quote]

Yes there is a forum for this ball. Do a search.

I did and nothing came up.

Thanks for the suggestion :)
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Mar 25, 2012 08:16AM)
At risk of returning to the original topic, if you're interested in another foulardless, (though not gimmickless) zombie method, you might check out the second volume of my Zombie Re-Animated DVDs. The method is similar to Ian's, but you can go directly into a regular zombie routine afterwards, if you so choose.

Raymond Crowe and I are good friends and I highly recommend his aforementioned Naked Zombie DVD. I use parts of it in my own routine.

Interestingly, the link Ian mentioned above is also from my second DVD, though I think her performance is beautiful and I'm very glad to see someone using it. She didn't include the gimmick kicker at the beginning, but perhaps it's for the best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zgNz6VZPtU&feature=related

Also, if anyone is interested, I will be doing a Zombie workshop during the Abbott's convention this year.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=459033&forum=31&2


Jeb
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Mar 25, 2012 11:42PM)
Jeb is the man!
If you can see him lecture live-- just do it!

His DVD set is encyclopedic in nature and just fantastic. If you know of me, you know I'm a fanatic on this topic, and my hat's always off to Jeb.

His handling along with Crowe’s leave nothing else to be desired in a non-gimmick performance.

(and FYI the New Generation is pure horse-pucky in my opinion.)

Magically,
Walt
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Sep 27, 2012 09:19PM)
Very nice, Lawrens! Very magical!


[quote]
On 2011-07-16 06:50, Lawrens Godon wrote:
@Marc Christopher :
Have you considered trying some contact juggling move ?
When I do my routine people often think about it as a "floating ball" ^^
Here a are some moves (not a routine) I like to play with :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT_p7eRLppY
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Sep 27, 2012 10:36PM)
I have discovered the best Zombie ball for gimmicked or gimmick-less routines. Unfortunately this quest requires the minds of our greatest scientists, millions of dollars, thousands of lives, and a NASA-like research and development effort. But for YOU faithful readers, and well everyone else on the Internet, I will disclose all.

First, get the 4, 6, or 8 inch gold or silver Dream Zombie from Fab Magic. Then throw away the supplied foulard and gimmick. Replace the rubber grommet with a one-inch office desk cable grommet. This will require some dremmel work and a little paint, but then you will have the world's best ultra light Zombie with a proper size hook up!

Then rebuild your own gimmick from scratch. This will take maybe two years, but the results will be well worth the effort. For the foulard try expensive patterned silks with an opaque cloth sewn to the other side, OK I admit this is about as hard as getting the ball right, send me a PM if you lose all hope.

And then you're done!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Oct 2, 2012 10:07PM)
Just found this possible chrome ball for possible use, if you care to make the adjustments yourself. They are only 3.54" and 2.87".

http://www.larocks.com/magic/ball_magic.htm
Message: Posted by: magicians (Oct 3, 2012 08:22AM)
[quote]
On 2012-10-02 23:07, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Just found this possible chrome ball for possible use, if you care to make the adjustments yourself. They are only 3.54" and 2.87".

http://www.larocks.com/magic/ball_magic.htm
[/quote]
That seems a bit heavy, itsays its the same as an acrylic ball. That's three times the weight or more of a standard ball. The Christmas ornament balls (5") is what I used to make my zombies out of and so does Fab magic.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Oct 3, 2012 09:24AM)
I posted the reference for the Crow handling, that is what this thread is about, notice the title at the top.

It would also be a good "proof" for the zombie routine at the end. Drop it on the floor. Someone may be interested.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Oct 3, 2012 06:38PM)
[quote]
On 2012-10-03 10:24, Bill Hegbli wrote:
I posted the reference for the Crow handling, that is what this thread is about, notice the title at the top.

It would also be a good "proof" for the zombie routine at the end. Drop it on the floor. Someone may be interested.
[/quote]
OOps, I posted on the wrong zombie thread. There were two others and I didn't read the start comment/