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Topic: Which Zombie to buy...?!
Message: Posted by: magicsam (Jun 19, 2004 01:27PM)
I recently bought 'Magic on Stage #3 by Jeff McBride' for the purpose of the dancing cane explanation.

However, it also describes the zombie ball, and different moves with it. I have been looking to buy a zombie ball with a foulard, but have not yet seen one that looks as good as the one Jeff McBride uses on his videos. Can anyone point me towards what brand of zombie ball Jeff uses, and where I can get it from?!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jun 19, 2004 01:42PM)
The best zombie balls and zombie gimmicks are sold by General Grant magic. He simply has the best you can get out there and he is an awesome guy and teacher.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 19, 2004 02:16PM)
Save your money if you want something MORE MAGICAL, unbelievable in the way of floating, and get Losander's Floating Table.
Message: Posted by: Philipp K (Jun 19, 2004 03:12PM)
Pete ,
sure the Tables from Dirk are great . But ... it would take me (17) about 3 years of saving all my money to be able to purchase one , of course if I wouldn't "work" as a magician and teacher (non magic) on the side (I've allready got one of Dirk's tables). And to me it seems that Sam is just a teen like me .
Besides , I'm still using a modified Zombie Routine in my full-evening shows , and I really have to say .. I like my Zombie-routine more than my floating-table-routine .
It's because of the possibilities a Zombie has : appearing , vanishing , transforming ... these are effects you normally wouldn't or couldn't do with a table , unless you are an illusionist .

For the beginning I would stronlgy recommend to buy a Zombie and just get in touch with the art of floating an object without a thread . After that I'll second , a Losander Table is a big one .

And Sam ,
if your new to magic or the Zombie , don't go for the best thing you can possibly find unlees you really know your going to perform the Zombie in your act/show .

Ciao , bye and tschüss
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Jun 20, 2004 11:50AM)
[quote]but have not yet seen one that looks as good as the one Jeff McBride uses on his videos[/quote]

You obviously haven't seen Losander work with the zombie, it looks SO convincing that the ball is alive. What about Neil Foster's routine? It's excellent too, much better than the one on magic on stage.

Research more than one man's routine, Sam. It will be more beneficial.
Message: Posted by: magicsam (Jun 20, 2004 02:39PM)
Thanks for the help.
Kevin, I re-read my earlier post, and it was a bit misleading! I meant that the actual zombie ball that Jeff McBride uses was the best I have seen around.

I am sure that there are better performers at the zombie ball than him, but was just interested in what brand the zombie ball he used was!!!

Kyle, do you know where I can find out more about General Grant magic, and where I can find the zombie ball that he sells?

Thanks for the help.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Jun 21, 2004 07:33PM)
After owning several through the years, the one I have now (5") is the best one I've seen...got it from Morrissey:


Take a look, see if this is what you're looking for...

Hope this helps!

Message: Posted by: wikiro (Jun 22, 2004 07:07AM)
Does anyone know where to get the curve gimmick for the zombie Jeff uses or is there a Zombie package that includes it? If there is any better solutions out there other than the gimmick Jeff uses what are they and where can you get them?
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Jun 22, 2004 07:11AM)
The curve can be added to the standard zombie gimmick. I like Losander's zombie gimmick as it creates a much better illusion, however, arm balances etc. can't be done with his.

So both gimmicks have advantages and disadvantages.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jun 22, 2004 08:50AM)
I also know that Tommy Wonder has a great idea and set up for his zombie as well and I think he covers off on it in his Books of Wonder.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 22, 2004 05:29PM)
If you plan to do anything serious with the Zombie, please read Al Schneider on Zombie. He was one of the first to use the curved gimmick. His thinking on the zombie is some of the best.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jun 22, 2004 05:41PM)
Encore Magic sells the Losander gimmick for $20.


Go to:


for the Zombie video. I think his is a curved gimmick.

Only other choice is to bend it yourself. Extra gimmicks can be purchased from


If you want to wait to see if Rings and Things II will start making their Zombie balls again or you can contact them. They were the best. Morrissey's is very good also. They come apart, where some models do not.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jun 22, 2004 09:33PM)
RNT2 will be at SAM National in St. Louis as I will be. I plan to talk with them and see what is up with the new company. I did have a chance to talk with Sandy Byrne last summer at Midwest Magic. She is always such a pleasant lady.

I would not worry about getting a used Zombie at an auction to play around with. They always said to practice over the bed to prevent the dings in the ball from dropping it on the floor.

I have seen Zombie still play well in the real world. No not for magicians but real people. With the right movement and acting, and more acting, the ball takes on a life of it's own. Dale Salwak does a very good routine as does Maverick who was a protégé of Neil Foster.

But I agree with Phillip to see if it will fit your act before spending a lot of money on a zombie.
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Jun 23, 2004 02:17AM)
Losander's gimmick is a little more complex that the typical curved gimmick. It allows all your fingers to be seen, and both hands at rest, yet the ball continues to animate. It is a great illusion!
Message: Posted by: magicsam (Jun 23, 2004 04:06PM)
Thanks for the help! Encoremagic sells the losander gimmick for the zombie, and I am thinking of buying this with the video. Which zombie balls would fit this gimmick, and are any specially made for it? Do you know roughly what size zombie ball Jeff McBride uses in his 'Magic on Stage' videos?!
Thanks again for the help.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jun 23, 2004 04:16PM)
Buy the Losander zombie video . He shows you on the video how to make his modification to the gimmick. All you need is a pair of pliers and a standard gimmick. If you have money to burn the gimmick pre-made by Encore will save you some time . (but you don't need it if you buy the Losander video and already have a standard gimmick )

The end of the gimmick that attaches to the ball is standard for most any zombie ball on the market.
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Jun 24, 2004 02:02AM)
Sam it doesn't really matter which size McBride uses... yo use a size which is comfortable for you!! For sake of completeness, it is around 4.5"
Message: Posted by: magicsam (Jun 28, 2004 01:05PM)
I know that it may not be that important, but what does everyone else prefer, a gold or silver ball?!
Thanks for the help.

P.S. Would the losander gimmick fit the morrisey balls which were mentioned earlier?
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jun 28, 2004 03:46PM)
On 2004-06-28 14:05, magicsam wrote:
P.S. Would the losander gimmick fit the morrisey balls which were mentioned earlier?

Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Jun 28, 2004 05:47PM)
David is correct, I can justify him. I use the Losander gimmick with a morrissey ball.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ram (Jun 29, 2004 12:47PM)
The zombie effect is one of magics illusions which could be performed even if the audiance has an idea how its done.

Its such a gracefull routine if done right.

As said by an earlier post its about acting. choreography , mime , movement and dance skills might help also in your body coordination.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jun 29, 2004 12:54PM)
For those who are interested click [url=http://www.hocus-pocus.com/static/clips/zombiea.rm]HERE[/url] to see Dirk Losander performing his standard zombie ball routine. This is the basic routine he teaches on his video and on the video he also shows you how to make his modified gimmick. One of the great things you can learn in watching Losander is how he creates a disconnect between himself and the ball by keeping his hands/wrists very still when the ball moves , and also how he constantly maintains very deep "valleys" in the cloth covering the ball , so the way the cloth hangs off the ball does not show any straight lines from the ball to his hand . This is very important. Many performers are not careful about this detail and they stretch the cloth taut over the ball so that the folds don't hang down , and there is too much of a straight line from the ball to the hand and it makes it look like the hand is manipulating the ball. Losander's use of the deep folds in the cloth help to sell the floating action of the ball. Losander's "covering move" is great , where the ball is up on the edge of the cloth, then he pulls the cloth up and over the ball to cover it. During this move the ball appears to hang in space , not moving, while the cloth is drawn up and over to cover it . Master that move and you're on your way to a very convincing floating ball.

A lot of the moves come from Al Schneider's book "Al Schneider on Zombie" via Tommy Wonder who mastered Schneider's zombie moves and taught them to Losander . Losander in turn has boiled down the moves into a very elegant routine with a very convincing illusion of floating. The acting and the body language are still 95% of the illusion, but Losander's modified gimmick does help. Watch the initial rise of the ball from the pedestal : Losander's hands are very still while the ball rises up. You can't do that with a standard zombie gimmick.
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (Jul 3, 2004 12:28PM)
I own two 8" Owen Zombie Balls. I ordered a unbent gimmick and made my own Losander style gimmick. You can also put a bend in the regular gimmick to allow deeper valleys in the cloth and reduces the appearance of those pesky straight lines. I have also heard Gen. Grant makes a great Zombie and gimmick, and it's probably a tad less expensive than the Owen.
Message: Posted by: PyroJeffNic (Jul 4, 2004 12:04AM)
Get a morressy zombie. Morressy and the General came up with them years ago and they are fantastic
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Jul 4, 2004 05:53AM)
Excellent post David!

NOTE TO EVERYONE: Read David's post, it is vital if you perform/ever consider performing the zombie. He has pin pointed [b]why[/b] Losander's routine looks so magical.

Thanks David!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 4, 2004 03:22PM)
As far as Gold or Silver. It all depends on the mood you which to give. Silver is cold and gold is warm. I have seen gold items used in magic acts. It takes a lot of lighting to show off the gold to good effect, like a spot light.

More silver is sold because dealers do not carry the gold as a standard item.
Message: Posted by: E.J. Krucsil (Jul 9, 2004 09:01PM)
If you are just starting out with a zombie, I would suggest purchasing a practice one from ebay. It is economical and this way you can ding it up and have fun with it. I have several zombies and I think an important thing to consider is the size of the ball and the weight. The standard gimmick can wreak havoc on your hand, especially during early marathon practice sessions, when you're getting a feel for it. One of the coolest things I've seen is the flash finale vanish, which is a modified gimmick, battery powered to ignite flash paper, available from Theatre FX. When you come in for a landing you can vanish the ball in a flash of fire, and ditch it behind your table. Like McBride says, it's really more like puppetry than magic; you have to give it life, let it breathe, give it personality. Correctly done it is the stuff of dreams - wrongly performed it is a ball on a stick. Just some thoughts....
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 9, 2004 09:31PM)
I attached a hook on my gimmick and at the end of the routine hung the G on the back of my leg until I could re-get and ditch.
Message: Posted by: Michael Taggert (Jul 9, 2004 10:08PM)
I prefer a silver ball which matches all the props I have in the show. It also seems to catch the light a little better. I use a g*****k designed by a friend of mine and I make myself. I do not need a bend for the routine I do but in my old routine I did have a bend. I like the feel of the Morrisey ball as that is the one I learned with. Yes, get two: one for performance and on for practice but be sure they are identical. Also do finger strenghtening exercises; you'll be glad you did once you get the hang of it. The zombie is one of my audience's favorites and I can always hear the "wow" from the crowd. I get sponatneous applause throughout the routine. It's a great routine if done properly. Good luck.
Message: Posted by: davidmagic (Jul 10, 2004 08:45PM)
Just a note of caution- the Losander gimmick sold by Encore is the one he does zombie with, but IS NOT the same as the Wonder/Losander sphere. Just a note in case someone was confused.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 19, 2004 12:43AM)
If you use Al Schneider's method, you will probably NEVER drop the ball. It cannot fall off the gimmick.