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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Best Zombie ball for gimmick-less routine? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Marc Christopher
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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. Smile 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
Bill Hegbli
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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_s......match=on
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
mtpascoe
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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.
Marc Christopher
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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?
Bill Hegbli
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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.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
SpellbinderEntertainment
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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
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
magicians
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Mine method will work with any zombie ball.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dngkNbjkQRo
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Autumn Morning Star
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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.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
SpellbinderEntertainment
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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
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
Autumn Morning Star
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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. Smile
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Lawrens Godon
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@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
magicians
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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.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
magicians
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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

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***.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Autumn Morning Star
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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 Smile
Autumn
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
magicians
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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 Smile
Autumn

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.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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--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
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
Alexander Wells
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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 Ł5
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.
Michael Baker
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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****.
~michael baker
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makeupguy
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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.
mtpascoe
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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).
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