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Zombie Ball (World's Greatest Magic) Review

Official Review

March 31st, 2007 5:36pm
Rating:
Reviewed by Dan Mindo
In the 1970’s it seemed that every magic event I attended included at least one kid performing the Zombie Ball. Most of the time it was not a very magical performance. Therefore I never felt a desire to attempt it myself.

Now L & L Publishing has released “Zombie Ball” under their World’s Greatest Magic series. This is the first time I have viewed a DVD in this series. The basic concept is: Take a subject, in this case the Zombie Ball, and put together a DVD of material from their vast library. I think this is a great idea. Far too often we buy a magic DVD with six or seven effects that are explained poorly. With this series they take material from several performers on one subject. Apparently they did not have a plethora of material on the Zombie Ball but what they had was enough.

It begins with Al Schneider’s very competent performance of the Zombie, a short routine that hits on most elements of the classic Zombie Ball routine. While the lines Mr. Schneider uses during his routine are not my cup of tea his skill with the Zombie is evident. This is followed by Mr. Schneider’s explanation as he guides us through his routine and Al is a likable guide.

The meat of the tape is the teaching session by Jeff McBride. Jeff takes us a bit deeper into the Zombie Ball routine with an in-depth tutorial of the Zombie that is not only fun to watch but shows us how magical it can look when performed correctly. Some of the material Jeff covers includes: Gimmicks and ball, quick start opening, floating technique, the cradle, the arm balance, around the arm, around the back & neck, Zombie vanish & reproduction, beginning & ending your routine and the bare handed float. During this segment Mr. McBride showcases his skill as one of magic’s great teachers.

After watching these two segments of the DVD I felt that I could finally learn how to perform it properly!

The DVD ends with a segment that features the late Tommy Wonder. Tommy shares with the viewer his initial disdain for the Zombie and then his surprise at being won over by it after reading a book by the aforementioned Al Schneider. He then goes on to explain his improvement to the gimmick and the motivation behind it. This is great stuff and after watching Mr. Wonder describe his changes to the gimmick I began to view the Zombie as more than just a ball on a stick but something that given the right amount of work and study could be very magical.

I must admit that I enjoyed this DVD although I wish there was more performance video on it. If you are interested in learning the Zombie Ball then there is plenty to see here and you can pick and choose from the work of several performers that have made the Zombie their own.

4 Stars

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Zombie Ball (World's Greatest Magic)

Author: Various
Publisher: L&L Publishing
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $19.95
Buy Now
Manufacturer's Description:

Imagine the best magic, the best magicians, and the best producers all in one place.

Imagine no more...

The Secrets of Zombie Ball
Learn a classic of card magic that your audience will remember forever.

If you could have one set of magic DVDs, this would be it! This benchmark collection features just about all of magic's most enduring and classic effects and routines. It's a fabulous compendium with many of the top masters in the world of magic teaching their handlings and routines for some of magic's classics. Linking rings, sponge balls, metal bending, cups and balls, thumb tips, Zombie, color-changing knives, and many, many more topics are all gathered in this one terrific DVD reference set. Each volume covers a specific subject and features new, old, and sometimes rare footage by some of the top video producers in magic.

It's been said that while others saw a block of marble, Michelangelo saw the figure of David. Similarly, Joe Karson saw a vision of a floating ball in a plumbing fixture and subsequently created one of the most popular magic tricks ever.

What makes Zombie such an appealing trick is that, while it looks like real magic when it's performed well, it requires no assistants, rigging or other elaborate staging that previous methods for the Floating Ball required.
However, its one drawback is how easy it is to perform Zombie badly.

In this volume, you'll meet three masters of Zombie, each with their own interpretation of this classic of magic. Al Schneider begins your post-graduate course with a short, punchy routine that's perfect for those just learning Zombie to become acquainted with the basic moves and handling. He also provides some great tips on modifying the props for maximum deceptiveness. Jeff McBride is next with perhaps the most elaborate exposition of Zombie ever produced. Every move is demonstrated and explained in explicit detail, including ways to get into, and out of, the routine. He also teaches you ways to accomplish the illusion without the standard gimmick. Lastly, Tommy Wonder explains his revolutionary modifications to the apparatus and the astounding effects that are possible.

If you've always wanted to be among the select few who perform Zombie well, you'll find no better resource than this DVD.

AL SCHNEIDER
Zombie Ball

JEFF MCBRIDE
Gimmicks and Ball
Quick Start Opening
Floating Technique
The Cradle
The Arm Balance
Down the Edge
Around the Arm
Around the Back & Neck
Double Spiral
Zombie Vanish & Reproduction
Beginning & Ending Your Routine
Bare Handed Float
Floral Finale

TOMMY WONDER
Zombie Ball

Running Time Approximately 50 min


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