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Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie by Michael Rose, Joe Karson

(c. 1999) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Much more than the Zombie! So all of us at one time or another have either performed the Zombie floating ball effect, or dreamed of performing it. I remember even having a cheap plastic one when I was a kid. Performed well its one of the most fascinating magical effects ever devised. Its inventor, Joe Karson, is even more fascinating!

I have found reading this book very interesting; a real page turner! Joe was not a saint by any means, but he was clearly a borderline genius, a very talented inventor, and an incredible entertainer. Michael Rose has done a wonderful job of filling in all the blanks about this colorful character. A highly recommended read.

When I saw Johnny Hart perform The Zombie I was sure he had “The Professional” version that no one else had – it looked so magical!

Details: The original book was a 6 x 9 hard bound, gold stamped book, printed on high quality, heavy glossy stock and limited to 500 copies.  At 210 pages, the book is divided into two main sections; Karson’s biography and Karson’s creations (books, tricks and commentary).  It has 26 photos, most not seen in many years.  Besides extensive research in New England public records, several people who knew Karson were also interviewed both magicians and laymen. 

Some of the well-known magic personalities interviewed were:

  • John Calvert,
  • Jim Cellini,
  • Ray & Ann Goulet,
  • Jay Marshall,
  • Sidney Radner,
  • Nick Ruggiero,
  • Les Smith,
  • Tony Spina,
  • Ben Stone,
  • Parker Swan,
  • and many others. 

The book also features a Foreword by Lance Burton, one of the most famous “Zombie” workers alive.

Contents:

ix Foreword by Lance Burton
xi Preface
xiii Acknowledgments
xv Introduction (Nick Ruggiero)
xvii Joe Karson Chronology

23 Part One-Joe

23 Chapter 1 – The Son of Polish Immigrants
31 Chapter 2 – Music, Mail Order, and Marriage
39 Chapter 3 – Karson the Dealer
49 Chapter 4 – The New Mrs. Karson
57 Chapter 5 – Karson the Performer
71 Chapter 6 – Karson’s Contemporaries
77 Chapter 7 – The Later Years

89 Part Two – Karson’s Creations

89 Chapter 8 – Karson’s books
115 Chapter 9 – Zombie
125 Chapter 10 – Voodoo
137 Chapter 11 – The Delben Two Hole Wrist Chopper
145 Chapter 12 – More Tricks
173 Conclusion

175 Appendix 1 – Annotated Bibliography of Karson in Magazines
181 Appendix 2 – Annotated Bibliography of Zombie
185 The Author
187 Bibliography
191 Notes
205 Index

 

  • Publisher: Mike Rose Magic
  • Pages: 209
  • Location: Phoenix, MA, USA
  • Dimensions: 6″x9″
  • Date: 1999
  • Binding: hardbound

Contents: magicref.net – click for details

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Approx. Price: $35.00 (2003) ***

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1 review for Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie by Michael Rose, Joe Karson

  1. Andy Martin

    Much more than the Zombie!

    So all of us at one time or another have either performed the Zombie floating ball effect, or dreamed of performing it. I remember even having a cheap plastic one when I was a kid. Performed well its one of the most fascinating magical effects ever devised. Its inventor, Joe Karson, is even more fascinating!

    I have found reading this book very interesting; a real page turner! Joe was not a saint by any means, but he was clearly a borderline genius, a very talented inventor, and an incredible entertainer. Michael Rose has done a wonderful job of filling in all the blanks about this colorful character. A highly recommended read.

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