Joe Karson - Beyond Zombie
Rose, Michael E.
Mike Rose Magic (1999)
In Collection
Magician - Biography
Hardcover 0-9678925-0-3
USA  English
Rose, Michael E.: Joe Karson Beyond Zombie
©1999 Micheal E. Rose, Mike Rose Magic, Phoenix, MD
Hardcover, 209 pages
ISBN-13: 9780967892504
ISBN-10: 0967892503

Price 140.00



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


Here is a biography on Joe Karson, inventor of the famous Zombie Floating Ball. What many may not know is that Karson also invented many other effects that were praised in his time. Mike Rose has done extensive research on the history of this man and none of the facts are sugar coated. Karson was definitely no boy scout. This fascinating, educational, and many times hilarious biography complete with Karson’s effects is a must have for any serious magician. This book is limited to only 500 copies. 210 pages hardbound with 26 rare photos.
Product Details
LoC Classification 00-90488
Edition Limited to 500 copies only
Extras Author autograph, Limited Minting
Cover Price $35.00
No. of Pages 210
Personal Details
Read It No
Location Magic Library (Home) Shelf T
Condition Mint
Owner Bryan-Keith Taylor
Links Library of Congress
Karson, Joe

Born Joseph Alexander Chrzanowski, the son of Polish immigrants in Providence, Rhode Island changed his name to Joe Karson after his parents separated. Starting in 1929, he performed three years with a Chinese magic act billed as "Chan Lin and company."
Karson published more than one dozen manuscripts in the middle of the thirties to end of the forties . Beside the world-well-known Zombie, (photo on right) which he patented in 1940, Karson also invented: Voodoo (1949), a one-man routine for the dancing handkerchief, the Magic Vision Tester, Karson's Chinese Egg Bag, Chinese Pagoda Mystery, Cig-O-Bill, Color Changing Foulard, 50-50 Rope Miracle, Flash Appearing Silk on Rod, Jewel of a Case, Karson's Klever Kard, Karson's Rice Trick, Slicko, Rubberneck (Head Twister - 1943), Submerged Card Mystery, Traveling Flame, Mismade Girl Illusion(A Chinaman's Hop Dream with Tea Chests - 1933), Mystery of the Open Screen, Chair Suspension (Karson's 20th Century Suspension).
Wrote: Illusion Secrets (1933 - 1944), Karson – Complete Club Act (1933), World's Fastest Card Trick (1948), Hypnotricks and many others.
Jay Leslie remembers: "The original Zombie ball was a toilet float ball."

Note: There is some confusion regarding Joe Karson of Zombie fame, and Joe Karston, Spook Show Producer and Illusionist. They are two different persons. Karston is the inventor of the Battle of the Toy Soldiers Illusion and a Ghost Prediction Chest.

Joe Karson
(12th November 1912 - 1980)
Born in 1912 in Providence, Rhode Island, Joe Karson (his real name at birth was Joseph Alexander Chrzanowski) was bitten by the “magic bug” at the age of 10 after witnessing a local magic performance. By the age of 16 he was working in a magic shop in Springfield, Massachusetts and perfecting his own performing skills. Within a year he began performing one-nighters around New England with his Chinese theme magic act called, “Chan Lin and Company.”

During the decades of the 1930’s and 1940’s Karson established himself as a comedic performer, now mostly performing as himself in western clothes (only occasionally performing the Chinese act for magic conventions). But it was also at this time that he made his mark as a magic dealer. He was one of the founding members of the Magic Dealers’ Association and invented and built much of the magic he sold in his shop in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was in 1943 when he first advertised the trick that he is most remembered for today, Zombie. Although Zombie is very common today, when it first appeared on the scene in 1943 it was quite a sensation. Karson was also a prolific writer and penned many booklets that he self-published through his company, Karson’s Xclusives.

Joe Karson made quite a name for himself as a magic dealer and popular performer, frequently stealing the show when he appeared at magic conventions. However, due to his battle with alcoholism, he slipped into obscurity during the late 1950’s and 1960’s and all but disappeared from the magic community by the time of his death in 1980 at the age of 67.