In my earlier years, Blue/Gold banquets were a common place to get gigs. They were essentially kid shows for cub scouts where the parents sat with their boys. The venues were normally brutal. You set up in the corner of the room and often surrounded. I wanted to do Zombie in these shows. The popular way to do the trick was to keep the ball mostly visible requiring the audience to be on one side. I began with the idea of keeping the ball under the cloth to be able to do it surrounded. This is the most difficult trick I ever tackled.
Back in the day I often went to Abbot's Get-togethers. The event was in a small town and a place to sleep was tough to come by. I found a place in someone's home in a large attic with about 10 to 15 other magicians. Abb Dickson was one of them. He questioned me about Zombie. He said he heard I could do it surrounded. So he set up a test. All the guys in the room surrounded me as I did the trick. If someone saw the gim, they were to callout. No one did.
Abb had another plan. He wanted me to do it onstage during the convention. I did not know about his plan. I was to stand near the stage in the sales area and do the trick when someone pointed at me. Abb hung around the busy Neil Foster. When Neil had a quiet moment, I got the high sign and performed Zombie. Then Abb beside Neil said, "What do you think of that. -- Ya know he does it surrounded?" Neil said, "Someone had to do it someday." Then he turned and walked away.
I used the routine as a closer in my close up show.