Ken Tipton was born in El Paso, Texas in 1952. Ken's stepfather moved them to Columbia, MO so he could attend the University of Missouri "Mizzou". At age 4, Ken began his life-long journey as an entrepreneur when he learned that entertainment could provide an income. Ken’s mother made a cute Tiger costume for Ken complete with a tail and “Tiger Cub” across the chest. On game days, Ken would sing the Tiger fight song as students walked to stadium. All manner of coins were tossed which Ken caught in a butterfly net and the extra income supplemented his family.
In 1959, the family moved to St. Charles, MO, located 20 miles from downtown St. Louis on the banks of the Missouri River. As Ken grew up, his entrepreneurial experience continued. He sold Mason Shoes and various Greeting Cards door to door as well as just about anything else advertised in the back of comic books and Boys Life magazine. A paper route followed by numerous retail and restaurant jobs.
After High School, Ken attended the University of Missouri before enlisting in the Air Force and trained as an electronic navigation specialist. His job allowed Ken to travel the world in a military airlift squadron. After his tour in the Air Force ended, he returned to St. Louis and work at IBM as a computer engineer.
Ken had an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit and turned his love of flying into an aerial advertising company called HIGH SIGNS that used a powered hang-glider on weekends.
The black & white pic is from 1979 and cruised at 25 MPH with a top speed of 35 MPH.
The color pic is from 2014 and cruises 70 MPH with a top speed of 110MPH with two passengers.
Ken wanted to open a video movie rental store since none existed in St. Louis at that time. Using his family’s savings and with loans from two IBM buddies, he opened the first videocassette rental store in St. Louis in 1981 called Video Library.
With hard work, Video Library grew into a multi-million-dollar company comprised of video stores and stand-alone robotic video kiosks called Movie Machines. The Movie Machines were invented by Ken and his partners and offered video movie rentals 24/7 with no employees. Franchises were sold in many states.
Another business was called Paintball Wargames which was very popular with corporations who used the game as a team building exercise. It was setup at the now closed St. Charles Speedway and was constantly booked because the nearest Paintball field was over 70 miles away.
In the summer of 1993, St. Louis experienced the “flood of the century”. As Ken had done many times in the past, he volunteered to help build sand-bag flood walls. His kids wanted to help also but they were too young. So Ken setup an entrepreneurial project for them building flood souvenirs to be given to the flood volunteers.
A CNN reporter saw Ken and his kids collecting flood water in small glass jars and did a News report which garnered world-wide attention after the flood souvenirs were given personally to Vice President Al Gore and the Governor of Missouri, Mel Carnahan, when they toured the flood damage.
Orders for the flood souvenirs came in from around the world and the kids began mass production in Ken’s tiny apartment. After the flood and publicity died down, the kids were allowed to keep twenty dollars each and the rest of the money was donated to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
Ken now lives in Los Angeles where he is a writer/actor/producer/director. His movie, HEART of the BEHOLDER, was based on his family’s true story and won 5 back-to-back Best Feature Film awards and is available on Netflix and at Amazon.com. HEART of the BEHOLDER was also the movie debut of Chloe Grace Moretz.
Darlene and Ken were married in 2005 and have continued developing independent movie, TV, and Internet projects. They have also expanded their entrepreneurial ventures by owning and operating Doody Calls, the #1 Pet Waste Removal company in St. Louis, which Ken manages remotely from their home in Los Angeles.
In June of 2016, Ken and Darlene launched AmazingKarma.com based on their personal philosophy of Karma, defined as the non-religious concept of “what goes around, comes around”. They believe that good Karma comes from simply doing the right thing. Owning one’s actions, making amends, then moving ahead is the key to a higher quality of life. They hope to help many others as the brand ambassadors of AmazingKarma.com.
Ken has experienced many of life’s ups and downs with some of the biggest hardships caused by others' greed, dishonesty, and abuse of power. The natural urge is to seek some type of revenge. There is only one kind of revenge that Ken advocates and also advertises on his car license plate: TBRIS - The Best Revenge is Success.