Bio Karma Ken

Ken Tipton was born in El Paso, Texas in 1952.  Ken's stepfather moved them to Columbia, MO to 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 money supplemented his family's income.

 


IBM St. Louis at McDonnell Douglas AircraftIn 1959, the family moved to St. Charles, MO, located 20 miles from downtown St. Louis on the western bank 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 worked 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Library

Ken is a big time movie geek and opened the first home video movie rental store in Missouri in 1981 Video Library while still working for IBM.

 

 

 

 

The Movie Machine

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.

 

 

 

 PaintBall Wargames at the St. Charles SpeedwayAnother business Ken owned 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.

 

 

 

 

McGoon

Ken was very active in high school theater productions as well as community theater.  He worked on almost every movie or TV show shot in St. Louis as a background extra.  Since he owned the largest chain of video stores in St. Louis, the national video distributor invited Ken and many of employees to work as extras in the John Hughes movie, "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" with Steve Martin and John Candy.

 

Ken was heavyset so they asked him to be John Candy's stand-in for the day.  Ken was thrilled until he found out he wouldn't actually meet John Candy.  Ken was used to help set up the lighting and camera focus.  Then John would come out of his trailer, shoot the scene, and go back to his trailer. 

 

 

On a shooting break Ken went to John's trailer and knocked.  John said to come in, and a strange but fun conversation took place.  Years later Ken was trying to earn his Screen Actor's Guild Card and contacted John for advice.  How Ken contacted John is a long story of its own.

 

 

Ken was able to get some great advice from John which allowed Ken to earn his SAG card on the movie "The Flintstones" which starred fellow St. Louisian John Goodman.  Ken earned his SAG card the day John Candy died and the very first SAG job Ken got was completeing photo-double insert shots in John's costumes from the movie that John died on, "Wagons East".

 

Flintstones Car

 

 

Ken has never forgotten the assistance Candy gave him and has helped 12 others earn their SAG card.  This includes Ken's feature film directorial debut "Heart of the Beholder" which was based on the true story of what happened to Ken's video business and family.

 

 

What lead Ken to Hollywood was the destruction of his business and family when he refused to remove Martin Scorese's controversial film, 'The Last Temptation of Christ", from his video chain.  He was targeted because he was the President of the St. Louis Video Dealers Association as well as one of the founders of the national VSDA - Video Software Dealers Association.  Ken was also the ONLY video store in St. Louis to offer the controversial movie.

 

 

A religious fundamentalist group run by Rev. Donald Wildmon and his National Federation for Decency blackmailed the Prosecuting Attorney into ruining Ken and his family.  Although Ken won two court cases, the legal fees and negative publicity bankrupted Ken's business and family which lead to his divorce.

 

 

 

In the summer of 1993, St. Louis experienced the “flood of the century”.  As Ken had 1993 Flood St. Louis 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 set up an entrepreneurial project for them building flood souvenirs to be given to the flood volunteers. 

 

 

A CNN reporter saw Ken and his kids collecting Missouri River flood water in small glass jars and did a News report which garnered world-wide attention.  The flood souvenirs were given personally to Vice President Al Gore and the Governor of Missouri, Mel Carnahan, when they toured the flood damage.  The reporter also referred Ken to a movie producer who optioned Ken's life story for a TV movie.

 

 

Due to the media exposure orders for the flood souvenirs came in from around the world and the kids began mass production.  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.

TBRIS The Best Revenge is Success