Monthly archives for January, 2013

Lots of Catching Up and REVIEW: Black Box by John Kennedy

Hi all,

I know its been quite a while since my last post and I apologize for that. It’s been crazy here…first of all, I was sick as hell right before Christmas and then again in the beginning of the new year.

I also have been seeing a lot of people in my hypnosis clinic which is where I’m putting a lot of my effort into as I’m just too worn out anymore to travel.

That being said, the new year has already brought a few interesting stories worth mentioning. In the first week of the new year, I was booked in a school for one of my educational assemblies, and I was sick as hell, and as it turned out, I forgot two props and then as I was setting up, another prop broke, so I thought I was SOL, but with an adjustment in how I set things up, I was able to fulfill my allotted time and the audience was none the wiser. There’s a pretty cool lesson there.:)

I also recently had the opportunity to Skype with Paul Romhany. It’s funny because he and I have been friends for years but that was the first conversation I’d ever had with him.:) It was the first of what I hope will be many…especially considering my wife Libby & I are taking a cruise to Alaska and we’ll be In Vancouver near where Paul & his family live so hopefully we’ll be able to meet up for dinner or something.

Paul also shared with me the details of a really cool prop I’m thinking of getting, that I’ve had my eye on in a long time.

On to this week’s review – The Black Box by John Kennedy. It’s available for $350 from Hocus Pocus.

Here’s the ad copy:

Make things move, jump, and fly around anywhere in the room! There’s no clue to the mystery because Black Box is hidden away from the action!

Black Box is an advanced RF remote control device for magicians. The electronics are designed and manufactured exclusively for John Kennedy Magic, enabling the unit to operate in four different modes: manual, timer, remote, and hands-free remote. There are no toe switches or body wires of any kind!

It’s sleek, only 4.8″ L x 1.4″ W x 1.1″ H (12.1 x 3.5 x 2.9 cm). Small enough to carry in your pocket and hide just about anywhere in the room you’re working in.

A standard 9V battery powers the unit. The automatic sleep mode circuitry makes it literally impossible to drain the battery, even if you leave the unit turned on for weeks!

You will receive the Black Box, transmitter, and instructions. Several applications are explained, and once you start playing with it you will be inspired!

EASE OF OPERATION: Just one push of the button on the included remote is all that is needed to trigger the Black Box. I didn’t experiment much with the timer aspects of the unit, as for my style of performing, I prefer to ad lib based on the response of the audience so some audiences, I may just stick to my script but other audiences, responses may be different and I may choose to go ‘off script’ and ad lib a bit…therefore, I’m not likely to use any kind of timer.

INSTRUCTIONS: The instructions for this prop are adequate, but by being written on a teeny tiny brochure was rather irritating. The instructions also give some routine ideas, but the instructions were so simplistic, like “You can use the Black Box to knock objects down,” things like that.

BATTERIES: The Black Box operates with one 9V battery, and this was a point of contention with me because the manner in which the battery is installed pulls on the wires a bit, which would always concern me in that in time, the wires may be pulled loose, so to me, this is a design flaw.

NOISE: This is the biggest issue I had with this device. It has a LOUD buzzing sound, making this almost completely useless for my purposes – I had bought this with the idea of using it in seances, and with the way I’m planning to perform seances, I’ll be in peoples’ home and such and do not plan on having music on loud enough to mask the sound. For stage work this would be OK, but it’s not what I bought it for.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: So, with a design flaw in how the battery is secured and an extreme loud motor, I cannot recommend this at all in close-up or even parlor situations. It’d be fine onstage assuming you have control of lighting issues, but for living room work (as depicted in the demo video) you’re really out of luck unless you can think of a reason to have LOUD music playing.

5 out of 10.

Next week I review Hanky Panky by Scott Alexander & Puck.