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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Latest and Greatest? » » Bob Kohler's Lightning Box (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Potty the Pirate
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Though I'm a fan of Bob Kohler's products, this is one I don't "get". I'd be interested to know how folks would really compare it to the Kennedy Box, which from my perception is superior. Someone earlier in this thread pointed out the "huge discrepancy" with the Lightning Box - and I tend to agree. The videos of the performance have this "discrepancy" which you're going to have to cover with something - business, routining, or whatever.
OK, I know I'm a magician, so I'm on the look out for things that don't look "right" - but with the Lightning Box, it really jumped out at me big time. Of course, many spectators will NOT notice this "discrepancy".....but surely, many will? Unless, as I say, the "move" is well covered.
For me, the "move" is just TOO blatant and obvious.
That's my opinion having watched the demo.......am I being too critical?
By the way, I agree that using gimmicks to complement your skills and sleights is perfectly legitimate - indeed, I'd say "neccessary" - if you want to keep up with the competition. No amount of sleight-of-hand can accomplish some of the things which can be achieved with sopisticated gimmicks. My close-up set is probably 70% gimmicks, and 30% skill, sleights, routining, and improvisation. It works very well for me.
Potty Smile
Sock Puppet Monkey
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What is the box actually made of? The effect looks good but I don't (personal opinion) care for the look of the box itself.
Steven Conner
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Quote:
On 2010-11-20 13:51, zipper wrote:
Magic folks,

By contrast, look at Cloutier's pen thru bill (on his Bill in Kiwi DVD). It's a stunner and he doesn't use a gimmicked bill or a gimmicked pen (at least I don't think he does). It's sheer stage presence and cleverness, along with common items, that allow him to pull it off. Dealers, however, would have us buy these "pen props" that are fixed in such a way that you can do a bill penetration but you then have to swap one pen for another; the perfect pen is a worthy exception but even it screams gimmicked pen when you perform it in the real world. Cloutier's does not.

Magical things,
Zipper


Comparing Pen to the Box is like comparing a lightning bug to a lightning bolt. Not sure if you really know Cloutier's trick. This is certainly not the place to discuss and not even sure if necessary.

Steve
"The New York Papers," Mark Twain once said,"have long known that no large question is ever really settled until I have been consulted; it is the way they feel about it, and they show it by always sending to me when they get uneasy. "
jerdunn
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Responding to Zipper's long post:
He wrote: "When you see a performer who is long on manual skill and presentation, and short on mechanical gadgetry, gizmos, and props, it's a beauty to behold. A performer who goes from one prop to another (though some props are very valuable and enhance a performance) doesn't usually present the air of mystery and create a sense of wonder in their audiences that all the greats in our craft are able to do."

I agree, if you're talking about a performer who has a table full of tubes, boxes, and other paraphernalia -- props that apparently "do" the magic, rather than the magician doing it.

But what about time-tested stage props such as a wooden nest of boxes? Is this a weak crutch, or does it create a strong, baffling trick?

I also like Kennedy's Mystery Box, but . . . what exactly is it supposed to be? A tiny wooden box coincidentally just big enough for a folded card? Does it therefore appear to be a magic prop that somehow does the work for the magician?

I also like the Lightning Box. It looks sort of like a cufflinks box, or the presentation boxes that watches come in, but most important it's basically nondescript and doesn't attract undue attention to itself. (Elaborately inlaid wooden boxes, for example, may look "proppy" to real people but magicians/collectors love them.)

Like most magicians, I've bought my share of tricky boxes, wallets, and gizmos. Zipper, too -- I noticed that you posted some inquiries about the Viking Chest of Nostradamus, which is a wooden chest hanging from chains that's used for an Any Card at Any Number type effect. (Hmm, the spectator might think, did the box have anything to do with this trick? Otherwise, why didn't the magician just have the boxed deck sitting on the table?)

For me, the Lightning Box is a handy tool for creating a thoroughly baffling effect. I think the shuttle-pass dump looks better with this prop than with a Kennedy Box. (Exception: Cosmo Solano's highly original take on the shuttle dump is visually perfect.) The illusion is aided by having other items in the box -- e.g., a lucky coin or whatever -- which you can't do with the Kennedy Box.

Potty: In my admittedly limited experience so far, the discrepancy when you do the dump with the Lightning Box is not noticed. The attention of the spectator(s) goes naturally to the item (e.g., folded card) that is seen first in the box and then in the hand. By the time attention goes back to the box (if it ever does), the box looks as it should, empty and normal.

To answer my own question above, I like the nested boxes on stage -- e.g., object to impossible location that's been in plain view -- and for the same reason I like the Lightning Box.

Cheers,
Jerry
zipper
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Reply to Jerry,

I found your response a reasoned one. My basic point was why buy a prop to do a trick that a practiced performer can do as well without the props. I am not against props that are necessary and heighten the sense of mystery and illusion. Many props, however, are crutches and their use weakens a performer's development as a magician. Coin in a nest of boxes, which I do not own (by the way, I decided against the Chest of Nostradamus because of the price and that the effect can be accomplished by using a regular deck and an invisible or brainwave; not identical but close enough for the people I work for)is a trick in which the props make some sense. I don't think so with the Lightning Box. With the overwhelming number of tricks, DVDs, books, etc. barraging us magicians on a regular basis, it is easy to be seduced by the gadgets and gizmos. You have me at a disadvantage because from your many posts that I've read over the years, it is clear that you know your magic and you actually have used the Lightning Box. If you say it's an item worthy of attention, I know that you have excellent reasons for saying so. However, I do think you can do a comparable effect with straight sleight of hand that will be as deceptive to an audience as is the Lightning Box (and a whole lot cheaper). I think the shuttle pass, though it's popular with magicians, just looks like a move and something that sends up a red flag in the psyche of audience members. Take Cloutier's shuttle pass in the Bill in the Kiwi routine. In the mind of the spectators he has a reason to shuttle the kiwi from one hand to other (getting the knife from his pocket) so no suspicions arise. No reason exists with the shuttle pass in the lightning box routine to dump the contents into the hand (you'd just reach in and extract whatever's there, even truer in you have a poker chip or coins in it), and I think it is suspicious to audience members (and therefore not very deceptive).

Magical things,
Zipper
andykean
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Hi Zipper
having read your post "reply to Jerry"
I thought I might share my thoughts.
I purchased the lightening box and was very impressed with the quality and thought that had gone into the product. I use it with Q and a silver dollar in the box, its very deceptive and enables me to have my prediction in full view prior to the start of my routine ( newsworthy used in this way will I feel be even stronger)
I fundamentally disagree with you about 'reaching into a box to take out the contents', even before I knew what a shuttle pass was, I always tipped the contents of a small box onto my hand. I will give you an everyday example, when taking headache tablets out of container no one I know puts their fingers in and extracts a couple of pills,instead they tip the contents on to their hand.
I think you shouldn't buy this product, as it clearly doesn't fit your performing style.
However to say it produces a red flag in the psyche of the audience simply isn't true.
best wishes
Andy
Xcath1
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I have to agree with the positive reviews of the box. I will admit that it is possible in the hands of a skilled performer that card to impossible location can be performed for much less expense and possibly with similar audience impact. On that basis alone you may not find it worth the expense to you and indeed I am not sure it represents a good value (however subjective that is).
I have it however (still not sure it’s a “good value”) and it really does work. It has fooled every lay person I have showed it to (I realize there is a great range in the perceptiveness of lay people) and I have been given credit for great skill when in fact little is involved. Also the sturdiness of the prop (I am not afraid to use it) and its airport friendliness are reasonable claims

This brings me to my next verbose point. Lay people I think do not appreciate skill. They may appreciate what they believe to be skill but few are in a position to judge. They appreciate a “magical performance” and to the dismay of many non-funny magicians what that often means is a humorous performance. Having technical skill does not make you an entertaining performer. I know because I am an avowed move monkey and it took me longer then I cared to admit what appealed to a lay audience. I feel strongly that most lay audiences would prefer the amazing Jonathan to Dan and Dave any day (I love watching Dan and Dave and practice their material with frustration often). Likewise relying on props rather than technical skill should not by itself impede your development as a magician. If you apply the rules of successful entertaining, scripting, engagement, etc.

my 35 cents
Potty the Pirate
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Yes, I can see that the misdirection is strong when the box is emptied. Hmmm.....I still prefer the Kennedy Box! Horses for Courses (and, I already own the KB). The Lightning Box looks a little too large for my taste, also...does it easily slip into a jacket pocket without creating a big bulge? Or is it, in fact, a prop that would be more suitable for "formal close up", as seems to be shown in the demo? I almost never perform formal close-up, but walkabout, so everything must fit into my pockets - and therefore I like everything to be as small as possible.
I'd like to mention Nostradamus' Chest, which was referred to above. I have this, and I personally regard it as one of the most baffling effects ever! Admittedly, a similar effect is possible with a BW (I use my BW deck a LOT more than NC). However, NC is really a stage piece - the box hangs in full view throughout the show - which, I believe, justifies the fact that the cards are inside. The box really has nothing to find, and with my routining (a fair bit different than that suggested with the instructions), the most frequent outcome is effectively "The trick that can't be explained". The secret is so devious, and once you know it, perhaps obvious.....but remarkably non-intuitive, the effect is absolutely a "magician fooler".
Potty Smile
jerdunn
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Potty,

The Lightning Box is 1 5/8" high and fits in my side jacket pocket without a problem. I haven't carried it anywhere but the local coffee shop (where I try out new routines), but it wasn't bulgy or cumbersome.

You wouldn't have to devote an entire pocket to it, but it does occupy about half the space. (In my case, other pockets are occupied with Q, so this all works out fine for me.)

Cheers,
Jerry
martysh
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Great discussion ...much enjoyed. all valid points really...

I did the light/box last night almost surrounded and it was a golden moment when the SPEC got to take off the lid and look inside as I held the thing...it was a most natural movement to dump all out in my only other awaiting seemingly empty right hand....and was left with a completely empty box.

it's as pure a "moment" as I have ever had in 30+ years of close up

Marty
zipper
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Marty,

The way you describe doing it (where you're holding the box and the spectator removes the lid) is way to do it that would not look suspicious when you dump its contents into your other hand (in my opinion). A nice twist on the way it's presented on the teaser tape. I'm glad using the box went over so well at your performance. I wonder, however, if the moment would not have been as great or greater for you if you had had the spectator hold a box or some other receptacle (ungimmicked), remove the lid, and spy the folded card. The spectator would have given it to you for you to show to all in the audience (by switching the signed card for the unsigned card) the miracle that had occurred in an act of pure sleight-of-hand. You and your prestidigitation would have been at the center of the miracle and not a gimmicked prop (though, of course, we are supposed to assume that the audience does not suspect the lightning box is anything other than a box).

Magical things,
Zipper
JanForster
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Potty, I see your point. It is something I spotted also the first time seeing it as there is a discrepancy of course. But a (at least) decent performer will cover it without any problems.
The rest is a matter of taste and skill. I know that all what Bob puts out is great, but this is simply nothing for me. I still would go with a pill tin...
And the shuttle dump is never a problem. We know, our audience doesn't know or see it provided you've a motivation for doing so. Smile Jan
Jan Forster
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martysh
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Hey Z'...
we're splitting hairs ...to be trite
we both need a "richter scale" of sorts to measure the exact reactions of our specs....no matter the process I went through to the end result....my reading when quietly (gasps and silence) but off the charts at that moment last night.
If you did it the way you just described...you might have simply equalled that reading too.

Marty
zipper
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Marty,

Good point. That's the nice part about magic and all the gadgets, gizmos, and props. Anybody can find a place in it to make his or her mark in any way that he or she feels comfortable.

Happy performing,
Zipper
Daren
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I guess this prop would also work very well with Michael vincents pandoras box? can you show the lightning box empty before placing it on the table or specs hand? and then after the effect show a card inside?? hmmm...... could make pandora's box routine even more powerful?
jerdunn
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Daren -- you can show the Lightning Box empty beforehand.

You could also remove something -- say a coin, leaving the box empty, then perform a quick coin routine and return the coin to the box, which later turns out to have the signed chosen card inside.

Zipper wrote: "The way you describe doing it (where you're holding the box and the spectator removes the lid) is way to do it that would not look suspicious when you dump its contents into your other hand (in my opinion)."

Just to clarify, this is the way it's always performed, as taught on the accompanying DVD. The spectator removes the lid.

Cheers,
Jerry
zipper
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Jerry,

A clarification of my own: My comment was based strictly on a viewing of the teaser tape in which the box is on the table, the performer picks up the box, and dumps the contents into the other hand. I still think it looks more like a "move" than does the method that Marty uses.

Happy trails,
Zipper
jerdunn
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Hi again Zipper,

Two demos in the teaser -- the performance ones with the woman in blue and then the guy in the black Hawaiian shirt -- show the spectator removing the top.

You do have to skip through a lot of blather to get there (jump to about 2:50 in the teaser). This has to be one of the lengthiest, wordiest teasers in magic history. I really like Apollo's magic, but his professorial turn in the teaser is pretty, um, long.

Anyhow, in the teaser you can see exactly how the box handling plays out in performance. (The clips are excerpted from the instructional DVD.)

Cheers,
Jerry
zipper
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Jerry,

Thanks for the information (I will check it out).

Magical things,
Zipper
jhostler
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Lacking the patience to scroll through all six pages of posts, I apologize for any repetition... but CAVEAT EMPTOR:

Watch the demo [which, to Kohler's credit, tips pretty much everything] closely, and make an *informed* purchasing decision. While I'm sure Bob has done nothing to tarnish his rep for top-notch quality, his affinity for Cadillac pricing remains firmly intact. This is nothing more (or less) than a marginally clever modification of an ancient prop you may already possess. Worth $189 in the right hands? Maybe... Maybe...
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