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Incesticide/In Uter Box Sets

Jack-in-the-box

[jak-in-thuh-boks]

A jack-in-the-box is a children's toy that outwardly consists of a box with a crank. When the crank is turned, it plays out a melody - the Mattel version played Pop Goes the Weasel. At the end of the tune, the lid pops open and a figure of some sort, usually a clown, pops out of the box.

Origin

A theory as to the origin of the jack-in-the-box is that it comes from the 13th century English prelate Sir John Schorne who is often pictured holding a boot with a devil in it. It is believed in folklore that he once cast the devil into a boot to protect the village of North Marston in Buckinghamshire. If it's true, it would explain why in French, a jack-in-the-box is called a "diable en boîte" (literally "boxed devil").

Influence on culture

The Jack-in-the-Box toy has had a widespread effect on culture:

  • The toy gave its name to the fast food restaurant chain Jack in the Box, which features a mascot named "Jack" who resembles a toy clown from a jack-in-the-box.
  • The toy was part of the inspiration for the character Jack-in-the-Box, from the Astro City comic book series.
  • One of Mattel's most popular toys from the 1950's to the 1970's was its Jack-in-the-box.
  • The toy frequently appears in horror movies. A certain tension lies in knowing that when the tune ends, something pops out – and in horror movies it's usually more sinister than a toy clown. In the preview for Child's Play 2, a jack-in-the-box is seen moving on its own and just before it pops out, Chucky stomps on it, proclaiming, "Sorry Jack, Chucky's back!"
  • A murderous jack-in-the-box called "Jack Attack" is featured in the Demonic Toys trilogy, where it teams up with other evil toys.
  • A jack-in-the-box named "Charlie-in-the-box" serves as the sentry to the Island of Misfit Toys in the Christmas movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • In the Bullfrog computer game Dungeon Keeper 2, the Jack-in-the-box Trap appears to be a harmless object but, upon being touched, will pursue and lethally frighten enemy imps.
  • In the video game American McGee's Alice the protagonist Alice can use the Jack-bomb weapon which is essentially an explosive Jack-in-the-box that can be thrown at enemies.
  • The computer game The Incredible Machine features a Jack-in-the-Box as a tool to complete puzzles
  • The computer game Jack in the Dark featured a Jack-in-the-Box replica of One Eyed Jack, an infamous pirate who was the main enemy in Alone in the Dark 2.
  • The Hand-in-the-box in Sid's room from a Disney/Pixar film Toy Story.
  • A Jack-in-the-Box, known simply as Jack, is also the protagonist of the children's book The Plucker, written and illustrated by the science-fiction and fantasy artist Gerald Brom.
  • In Spyro the Dragon, the Dreamweavers boss is named Jacque and throws boxes at his enemies, which is an obvious connection to the children's toy.
  • The rap duo Insane Clown Posse have released an album entitled Riddle Box, whose cover resembles an evil jack in the box.
  • There is a schedule ident for PBS Kids on which Dot turns a crank.
  • Zebedee, a character in The Magic Roundabout, is a Jack-in-the-box without the box.
  • In the military context, some tanks which store ammunition inside their turrets will violently eject their turrets if their ammunition is made to detonate, an analog to a Jack-in-the-Box bursting open.
  • In the movie "Elf" starring Will Farrell, he tests several jack-in-the-boxes during one of the scenes.
  • In the movie Fantasia 2000 there is a segment based on The Steadfast Tin Soldier where the villain is a jack-in-the-box rather than a troll doll from the original fairy tale.
  • In the video game Donkey Kong 64, the boss of Frantic Factory is a giant jack-in-the-box named Mad Jack.
  • In the fan-made Alice Cooper music video "Wind-Up Toy" , the main character in the video, Stephen, releases a wind-up Alice Cooper doll from a Jack-in-the-Box.
  • In a TrueCredit commercial, a jack-in-the-box was used and the announcer says, "Don't know Jack about your credit? Stop clowning around."
  • In the game Raze's Hell, the race of creatures known as Kewletts use a jack-in-the-box weapon called the "Death-in-the-Box".
  • In the anime and manga One Piece one of the zombies on Thriller Bark is a jack-in-the-box disguised as a treasure chest meant to scare those searching around the mansion.
  • The magic and mystery of Christopher R. Coppola's genie jack-in-the-box in I Am, the magical imp stuck inside of a jammed box gets freed when two homeless boys kick it into a trash heap by accident.
  • Some older jack-in-the-boxes are very valuable as collectibles. Especially ones made with famous TV or movie characters as the theme.
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