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John H./A. Pennyworth
The BLACK BEAUTY's arsenal of gadgets
as seen on the TV series "THE GREEN HORNET "
Disclaimer: This collection of gadget descriptions is for fan educational and
entertainment purposes only. Not intended to be taken literally or in a
physical sense. Many aspects of this feature are based on fictional characters
and technologies. Not for use as a technical or scientific work. Fans are
welcome to add their photos and info, use
Click underlined pictures for animation video, mouse over pixs for some info!
The Infra-Green Headlights
The original Dean Jeffries infra-green headlights are perhaps the first thing
you might notice, a unique feature setting this TV crimefighter apart. Those
cool rolling headlights, from regular to infra-green adds the signature style
to Black Beauty.
The term 'infra-green' is defined primarily in the reader's mind. It is taken
to mean something akin to it's cousin 'infra-red', like you see in the James
Bond movies. 'Infra' means 'very low'. Plus 'red' means the visible color
red. So 'very low red' in this case pertains to the very lowest reds in the
visual spectrum of light.
Likewise, 'infra green' is believed to be 'very low green'.
Also like its cousin 'infra-red', it is capable of being used to see in the
dark of night. Their modern cousins, digital night-vision equipment sometimes
use infra-green imaging.
Of course no photo can ever replace the head-on look of these gadgets. No
amount of ornate description in words approaches seeing them with your own
eyes. Seeing them that way leaves an impression no words on paper or PC
monitor can relate.
While their designer and builder shared some interesting facts about about how
the infra-greens were made, suffice it to say that there is enough about their
construction to make them one-of-a-kind crimefighter gear.
So of course The Green Hornet had use of 'infra-green' technology, which seemed
capable of many great tricks, an endless variation.
So next time Black Beauty goes streaking by on the deserted city streets,
you'll know a little more about those odd green headlights. Facing forward with
the regular headlights, and approaching menacingly in the deepest night.
Kato's Green Visor
One of the Beauty's least-known features, Kato's infra-green visor shows how
this car was again ahead of its time, using an early version of stealth
technology. Kato's infra-green visor was used as a combination filter and part
of a two-way vision system that enabled the stealthy Black Beauty to 'see in
the dark' with its infra-green headlights and Kato's visor.
The Front Rockets
The front rockets are 16 in number, 8 per side
while the door and firing mechanisms are functional, the actual rocket firing
for the TV show was done by 'wranglers', studio pyrotechnics experts who set up
each shot for filming.
Primarily, the rockets are theatrical effects. They closely resemble those
'meteor' flares used by boaters, with a wax waterproof seal over the tube
fronts which blows away when the effect is fired.
The Rear Rockets
The rear rockets are 20 in number, 10 per side.
similarly, the rear rockets were also done as theatrical effects. No actual
rockets were fired. They worked in conjunction with other arranged pyro effects
to produce the visual effect of rockets firing and then impacting and
The Gas Gun
The front grill 'gas gun' is said to be capable of firing non-lethal 'Hornet
gas' and this is probably where the 'gas gun' terminology originates.
However the control for this function is labeled 'flames'. So in addition to
the Hornet gas, it is believed that other flammable gas could be loaded and
ignited to produce the 'flames' for when the plot required Black Beauty to have
Another 'special effect' was the deployable flying remote scanner. Obviously
this was not a real working item. Like several devices attributed to the Black
Beauty's "rolling arsenal", it was done by specialists in the studio
who produce the visual effects of a scanner.
The remote scanner could work as a remote TV camera and could also
electronically track a 'bugged' vehicle remotely. This of course all linked to
Black Beauty's viewscreens. The scanner doors really open, and the
scanner rises into 'launch' position.
Basically that's the extent of the physical mechanics for the remote scanner.
The rest is Hollywood, as they say.
The mortar was built into the scanner launcher, as another 'alternative
armature', written into the story and 'custom-built' into Black Beauty as the
need arose. Needless to say, the mortar was just like the front and rear
rockets. The doors opened, the mortar rose out, scanner-style, and the firing
and subsequent explosions from mortar shells landing were Hollywood pyrotechnic
The Secret Garage Turntable
Another amazing effect seen with the cars was Britt Reid's secret garage
turntable. This used rams secretly mounted in both cars which when engaged
allowed Britt's 1966 Chrysler 300 to be switched with the Black Beauty with a rolling floor
This is another good example of Hollywoodism in the way the car was shown. This
special Hollywood magic allowed cars to be suspended upside-down with no
detrimental effects. Many, but not all of BBs more exotic armaments and
capablities are really just creative writers and talented studio people making
So, while there really are deployable front and rear 'rams' (called rams on the
control board, though they do not 'ram' anything) they are not used to hang
Black Beauty upside down.
One of several screens, they appear and disappear at various times. Capable of
remote TV when used with the remote scanner. Other functions might include
remote sensing (tracking a 'bugged' vehicle) and also radar capability.
Front Dash Speaker
Used in conjuction with the rear speakers and sometimes the tape recorder to produce the effect of the Hornet being in two places at once, also monitors Air Force Frequency, Kato also receives the Green Hornet's gold
watch audio transmissions here.
Used in conjunction with the remote scanner, the rear view screen also has
several modes and capabilities.
Similar to the front view screen, used as a remote TV or to track a marked
Rear Speaker and Oscilloscope
Multimode rear speaker and oscilloscope can track 'bugged' vehicles or those
imaged by the remote scanner. Oscilloscope can pick up various sounds,
vibrations or frequencies as programmed, used for Loud Speaker, Police Band audio,
Directional Finder, "Electronic Bug Detector" and "Jamming Signal"
Front Control Panel
This feature is another 'phantom hardware' installed but hidden.
The front control panel worked the rockets. mortar and gas gun as well as
working the mysterious 'silent running' mode.
Rear Control Panel
The primary control panel (actually two) was located in the rear. Basically all
armaments and functions are controllable from the rear controls. The primary
control is a pull-down affair situated inside the back of the front seat.
Specially built and situated to allow room to move even with the control board
in the out position. A second control located inside the rear passanger's side door
panel was not used on the show.
The Hornet Phone
Black Beauty's phones were quite an innovation in their day, circa 1966.
BB1 has one phone, BB2 carries one front and back.
No info on whose name they're registered in, or whose checks pay the phone
bills, just a super gadget to use to fight crime, which is what it's all about.
The Smoke Screen
Another occasional feature was the smoke screen. This one is most likely a
'wrangled' effect, one made to be there just for the taping of the show.
A useful tool for foiling evildoers from tailgating, the smoke screen provides
protection by hiding the
BB's solid image, making for difficult targeting.
Privacy Divider Glass Screen between the front and back of the Black Beauty.
Homing Transmitter concealed in the Green Hornet's ring picked up by
The Green Hornet's watch is a voice transmitter to Kato, who speaks via a hand
held CB mike
Direction Finder hidden in Casey's compact, and the portable Scanner, picked up
by the oscilloscope
Remote Secret Microphones picked up by the speaker units
The Tape Recorder use for recording or playback
The Remote Control Unit, able to drive, steer, remote fire the rockets
The Black Beauty is Laser proof, Bullet proof, and can be rigged for Silent
"LET'S ROLL KATO!"
Click for my Green Hornet/Kato costume reference site
click for my Batmobile Gadgets page
Text/info provided by Dennis Rau et al via
Lone Ranger/Green Hornet Timebridge