Introduction To Original Monograph

"Let man take time enough for the most trivial deed, though it be but paring his nails."

-Henry David Thoreau

The Clock Effect using playing cards came originated at the turn of the century. Potter's Index subsequently listed thirty-eight (38) references—one of the earliest being Hercat's More Conjuring (1912). However, Fred G. Taylor's "Crazy Clocks" in Pallbearers Review (Volume 3 - Number 3: January 1968) was the method that piqued my interest.

Taylor wrote that he based his method on "an old German effect," but cited no particulars. The interesting feature of Taylor's adaptation is the mathematical principle that accounts for the positional force.

Until On The Clock Effect was published in 1971, the basic clock trick was seldom performed and remained a semi-automatic, layout trick relegated to beginner books that explained self-working, easy tricks. As far as magicians were concerned, clock tricks were merely glorified locations given a palatable presentation slant for public consumption. Otherwise the trick seemed quaintly old-fashioned and out-of-date. Besides, to interest magicians, a trick must fool or delight them and the modus operandi must be intriguing or widely applicable. This is where Fred G.Taylor's method comes in.

The principle of the Clock Effect is based on a variant of the Automatic Placement principle. This is how it works. A force-card is placed thirteenth from the top of a deck. Someone chooses an hour on the clock from one to twelve. Suppose five o'clock is chosen. A spectator then removes five cards from the top of the deck or transfers five cards from top to bottom. Either procedure removes five counting-units (cards) from the sequential number series (1-12), which results in changing the relative position of the force-card, which becomes eighth from the top of the deck. After you deal twelve cards to the table, reversing their order in the process, the force-card ends up fifth from the top of the twelve cards just dealt. In other words, the force-card is placed at a position equivalent to the chosen hour. If a spectator chose five o'clock, the force-card ends up fifth.

If you are interested in the mathematics of this principle, consult Card Tricks Anyone Can Do (1968) by Temple C. Patton, particularly the chapter on "Reverse Counting." After Fred G. Taylor published his presentation, three variations were published. Jon Racherbaumer's adaptation, "The Technicolor Hour, " appeared in Mike Rogers' column in M-U-M (August 1969). Marvin A. Johnson next contributed another variation to M-U-M (December 1970) and then Ed Marlo published "The Pre-Determined Hour " in the first issue of Kabbala (Volume 1 Number 1: September 1971).

After "The Technicolor Hour " appeared in M-U-M, the trick quickly made the rounds. From a theatrical standpoint, the Technicolor kicker provided a commercial surprise. Several magic dealers (Bill Pitts, Lou Tannen, and Ken Brooke) put out versions directly based on "The Technicolor Hour."

This monograph explains the basic presentation, along with some other approaches and ideas.

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