"As we know, most clock effects are dull. Their mathematical foundations are conspicuous and dilute the sense of mystery. The Taylor stunt, however, has a vouchsafing feature: directness."
"Taking a cue from Marlo's Unexpected Prediction, the following variation makes the prediction feature an unexpected climax and eliminates the billets and repeat. No explanations are necessary and the prophetic nature of the effect is self-evident..."
- from Mike Rogers' column ("Table Time") in M-U-M.
This version was directly inspired by Fred G. Taylor's "Crazy Clocks," except that the predetermined feature comes as a surprise and simultaneous climax. It was originally published in M-U-M (August-1969) and was later marketed by Creative Productions (Ernie Heldman). When it was first released, effects featuring transformations of the backs of cards were fashionable. This particular method sparked many imitations after it was published. Most of them cost more than the original asking price of this booklet ($3.00).
Set-up: Place a red-back force-card seventeenth from the top of a blue-back deck. Suppose that the force-card is the Jack of Diamonds.
Method: Introduce the deck and ask someone in the audience to think of an hour on the clock dial from one to twelve. Say, "For example, you might like three o'clock. Therefore, I want you to remove three cards off the top of the deck and place them in your pocket. These cards will verify the number of your hour in case you forget or decide to tell me a fib." As you utter this patter, thumb over three top cards, hold them in a fan, gesture with them, and then replace them onto the deck.
Hand the deck to the spectator and turn your back. After a few moments, ask the spectator if he has placed the chosen number of cards in his pocket. If so, turn around, face the assistant, and say, "You removed a number of cards equal to your chosen hour and placed them in your pocket. Right? For example, if you had picked three o'clock, you would have put three cards in your pocket."
As you deliver this patter, thumb over the top three cards, momentarily hold them in your right hand, and then replace them on the bottom of the left-hand talon.
Tilt back the deck back so that the audience cannot see the topside and then DoubleCut the top card to the bottom. If the red-back force-card appears on top, you instantly know that the spectator chose twelve o'clock. Explain that you will need twelve cards to form a clock dial. Deal the red-back card face up to the table before lowering the deck and then deal eleven more cards face up and one at a time, reversing their order.
If the red-back force-card is not on top, continue to keep the deck tilted back until it is dealt face up. Then you can gradually lower the deck to complete the deal. This reverse-count precisely positions the force-card.
Place the talon aside, pick up the face-up, twelve-card packet and hold it face up in a left-hand dealing position. Deal the cards clockwise into the configuration of a round clock, starting at one o'clock. Continue dealing until you stop at the twelve o'clock position. Down-jog this card or drop a coin on its face to mark it. This will avoid confusion later on when the spectator is asked to note the card at his chosen "hour."
At this point, by noting the relative position of the Jack of Diamonds in the clock layout, you learn which "hour" was chosen. Suppose that it lies at "six o'clock" on the mock dial. Look at the card occupying the three o'clock position. Suppose it is the Ten of Spades. Continue, "I want you to note the card occupying your chosen hour. For example, if you had picked three o'clock, remember the Ten of Spades."
Tell the spectator to concentrate on his card. After a few seconds, name his card. Quickly turn the other eleven cards face down at their original positions in the dial, adding: "You could have chosen any of these other hours, but you selected six o'clock. Pause and add: "Actually, I knew you were going to pick six o'clock."
Turn the Jack of Diamonds face down to reveal its red back—a kicker guaranteed to stir your audience.
In my original handling, the red-back force-card was placed sixteenth from the top. Marlo advised me that a problem could arise if the spectator picks twelve o'clock because when the three cards are taken off the top and transferred, the red-back card would be prematurely exposed at the top. He suggested placing it seventeenth from the top and recommended that the effect be done with the deck face up from the outset. Why make problems for yourself?
Instead of having the spectator remove a number of cards equal to his hour, have him transfer cards equal to his number from top to bottom. This is excused by making the following claim: "This is the way you wind the clock." This also quickens the procedure, but eliminates the "verification" aspect, a possible trade-off.
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