Jack Yates - An Appreciation

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Joe Mckay
Posts: 1162
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Jack Yates - An Appreciation

Postby Joe Mckay » June 19th, 2017, 3:25 pm

I think Jack Yates is a creator who deserves to be more well known.

I will start by looking at his main book - 'Clue and Other Mysteries. It is available as an ebook from lybrary.com:


Recently somebody asked about this book on The Magic Cafe and this is what I wrote:


I had a read through the book. It is a small book and worth getting.

The material reminds me a bit of Lewis Jones, Bob Hummer and Stewart James. What you are getting here is clever thinking that is buried away in the methods. This is mentalism that relies on hidden logical principles. As opposed to gimmicks or clever bluffs. Still - at least it makes use of logical principles as opposed to mathematical principles, since I find most mathematical magic to be pretty weak. So at least you don't have to worry about that here.

My favourite trick is the 'P&S System'. It is a new principle and for me the book is worth it just for that. You have 6 cards in unmarked envelopes and the spectator freely chooses one for you and one for him. And you are able to divine the one he chose thanks to the new principle Jack Yates managed to uncover. Very smart stuff.


I also included some comments by David Acer:


Here is what David Acer said about the book on the GENII Forum (back in 2002):

"Its a shame that Martin Breeses books don't get around more in North America. After having read (and enjoyed) David Britlands EQUINOX, I decided to explore some other Breese publications, starting with Jack Yates, CLUE, AND OTHER MYSTERIES. This little collection contains some wonderful material that actually reminds me of Barrie Richardson's work. The opening trick, "Monty," is an absolute killer: three spectators each choose a card, then exchange them so that no one has his original selection, whereupon you tell each spectator the identity of his card! And bear in mind, the cards are not marked, and you don't watch as the exchanges are made!

The title trick ("Clue") is also excellent (trivia break: Can you cite two other magic books that were named after a title trick?). One of 6 spectators secretly chooses a black poker chip among five whites, and is thus deemed "the murderer" at a mystery party. All six chips are freely chosen, and you really have no idea who picked the black one, yet you are instantly able to determine which of the six audience members committed the murder. If I were doing "Killer Red Caps", I'd be inclined to replace it with this trick immediately."


Jack also has some work on the Hummer Monte Principle in 'Mathematics, Magic and Mystery' by Martin Gardner.

Bob Farmer also believes Jack discovered a principle which acted as a forerunner to Jim Steinmeyer's wonderful '9 Card Problem'. He published it as Miracle Mix-Up decades before the Steinmeyer trick was published.

Here are the details from Bob Farmer and Max Maven:


Bob Farmer wrote:
A much earlier use of the same principle can be found in ABBOTT'S ANTHOLOGY OF CARD MAGIC VOLUME THREE compile by Gordon Miller. The trick is "Miracle Mix-Up" by Jack Yates (pp. 58-60)..

Max Maven:
Those three anthologies were compilations of older material -- manuscripts, book and magazine contributions -- that Abbott's had produced years before. In the case of Jack Yates' "Miracle Mix-Up," it was originally released as a manuscript (I think sold by Yates himself), in 1953. I presume Abbott's purchased the American rights some time after that.


Personally - I cannot see the connection between the Jack Yates trick and the Steinmeyer '9 Card Problem' principle.

I have 'cut and paste' the trick below and would be curious to see what others make of it? Can anyone else see the connection?

MIRACLE MIX-UP by Jack Yates

It's uncanny! You don't touch the pack! You don't see the pack! Yet, you are able to reveal in a novel fashion the freely selected card. Write the simple directions in the form of a letter to the "cash customer". You can do it over the phone - over radio - over
television. They do it at their leisure over and over again and it still works. The card is revealed by your own name - gaining publicity!

EFFECT: Briefly, the one doing the trick shuffles the cards, selects any card, replaces it in the deck and, using the value, color and suit of the card, puts it in an unknown position in the pack. It is discovered without the magician even knowing the card. It can
be repeated time after time and still they don't know how the trick works. You don't ask
any questions the trick is in their own hands!

The best way of explaining this trick is to imagine that we have sent you a letter with the instructions. This way you will be able to visualize the effect it has on the layman. Do not read the explanation until you have worked the trick for yourself. So, have a pack of 52 cards handy.

Now follow these instructions:
"First, remove all face cards and replace them in the case. Now, will you please remove all the red cards below the value of 5.

Now, remove all the black spot cards above the value of 5.

Place the remainder of the pack to one side for a moment. Take up the small packet of cards and give them a shuffle. Look at the top card and remember it.

Put the remainder of the pack on top of the small packet.

The card that you looked at is now in the pack and quite unknown to me.

In a few minutes you will see how my magic can overcome the distance that separates us. Take up the pack and deal a pile of cards, one at a time this pile to contain twice as many cards as spots on your chosen card. For instance, if your card was an Eight spot, you must deal 16 cards.

Turn over the remainder of the pack and drop it on top of the dealt cards. Take the pack and deal again. This time, if your card was a Heart or a Spade, deal 20 cards. If your card was a Club or Diamond, deal 24 cards. This done, turn over remainder of pack and place on top of the dealt cards.

Deal once again. If your card was red, deal 13 cards. If your card was black, deal 18 cards. Turn remainder of deck over and place on the dealt cards.

I think you'll agree that your card is now lost in the pack.

For me to find your card, you must use my name, so please deal a card from the top of the deck for each letter of my name - Jack Yates. Now deal off a card for each letter of the words - Magic Man. When you have finished the spelling, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Look at the top card of the pack (if it's not already facing upwards) - it is your chosen card!"

The letter may end with details of your show. You can imagine the bewilderment for a layman, and how you gain publicity by sending letters similar to the above to your "cash customers". They will keep doing this trick for the fun of it and will show their friends.
You can send out many such letters, including details of your act.

METHOD: The basic principle is that whatever number the card is from the bottom of the pack at the start, it will be the same number from the top of the pack at the finish.

We told you to remove various spot cards but didn't say how many. Following the instructions, the number was 18. When you remembered the top card of this pile and dropped it on the top of the pack, the chosen card was 18th from the bottom. Following
the dealing arrangements (which were merely to lead you up the garden path), your card was 18th from the top and ready to spell out Jack Yates (9) Magic Man (8) - the next card was the one looked at.

All this is the basic idea.

You must decide how many cards you need to spell out your name and slogan. Then, disguise the fact that you must control the selected card to the same number from the bottom of the pack.

For example, if your name is Richard Brown (12 letters), have the card 13th from the bottom. Have the person deal cards into three equal piles. Using 40 cards, he will have one left over, which he will place aside. Have him look at the top card of any stack, then place the other two stacks and the extra card on top. You know his card is 13th from the bottom of the deck.

Don't mention numbers - make it appear that the effect depends upon dealing.

OVER THE PHONE: Say that your friend's number is 4571. Tell him to add the digits and deal out that many cards. He will deal 17 cards from the smaller pack, place the remaining cards on the larger pack and the larger pack on the dealt out cards, then proceed as usual to the point where the name or slogan is used. Find a combination of both or use only one.

For instance, he can spell out "This Finds Your Card" and the last card dealt will be the chosen card. You can devise slogans to fit the total of the digits in the phone number. For example, 14 "Here Is Your Card" and turn over the last card dealt.

You can have him call out the name of each card as he deals until you tell him to stop.

You let him deal on past your required number, say it's 17, then you remember the 17th card he calls and, later, when you stop the dealing you reveal the card he looked at.

Think of the number of publicity stunts you can work out for newspaper use, etc. You can arrange it so the person spells out his own name to reveal the card.


Lastly - I just came across another credit that Jack deserves in magic and has seemingly being overlooked for. Here is what I found on The Magic Cafe. It is in reference to the 'Clip Line' effect. In the Self-Working Mental Magic book by Karl Fulves - he calls it the 'Word Test' effect.

Actually, the first reference to "Clip Line" that I have found in print is "Clip Line" by Jack Yates’ in "Minds In Close-up" published by Supreme Magic in 1954 and probably inspired by Will De Sieve’s venerable “Clippo” effect. It predates Spackman(1) by a decade.

Anyway - in light of the number of creative ideas that JackYates is associated with - I thought it would be nice to start a thread praising his work and drawing the attention of others to it.

All the best,

Joe Mckay

(1) "The Gen" vol. 20 number 6 (October 1964) page 146. The title was "Newspaper Test by Albert Spackman".

Max Maven
Posts: 421
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollywood, CA

Re: Jack Yates - An Appreciation

Postby Max Maven » June 19th, 2017, 8:38 pm

The Fulves citation is misleading. Yates' 1954 "Clip Line" is a prediction using a column of newsprint, but the method is very different from the 1964 Spackman trick that is the basis for the countless variations since.

If the attribution is simply for the use of a newspaper column as grist for a prediction, then the Yates trick is a latecomer. For example, see Stewart James' "Scoop 'Em" (marketed in 1935).

As for "Clippo," it was not invented by Will de Sieve, but rather by J. J. Kolar. An extensive history of that appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Gibicière.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1162
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: Jack Yates - An Appreciation

Postby Joe Mckay » June 20th, 2017, 3:11 am

Thanks for that, Max.

Also - the citation above is something I found on The Magic Café. It is not something that Karl Fulves wrote. Apologies for giving that impression.

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