Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Generally credited to Paul Curry, who marketed this trick through Max Holden under the title “Touch” in July 1937 (see ad in that month's Sphinx (Vol. 36 No. 5, back cover). However, Karl Fulves, in Latter Day Secrets (No. 4, 2000, p. 116), points out that U. F. Grant advertised “Grant's Touch-a-Card” in The Sphinx, Vol. 36 No. 4, June 1937, p. 100, a month before Max Holden advertised Curry's “Touch” in the same journal. The Grant trick and Curry's were virtually identical.

In a letter printed in Victor Farelli's column in The Sphinx, Vol. 36 No. 12, Feb. 1938, p. 357, Ottokar Fischer claimed that Hofzinser was doing the same trick eighty years previously. Fischer had the cards, but had to surmise the procedure. He cites “Pre-determination of Thought” from Kartenkünste, 1910, p. 59, as the possible springboard for reinvention.

In the late 1930s and over the years since, aside from Karl Fulves, claims for Grant and Hofzinser have not gained support, while Jean Hugard and Fred Braue publicly came to Curry's defense. Meanwhile, “Touch” has frequently been varied and purloined, the most successful of the variants being “Maury” Kain's “Ultissimo”, marketed in 1946 by Merv Taylor. Kain added a clever stand to do the task done by Frank Land's Two-Card Monte Move in the Curry original. The history of this trick is complex and much fuller detail on it may be had from the Fulves's article cited above and in Stephen Minch's editorial note in Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond, p. 208.