“America’s Most Popular Party Game!”
Released in 1954 by Lowell Toy Mfg., Beat the Clock board game was based on the TV series of the same name that ran on CBS from 1950-58. With box art that featured the show’s stars, Host Bud Collyer and Hostess Roxanne, the group party game challenged players to complete stunts before time ran out.
In place of a game board, Beat the Clock provided a box full of props and a booklet that outlined 40 different stunts prepared by Frank Wayne and Bob Howard, the writers from the TV show. Each stunt was described and illustrated, along with a time limit for completion.
The stunts were typical old-fashioned party games, challenging players to perform simple tasks using a combination of rubber balls, cardboard rings, balloons, paper cups, and a tabaret. Since Beat the Clock was designed to be played in groups, stunts were also earmarked as “single” (for one player) or “couple” for two players.
Players timed their progress using a spring-operated Sylvania clock. The clock marked off time with loud ticks, adding urgency and excitement. In place of a scoring system, players were assessed based on how fast they completed a specific challenge. Beating the clock by 15 seconds labelled a player a “Social Superman”, 10 seconds a “Worldly Whiz”, and 5 seconds “Terrific”.
IN THE BOX
A complete game included one spring-operated clock, a printed guide with instructions and 40 stunts, and a series of props, including three rubber balls, three cardboard rings, three paper cups, three balloons, string, wooden dowels, and the tabaret.
The popularity of the Beat the Clock television show makes it relatively easy to find a used copy of the game. However, finding a copy that contains all the props in a usable format will take a bit of luck.