|Topic: 2007 Soapy Smith Wake|
It is that time of year again. The 109th anniversary of Soapy Smith's death is July 8th and will be "celebrated" in two locations in the U.S.
* Eagles Hall, Skagway, Alaska
* The Magic Castle, Hollywood, California
I will be at the Magic Castle's event and would love to meet anyone attending the Castle that night. You can read more about the Wakes HERE
“Here’s to Soapy’s ghost!”
109th anniversary of Soapy Smith’s death
Once again the calendar has turned to the joyous month of July. Gambler, bunco boss and all around bad man, Jefferson Randolph (“Soapy”) Smith was slain on July 8, 1898, and since 1974 the Smith family and those interested have held a “Wake” (party) to commemorate his life and tragic death. This is the 109th anniversary and the 33rd annual “Wake.”
I ask you to join the Smith family in raising a glass in a toast to this infamous bad man of the old west on July 8 at 9:15 pm, the approximate time Soapy was killed.
There are two “Wakes” being held, in Skagway, Alaska and at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.
If you are unable to attend one of these functions I humbly ask you to honor Soapy with a word and virtual flowers at the Internet grave site of Soapy located at Find A Grave. If you have left a message in the past you are urged to do so again. If you have never registered there I ask you to do so. The link is below. You can copy and paste if it does not link.
The Smith family thanks you all!
“He never missed an opportunity to separate cash from the gullible, neither did he miss the opportunity to preach and practice the gospel of kindliness and compassion.” -The Reign of Soapy Smith, 1935
This year's wake, tomorrow night should be a lot of fun. We have Dave Bourne (the piano player from HBO's Deadwood) at the saloon piano.
Brandy LaPlante will sing "The Ballad of Soapy Smith" accompanied by Lee Newman (grandson of both Eddie Cantor and Jimmy McHugh), and his guitar partner, "Johnny A".
Jeff Parmer and the ChordSlingers will be performing their unique brand of Barbershop Quartet throughout the Castle.
Zigee the Good Gypsy and her "Wonder Dog," Bravo, will be reading minds, adding numbers, and pulling nefarious gypsy tricks on everyone.
Chef Anton will be performing his trick shot show at 8:30 pm in the Inner Circle.
And of course, all the regular showroom performers are performing.
I will be working the shell game behind the W.C. Fields Bar, while many other dealers, hoping to win the prize of a set of solid silver walnut shells, compete with each other trying to trim the suckers at Faro, Shell Game, Fast and Loose, Three-Card Monte, etc.
There will be gambling games like craps and roulette, (all played with Soapy Money), and the player at the end of the evening with the highest winnings will win a prize.
There is an auction with professional auctioneer Rob Zabrecky. There are wonderful items up for auction, including a new set of Trade Show Shells, "Lucky Chip" from Soapy's Grave Marker (beautifully framed in a shadow box with certificates of authenticity), a basket of Magic Castle memoribilia and collectibles worth more than $200, Soapy Smith books and memorabilia and much, much more.
There will be prizes for best costumes, including funniest, sexiest, and most authentic. People dress to the nines in Gold Rush and Gay 90's wear.
It is a huge blast, and only a $5.00 cover charge for members and their guests, and $25 for unaccompanied guests.
Here is the Magic Castle Newsletter report:
SOAPY’S FRONTIER FUNDRAISER RIP-ROARING SUCCESS
The Magic Castle’s 4th Annual Soapy Smith Party was celebrated Sunday, July 8th, and the hallways of the Mecca of Magic were festooned with card sharps, con men, grifters and dance hall girls, all on had to “drink a Toast to Soapy’s Ghost” and take part in the AMA’s annual event dedicated to the memory of America’s frontier con man, Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith, the man who built the three-shell game into a criminal empire.
Sponsored by Whit Haydn and Chef Anton’s School for Scoundrels, dedicated to the study of the classic street cons of the past and their applications to the magic of today, this Soapy Smith Party beat all previous events in every detail. Students of the School for Scoundrels set up “Soapy’s Parlor” in the Inner Circle, which features multiple gaming tables, Faro dealers and Chef Anton’s Pool Table, on which the Chef demonstrated his mastery of the picturesque and peculiar pool shots that are his specialty. Tables featuring the Shell Game, Fast & Loose, Three Card Monte and other swindles were scattered throughout the Magic Castle.
Each AMA member and guest entering the Castle was given a stake of $100 in Soapy Gold Rush Dollars for playing the games, and at the end of the evening, Shell Game master GiuseppeAliotta having fleeced his customers of over $6,000, won the Dealer’s Prize, a set Colorado Sterling silver shells from the School for Scoundrels. The Player’s Prize was split between Joseph Tran and Vanessa Lauren, who will share a beautifully framed and mounted chip from the original headstone of Soapy Smith’s grave, authenticated by Smith’s great-grandson, Jeff Smith, who was also in attendance.
Music was provided by the effervescent Songbird of Skagway, Brandy LaPlante, and her accompanying gold-pan alley associates Lee Newman and Johnny A. The trio presented a rousing version of “The Ballad of Soapy Smith.” Jeff Parmer’s Frontier Quartet provided smooth harmonies throughout the Castle, and Professor David Bourne’s turn of the century dance hall medleys at the piano set the perfect mood.
An auction of rare memorabilia and gambling supplies raised approximately $1600 for the Dai Vernon Fund, and the special admission charge to the benefit of the Fund raised close to $1400.
Frontier Judge and Soap Pitchman Mark Nelson presided over a panel consisting of Jeff Smith and “German” Pete, who selected the most authentic, sexiest and funniest costumes of the evening. Splitting a decision, the judges awarded a “most authentic” prize for male and female, and “Gentleman” Michael Johnson and “Lucky” Linda Flinn received the honors; the “sexiest” prize was presented to silver-spangled C.J. Johnson (Michael’s spouse); and “funniest” to the AMA’s own Kurt Freitag, who’s befuddled old telegraph operator was also in the running for “most authentic” until German Pete spied his Castle host walkie-talkie prominently displayed on his outfit!
A host of volunteer dealers and Academy members helped the event to run smoothly, including Rich Cowley, Nancy Haydn, Vanessa Lauren, Steve Mitchell, Wendy Sobel, and more than a dozen students of the School for Soundrels. Special thanks to our Frontier Auctioneer Rob Zabrecky, who once again handled the Soapy auction with personality and panache, sacrificing both his voice and his moustache to coax maximum bids out of the partygoers. Next year’s Soapy Smith Party will commemorate the 110th Anniversary of the demise of America’s First Gangster, and we’ll see you on Monday, July 8th!
Judge Mark Nelson
|You can see hundreds of photographs taken at this year's Soapy Smith Wake [url=http://www.magiccastle.com/ama/eventphotos.cfm]HERE[/url]|