August 6, 2009

Late Soapy Smith Wake news


The August issue of the Magic Castle Newsletter carries the following story on the success of the annual Soapy Smith Wake.

The Magic Castle's 6th Annual "Soapy" Smith Party took place once again on the anniversary of the shooting of the infamous frontier con man Wednesday, July 8th, and scores of sharps, grifters, soiled doves and dance hall girls pervaded the hallways of the Mecca of Magic, decorated in their finest 1890's attire. The annual fundraiser for the Dai Vernon Fund took in more than $2,500 for the Academy of Magical Arts' emergency humanitarian trust fund for magicians.

Co-sponsored by Whit Haydn's and Chef Anton's School for Scoundrels, the Smith family's Soapy Smith Preservation Trust [that's us!] and the AMA Trustees, this year's event continued the tradition of grand and glorious excess, including games of chance for the rubes and marks in "Soapy's Parlor" in Peller Theater, Pop Haydn's latest pitch for his Amazing Miracle Oil, a demonstration of Chef Anton's diabolical trick pool shots, music from Dave Bourne's Medicine Show Band, colorful candy girls Vanessa Lauren and Stephanie Carter and an auction of rare and delightful memorabilia conducted by Judge Mark Nelson.

Soapy's great grandson Jeff Smith and Larry Bitterman, the proprietor of Old Frontier Clothing Company, served as judges for the Costume Contest. Bob Muenckler was awarded the "most authentic" prize, while "Best Male Costume" and "Best Female Costume" were presented to Jon Tonsic and Pamela Waggoner, respectively. The Dealer's Prize for the most "Soapy Dollars" earned in the course of the evening, a $500 set of Colorado Sterling Silver Shells [shell game] from the School for Scoundrels, was won by Erik Taik, Erik was obviously channeling the devious spirit of bad man Soapy Smith, as he won by selling tickets to a raffle that wasn't even being held!

On behalf of the Trustees and the Academy of Magical Arts, our thanks to everyone who volunteered and all of the members and guests who participated in this year's celebration, marking the 111th Anniversary of the death of the King of the Frontier Con Men, Jefferson Randolph Smith.

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