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Club Cal-Neva Permits Horseplay

Club Cal-Neva Permits Horseplay

1950 Susan Wallace, a 24-year-old, “plucky blonde” who resided in Hollywood, California, needed money to further her opera studies (Nevada State Journal, Jan. 8, 1950).  In early January, she sent telegrams to the casinos in Reno, Nevada — Harolds Club, Harrah’s Club, Bank Club, Club Cal-Neva, Palace Club, Riverside Hotel — asking if they’d be amenable to horse roulette and if their casino could accommodate a horse and its size. Unlike rat roulette, where the rodents are part of the gambling equipment, equine roulette involves a horse actually playing the game . . . well, with a bit of help. Wallace would be in The Biggest Little City in a few days, she informed them, and wanted her white stallion — which she’d named Lucky because of his past gambling success — to play roulette with her there. “‘Lucky,’ the horse, has never been known to draw to a soft 17 or crapped out in a friendly game in the stables among his buddies or in any flourishing casino,” reported the Nevada State Journal (Jan. 5, 1950). Varied Responses Three clubs replied via Western Union. A Harolds Club official asked how old Lucky was, noting the legal age for gambling […]

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Mobsters Threaten Hollywood Filmmaker

Mobsters Threaten Hollywood Filmmaker

1950 In late 1948, Hollywood movie producer, Frank N. Seltzer — known for the movies, Jungle Patrol and Let’s Live Again, which debuted that same year — began research for his next project, 711 Ocean Drive, starring Edmond O’Brien and Joanne Dru. He intended for it to expose the “bookie racket,” or “wire service as a new industry for the hoodlums who lost out through repeal” of Prohibition,” he said (Nevada State Journal, June 15, 1950). He planned to film in a handful of California and Nevada cities. However, Lieutenant William “Bill” Burns, with the Los Angeles Police Department, warned Seltzer he was “walking into a bear trap” in Las Vegas. In 1949, after the script was ready, someone from the public relations firm that represented the City of Las Vegas told Seltzer they could make available famous hotel-casinos on the Strip for filming. A separate hotel owner directly offered his property for the Sin City sequences. Further, a city councilman and Chamber of Commerce member assured the producer they’d cooperate fully with production. Obstruction, Harassment Begin Two months later, however, when production manager, Orville Fouse, went to Las Vegas, the hotel-casino owner who had offered his property for filming […]

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