The Amazing World of John Scarne

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Photo Album

The following photos are from Scarne's second (1966) autobiography, The Odds Against Me. Click on any image to see the full sized version.

Note - I don't yet have the images up, but here are the captions. I expect to have the images up within the week (April 2000).

That's me in the center at the age of two, with Mother and Sister Lucy. My father in 1920.
My mother in 1954. This is how I looked when I was nineteen years old in the Roaring Twenties, and performing card tricks for Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston, Al Capone, Jack Kearns and Arnold Rothstein.
A 1929 scene at Jimmy Braddock's White Sulphur Springs training camp, were Braddock was training for his title fight with Tommy Loughran, world's light-heavyweight champion. Jimmy, wearing his training sweater, is helping me experiment with my first homemade "Scarney" game board. In my first motion picture appearance (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1932 comedy Dark Magic), Robert Benchley practices my instructions on how to vanish an egg, while the department store clerk looks on.
As I appeared the day I first performed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a reception given in his honor by New Jersey's Governor A. Harry Moore, at Sea Girt. In 1941 at the swank Versailles night club in New York, where I was headlining nightly, Orson Welles presents a picture of pure bewilderment as solid steel rings slide on and off my arms just as easily as if my thumbs were not securely tied.
At Fort Dix, New Jersey, in the early months of World War II, I give one of my first gambling demonstrations for soldiers. Here I am teaching the GI's how to protect themselves against card sharps and dice cheats. A few minutes before my command performance for General Hap Arnold, Commanding General Army Air Forces, at Bolling Field on October 11, 1944, I had a moment of relaxation with some of the General's colleagues who were in the audience that night: (left to right) Lt. General Joseph T. McNarney; Air Marshal Sir William L. Welch, RAF; and Lt. General Barney Giles, Chief of Air Staff, Army Air Forces.
In this picture I'm demonstrating a controlled shot with a pair of honest dice for John H. Winn, inventor of the bank-crap layout, at a party celebrating the publication of my first book, Scarne on Dice, in 1945. I am seen here in 1943 with Police Sergeant Audley Walsh of Ridgefield Park, examining some crooked gambling devices confiscated in a police raid on a manufacturer of such equipment. (Photo by Les Stevers)
At my favorite home-town hangout, the Fairview Diner, I am producing a fan of cards from the coat of the Fairview Police Chief, George Sedore, on evening in 1943. Two of my lifelong friends are present: Police Commissioner Jack Reme (seated to my left) and Dr. Joseph Videtti (standing directly behind me). I refereed the play-off game for the championship of the "1947 Sports Stars Follow the Arrow Tournament" at the Hotel Edison in New York, where Joe DiMaggio took the title with 133 points to Gus Lesnevich's 112.
At the Parish House of St. Francis Church in old San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1953, I produce the Ten of Clubs that Father Venard is thinking of, while Father Gregory looks on. My secretary, Miss Steffi Storm, during the 1950 Fairview Teeko Club championship, which I won with 30 victories and no losses. Miss Storm subsequently became Mrs. John Scarne but not, I hope, just because I won this championship.
At New York's famous "21" Club in 1955, I took on ten "Teeko" players simultaneously and won all games. Seven of my opponents are shown here: Steve Allen, Larry Evans, Frances Langford, John Crawford, Jinx Falkenberg, Walter Slezak, and Judy Holliday. Portrait artist Josef Fifler and I are surrounded by Fidel Castro's bodyguards in the lobby of the Havana Hilton on the day in 1960 when Castro checked into the hotel.
Now it's March 1960 and I am welcoming author Jim Bishop and television star Jack Paar to Havana, shortly after Castro's revolution forced President Fulgencio Batista to flee Cuba. I'm at the lower left, cigar in hand, in 1961, overseeing the roulette action at the Caribe Hilton Hotel Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
At the same time I had the job of explaining the use of crooked dice and controlled dice shots to the Casino personnel. During the Senate Investigation Subcommittee hearings in Washington in August 1961, I was asked to demonstrate the "Scarne Riffle" for detecting marked cards. Here I am doing so for Senators Karl Mundt (R., S.D.), Sam Ervin (D., S.C.), Chairman John McClellan (D., Ark.), and Subcommittee Counsel Jerome Adlerman.
In 1961, after forty years of experiment, I receive the first perfected "Scarney" game to come off the presses, and it is in many ways my biggest thrill. "Rhythming" two slot machines at one time at the Bonaire Hotel Casino in the Netherlands Antilles, as Bud Sweet, the manager, looks on to be convinced that I can beat the machines.
In late 1961 I became gambling consultant to Roberto Chiari, President of Panama, and part of my job was to check dice and other gambling equipment at the government-operated casino in Panama City. Laurance Rockefeller's beautiful Dorado Beach Hotel Casino needed a gambling adviser in 1962, and I took that on as well. I started by explaining the entire casino operation to Bland Hoke, the hotel's general manager, while he took notes.
Another consultant job was with the Puerto Rico Sheraton Hotel Casino in San Juan. Here, in 1963, I'm instructing Freddie Bistani, the manager, in the use of my anti-cheating Blackjack dealing box. 1965, and I receive the Citizen of the Year award from the Detective Crime Clinic of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Mayor Louis Battaglia of my home town, Fairview, N. J., makes the presentation as New York State Police Captain Robert Herbstman witnesses.
A visit in that same year to Hornmann's Magic Shop in New York where, as a young boy, I met and baffled Houdini, Thurston, and other great magicians of those days. On this visit I ran into my very old and good friend the Great Dunninger, world-famous mind reader. Today in the factory showroom of John Scarne Games, Inc., of Fairview, N. J., with my wife, Steffi, and my son, John Teeko, who is holding the game he was named after.

The following images are of the frontispiece and dust jacket of Scarne's first (1956) autobiography, The Amazing World of John Scarne.

John Scarne photoClick on the photo to the left for the full sized version. This photo was Scarne's favorite publicity photo, which became his trademark to millions of servicemen in World War II. It shows Scarne holding a perfect card fan.

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