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"The Unlikely Look Alike": article draft by Roosevelt Fitzgerald




1980 (year approximate) to 1995 (year approximate)


From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Drafts for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice file. On contests that exclude major segments of population.

Digital ID



man001032. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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OCR transcription





I'm waiting for my big break. I figure in a town like Las Vegas where gambling is legal and the cards, dice, roulette wheels and one-arm bandits cannot distinguish colors, even a black guy from Mississippi has the same chance as "Eric The Red" might have had to hit the big jackpot.
Each time that some establishment has a drawing for anything where the only thing any of the contestants has to do is sign their name on the dotted line, drop it in the slot or what not and wait for some little innocent to come along, reach in and read off the name of the lucky winner, that my chances are just as good as any.
I don't know a whole lot about odds-makings or whatever it's called but I do at least understand that the greater the numbers of participants/chance takers, the more likely it is that I won't win. However, that's true of everyone so I take my chances right along with the rest of them.
Over the past eighteen years or so, I've tried every raffle, shot crap, played blackjack, poker, tonk and even, on a flush slow Wednesday back in ‘76, Baccarrat. I've always been lucky but its always been bad luck. I've either lost or not won depending on what the circumstances were. In the face of constant losses I have never felt a moment's remorse--no regrets. I took my chances right along with everyone else and the overwhelming numbers on each occasion came out the same as I--losers.
Some of those losers did not fully understand games of chance. When they did not win at a free bingo game, an automobile raffle, a television giveaway or a free trip for two somewhere, they would be disappointed. If the stakes were a bit higher, they would become depressed and if they risked their own money on the roll of the dice, the turn of a card, the point spread of a ball game, the outcome of a horse race or the winner of a boxing match, some would go so far as to steal to replace their losses. Others would beat up somebody that they knew they could beat up--spouse or children and if the stakes were really high, they might steal a gun, murder their family and then kill themselves.
I never did any of that. I took the chances, lost, rolled up my sleeping bag and once again waited for my big break—the day that I would be able to say: "Eureka, I've hit the mother lode." That has been what has kept me going—not far—but going just the same.
I currently have my name on approximately one hundred entries in seventy five sweepstakes for a trip to Hawaii, another to Tahiti, for a Runnin1 Rebel Coupon Book, and a trip to Disneyland. I stalled out on 0 64 in a bingo game, I've pulled the handle on every one-arm bandit in the valley, tried doubling my paycheck and lost it afterwards twice as fast, and I've shot crap more often than I take one and the bottom line shows deficit spending. I can't keep a life saving to save my life but I never feel despondent because I know that my chances of winning are as good as the next fellow's.
Maybe I ought to update that sentiment. You see, for the past few days I've been on a real blue-bummer. Depressed, foriong, wistful, out-of-sorts, irritable, proceeding straight through melancholy and rapidly approaching contemplating purchasing a first class ticket to San Francisco on United Airlines and hope that they're really ready when I am, grabbing a Checker Taxi upon my arrival there, directing the driver to take me to the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge, giving him the last few coins of the realm, get out and just jump the heck over the side into oblivion and an eternity of shoveling fossil fuel in hell.
You may wonder; "why would a mild-mannered university professor as handsome as I, seemingly with everything to live for contemplate doing such a thing. I have a good position, am looked up to by those shorter than I, eat well--or at least a lotS-as anyone can see, travel to some of the world's great destinations — Kingman, Yuma, Needles, Baker and a little place that I'm sure you've all heard of—Truck Stop. Why would I go to the great city built by "the stuff that dreams are made of" and jump off into Neptune's lair?
Well, I'll tell you. After a lifetime of living in a society where seemingly there are only two places where true equal opportunity could be found—Hawaii
Five 0 (there it doesn't matter who you are; young, old, ugly, beautiful, male
female, black, white, red, brown or what--if you break the law, McGarrettEis gonna say; "Book him llano") and gambling where everyone has an equal chance of winning, I have discovered in recent days that it is no longer true for the latter. You see, over at Arizona Charlie's place they're having an "Arizona Charlie" look-a-like contest. The winner will receive $200 bucks. I could use $200 bucks. If I didn't get it I would get along without it but I could really use $200 bucks.
All week I've had a feeling--a feeling that my luck would change with the next contest and what happens? Ha. It's a contest for a look-a-like for a white guy named Arizona Charlie. I guess I have been feeling badly.
Yeah. My luck changed alright. It got worse. There are only two things that will keep me from taking that trip—the trip to San Francisco--and they are going ahead and entering that look-a-like contest and winning the $200 bucks or getting a solemn pledge from the solemn pledge givers that they'll never again run a contest which aces out a whole segment of the population. After all, what will people think? What can they think? Now I know why I didn't get to play the part of Moses in the Cecil B. DeMille's production of the Ten Commandments and why Charleston Heston did. Not that he was a better actor but that Cecil
had a notion of what Moses looked like and I did not fit that notion.