Posted on Jan 15, 2017 in All Blog Posts

This sophisticated, celebratory hankie sends cheer and good wishes to the recipient in a multitude of languages. What a lovely gift to start off the New Year.

 

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
Oprah Winfrey

Sparkling and effervescent, champagne epitomizes jubilation and revelry. The list of “best years” ends at 1949, which helps us date this charming accessory.

 

This hankie is a hoot. Although the dice spell “Good Luck” this gentleman’s roll may have sentenced him to buying a Mathusalem or (gasp) a Nabuchodonosor for the celebration. Yikes!

 

Seeing these gentleman at the bar always brings to mind the fabulous Slim Aaron’s photo dubbed “The Four Kings” (of Hollywood) featuring (L to R) Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper a James Stewart, shown here in white tie at a 1957 New Year’s party in the Crown Room at Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills.  Smithsonian magazine called this image “a Mount Rushmore of stardom.”

One of today’s trends has folks spending New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or other casino hot spots, hoping for Lady Luck to kickstart their New Year with a winning streak.

My luck’s no greater than yours or any man’s. You need only to sharpen your eyes to see your luck when it comes, and sharpen your wits to use what falls into your hands.”

Lloyd Alexander, Taran Wanderer

 

 

To enhance your viewing, an instrumental of Luck Be a Lady by the Lame Street Band. The song was written by Frank Loesser in 1950 and featured in the musical Guys and Dolls.

 

A silk souvenir from the French Riviera surely holds memories of starlit nights and games of baccarat chemin de fer beneath crystal chandeliers.

 

This gem includes the likeness of HRH Princess Grace on a postage stamp. Note our mink-stoled maven sports a lace trimmed evening handkerchief.

 

Regardless of resolutions and good intentions, every New Year  starts with a roll of the dice, so flaunt your come –what-may attitude with these flirty fashions. Green and gold dice tumble and twirl on this rosy fantasy. Yes, that’s gold paint shimmering throughout. This hankie was strictly for fashion,  not function. It’s fanciful, fabulous and fun!

These geometric gems are sooo 1930’s. The dice seem to crown the apex of skyscrapers in a cityscape. Perfect for either a lady or gentleman.

 

 

“Fortune favors the bold.”

Virgil

Dice float like wind tossed marshmallows betwixt and between celebratory balloons.

“Just as we tend to underestimate the role of luck in life in general, we tend to overestimate it in games of chance.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

 

 

Advice for casino goers runs the gamut, from “Don’t mortgage the house” to “Carry your lucky charms.”

 

Some gamblers will wager on any game from backgammon to Chinese checkers. (Collect long enough and you’ll find almost any image on a handkerchief!)

 

 

Of course there’s the ubiquitous lottery, shown here with a colorful cat that could match wits with the Pink Panther. When you hear the word lotto, most of us think of state lotteries or Powerball games, yet the dictionary defines lotto as “a game of chance in which a leader draws numbered disks at random, and players cover corresponding numbers on their cards, the winner being the first to cover a complete row.” Sure sounds like Bingo to me. (or Keno in a casino.)

“Luck is not as random as you think.
Before that lottery ticket won the jackpot, someone had to buy it.” 
Vera Nazarian

 

If you’re not a whiz with games, perhaps your skill lies with trivia. If you hear the words “Liberty Bell” what comes to mind? Could there be more than one answer? Indeed. Charles Fey of San Francisco is commonly credited with inventing the “Liberty Bell” in the late 1800’s. His Liberty Bell was the first what? (Answer at the end of the blog.) Now, back to the games….

One timeless casino favorite is roulette. Below, little knights wield croupier’s sticks to swoop up stacks of poker chips. Note the French “Chance et Bonheur” which translates Luck and Happiness, a message found on many a fashion handkerchief.

“Bond didn’t defend the practice. He simply maintained that

the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.”

Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

What would a casino be without poker? Here’s a royal flush – in diamonds  no less, which indeed, the lucky player may indulge in purchasing, once he’s cashed in his chips.

“I don’t gamble, if you will concede that poker is a game of skill.” 
Robert A. HeinleinGlory Road

 

Countries around the world partake in card games, from childhood upward. Many expressions used in cards are transferable to the game of life. Someone holding a Royal Flush is considered to be “holding all the cards”, thus, the grand winner over all. The opposite is being “dealt a bad hand”, with dismal odds for success. When you don’t want others to see your cards you are said to “play your cards close to the chest” as opposed to “laying all your cards on the table”. People are cautioned to “play your cards right” if you want to succeed in an endeavor, and in some instances, you may even have a chance to “play your trump card.”  The trump card holds a higher value. If you have a good card but are keeping it hidden, waiting for just the right moment to play it, you are said to “have an ace up your sleeve.” You can readily see these plays relate to life as well, whether you decide to lay your cards on the table or sequester that little ace up your sleeve.

Here’s a fun, flirty hankie to let peep from your pocket or drape over your belt as you wend your way through the casino.

 

A fanciful frolic of Kings, Queens, and knaves in soft spring hues.

 

No one can top textile designer Tammis Keefe  when it comes to composition and color. Keep one of these merry mouchoirs in your pocket and you may be inspired to play long into the wee hours. This prolific artist passed away in 1960, so we know these images are prior to that date. Back then olive with salmon and turquoise was cutting edge. The image is perfection.

 

They’re not the four Kings of Hollywood, but nevertheless, still a handsome quartet in royal regalia.

 

Royalty in Renaissance attire adorn this beauty. Note the teensy dice dead center, surrounded by not only the four suits of spades, hearts, diamond and clubs, but also orbs, acorns, roses, bells, shields and more.

Many of these images are featured in the table below* which illustrates how different countries suited their cards.

 

 

Histories vary as to the origin of playing cards. Some claim card playing began as a gambling game in the 10th century in China or India. Cards possibly entered Southern Europe in the 14th century through Egypt, where the suits were cups, coins, swords and polo sticks. As cards became more popular, various cultures created their own suits. In France, card makers chose spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Purportedly, the suits represented the four classes – Spades represented nobility, Hearts embodied the clergy, Diamonds personified merchants and Clubs typified the peasant class. The history of playing cards is voluminous and fascinating, with dozens of books explaining the symbols and their origins. We can’t do them justice here, but it’s no surprise they are a popular subject for fashion handkerchiefs.

 

It’s also no surprise to find playing cards on these fashionable lipstick hankies. For one thing, no lady wants to excuse herself from the table when she’s on a winning streak. She can reapply and blot her lipstick right there at the game. In addition, waving a little red flag could prove to be a calculated distraction at a crucial moment, such as during a bluff in a poker game. 

 

These “roll of the dice hankies” are ab fab, n’est-ce pas? Note the dice on the left sport images of playing cards, creating a hybrid of dice & cards. Ah that a hand could actually hold four ace of spades!

 

 

Fans have always been a flirting staple for women, so to place a scarlet one on a flirty hankie is a double whammy. Fluttering this little number could drive a man to distraction, while m’lady quietly wins the game.  Chance et Bonheur indeed! ☺  The game on the right may look like solitaire, but with whisper of netting set against a chili hot backdrop we doubt the owner of this hankie will be solitary for long…

 

From the top hat and wands featured in the hankie below, we can assume prestidigitation is afoot, and what magician leaves home without his trusty deck of cards?  With magic on the marquee, methinks this is a perfect handkerchief to carry in Las Vegas.

“Learn to recognize good luck when it’s waving at you, hoping to get your attention.”

Sally Koslow

Regardless of what the cards hold in store for you in the coming year, we wish you many colorful adventures; hopefully some may include hearts and diamonds, along with boundless good luck in spades.

“If I lost all, at least I would have played for it. It’s always been my philosophy

that one must play, or be a loser two-fold.”
Anna FreemanThe Fair Fight

Just for Fun

Answer: The Liberty Bell was a slot machine. There had been earlier versions of gambling machines, but they were more like vending machines. (Workman Publishing, pageaday.com)

If you happen to find yourself in United Airline terminal 3 at San Francisco Airport anytime soon, leave yourself a few moments to check out “Games of Chance: Gambling Devices of the Mechanical Age” one of the many temporary exhibits of this terrific museum. You’ll even one arm bandits – life size carved statues of men with one arm serving as the lever to activate the slot machine displayed in their chests. You can get a teensy taste of the exhibit here: http://www.flysfo.com/museum/exhibitions/games-chance-gambling-devices-mechanical-age

“In the dank utility room deep in the subbasements of my personality,

a little man wiped his hands on his overalls and pulled the switch: More.”

Colson Whitehead

Songs about gambling are almost too numerous to List. Viva Las Vegas alone has been sung by everyone from Elvis to Engelbert Humperdinck, ZZ Top to Nina Hagen, to Bruce Springsteen and more.

This compilation, courtesy of Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor, lists songs and recording artists (not necessarily the lyricist or author of the song). One wonders if these were written after a big win or a big loss. Probably a bit of both.

 

The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

Luck Be A Lady – Frank Sinatra

Lucky Too (Christmas in Las Vegas) – Bob Neuwirth

Las Vegas Virgin – Sonia Dada

Gambler – Madonna

Ace of Spades – Motorhead

Son of a Rotten Gambler – Emmylou Harris

I Let A Gambler Lead Me Astray – Odetta

Blackjack – Ray Charles

Shooting High Dice – Mississippi Sheiks

Draw of the Cards – Kim Carnes

Poker – Electric Light Orchestra

Riverboat Gambler – Carly Simon

Shape of My Heart – Sting

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

The Angel and the Gambler – Iron Maiden

Tumbling Dice – Rolling Stones

The Card Cheat – The Clash

The Winner Takes It All – ABBA

The Gambler – Leonard Cohen

A Good Run of Bad Luck – Clint Black

Easy Money – Billy Joel

No Luck in Gambling – Yellowman

No Cheap Thrill – Suzanne Vega

Las Vegas Turnaround – Hall & Oates

Life is Just a Card Game – Big Joe Turner

Roulette – Bon Jovi

Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man – Bob Seger

Ooh Las Vegas – Emmylou Harris

Gamblin’ Man – Bonnie Raitt

The Jack – AC/DC

Dealer – Traffic

Deal ‘em Again – Christopher Cross

Go Down Gambling – Blood, Sweat & Tears

Whiskey, Women and Loaded Dice – Joe Liggins

Gambling Woman – Memphis Minnie

Lay Your Money Down – Bread

The Gambling Song – Cliff Richard

Gambling Polka Dot Blues – Hank Snow

The Loser – Grateful Dead

Turn of a Friendly Card – Alan Parsons

Norman the Gambler – Max Romeo and the Upsetters

Leavin’Las Vegas – Sheryl Crow

Moonlight Gambler – Frankie Lane

Queen of Las Vegas – B52s

Roll the Bones – Rush

Wind Him Up – Saga

Vegas Two Times – Stereophonics

Vegas Remains – Reclinerland

Vegas Baby – The Weeopies

Vegas – Clowns for Progress

Vegas – The Regulars

Vegas – Dan Mackenzie

Vegas Bound – Evan Olson

Vegas – Penthouse

Vegas Dream – Rick McGuire

Vegas Drag – Count Basie

Vegas – Suitcase Pimps

Vegas Polka – Frankie Yankovic

Vegas – Bobby Bare

Jesus in Vegas – Chumbawamba

Pretty Vegas – INXS

Goin’ to Vegas – Jimmy Ray

Do It Again – Steely Dan

Casino Queen – Wilco

Roll of the Dice – Bruce Springsteen

It’s Midnight and I’m Not Famous Yet – Jimmy Buffett

Sin City – Emmylou Harris

Here’s to the Losers – Frank Sinatra

With Plenty of Money and You – Tony Bennett, Count Basie

Silver and Gold – U2

Street of Dreams – Frank Sinatra

Five Card Stud – Ace Frehley

Poker Face – Lady Gaga

Waking Up in Vegas – Katy Perry

Vegas Nights – Hootie & the Blowfish

Las Vegas with the Lights Out – Geggy Tah

Vegas – Nico

Conventioneers – Barenaked Ladies

Your Love is Like Las Vegas – The Thrills

Vegas – Clubstrophobia

Las Vegas Dealer – Gomez

Here’s to Las Vegas – Barry Manilow

Sin City – Flying Burrito Brothers

L.V. (Las Vegas) Clint Holmes

Big in Vegas – Buck Owens

Straight to the Top (Vegas) – Tom Waits

Reno, Nevada – Richard Farina

Jack of Diamonds – Blind Lemon Jefferson

I Got Mine – Jim Kewskin, Dan Hicks, et al.

Sunday Street – Dave Van Ronk

Hey Louis Prima – Brian Setzer Orchestra

Gambler’s Yodel – Delmore Bros./Doc Watson

I Take My Chances – Mary Chapin Carpenter

Lonesome Loser – Litter River Band

Christmas in Vegas – Dale Watson

40 Miles to Vegas – Southern culture on the Skids

Casino Road – Kevin Gordon

I Saw it Coming – Reckless Kelly

Meet Me in Las Vegas – The Four Aces

Ace in the Hole – George Strait

Waiting on the Cards to Fall – Guy Davis

Bad Card – Bob Marley

Card Sharks – Frestyle

Crazy Game of Poker – O.A.R>

From A Jack to A King – Roger Miller

Queen of Hearts – Juice Newton

Happy Ending – Randy Newman

 

*Image table courtesy of Wikipedia.

6 Comments

  1. 2-18-2017

    Wow. I love the gambling and luck visuals and information as I am in Las Vegas reading it. You put so much work and love into each issue.

    • 3-2-2017

      I do it for readers like you who appreciate it!

  2. 2-26-2017

    Amazing the artistic attention to a subject like cards, gambling, games, etc! Well Done!

    • 2-26-2017

      As we saw with our blog on dreidels, which were adapted from an ancient form of gambling, games of chance and gambling have been around since time immemorial, and are referenced in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Chinese history, with dice dating back 40,000 years. It seems to be an ingrained fascination without borders.

  3. 6-16-2017

    the green lotto kitty is awesome

    • 6-16-2017

      I have to agree. 🙂

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