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Matt Weinstock -- February 25, 1959

February 25, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Closing the Books

Matt_weinstockd_2 In the last week two big downtown bookmakers have folded their form charts and quietly stolen away.

The gendarmes didn't knock them over. The longshots at Santa Anita did.

To stay in business a bookie has to figure on 20% -- $20 of every $100 wagered.

Normally around 33% of the favorites, or chalk horses, win, paying short prizes. This has been especially true at the big Arcadia slot machine.

But not this semester. The longshots have been tromping in like crazy. One bookie was hit for $3,000 last week by an uncooperative nag which came from nowhere.

1959_0225_red_streak IN THE OLD DAYS when a bookie got loaded up on a longshot, he could lay off some of the money so he wouldn't get hurt. Now he can't. The lay-off spots aren't around any more. And he can't refuse the action or the players will become irritable. So, down the drain.

Naturally this distressing situation is working a hardship on beleaguered bettors. When a bookie is hard to find, a player, especially one with a hot tip, faces the terrible prospect of going out to the track and getting clobbered for the full ride, maybe even being refused admittance because his tie isn't on straight.

Man, it's murder.

* *

DRIVING THROUGH a beach town, Jo Meade commented on the unimaginative street names and wondered if they'd ever be changed to something more colorful.

"I'll start them out," Tom, her husband, said, "with Squid Roe."

* *

1959_0225_campanella EVERYONE doubtless has noticed how everything's going Italiano these days -- clothes, shoes, film start, small cars, cuisine. Well, Dana Burkhalter puts it this way:

With all this Italian cooking, I guess
They'll soon call our city Lasagna-les,
The name doesn't matter, I'd like, never fear,
To own a few pizzas of property here.

* *

A MAN I KNOW went to the freezer to get some hamburger for dinner and found some freshly washed clothes. Holding up his wife's bra he demanded, "What's this doing in the freezer?"

Surprised at such ignorance, she said she kept them there until she was ready to iron them. The cold, she explained, prevented mildew.

Logical, but a little depressing.

* *

1959_0225_duncan THE WAY Lou Huston tells it, Hamlet, tortured by inner conflicts, attempted to resolve his hostilities by the wanton slaying of inoffensive donkeys and a particular species of bird.

One day, as the unhappy prince stalked through the garden at Elsinore, terminating the lives of the beasts and birds, he was observed by his mentor, Polonius, who admonished him, "Neither a burro oriole-ender be."

* *

ONLY IN BURBANK -- Mrs. M. Belden's son, a first-grader, came home from school bursting with the news that there was a new boy in class named Felicio, which, he said, means "drop dead."

Knowing the name means happiness, she asked where he got such an idea. Came the reply, "Well, I asked him what his name meant and he said, 'Drop dead!' "

* *


A Duarte lady, who has just received a Christmas card from a great aunt in Havana postmarked Dec. 10, 1958, asks, "How manana can you get?" . . . A family on Golden Gate Ave. near Sunset Blvd. is beginning to think autos don't like the two trees in front of the house. On Lincoln's Birthday a Chevy crashed into one and on the Washington Birthday holiday the other was fiercely attacked by a Plymouth. The trees fought back resolutely but hardly made a dent . . . Overheard by Frank Barron in Beverly Hills: "If I put as much money into payments as I put in parking meters my car would have been paid for by now."