I’ll Get You
George Raft is the featured star in this 1952 British film. By this time he was way past his prime and pretty much mumbling his way through the few parts he snagged. In the past decade he had blown his chance to reign forever in Noir Aristocrisy in film classics such as High Sierra (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942) and Double Indemnity (1944).There are whole treatsies devoted to how Raft’s dumb choices made Bogart a star. So we’ll move on. Raft’s life post-Hollywood is so much more Gangster-dish! In fact, the great Mr. Martin Scorcese and the equally devine Mr. Robert De Niro are rumored to be coming out with a film based on the life of Dino Cellini, a major Buddy/Employer/Associate of Raft’s after he left Hollywood.
It’s Cuba Baby!
A few years after I’ll Get You, George washed up on the shores of Havana, Cuba as a greeter at the Capri Casino. Everyone thinks, poor Georgie. Except, according to the Treasury Department in 1958, he was not a greeter, but one of the owners of the Capri. Raft had grown up with Crimelord Meyer Lansky and several other mobsters (including one-time room mate Bugsy Siegal) and had maintained friendships with these guys for nearly 50 years. At times he bragged of his associations, at other times he downplayed them. Now, at close to 60, he was all buddy-buddy again. Why the change of heart?
Cuban gaming, circa 1960 was a license to steal – except stealing wasn’t necessary. Batista was in charge and welcomed the pay-offs. Mobsters couldn’t build casinos fast enough. Would too many casinos ruin the profits? NO! They made more money! Did making the games more legit ruin it? NO!! They made even more money! Stars, politicians, eutrotrash and every crook, con man, gold digger and mobster on the planet converged to form one big conga line to Havana. For the mob, Cuba was more profitable than Las Vegas. OMG! It was better than going public in the 90’s!!
Too bad they didn’t do a better deal of cutting in the locals. In 1959 Castro was in. La Casa Nostro was out.
London A Go-Go Gone!
Next stop – London. London gaming in the sixties was very unregulated and operated largely in private posh clubs.Until the mob “moved” in most of the gaming clubs had been run by blue blood types with cool titles like Sir, Earl and Viscount. The mobs takeover was fast. The Colony Club, fronted by the ever dapper George Raft, was swing central. The “wrong” element lined up again to get in. Rock stars! Show people! Crass Americans! Gangsters! Oh Dear! Horrified Parliment members reacted . . . slowly. First they discussed. Then they debated and gathered information about the decline of the nation. More hang-wringing debate. Years later, laws were enacted barring anyone with a criminal past, as well as certain types of profitable games. In 1967, Raft, Cellini and several others were booted out of England for game rigging and ties to organized crime figures in New York. Britannia was saved.
Near Mint. Bright bold colors. Never been folded. No Pin Holes. Probably never used. Never restored. Only flaw keeping it from “Mint grade” is a half inch rip on lower right side of border and very minor paper crumples (1/8″) at 2 corners.