John Randolph "Randy" Smith
(aka Randolph J. Smith)
"He loved the con,
but never cheated a soul"
John Randolph Smith, aka, Randolph John Smith, preferred to be called Randy,
and will be addressed from this point on as such. He was the grandson of Jefferson (Soapy) Smith and Jeff Smith's
24, 1918 in St. Louis, Missouri, Randy had two brothers and six sisters. At age 14 his mother Ethel passed away and Randy
was raised for a time by his grandmother, Mary Smith (Soapy's widow). Randy's father and grandmother educated the grandchildren about their criminal grandfather.
Mostly they were told of the good side Soapy had to him. Because of those
stories young Randy developed a love for magic and gambling. He never became addicted,
as he knew all to well that it was a losing battle. Randy's father taught him the shell game and three-card Monte, the
staples of the short con. In later years he taught his sons, Greg and Jeff, how
to do the swindles. The methods were very basic, but they were good enough to fool most people.
In 1936, at age 19, Randy joined
the submarine fleet of the U.S. Navy and was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He left the Navy in 1940, missing the 1941
attack and world war two. Once out of the military Randy moved to Los Angeles, California where he was soon joined by his
father. At his father's passing in 1952, Randy inherited a portion of the Soapy Smith collection of the letters and documents.
Everything had been saved all these years and were being passed down to the next generation of Smith's. Randy married
Nina Pickett and had one daughter, Randi Jean Smith. Randy later married Dorothy ("Dotti") and had two children,
Greg and Jeff (this website's author).
Randotti Products (coming from the first
names of Randy and Dotti Smith) was a family owned business that had its roots as a hobby for the daughter of Randy and the
children of his wife Dotti. With the birth of a son and another on the way Randy moved his family to Anaheim, California where
the supplemental income hobby turned to Disneyland as a customer in 1956. The orders increased so much that Randy quit his
job as an engineer and went into business for himself. During this time the company was known only as "rj," the
small case initials of Randy J. Smith. The name of Randotti was formed in 1967-68.
built a back building in their backyard and began pumping out about 175 different types of souvenir skulls, tikis, tombstones
and statuary. Many glowed in the dark. At the request of buyers at Disneyland Randy began to design products specific to certain
rides in the magic kingdom such as the Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion. Soon numerous Disneyland
shops carried the Randotti line, which were often displayed in the street windows, the most prestigious location possible
for a souvenir. Orders kept increasing until Randy and Dotti moved their backyard business into shop in Stanton, California
in 1967. When Walt Disney World opened in 1971 the buyers there screamed for Randotti merchandise as well.
the Randotti name and their line of souvenir skulls and tombstones has a collector following and the items sell for many times
their original price. The Smith family is proud and we know Randy and Dotti would be as well, knowing that their work still
brings joy to so many.
private backyard museum
family business was moved to Stanton Randy turned the backyard building in Anaheim into a private old west saloon and gambling
hall, to honor his grandfather, Soapy Smith. It was a grand place to grow up in as a kid. Collecting and selling antique gambling
equipment became a sideline for the family. For thirty years son Jeff learned as much as he could about Soapy from his father.
Randy passed away on December 12, 1987. His marker bears dice, coming up sevens on every angle. He is greatly missed.
|Randy just after purchasing Soapy's grave marker
Rest in Peace dad *