107th Anniversary Soapy Smith Wake
July 8, 2005
Photos by Bob Busch
The 107th annual
Soapy Smith Wake was an absolute success.
Thanks to Whit Haydn and the Magic Castle. Was there any doubt?
The Ticket into the Wake
The Wake was held downstairs of the Magic Castle in the W.C. Fields
bar. The $5.00 entrance was paid by several hundred guests, who
were also invited to purchase raffle tickets for numerous collectible
Soapy Smith items donated. There were also bars of souvenir Soapy
soap for guests to buy for an additional $5.00. There were no claims of cash prize inside. Later in the
evening there were rumors that someone had found a $100 bill in one of
the soap wrappers, but the "winner" turned out to be none other than
"German Pete" (Peter Menyhart), pulling off another one of his infamous
cons, all in the spirt of fun.
Jeff awards Whit for his grand efforts towards making the event a worthy one.
Jeff Smith awarded Whit Haydn with a framed photograph of Soapy as he lay in the morgue, a nice photograph worthy of hanging in a bedroom. The Soapy Smith award goes out annually to those who have made a major contribution in keeping the spirit and memory of Soapy alive and well.
Jeff Smith had a table filled with a collection of rare photographs
relating to Soapy and his life. He also brought the original
Soapy grave marker for all to ponder. Jeff was there throughout
the evening to answer questions about his great
grandfather. There was a notable increase in the knowledge
of Soapy this year. Many of the questions were in regards to
details about certain events in Soapy's life. It was nice for a
change not to have to start with the very basics, although Jeff is
always glad to do so.
and his beautiful wife Terry, out from Pioneer Town near Yucca Valley,
guests came in old west clothing and the costume contest had
some very interesting entries. Larry Bitterman, of Old Frontier
clothing Company donated one of his finest shirts as a prize.
Jeff Smith, Larry Bitterman and Peter Menyhart were the judges. A
fun time was had by all.
Smith donated several slivers that had fallen from the Soapy grave
marker, to the event. Whit Haydn placed them in two beautifully
decorated shadow boxes, complete with signitures of
authentication. One of the boxes went to the raffle and the other
was placed in the auction and realized a final bid of $90. Not
bad for a sliver of wood smaller than half a tooth-pick.
Champion Pool Trick Shot, Chef Anton
U.S. champion pool trick shooter, Chef Anton, wowed the crowd with his
humorous and skillful trade. Dave Bourne, from HBO's Deadwood,
played 19th century piano while Brandy LaPlante sang popular melodies
from the 1890's.
LaPlante "The songbird" sings for the crowd as Dave Bourne plays 19th
century melodies. Dave is the piano player at the Gem saloon in
8:30 p.m. Jeff took the stage and spoke on the adventures of
Soapy. There were many intelligent questions from the
crowd. Afterwards Jeff asked Whit Hayden to come up to the stage
and Jeff awarded a framed photograph of Soapy as a gesture of thanks
from the Smith family for all his dedicated work on behalf of Soapy. 9:15,
the approximate time of Soapy's death, rolled around and Jeff gave the
toast we all had gathered for. Everyone in the place all raised
The most popular person at the Wake ... not Jeff ... The
The Photographs below are by Jeff Smith
A Grave marker chip can be seen dead center of the box. Jeff Smith with his extensive Soapy Smith photograph collection.
Soapy Soap made for the wake
106th Anniversary Soapy Smith Wake
July 8, 2004
PHOTO CREDIT: BOB BUSCH
photographs above were taken at the annual "Soapy" Smith wake held
at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, July 8th, 2004.
Photo, top left:
award-winning magician and Professor for the School for Scoundrels
Whit Haydn, performs the shell game with some very large nuts.
Photo, top right:
great grandson Jeff Smith, dressed as "Soapy," addresses the crowd at
the wake. Behind Jeff is the original grave marker, now owned by Jeff.
Photo, middle left: Dave Bourne played a beautiful 19th century piano during the wake.
Photo, middle right: Chef Anton, Whit Haydn, and Jeff Smith prepare for the 9:15 p.m. toast to "Soapy's Ghost," next to the original grave marker.
Photo, bottom left: Beautiful Nancy Haydn and Chef Anton.
Photo, bottom right: World champion trick-shot pool shark Chef Anton demonstrates his skill.
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