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The Story of the Hopalong Cassidy Coin
As told to Joe Caro

Duane Smith, a friend who plays poker with Jack Elam on a regular basis told me about the Hoppy coins and arranged the interview with him.

Smith told me about one of his poker games:

I felt his steely gray eyes watching me across the felt-covered poker table as I pondered my hand. I instinctively knew that my ten-high straight would be beaten; he had been beating me all evening even with stronger hands. I could feel drops of cold sweat form on my brow and as I glanced up at this gray bearded devil, I knew by his crooked grin that he had me again. "Raise five " was his only reply, and a cold electric spark danced in his eyes as his nimble fingers quickly added coins to the ever growing pile. I felt my resolve waver, and then collapse entirely, I knew I had been beaten once again. With a sigh, I threw in my hand.

Fingering the few lightweight, dull silver coins that we used for poker chips, remaining in my pile, I asked my poker playing nemesis why he insisted on using these particular old aluminum coins, each bearing the likeness of a smiling Hopalong Cassidy, instead of regular chips for the weekly game. Smiling himself, from under luxuriantly bushy eyebrows (read evil-looking) and through a full beard that had turned grayish-white over the years (but did little to mask his sinister appearance) Jack Elam, the ever-popular and ever-famous cowboy "bad guy" actor, stated, true to character, "because they won't fit in parking meters."

Back to >>>Jack Elam Interview

About the author:
Joseph Caro, a well known expert on Hopalong Cassidy, is the author of Hopalong Cassidy Collectibles and the editor of Cowboy Collector Network, a newsletter for Cowboy enthusiasts.

Images supplied by J. Caro

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