thimble-rig, was: "Rube" 1846?

Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Mon Dec 27 22:43:34 UTC 2004

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Wilson Gray
>Sent: 12/27/2004 1:56 PM
>Subject: Re: "Rube" 1846?
>What's it mean to be "playing the thimble rig, commonly called the
>little Joker"?

Thimble rig is another name for the shell game, where a (supposedly) single
pea is hidden under one of three walnut shells, they are scooted around, and
the bettor (read: chump, or mark) guesses which one it's under.  I've got a
moderate amount of contemporary literature on it (all from the perspective
of magicians, who look on it as one of the "allied arts", and may have a
presentation as part of their show -- Harry Anderson (of Night Court) had a
routine on his special "Hello Sucker"), and have never heard it referred to
as "the little joker".

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