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But between 1921 and 1937 only 650 Duesenbergs (Models A, J and SJ) were sold. The Auburn-Cord company had taken over the Duesenberg operation in 1926, keeping the brothers, of course. Sales were slow, even in 1929. The depression years were too much.
This week, Tommy Milton, winner of the Indianapolis race in 1921 and 1923 and a driver for the Duesenbergs in many a race, paid tribute to his friend of 40 years:
"There never would have been a Duesenberg without Augie."
Without Augie there will never be another. A few Duesenbergs survive here and there, cherished by their owners, and surviving also is a piece of dated slang, still used to express the ultimate in admiration. When someone says "It's a doozy," he may well be harking back to the beloved "Duesies" which once raced the speedways and graced the boulevards.
Calypso without words
Successful card games seldom are invented out of hand or are even traceable to their source. Instead, they evolve shyly in obscure corners of civilization—savages do not play bridge—and then attain sudden popularity for reasons beyond the powers of sociology to discover.
Thus it was with poker, which seems to have originated among early French settlers of Louisiana. These pioneers combined a game of their own, poque, with another game, as-nas, taught them by Persian sailors. Mississippi river boatmen carried the game upstream and mispronounced poque.
The only synthetically invented game to make any impression in this country was five hundred, deliberately created in 1904 for the United States Playing Card Company. It had its day, which waned, though there are those who say that it still is played in and around Cincinnati.
A few years ago, just as the gin rummy madness was passing the crisis of its fevered career, a South American game called canasta slipped past quarantine and cluttered the card tables of a million homes—maybe more. It required the purchase of two decks and the card manufacturers loved it. It was followed by samba, which needed three decks, and the card manufacturers were prepared to love samba even more, except that it just didn't attract canasta's large following. There came a lull, during which most people went back to one-deck games like poker, bridge and pinochle.
Since late last summer, however, there has been a groundswell of excitement among playing card men. In England people have been playing a really new card game, deliberately invented, a pastime called calypso, which uses four decks. Two months after it was introduced into England last September, 30,000 calypso sets—four decks to a set, remember—were sold, marking the end of austerity in Britain. Just as remarkable, during the two weeks before it was officially introduced in this country, American playing card manufacturers had received orders from retail outlets for close to 100,000 sets.