THE UNSINKABLE TITANIC THOMPSON….
Burnet: Eakin Press, 1982. ix,234pp. Frontis. portrait of Thompson. Index. Photographs. Brown cloth, title in gilt on spine. First edition. Fine copy in an equally nice dust jacket. Alvin Clarence Thomas was born in Rogers, Arkansas in 1892 and died in Fort Worth, Texas in 1974. His youth was spent honing his skills and he became a traveling hustler wining at cards, dice , pool, horseshoes, shooting, and all manner of proposition bets. Titanic took up golf in his thirties and quickly became an expert golfer. Ben Hogan, who traveled with him in his early days, described his as the best shot maker he had ever seen. When asked one time why he didn’t turn pro, he replied: “I couldn’t afford the cut in pay.” Being ambidextrous was a unique advantage as he played equally well with either hand. One of his favorite golf hustles, was to beat a golfer playing right handed and then offer to play the course again, double or nothing, left handed (he was a natural lefty, of course). A legend in his own time, he was the model for Damon Runyon’s character, Sky Masterson, in one of Runyon’s short stories, The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, on which the musical Guys and Dolls was based. A fun read.