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The big deal

Jun 17,2019 - Last updated at Jun 17,2019

It might be interesting to look at the word deal and what it may reveal. Such a tractable pursuit may provide some insights into the “deal of the century”.

The word “deal” can be a verb or a noun. To deal could be a blow, cards in card games, making a transaction or something that implicitly could carry a tantalising tone of secrecy and seductive ambiguity.

As a noun, it could be an expression of cynicism or scepticism; when, after someone rants enthusiastically about something, you shrug your shoulders and say “big deal”. It could be a reference to huge a bargain made unexpectedly and takes all concerned by surprise.

Hollywood took notice of the term and produced a game show in 1963 and called it “Let’s Make a Deal”. It is still running until now. It is a sheer implicit invitation for people to gamble.

In 1966, Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward and Jason Robards participated in a movie called “A Big Hand From the Little Lady” based on a 1962 NBC teleplay by Sidney Carroll titled “Big Deal in Laredo”. When the movie was screened outside the US, its name was changed to “Big Deal in Texas”.

Thus, we have to establish the fact that President Donald Trump published his book “The Art of the Deal” with Tony Schwartz in 1987. In 2004, he started his show “The Apprentice” on NBC. His wheeling-dealing was very much influenced by his life experiences as a real estate mogul and a casino owner.

The “Big Deal in Laredo” and “The Apprentice” were both produced by NBC. Yet, what is interesting about Henry Fonda’s film is that it tells the story of a rich group of people who meet annually for a “win-all” large amount game of cards. The event attracts great attention. The last time they met, a sick man, Fonda, and his devoted wife, Woodward, appear on the scene.

As a recuperating gambler, Fonda is aching to participate in the game. His wife and kid beg the sick Fonda to spare the money so they can build a new home away from Dodge City, where they had been residing. Fonda steals the money, jumps into the game and suffers a heart attack that renders him unable to continue. His devoted wife takes the cards from her husband, flashes a big smile and decides to play in his place.

Running short on money, she offers everything she has, including the wagon and the horse to match up the pup. Finally, they go to the greedy town banker, who laughs the wife’s request out when she offered her cards as collateral. When he sees what cards she holds, he changes his mind. He not only covered the deficit, but allowed her to up the ante.

Her game partners were stunned by the banker’s willingness to take such a risk. Impressed by her loyalty to her husband, they would not match her bid and they quit the game allowing her to win.

It was all a staged ploy with Henry Fonda being not ill and he was a well-known gambler, his wife is a hired burlesque dancer, the kid was a cleaning bus boy and the banker was a gainful participant.

This is the deal...

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