You Bet Your Life – 11 Unusual Tales Of Russian Roulette

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Trivial Diversions

You Bet Your Life – 11 Unusual Tales Of Russian Roulette

You Bet Your Life – 11 Unusual Tales Of Russian Roulette

In this suicidal sport, you literally gamble with your life. With one bullet spun in a six chamber gun, each squeeze of the trigger gives you a 1-in-6 chance of a click or an explosion. Here are the stories of the players who lived to tell the story, and those who gambled with their lives, and lost.

#1 Georges Surdez coined the phrase in his 1937 story. He was likely to have been inspired by 19th century Russian stories in which soldiers loaded one bullet and took turns to shoot at others or themselves, but he was the first to give ‘the most dangerous game’ its modern name.

russian

#2 By 1951, the phrase had moved into popular culture and was used by President Truman to describe the Korean Peace Proposal.

#3 The same year it even featured in a Bugs Bunny cartoon! Unlikely to be seen as suitable viewing for children today, Bugs and Yosemite Sam were shown playing against each other in ‘Ballot Box Bunny’.

Those Who Played & Won

hopper

#4 Infamous Australian gangster Mark ‘Chopper’ Read claimed he played and in 1987 and was paid AUS $6,000.

#5 Malcolm X once played it – pulling the trigger three times to show his criminal accomplices he was not afraid to die. He later admitted to a reporter that he had palmed the bullet, thus ensuring his safety.

#6 Kody ‘Monster’ Scott of the Crips claimed gang members played Russian Roulette in the early 80s, resulting in many deaths he called it a “game of stupidity sadly mistaken as courage. Fortunately, our chambers clicked empty against the ping of the hammer”.

#7 The Author Graham Greene wrote in his autobiography that when he was younger he often played. He claimed to have once pulled the trigger five times in a row and survived.

Those Who Played and Lost

kath

#8 Terry Kath of the band Chicago picked up an unloaded revolver and aimed it at his head. He tried the same trick with a semi-automatic pistol saying: “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.” Sadly it was.

#9 In 1976 Finnish magician Aimo Leikas was performing a Russian Roulette act. He chose six bullets from live and dummy ammunition claiming to use telepathy to select the blanks. He chose unwisely and the crowd watched in horror as he died on stage.

#10 In 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum was fooling around with his gun during a break from filming his TV series ‘Cover Up’. Believing it to be empty he put it to his head and fired. The pressure fired a blank and he died later that day.

#11 No item on this suicidal sport is complete without the unforgettable scene in The Deer Hunter where three soldiers are forced to play as their captors gamble on the results. There was an (unsubstantiated) rumor that Robert De Niro requested one live round to be put in the gun “to increase the intensity” – as you can from the nerve-shredding performances  it was really not required!

Related topics Russian Roulette
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