* In Memory *
John Randolph "Randy" Smith
(aka Randolph J. Smith)
"He loved to con,
but never cheated a soul"
Randy with Soapy's roulette table
Randolph Smith, aka, Randolph John Smith, prefered to be called Randy, and will be addressed from
this point on as such. He was the grandson of Jefferson (Soapy)
Smith and Jeff Smith's father.
Born August 24, 1918 in St. Louis, Missouri, Randy had two brothers and six sisters. At age 14 his mother Ethal passed away and Randy
was raised for a time by his grandmother, Mary Smith (Soapy's
widow). Randy's father and grandmother educated the grandchildren about their criminal grandfather. Mostly they were told of the good side Soapy had to him. Because of those stories young Randy
developed a love for magic and gambling. He never became
addicted, as he knew all to well that it was a losing battle. Randy's
father taught him the shell game and three-card monte, the staples of
the short con. In later years he taught his sons, greg and Jeff, how to do the
swindles. The methods were very basic, but they were good enough to fool most people.
Pencil by Randy Smith (1936-1940)
In 1936, at age 19, Randy
joined the submarine fleet of the U.S. Navy and was
stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He left the Navy in 1940,
missing the 1941 attack and world war two. Once out of the military Randy moved to Los
Angeles, California where he was soon joined by his father. At
his father's passing in 1952, Randy inherited a portion of the Soapy Smith collection of the
letters and documents. Everything had been saved all these years and were being passed down to the
next generation of Smith's. Randy married Nina Pickett and had one daughter, Randi Jean Smith. Randy later married
Dorthy ("Dotti") and had two children, Greg and Jeff (this website's
Randotti Products (coming from the first names of Randy and Dotti Smith) was a family owned business that had its roots as a hobby for the daughter of Randy and the children of his wife Dotti. With the birth of a son and another on the way Randy moved his family to Anaheim, California where the supplemental income hobby turned to Disneyland as a customer in 1956. The orders increased so much that Randy quit his job as an engineer and went into business for himself. During this time the company was known only as "rj," the small case initials of Randy J. Smith. The name of Randotti was formed in 1967-68.
Randy built a back building in their backyard and began pumping out about 175 different types of souvenir skulls, tikis, tombstones and statuary. Many glowed in the dark. At the request of buyers at Disneyland Randy began to design products specific to certain rides in the magic kingdom such as the Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion. Soon numerous Disneyland shops carried the Randotti line, which were often displayed in the street windows, the most prestigious location possible for a souvenir. Orders kept increasing until Randy and Dotti moved their backyard business into shop in Stanton, California in 1967. When Walt Disney World opened in 1971 the buyers there screamed for Randotti merchandise as well.
Today, the Randotti name and their line of souvenir skulls and tombstones has a collector following and the items sell for many times their original price. The Smith family is proud and we know Randy and Dotti would be as well, knowing that their work still brings joy to so many.
The backyard saloon
When the family business was moved to Stanton Randy turned the backyard building in Anaheim into a private old west saloon and gambling hall, to honor his grandfather, Soapy Smith. It was a grand place to grow up in as a kid. Collecting and selling antique gambling equipment became a sideline for the family. For
thirty years son Jeff learned as much as he could about Soapy from his
father. Randy passed away on December 12, 1987. His marker bears dice, coming up sevens on every angle. He is greatly missed.
Randolph with Soapy's grave marker
* Rest In Peace Dad *