By Ken Monzingo
2009 FALL NABC Chairman
|"Don't worry about
my show ... It will be
|"I came back to get
my final 200 for
|"Barry never allowed
me a mistake ...
|"I was the youngest
Life Master for only
Having a sit-down chat with Peter Rank, Palm Springs, Calif., is like taking a trip down bridges memory lane ... like dancing through the flower years of the 60s-70s decades, or a magic stroll down Broadway. As one of the better bridge players of our time, Peter is a former Barry Crane Top 500 winner, an honor he achieved with legendary Crane as his primary partner in the year 1965. Actually, for fifteen consecutive years - 1960-1975 - no pair in bridge won as many points as this dynamic twosome.
Peter, an open, honest and exciting man, just loves to talk about his fabled careers in bridge, law and the theater. At the Houston NABC last month the seventy-years-young (and still looking a trim 60) Peter mused of the most exciting days of his colorful past and his paths to bridge glory, only to stop just 200 short of 10,000. Really.
Peter and Barry won the six session Life Master Pairs at the 1978 National, and Peter quit cold turkey! Walked away from bridge. At the time, with over 9800 MPs, he was the number four point holder in the world a career that began at Stanford University with Peter becoming the youngest person ever to make Life Master (at 19). A title he held for only a short time as Dianne Barton-Paine of San Francisco made it a year younger! Why did he quit with 9800 points? There was no Grand Life Master status at that time to entice him to pick up the final 200. To put into perspective how difficult it was to win that many points then, that six-session national event paid Peter and Barry a paltry 21 masterpoints! About the same as you win in a mid-to-low bracket KO now.
Peter Ranks life now? Peter and David have been happily married for 12 years, have moved to Palm Springs, where he enjoys one of his favorite hobbies - dog shows. Hes produced 400 of them! Well, hes still very active in bridge, but as league counsel to the ACBL, a post in which his high-level bridge career has proved invaluable. ACBL is now the only client for this famous attorney who worked extensively with President Ronald Reagan and California Governor George Deukmejian as Californias State Health Director.
He also produced events for many charitable causes mostly in AIDS, Drug & Alcohol Abuse related million dollar fund raisers. In these Peter used his hidden talents in theater writing and producing, and these were manifested in his aristocratic shows headlining the likes of Tommy Tune, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Gene Kelly and Bob Hope. They were lavish, $10,000-a-plate, full dinner show extravaganzas.
Those of you a little long in the tooth might also remember Peter's amazing theatrical gifts to bridge entertainment at our national tournaments ... musical spoofs he wrote, directed and produced called My Fair (Little Old) Lady, Annie Bid Your Slam, and others. Peter estimates his shows were enjoyed by 30,000-40,000 bridge players at the NABCs performed in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.
Attendees of the 2009 San Diego Fall NABC in San Diego this coming Thanksgiving week will be treated to a revival engagement of his My Fair (Little Old) Lady for five performances. In the past it has been standing room only for these hilarious and entertaining shows written just for us. Certainly the most popular late night entertainment in the history of our national tournaments.
We are blessed to have Peter in our world - as an icon of the Rank-Crane glory years in bridge, as legal counsel to ACBL, and as a talented producer willing to donate his time and enthusiasm to present his off-Broadway caliber shows for our enjoyment. You wont want to miss this!