Games of Chance

U professor emeritus David Kranes has a legacy in plays, stories, novels—and casinos.

David Kranes was a silent boy. He was always on the sidelines, observing, rarely saying much. On Saturday mornings, he might go to Boston’s University Theater to see a Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, or Gene Autry film. The theater handed out silver dollars to a lucky few between showings. It was a big deal to kids in their early teens. But even if the young Kranes managed to snag a silver dollar at the theater, it’s a safe bet that he wouldn’t yap about it very much. He just wasn’t a talker.
Even today, decades later, Kranes is by no means a chatterbox. When he speaks, he chooses his words carefully, as if plucking the ripest fruit from the branch. He exudes an almost Zen-like air. His home on a hillside above the University of Utah, near Popperton Park, is spotless. He has spent a lifetime cultivating his powers of observation, and honing an ability to not just communicate, but to select the right word and the right phrase.

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