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Did Morecambe’s Most Famous Celebrity Help Make Roulette Popular?

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Released in 1966, That Riviera Touch is a hilarious comedy movie starring Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise as two traffic wardens. This was the second time that comedians Morecambe (who is one of our most famous celebrities here in the town of Morecambe) and Wise had made a film like this together and movie reviews confirm that fans enjoyed it.

In the movie, Eric and Ernie go to France after giving a member of the royal family a parking ticket. The holiday isn’t just a way for them to get a tan, though, as Eric also gets a huge win at the casino: is it possible this helped to make roulette and other casino games popular?

How the Movie Affected Roulette’s Popularity

Most people know what a roulette wheel looks like. Many have seen its numbers, 1 to 36, and a few may also know that different types of roulette also have zeroes or 00s on the wheel. The game is enjoyed by millions of people at online casinos and it has become one of the most popular casino table games. However, online casinos were not available in 1966 and few at that time may have been to a land-based casino. That Riviera Touch may have been the first time many viewers had seen a casino and games like roulette.

The scene where Eric wins at the casino also showed viewers that it is possible to win huge amounts of money playing and that it can be hugely entertaining. There are several other more important things happening in the movie’s story, such as jewel thieves and the romance of Claudette, but the casino scenes are exciting and crucial to the plot.

How Many People Have Played Roulette Because of Morecambe and Wise?

Ernie Wise – Queen Street – – 1769639” Betty Longbottom (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s hard to say that people definitely started playing casino games because of the Morecambe and Wise movie. However, we can measure the pair’s popularity: a report by the BBC reveals that their 1977 Christmas special was viewed by millions of people, confirming that they were incredibly popular at the time. With Morecambe and Wise having also spent time on ITV before returning to the BBC, we can speculate that even vaster numbers fans have watched the two comedians closely over the years. There’s surely a chance, then, that some began playing roulette and other casino games after learning of it from this film.

How Films Affect Casino Popularity

Eric Morecambe 2” Immanuel Giel (Public domain)

That Riviera Touch is one of several films to feature casino scenes and scenes where the main character gets a huge win. Newer casino movies are more glamorous though: they feature tuxedos, ball gowns and expensive jewellery, rather than two traffic wardens from Morecambe and Bramley. These have given viewers the idea that playing casino games is something special; but That Riviera Touch was the first to show that anyone can play and win, something online play proliferates today.It’s amazing to think that Morecambe and Wise nearly broke up before they became so famous. If they had, films like That Riviera Touch may not have been released and roulette may not have become so popular.

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