On December 13, 1940 — a Friday, no less — LIFE magazine attended a gathering spread across 13 tables in Room 13 of the Merchants & Manufacturers Club of Chicago. (Yes, each table sat 13 people). The result? The odd and endearing article, “Life Goes to a Friday-the-13th Party,” published a few weeks later in the magazine. Now, in light of January 2012s very own Friday the 13th, LIFE.com resurrects that feature, and celebrates some old-school businessmen unafraid to step on a crack.