TLW's Gangsterscope™ (Organized Crime Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Oct. 27, 2015. Last Update: Mar. 24, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to organized crime history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
A gangster AKA mobster is a member of an organized criminal org. (syndicate), with every organized crime gang led by a crime boss (lord) (kingpin) (mastermind) (Don) AKA Mr. Big; famous ones incl. Al Capone's Chicago Outfit, the Sicilian Mafia (Cosa Nostra), the American Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, and the Colombian Cali Cartel and Medellin Cartel.
In 1812 the Sicilian Mafia is born when Sicily transitions out of feudalism and feudal barons sell their land to private citizens, causing private landowners to zoom from 2K in 1812 to 20K in 1861, recruiting armed guards to protect property rights.
In 1865 after the U.S. Civil War ends, the bloody Confederate state of Mo. spawns clans of notorious bank robbers and outlaws, who are protected and idolized by the Mo. pop. as rebel Robin Hoods, incl. the James Gang, the Younger Gang, the Clanton Gang, and the Earp Gang. On Feb. 13, 1866 the Jesse James Gang, composed of unemployed Confed. guerrilla "bushwacher" soldiers stages the first daylight bank robbery in the U.S. at the Clay County Savings Assoc. in Liberty, Mo., taking $15K in gold coins. On Jan. 26, 1875 Pinkerton detectives siege Frank James and Jesse James, who are holed up in the Reuben Samuel farmhouse in Kearney, Mo., throwing a hollow iron ball filled with flammable fluids into it, killing 9-y.-o. Archie Peyton Samuel (half-brother of the James brothers), mangling the right arm of Zelda Samuel (mother of the James brothers) so badly it requires amputation, and injuring a servant; the James brothers are unharmed. On Sept. 7, 1876 after robbing a train at Rocky Cut, Minn., the James Gang (Jesse James, Bill Stiles, Cole Younger) attempts to rob the First Nat. Bank in Northfield, Minn. (to zing the Yankees, or get some real Yankee money for a change?), murdering cashier Joseph Lee Heywood (b. 1837), but thanks to the Pinkertons the town is ready, and they are greeted with a hail of bullets, killing two members. A dirty little coward provides the laundry booster for the legend of Mister Clean Jesse James? On Apr. 3, 1882 (Mon.) (22 years to the day after the Pony Express began there) while planning to rob the Platte City Bank, Mo., aging, married-with-kids living legend outlaw (son of a Baptist preacher) Jesse Woodson James (b. 1847) (whose portrait bears a striking resemblance to actor Kevin Norwood Bacon (1958-)?), living under the name of Tom Howard is assassinated in his house on Lafayette St. in St. Joseph, Mo. (shot in the back of the head as he stands on a chair to adjust a picture above the mantle) by gang member Robert Newton "Bob" Ford (1862-92) (whose portrait bears a striking resemblance to actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-)?) after he outdraws his brother Charles Wilson "Charley" "Charlie" Ford (1857-84), killing him with a gun Jesse gave to him as a gift, then telling the shocked widow he didn't do it or it was an accident; he later claims that Jesse just learned in the newspaper of the arrest three weeks earlier of former gang member Dick Liddil and connected it with them, then laid his guns down supposedly to avoid been spotted by neighbors, but really to throw the Fords off guard that he planned to kill them that night out of the presence of his wife and kids; after rushing to the telegraph office to claim the reward, then being arrested, pleading guilty and being convicted of murder and sentenced to hang, the Ford brothers are pardoned in two hours by Mo. gov. (1881-5) Thomas Theodore Crittenden (1832-1909) and given only a portion of their $5K reward (causing rumors that he had planned the murder with them), after which they tour the U.S. restaging the murder 800X (Bob can act, Charley can't?) (Bob's face becoming more recognizable than the president's?) after which Charley (who disputes his brother's protestations that he isn't a coward, falls out with him, and becomes wracked with guilt?) commits suicide on May 6, 1884, while Bob ends up being called a "dirty little coward" and widely hated, and Jesse becomes the American Robin Hood, after which drunken Bob is finally killed by a sawed-off shotgun in his saloon in Creede, Colo. on June 8, 1892; Jesse leaves widow (and 1st cousin) Zerelda Amanda "Zee" James (nee Mimms) (1845-1900) and two children, Jesse Edward and Mary James; Jesse's mother Zerelda denounces Dick Liddil at the coroner's inquest, accusing him of cooperating with Mo. authorities, and he later turns state's witness against Frank James; the cottage and the bullet hole in the wall become a tourist attraction; two days earlier Jesse attempted to change a $100 bill at the downtown Mo. State Bank, the oldest bank W of the Mississippi, possibly to case it for a heist; from 1875-1900 St. Jo, where East-West trade converged is one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S.; on Oct. 4 Frank James surrenders to Crittenden on condition of not being extradited to Northfield, Minn., and is tried in Gallatin, Mo. in July 1883 for the murder of stone mason Frank McMillan during a July 15, 1881 Rock Island Line train robbery near Winston; his Confederate cmdr. Gen. Joseph O. Shelby testifies in his defense drunk, and comes back the next day to apologize; on Sept. 6 after three days of summary arguments the jury returns a not guilty verdict in four hours; in Apr. 1884 he is acquitted by another jury in Huntsville, Ala. for the Mar. 11, 1881 robbery of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers payroll at Muscle Shoals, Ala., and Frank becomes the only member of the James-Younger Gang to obtain an acquittal, going on to live to a ripe old age as a law-abiding citizen.In 1869 German-born Harper's Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) begins his campaign against corrupt nasty New York City Tammany Hall politician "Boss" William Magear Tweed (1823-78) (who stole $30M-$200M) in Sept., after which he is finally convicted in 1873 and given a 12-year prison sentence, gets it reduced to 1 year, then ends up in debtors' priz after being sued by New York State for $6M sent to Ludlow Street Jail, escaping on Jan. 3, 1875 and fleeing to Cuba, then bribes his way to Spain, is caught and extradited, and returned to jail, where he croaks from pneumonia in 1878; the whole episode makes Thomas Nasty a nice guy hero.
In 1878 the first Sicilian immigrants arrive in East Harlem, Lower East Side, N.Y., followed by more Sicilians and Italians, becoming known as Italian Harlem, reaching 100K pop. in the 1930s, becoming the start of Lower Italy in Lower Manhattan, bounded by Soho and Tribeca on the W, Chinatown on the S, Nolita on the N, and Lower East Side and the Bowery on the E, reaching 10K pop. by 1910; Italian Harlem becomes home to Mafia gangs incl. the Black Hand and the Genovese crime family; after WWI the W side of East Harlem becomes known as Spanish Harlem for its Puerto Rican and Latin Am. immigrants, who push the Italians out of all of Italian Harlem by the 1970s, renaming it El Barrio.
In 1881 the Third Immigration Wave to the U.S. (2nd in 1820-70, first in 1609-1775) begins (ends 1921), during which 23M incl. 2M Jews (44% women) come from N and W Europe until 1890, then S and E Europe incl. Italy, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Poland, and Romania.
On June 14, 1889 the Wild Bunch Gang of Robert Le Roy Parker (AKA Butch Cassidy) (1866-1908), incl. Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (AKA the Sundance Kid) (1867-1908), Tom McCarty and his brother-in-law Matt Warner rob the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, Colo of $20K, then hole-up in Robbers Roost in SE Utah, launching the legendary career of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, er, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. On Apr. 22, 1897 the Wild Bunch Gang of Butch Cassidy (Robert Leroy Parker) (1866-1908), incl. Harry Alonzo "the Sundance Kid" Longabaugh (1867-1908), Ben "The Tall Texan" Kilpatrick (1874-1912), George Sutherland "Big Nose" "Flat Nose" Curry (1864-1900), Harvey Alexander "Kid Curry" Logan (1867-1904), and William Ellsworth "Elzy" Lay (1868-1934) ambush workers carrying the payroll of the Pleasant Valley Coal Co. in Castle Gate, Utah, stealing 7K in gold and hiding out in Robbers Roost and laying low until June 1899, while Lay's wife Maude Davis gives birth to daughter Marvel Lay Murdock (1897-), and the gang allegedly considers enlisting in the U.S. Army to fight in the Spanish-Am. War as the "Wild Bunch Riders". On June 2, 1899 the 11-member Wild Bunch Gang rob a Union Pacific Overland Flyer 1 mi. W of Wilcox, Wyo., using too much dynamite on the safe and ending up with only $3.4K in tattered bank notes, although it is reported as $30K, causing a combined $3K reward to be offered by the railroad and the U.S. govt, resulting in a massive manhunt and shootout during which on June 5 a posse corners them on the Powder River, and Kid Curry and George Curry kill sheriff Josiah "Joe" Hazen and escape, causing the gang to become infamous; on July 11, 1899 members of the Ketchum Gang, led by Thomas Everard "Black Jack" Ketchum (1863-1901), his brother Samuel W. "Sam" Ketchum (1854-99), Will Carver (1868-1901) (who uses the alias G.W. Franks) and his half-German half-Indian gang moll Laura "Della Rose" Bullion (1876-1961), and her step-brother Edwin H. "Shoot 'Em Up Dick" Cullen (1872-97) hold up a Colo. and Southern train near Folsom, N.M., and once again blow up the safe to find little cash; on Dec. 9 (eve.) they attempt to hold up a Southern Pacific train near Stevins Pass, N.M., but Cullen is killed and the robbery foiled; this time the posse, led by deputy U.S. marshal Wilson "Memphis" Elliott does better and corners them in Turkey Creek Canyon near Cimarron, N.M., and after a long gunfight a sheriff and a posseman are killed, and Ketchum is shot in the leg, later dying of blood poisoning, while Lay is wounded and captured; on Aug. 16 Black Jack Ketchum tries to rob another train alone in Folsom, N.M., and is wounded and captured, then hanged on Apr. 26, 1901 in Clayton, N.M., his head coming off; Lay is given life for 2nd degree murder, has his sentence is commuted to 10 years, and is released in 1905; Will Carver gets away; eventually all 11 members are killed in gun battles with lawmen.
In 1894 Sicilian-born Giuseppe "the Old Fox" Morello (1867-1930), known as "Clutch Hand" for his deformed 1-finger right hand emigrates to New York City, founding the Morello crime family (AKA the 107th Street Mob) based in Italian Harlem in East Harlem, Lower East Side, Manhattan, N.Y., becoming known for barrel murders and going on to defeat the rival Neapolitan Camorra in Brooklyn and become New York City's first capo di tutti capi (boss of bosses); in 1909 he is imprisoned in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for counterfeiting, and in 1910 his captain, Silician-born Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila (1873-1928) leaves the Morello crime family and forms his own, eventually becoming the new boss of bosses, operating from East Harlem and the Bronx and expanding into Brooklyn and Little Italy in Lower East Side, Manhattan, ordering Morello murdered after his 1920 release and return to New York City, causing him to join up with Sicilian-born Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria (1886-1931) ("the man who can dodge bullets") as his consiglieri (war chief), while Masseria survives assassination attempts by D'Aquila's Sicilian-born hitman Umberto "the Ghost" Valenti (1891-1922) on May 8, May 10, and Aug. 9, 1922 until he is ambushed and killed by Lucky Luciano and Morello on Aug. 11, 1922, after which D'Aquila struggles, losing associates Saverio "Sam" Pollacia (defects to Masseria), Joseph Lonardo (-1927) (murdered on Oct. 13, 1927), and Frankie Yale (-1928) (murdered in July 1928), moving to the Bronx across from the Bronx Zoo in 1925 and hanging on until his Oct. 10, 1928 assassination in Manhattan, after which his underboss Alfred Manfredi "Al" Mineo (1880-1930) becomes boss of the D'Aquila crime family, which later becomes the Gambino crime family; meanwhile Morello flourishes until the Castellammarese War starts in 1929, after which he is murdered on Aug. 15, 1930 by "Buster from Chicago" (Sebastiano Domingo), according to informer Joseph Valachi (it was really him?).
Early in the 1900s Sicilian Mafia members begin emigrating to the U.S. (esp. New York City and Buffalo), bringing their Old World code with them and ending up being called Musatache Petes by the Young Turks incl. Vito Genovese and Lucky Luciano after getting pissed-off at their refusal to allow non-Sicilians incl. Italians, Jews, and Irish into the mob, and their refusal to expand their victims to the non-Italian pop.
In 1901 9-y.-o. Vito Andolini (1891-1955) flees from Corleone, Sicily to New York City after his parents and older brother are killed by Mafia boss Don Ciccio, going on to make it big in organized crime under the name Don Vito Corleone and make a quick trip back in 1925 to get revenge - Mario Puzo's The Godfather (1969) :)
In 1912 the Buffalo crime family in Little Italy in Buffalo, N.Y. by Sicilian immigrant Angelo "Buffalo Bill" Palmeri, who affiliates with the Castellammarese Clan, consisting of immigrants from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y., founded about 1900 by Giuseppe "Peppe" Bonnano and his older brother Stefano Bonnano, who are succeeded by younger brother Salvatore Bonnano (-1911), who is succeeded in 1911 by Sebastiano DiGaetano (-1912), who is succeeded in 1912 by Nicolo (Nicola) "Cola" Schiro (1872-1957), who after a war with Joe Masseria is forced out in 1930 in favor of Salvatore Maranzano; Joseph (Giuseppe Carlo) "Joe Bananas' "Don Peppino" Bonnano (1905-2002)
In 1910 the Chicago Outfit (Mafia) AKA the Org. is founded in South Side, Chicago, Ill., becoming the largest and most powerful criminal org. in the Midwest.
Say it ain't so Joe, or, The Black Sharecropper scandal stinks up America's sport? On Oct. 1, 1919 the Sixteenth (16th) (1919) World Series is changed to a best-of-9 format; on Oct. 9 the Cincinnati Reds (NL) (mgr. Pat Moran) defeat the Chicago White Sox (AL) (mgr. Kid Gleason) 5-3; White Sox pitcher Urban Clarence "Fred" Faber (1888-1976) is injured and can't play; in 1920 after team owners discover $100K worth of hanky-panky between White Sox players and gamblers led by Jewish organized crime kingpin Arnold "the Brain" Rothstein (1882-1928), and appoint former U.S. district Judge (Ill.) Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944) as the first baseball commissioner, the Black Sox Scandal begins, with eight Chicago White Sox players ("Eight Men Out"), Edward Victor "Eddie" Cicotte (1884-1969) (P), Oscar Emil "Happy" Felsch (1891-1964) (CF), Charles Arnold "Chick" Gandil (1888-1970) (1B), Joseph Jefferson "Shoeless Joe" Jackson (1889-1951) (LF) ("Shoeless Joe of Hannibal, Mo" - 1958 film "Damn Yankees") (only player to hit a homer in the series), Charles August "Swede" Risberg (1894-1975) (SS), George Daniel "Buck" Weaver (1890-1956) (3B), Claude Preston "Lefty" Williams (1893-1959) (P), and utility player Frederick William "Fred" McMullin (1891-1952) accused of conspiring to throw the series, and all banned from baseball for life by Landis, causing the team to switch to wearing black sox; Jackson has a career .356 batting avg., and bats .375 during the series, and his home WS jersey is lost; the same year horse racing stinks itself up with race fixing and drugging, but 3-y.-o. Man O'War's career gives the sport a hero as good as Babe Ruth?
In 1919 the Chicago Crime Commission in Chicago, Ill. is formed by local businessmen to fight organized crime and public corruption; in 1930 it helps found the Public Enemies List, starting with Al Capone as Public Enemy No. 1.
On Jan. 16, 1920 Prohibition begins in the U.S. with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making the manufacture, sale, and transportation (but not consumption or private possession) of alcoholic beverages a federal crime, causing bootlegging to skyrocket; it is not repealed until Dec. 5, 1933 with the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; Canadian breweries use the opportunity to being producing Am.-style Cream ale, which after Prohibition ends becomes popular in both countries; meanwhile in the 1920s brewers try to stay in business by producing near bears, incl. Pablo (Pabst), Famo (Schlitz), Vivo (Miller), Lux-O (Stroh), and Bevo (Anheuser-Busch), producing 300M gal. in 1921 and 88M gal. in 1932.
The American Irish become Mister Feelgood? By the 1920s the Irish have "arrived" in the U.S., and could probably run it if they just weren't !?!? Roman Catholic?; "There are judges by the dozen, incl. a third of the Supreme Court, three Cardinals, Senators, multi-millionaires and captains of industry by the score, like Mr. Henry Ford, the motor king, Mr. Doheny, who dominates the petrol industry, Mr. Thomas F. Ryan, the partner of King Leopold in the Congo diamond mines, Mr. Mellon, the secy. to the Treasury, Mr. Doughtery, the Atty.-Gen., Mr. Smith, the gov. of New York, Mr. Hylan, the mayor of New York, Mr. Tumulty, private secy. to Pres. Wilson, Gen. O'Ryan of the American Army, Dudly Malone, chief official of the port of New York, J.R. Ryan, the head of the Copper Trail, John Mitchel, mayor of New York, Col. Concanon, chmn. of the White Star Line, and J.A. Farrell, Pres. of the U.S. Steel Co." (Terence Sheehy) - we've been ratted out, boys?
In the 1920s the Purple (as in rotting meat) (Sugar House) Gang of mostly Jewish bootleggers, hijackers, and hitmen, incl. Abe Bernstein, Raymond Bernstein, Abe Kaminsky, Abe Axler, and Irving Shapiro dominate Detroit, Mich., making a deal with Al Capone of Chicago to supply Old Log Cabin Canadian whiskey, tipping off Bugs Moran about a truckload of booze headed to Chicago that allows him to stage the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massace; too bad, after gunning down dirty police officer Vivian Welsh on Feb. 1, 1927, then murdering three members of the their own gang at the Collingwood Manor on Sept. 16, 1931, three high-ranking members are convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life, after which the gang self-destructs, becoming the subject of the 1935 film Public Hero No. 1.
In the 1920s the Denver, Colo. crime family, run by Joe "Little Caesar" Roma (-1933) and Pete Carlino and Sam Carlino control bootlegging from Denver S to Pueblo; in 1933 the Smalldone Brothers, incl. Eugene "Checkers" Smalldone (1911-92), Clyde (Gaetano) "Flip Flop" Smalldone (1906-98), and Clarence "Chauncey" Smalldone (1916-2006) assassinate Joe Roma in North Denver and take over, founding Gaetano's Italian restaurant in 1947 as their HQ and continuing their rise until Chauncey is found guilty of jury tampering in 1953, and Eugene is imprisoned for loan sharking in 1983.
In 1925 Al Capone (1899-1947) takes over the criminal org. of Johnny "the Brain" Torrio (1882-1957) in Chicago, Ill.; 400 gang murders are recorded in the city this year.
On Aug. 15, 1927 after becoming Upstate New York's biggest celeb, flamboyant Philly-born Irish-Am. gangster and bootlegger John Thomas "Gentleman Jack" "Legs" Diamond (1897-1931), close associate of gambler Arnold Rothstein since 1919 survives an assassination attempt by agents of Lepke Buchalter and Gurrah Shapiro on Garment District labor racketeer Jacob "Little Augie" Orgen (1893-1927) while acting as his bodyguard, taking two shots in the chest below the heart, after which he gets into a war over alcohol sales in downtown Manhattan with Dutch Schultz, who in 1931 utters the 1930 soundbyte: "Ain't there nobody that can shoot this guy so he don't bounce back?"; in late Aug. 1930 Legs boards SS Belgenland in New York City en route to Antwerp, Belgium to find sources of whiskey in Germaany on the coverstory of taking a mineral water cure in Vichy, France, using his celeb status to win several thousand dollars in poker games, ending up in Aix-la-Chapelle (Aaachen), where German secret police arrest him, and on Sept. 6 drive him to Hamburg and place him on freighter Hannover, arriving in Philly on Sept. 23, where he is arrested by the police, and released by a judge on conditin that he leave Philly; on Oct. 12, 1930 he survives an assassination attempt in his room in Hotel Monticello in West Side, Manhattan, N.Y., followed by another on Apr. 27, 1931 at Aratoga Inn near Cairo, N.Y., after which in Aug. 1931 he is tried for bootlegging and convicted and sentenced to four years in state prison; on Dec. 18, 1931 while on trial in Troy, N.Y. he is murdered in his rooming house in Albany, N.Y. either by men working for Dutch Schultz or Alabany police working for Dem. Party machine boss Daniel Patrick "Dan" O'Connell (1885-1977).
On Oct. 12, 1930 an attempt is made on the life of "Legs" Diamond in Manhattan, N.Y., but he survives with five bullets in his chest and forehead - none in his diamond legs?
Say I Love You with bullets? On Feb. 14, 1929 the St. Valentine's Day Massacre takes place in the S.M.C. Carthage Co. warehouse on North Clark St. (at Dickens) in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Ill., when seven O'Banions, members of the North Side Gang of George "Bugs" Moran (Adelard Cunin) (1893-1957), incl. Frank and Pete Gusenberg, Adam Heyer, Al Weinshunk, James Clark, John May, and Reinhardt Schwimmer are murdered by four men working for rival Al Capone,, two of them wearing police uniforms, using two Tommy guns and two shotguns; Bugs Moran arrives five min. later, detained for his appointment, and survives, but Capone is now in control of Chicago organized crime - gateman sees name, garageman sees name tag?
In 1929 after Meyer Lansky (Meier Suchowlanski) (1902-83) and John "Papa Johnny" "Immune" (Giovanni) Torrio (1882-1957) propose the idea, the Nat. Crime Syndicate is founded at a conference in Atlantic City, N.J., merging Italian-Sicilian and Jewish mobs into a single org., with original members incl. Joe (Joey) Adonis (Giuseppe Antonio Doto) (1902-71), Albert "Mad Hatter" "Lord High Executioner" Anastasia (Umberto Anastasio) (1902-57), Louis "Lepke" Buchalter (1897-1944), Alphonse Gabriel "Al" "Scarface" Capone (1899-1947), Frank "Prime Minister" Costello (Francesco Castiglia) (1891-1973), Frank Erickson (1896-1968) (Arnold Rothstein's right-hand man), Charles "Lucky" Luciano (Salvatore Lucania) (1897-1962), Francesco "Frank" "Don Ciccio" "Wacky" Scalice (Scalise) (1893-1957) (head of the Gambino crime family in 1930-1), Vincent "Vince the Executioner" Mangano (Vincenzo Giovanni Mangano) (1888-1951) (head of the Gambino crime family in 1931-51), Dutch Schultz (Arthur Simon Flegenheimer) (1902-35), Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (1906-47), and Abner "Longie" Zwillman (1904-59); its enforcement arm Murder Inc. kills up to 1K before going defunct by the late 1940s after prosecution by Thomas Edmund Dewey (1902-71), who becomes Repub. gov. #47 of N.Y. in 1943-54; it consists of two factions, the Jewish Brownsville Boys in E Brooklyn, N.Y., headed by Abraham "Abe" "Kid Twist" Reles (1906-41) (known for using an ice pick in the ear), who report to Lepke Buchalter and his partner Jacob "Gurrah" Shapiro (1899-1947), and the Italian Ocean Hill Hooligans in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, N.Y., headed by Harry "Happy" Maione (1908-42), who reports to Albert Anastasia; too bad, after turning states' evidence and sending several Murder Inc. members to the electric chair incl. Lepke Buchalter, on Nov. 12, 1941 Reles falls from a window at the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island, N.Y. while under police custody when his bedsheets break before he can testify against Anastasia, causing the press to call him "The Canary Who Could Sing, But Couldn't Fly"; the Cosa Nostra bribed the guards to do it?
In Feb. 1930 the Castellammarese War in New York City (ends Apr. 15, 1931) begins between the gangs of Sicilian-born Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria (1886-1931) and Castellamare del Golfo, Sicily-born Salvatore Maranzano (1886-1931). On Nov. 5 Joe Masseria ally Alfred Manfredi "Al" Mineo (b. 1880) is murdered in the garden of his apt. bldg. on Pelham Pkwy. in Bronx, N.Y., after which Francesco "Frank" "Don Ciccio" "Wacky" Scalice (1893-1957) becomes head of his crime family, switching allegiance to Maranzano until his Sept. 10, 1931 murder, when he is forced by Lucky Luciano to resign in favor of Vincent "Vince the Executioner" Mangano (Vincenzo Giovanni Mangano) (1888-1951) (until 1951). On Apr. 15, 1931 the Castellammarese War (begun Feb. 1930) ends with the murder of Sicilian-born crime boss (capo di capi) Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria (b. 1886) in a Coney Island restaurant, ending the Castellammarese War (begun Feb. 1930); two weeks later Sicilian-born Salvatore "Sal" "Mustache Pete" "Little Caesar" Maranzano (b. 1868) convenes a meeting of several hundred Mafiosi in Upstate N.Y. and promotes himself to boss of bosses (capo di tutti capi), with a grandiose plan for a Mafia Commission and an org. of the New York Mafia into Five Families; he then meets with Al Capone and other non-New York mob bosses in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; too bad, his insistence on modelling his org. after the ancient Roman Empire and comparing himself to Caesar backfires, and on Sept. 10 after being found out planning the murder of Lucky Luciano et al. he is murdered in his Manhattan office by Luciano's gangsters claiming to be IRS agents; on Oct. 17 Chicago mob boss Alphonse "Al" "Scarface" Capone (1899-1947) (who appeared on the cover of the Mar. 24, 1930 issue of Time mag.) is convicted, and on Oct. 24 is sentenced to a then-unprecedented 11 years in prison for federal income tax evasion on an estimated annual income of $20M, and housed in Alcatraz from Aug. 1934 to Nov. 1939, leaving Charles "Lucky" Luciano (1897-1962) and Joseph (Giuseppe) "Joe Bananas" Bonanno (1905-2002) in charge, who reorganize the Five Families and abolish the position of boss of bosses; meanwhile "Untouchable" G-man Eliot Ness (1903-57) gets a promotion - keep your hands off my dingaling?
On Apr. 30, 1930 the term "public enemy" is coined by Chicago Crime Commission chmn. Frank Joseph Loesch (1852-1944).
In June 1930 Brooklyn, N.Y.-born bank robber William "Slick Willie" Sutton (1901-80) (prefers the name Bill) is captured and given a 30-year sentence, but escapes on Dec. 11, 1932, going on to rob a total of 100 banks before his Feb. 1952 capture.
On Jan. 9, 1931 Mervyn LeRoy's Little Caesar, (Warner Bros.) debuts, based on the 1929 W.R. Burnett novel, becoming the grandfather of the modern gangster film, becoming the breakthrough role for Romanian-born Edward Goldenberg Robinson (Emanuel Goldenberg) (1893-1973) as small-time gangster Caesar Enrico "Rico" Bandello, who utters the immortal soundbyte "Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?"; first film by Chicago, Ill.-born Warner Bros. production head Harold Brent "Hal" Wallis (1898-1986), husband (since 1927) of actress Louise Fazenda, followed in 1966-86 by Martha Hyer, who quits in 1944 after clashing with Jack Warner over "Casablanca", going independent and hiring Ayn Rand, Lillian Hellman et al. as screenwriters, scoring hits with Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedies and Elvis Presley movies, along with True Grit (1969) and Rooster Cogburn (1975).
On Apr. 23, 1931 William A. Wellman's The Public Enemy (Warner Bros.) debuts, based on the novel "Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public" by Kubec Glasmon and John Bright, becoming the 7th film and breakthrough role for former vaudeville dancer-comedian James Cagney (1899-1986) (known for his athletic moves and for revealing a "touch of the gutter" while using his face and hands) as gangster Tom Powers, youngest of three brothers incl. Matt (Edward Woods) (middle) and Mike (Donald Cook) (oldest); Cagney pushes a grapefruit into co-star Mae Clarke's face at the breakfast table, becoming a famous scene; Woods was cast as Tom and Cagney as Matt until Darryl F. Zanuck saw the dailies and switched them, although they forget to switch their childhood counterparts; also stars Jean Harlow as Gwen Allen, Joan Blondell as Mamie, Leslie Fenton as Nails Nathan (based on real-life gangster Samuel "Nails" Morton), Beryl Mercer as Ma Powers, Robert Emmett O'Connor as Paddy Ryan, and Murray Kinnell as Putty Nose; starts with a disclaimer that exposing how organized crime operates is a public service; "I ain't so tough" (Cagney at the end).
In 1931 the (Mafia) Commission is founded to replace the Boss of All Bosses (Capi di Tutti Capi) by the Five Families of New York City (Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese), the boss of the Chicago Outfit, and the boss of the Buffalo Family; it holds its last meeting in Nov. 1985.
23 skidoo? On Feb. 8, 1932 bootlegger Dutch Schultz and/or Hell's Kitchen Irish Mob boss Owney Madden have 23-y.-o. Irish-born mob assassin Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (b. 1908) (known for accidentially shooting 5-y.-o. Michael Vengali on July 28, 1931, causing the mayor of New York City to give him his name, and making him a wanted fugitive until he was captured, tried, and acquitted in Dec. 1931) murdered at a phone booth at 8th Ave. and 23rd St. in New York City. On Oct. 23, 1935 (10:15 p.m.) after attempting to kill prosecutor Thomas Dewey sans orders from the Mafia Commission, bootlegger-racketeer Dutch Schultz (Arthur Simon Flegenheimer) (b. 1902), the Beer Baron of the Bronx is fatally shot with rusty bullets at the Palace Chop House in Newark, N.J. by Charlie Workman, who serves 23 years of a life sentence before being paroled; Schultz dies 22 hours later of peritonitis; the Genovese crime family takes over his numbers racket in Harlem, N.Y., and his close associate Joseph "Tough Joey" Rao (1901-62) AKA Joseph Cangro joins-up.
On July 22, 1933 wealthy Tex. oil tycoon Charles Frederick Urschel (1890-1970) is kidnapped in Oklahoma City, Okla. by Memphis, Tenn.-born gangster Machine Gun Kelly (George Francis Barnes Jr.) (1895-1954), who takes him to a farmhouse in Paradise, Tex. and releases him on July 30 after a $200K ransom is paid; too bad, Urschel leaves clues and memorizes details that help the FBI track him down and capture him and his wife Kathryn Kelly on Sept. 26 in Memphis, Tenn., catching him without his Tommy gun, causing him to shout "Don't shoot, G-men!" and telling them, "I've been waiting all night for you" (coining the term "G-men"), after which he is the first person to be charged under the 1932 U.S. Little Lindbergh Law (Federal Kidnapping Act), receiving a life sentence after the first federal criminal trial in the U.S. in which cameras are allowed, the first prosecution in which defendants are transported by airplane, and the first major case solved by the FBI.
On Apr. 22, 1934 (eve.) the John Dillinger Gang is ambushed by federal agents led by Melvin Purvis at the Little Bohemia Lodge 50 mi. N of Rhinelander in NE Wisc., but escapes along with two companions out the windows into the woods and commandeers a 1930 Ford Model A coupe from Robert Johnson, smashing the rear window to shoot the feds with his Tommy gun before escaping to Minn.; special agent W. Carter Baum (b. 1904) is killed in the woods by psychopathic 5'4" George "Baby Face" Nelson (Lester Joseph Gillis) (1908-34), who escaped from the state pen in Joliet, Ill. on Feb. 17, 1932 while doing 1-to-life for robbery; two others are wounded, incl. Herman E. Hollis and constable Karl Christensen, all embarrassing J. Edgar Hoover, who is later relieved by the whitewash in the 1935 James Cagney movie "G Men"; in June Dillinger is declared Public Enemy No. 1, followed by Nelson after Dillinger's death. On July 22, 1934 (eve.) (his birthday) after being named the first Public Enemy No. 1, and despite a painful but ineffective plastic surgery, John Dillinger (b. 1903) is killed (assassinated?) by 19 FBI agents led by Chicago FBI office head (since 1932), Timmonsville, S.C.-born Melvin Horace "Little Mel" Purvis II (1903-60) and a bunch of local cops outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Ill. after being betrayed by the "Woman in Red" Anna Sage (Cumpanas) (1892-1947) (actually wearing an orange skirt) (a Romanian madame facing deportation on a morals charge, who is deported anyway); fans dip handkerchiefs in his blood at the death scene; he is buried under 5 ft. of cement and steel to deter souvenir seekers in Crown Point, Ind., in the same cemetery as Pres. Benjamin Harrison; he had just seen the 1934 movie Manhattan Melodrama, starring William Powell, Clark Gable, and Myrna Loy; future Conn. Dem. Sen. (1959-71) Thomas Joseph Dodd (1907-71) participates in the trap as an FBI special agent; the publicity makes Purvis a celeb, making J. Edgar Hoover jealous?; Purvis resigns from the FBI in 1935. On Oct. 22, 1934 Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd (b. 1904), the Robin Hood of the Cookson Hills is killed by FBI agents in a farm field near East Liverpool, Ohio.
On May 23, 1934 flamboyant Texas outlaws Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (b. 1910) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow (b. 1909), AKA Bonnie and Clyde are shot to death in their stolen Ford Deluxe in a 6-man police ambush in Biensville Parish 7 mi. from Gibsland, La. (future site of the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum), ending their 2-year crime spree in a hail of 100+ bullets; Bonnie is shot 23x, Clyde 25x; license plates from Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., La., Mo., Ohio, and Tex. are found in the car.
Passionate about justice, get a law enforcement degree? On Jan. 16, 1935 little old lady Kate "Ma" (Arizona Donnie) Barker (nee Clark) (b. 1873), alleged head of the Barker-Karpis Gang is killed with her youngest son Fred Barker (b. 1901) after a long FBI shootout in a house near Lake Weir in Ocklawaha, Ocala, Fla.; her hubby George Barker (b. 1892) was thrown out in 1927 after her eldest son Herman Barker (b. 1893) committed suicide in 1927 in Wichita, Kan. after killing a police officer, her son Arthur "Doc" Barker (b. 1899) is killed in 1939 escaping from Alcatraz, and her son Lloyd Barker (b. 1897) is killed in 1949 by his wife; Ma never actually participated in the crimes, often being sent to the movies by her sons to have an alibi, only being used as a cover by the gang members, who liked to be seen travelling with a sweet little old lady; too bad, after they plug a grandmother, the FBI concocts a story that she's the gang's mastermind, "the most vicious, dangerous and resourceful criminal brain of the last decade" (J. Edgar Hoover); the real mastermind is Alvin Francis "Creepy Karpis" Karpowicz (1907-79), who is arrested on May 1, 1936, becoming the last of four "public enemies" to be captured by the FBI, making J. Edgar Hoover a celeb.
In 1937 the first illegal heroin labs in Marseille, France are set up by Corsican gang leader Paul Bonnaventure Carbone (1894-1943), whose network starts out with morphine paste from Turkey, and evolves after WWII into the French Connection, smuggling heroin from Turkey to France then the U.S., peaking in the late 1960s and supplying the majority of U.S. heroin until it it shut down in 1972. In 1969 <Robin Moore (1925-2008) pub. The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy. On Oct. 9, 1971 William Friedkin's The French Connection, based on the 1969 true story book by Robin Moore debuts, starring Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman (1930-) as porkpie-hat-wearing New York City detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (based on real-life New York City detective Eddie Egan), and Roy Scheider as his partner Buddy Russo, who break a Marseille heroin ring run by Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) by stripping down his brown 2-door Lincoln Continental mule car (license plate 18 LU 13); French TV performer Jacques Angelvin plays the cop-killing courier; features one of the best car chase scenes in Hollywood history; #4 grossing film of 1971 ($41.1M); "I'm going to nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie" (Doyle); "I'd sooner be a lamp post in New York than the president of France" (Doyle). On Feb. 29, 1972 the French Connection of heroin smuggling from Marseille, France to New York City begins to be dismantled as French authorities seize the shrimp boat Caprice des Temps carrying 915 lb. (415kg) of heroin; drug arrests in France skyrocket from 57 in 1970 to 3,016 this year; too bad, they corrupt the New York City Police Dept., who substitute confiscated heroin with flour and cornstarch until insects are discovered eating it.
In the 1940s the Latin Kings street gang is founded in Chicago, Ill. by Puerto Rican youths, expanding to 39+ states and 206 cities, becoming dominated by Mexicans, who create the religion of Kingism.
On Mar. 4, 1944 after becoming a fugitive in 1936 then surrendering to FBI head J. Edgar Hoover on Aug. 24, 1939 in front of the Manhattan Hotel after a deal is negotiated by radio announcer Walter Winchell, Manhattan, N.Y.-born Jewish Murder Inc. gangster Louis "Lepke" (Yiddish "Little Louis") Buchalter (b. 1879) is executed in the electric chair in Sing Sing Prison in N.Y., becoming the first mob boss to be executed in the U.S. (until ?); if he had talked, he might have had his sentenced reduced to life?
On May 3, 1944 Leo McCarey's B&W Going My Way (Paramount Pictures) debuts, based on a story by McCarey, starring Bing Crosby as singing priest Father Charles Francis Patrick "Chuck" O'Malley of St. Dominic's in New York City, for which he wins a best actor Oscar, with Bob Hope saying that any man with four kids who can play a priest deserves to win; Barry Fitzgerald plays Father Fitzgibbon; the film is nominated for nine Oscars, and wins seven; highest-grossing film of 1944 and the decade; after WWII Crosby and McCarey present a copy of the film to Pope Pius XII at the Vatican; features the song Swinging on a Star by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen. On Dec. 6, 1945 Leo McCarey's The Bells of St. Mary's (RKO Radio Pictures) debuts, starring Bing Crosby reprising his role as Father O'Malley, and Ingrid Bergman as Sister Mary Benedict, who engage in friendly non-sexual rivalry to build up a big city Roman Catholic school; does $8M box office on a $1.3M budget (#1 grossing film of 1945); Michael Corleone and his wife Kay are watching it when the rival Tattaglia mob hits his daddy Don Vito "the Godfather" Corleone.
On Dec. 26, 1946 after Grodno, Poland-born "Mob Accountant" Meyer Lansky (Meier Suchowlanski) (1902-83) convinces the Mafia to place him in charge, becoming a major investor as he borrows millions from the mob and gets Lucky Luciano to smuggle in several tons of Carrara marble from Italy, the $6M Flamingo Hotel of fellow Jewish gangster (teenage friend) Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (1906-47), (named after his girlfriend Virginia Hill, whom he called the Flamingo for her skill at beejays), the 3rd hotel casino on the Las Vegas Strip (named after a similar strip in Los Angeles) has its grand opening; too bad, few show up, but the future of Las Vegas as a gambling haven is secured. On June 20, 1947 (midnight) blue-eyed Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (b. 1906), founder of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and friend of actor George Raft is murdered with three shots to the head from the garden while reading a newspaper in the living room of the Beverly Hills, Calif. Spanish-Moorish mansion of his bobbing babe ("Queen of the Mafia") Virginia "Sugar" Hill (1916-66) at 810 Linden Dr. (probable hit by the mob, who suspect him of using her as a courier for loot embezzled from the Flamingo Hotel) 10 days after she leaves on a trip to Paris with a wealthy French boy; when she hears the news she faints.
In 1946 the U.S. Hobbs Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. (D-Ala.) Samuel Francis "Sam" Hobbs (1887-1952) is passed, directed at labor racketeering, making it a federal crime to affect interstate commerce via robbery or extortion.
On Jan. 9, 1947 the First (French) Indochina War ramps up as French gen. Jacques Leclerc (b. 1902), CIC of French troops in Indochina breaks off all talks with Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, and in Feb. is appointed inspector of land troops in North Africa, then on Nov. 28 is killed in an airplane crash at Colomb-Bechar; on Jan. 19 French forces begin a drive on Hue, Vietnam, and go on to take most of the provincial capitals of N and C Vietnam in Jan.; Hue falls in early Feb.; meanwhile the French encircle the Vietminh base at Viet Bac ("North Vietnam"), and almost capture Ho Chi Minh, who escapes through a camouflaged tunnel, after which French gen. Jean-Etienne Valluy decides that his 15K men can't cover 80K sq. mi. of territory to ferret out the 60K Commie troops, and withdraws to a string of forts along Route 4 between Lang Son and Cao Bang, which becomes known as Rue sans Joie (Street Without Joy) after it becomes the scene of regular Vietminh ambushes; meanwhile the SDECE (French military intel) starts working with opium producers in the Golden Triangle to fund its covert operations, which evolves into the French Connection.
On Mar. 17, 1948 the Hells Angels under-25 middle-class dropout motorcycle gang in Calif. is founded, known for filthy Levis and denim tops, Nazi helmets and badges, and a symbiosis with hippies in the 1960s, policing their gatherings; to join one must perform an outrageous revolting act; the babes are classed as Mammas (free to all) or Old Ladies (attached). On Dec. 6, 1969 the Rolling Stones appear at a free rock concert at the Altamont Speedway in Livermore (near San Francisco), Calif. before 300K fans, hiring the Hells Angels for security (big mistake); too bad, after "Woodstock West" gets out of control, the Angels strike back with pool cues, and four die, incl. Meredith Hunter (b. 1951), a high-on-meth black teen in a turquoise suit who is kicked and stabbed to death by Hell's Angels as he tries to reach the stage allegedly holding a handgun.
In the 1950s Constenze "Stanley" Valenti (1926-2001) becomes the first boss of the Rochester crime family (a crew of the Buffalo crime family), refusing to cooperate with law enforcement about the 1957 Apalachin Meeting and getting sentenced to 16 mo. in prison in 1958, allowing Jake Russo (-1964) to seize control, after which his older brother Frank J. Valenti (1911-2008) tries to intervene but is banned from N.Y. for three years for violation of election laws before returning and taking over the family in Dec. 1964-72, breaking off from the Buffalo crime family in 1970 with support from the Pittsburgh crime family; after serving time in a federal prison for extortion, he moves to Ariz. and is allowed to retire.
On Jan. 17, 1950 (7:30 p.m.) the $2.775M ($1.2M in cash) Great Brinks Robbery in Boston, Mass. by 11 men in Halloween masks wearing Brink's uniforms and copied keys is nearly the perfect crime until one of the robbers, Joseph "Specs" O'Keefe confesses on Jan. 12, 1956, implicating Joseph "Big Joe" McGinnis, Anthony Pino, Stanley "Gus" Gusciora et al., allowing them to be nabbed days before the 6-year statute of limitations runs out; eight gang members receive life sentences, and all are paroled in 1971 except McGinnis, who dies in prison; O'Keefe receives four years and is released in 1960; only $58K is recovered.
On May 3, 1950 after the body of a Kansas City, Mo. gambling kingpin is found in Apr. in a Dem. clubhouse slumped beneath a portrait of Pres. Truman, the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (Kefauver Committee), headed by coonskin cap-wearing populist U.S. Sen. (D-Tenn.) (1949-63) Cary Estes Kefauver (1903-63) is launched via a resolution, and begins hearings on May 11, conducting open hearings in large cities to document ties between organized crime and local political officials, making a celeb of "king of the bookmakers" Frank Erickson (1896-1968), and Bettie (Betty) Mae Page (1923-2008), a well-endowed (36-23-36) raven-hared Southern white babe who likes to do stripstease and pose in black underwear and high boots in bondage photos, after they shut down S&M pornographer ("the Pin-Up King") Irving Klaw (1910-66); on Dec. 31, 1958 she suddenly converts to Jesus and gives up her exhibitionism; after he becomes the youngest newspaper ed.-publisher in the U.S. in 1948 with the Troy Tribune Troy, Ill., using it to campaign against govt. corruption and vice, gaining attention from Ill. Gov. Adlai Stevenson and resulting in nat. exposure, Eugene, Ore.-born Paul Martin Simon (1928-2003) is invited to speak before the commission, going on to be elected to the Ill. State Senate. in 1962 - I finally have enough money to get the dog fixed?
Don't Americans have interesting lives? On Oct. 3, 1951 (3:38 p.m. EST) during the first ML playoff for a pennant since the NL in 1946 and AL in 1948, the Shot Heard 'Round the World AKA "the Little Miracle at Coogans Bluff" (game score 4-2 Brooklyn) sees a 3-run walk-off homer scored on the 2nd pitch by Scottish-born New York Giants outfielder (#23) ("the Flying Scot") ("the Staten Island Scot") Robert Brown "Bobby" Thomson (1923-2010) off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher (#13) Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca (1926-) in the last half of the 9th inning of the 3rd playoff game at the Polo Grounds, sailing into the lower left field stands and winning the game 5-4 along with the NL pennant 2-1 for the hapless Giants from the mighty Dodgers in a great Am. sports moment; on Aug. 11 Brooklyn was 13-1/2 games ahead of the Giants, but they won their next 16 games and finished the season on a 26-22 clip, winning 37 of the last 44 games incl. the last 7 in a row, then won a 14-inning V over last year's champions the Philadelphia Phillies, tying Brooklyn with a 96-58 season record to force the best-of-3 pennant series; sportscaster Russell Patrick "Russ" Hodges (1910-71) shouts "The Giants have won the pennant!" 3x in a row, and that evening Thomson appears on Perry Como's show on NBC-TV, acting soused; even though there was nobody on first, mgr. Charles Walter "Charlie" "Chuck" Dressen (1894-1966) ordered Branca not to walk Thomson because 20-y.-o. black rookie Willie Mays was in the on-deck circle; Carroll Lockman "Whitey" Lockman (1926-2009) (whose 1-out double scored Alvin Dark, making the score 4-2 and knocking pitcher Don Newcombe out of the game, causing Branca to be called in as a relief pitcher) is on 2nd, and Clinton Clarence "Clint" "Floppy" Hartung (1922-2010) is on 3rd, subbing for Donald Frederick "Don" Mueller (1927-), who broke his ankle sliding into 3rd, missing seeing the big homer; the next day a dozen baseballs are claimed to be the home run ball, after which a mysterious Franciscan nun is found to have kept it in a shoebox for 50+ years, after which her biological sister sends it to a landfill; in Feb. 2001 the Wall Street Journal reports that the Giants began a legal sign-stealing scheme in July 1951, which might have helped Thomson know what pitch was coming; after watching the game on TV, New York City Mafia boss Don Vito Corleone's oldest son Sonny Corleone (b. 1916) is ambushed and killed at the Long Beach Causeway toll plaza on orders of rival mob boss Emilio Barzini - The Godfather, 1972?
On Dec. 30, 1953 Laslo Benedek's The Wild One (Columbia Pictures) debuts, produced by Stanley Kramer, starring Marlon Brando as Johnny, the Triumph-riding leader (pres.) of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club (B.R.M.C.), which terrorizes the quiet midwestern town of Wrightsville; the rival gang is led by Chino (Lee Marvin); based on a real incident in Calif., the Am. Motorcyclist Assoc. rally on July 4th weekend, 1947 in Hollister, Calif.; banned in Britain for 12 years.
On July 29, 1955 Sicilian-born New York City Mafia Don Vito Andolini Corleone (b. 1891) dies of a heart attack in his garden while playing with his grandson Anthony after uttering the last words: "Life is so beautiful", leaving his Mafia empire to his youngest son Michael Corleone (1920-97), who soon has the heads of the Five Families wiped out, along with his brother-in-law Carlo Rizzi, Las Vegas casino mogul Moe Green, and traitor Salvatore Tessio, followed in 1959 by his older brother Fredo - The Godfather Part II, 1974?
On Oct. 25, 1957 Murder Inc. head Albert "Mad Hatter" "Lord High Executioner" Anastasia (Umberto Anastasio) (b. 1902) is murdered as he sits in a barber's chair in the Park Sheraton Hotel at 56th St. and 7th Ave. in Manhattan, N.Y., providing a cliche for zillions of future gangster movies; on Nov. 14 after Naples, Italy-born Genovese crime family head Vito "Don Vito" Genovese (1897-1969) calls it to recognize him as boss of bosses (capo dei capi), the Apalachin Meeting in Apalachin, N.Y. at the home of Sicilian-born Bufalino crime family boss Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara (1905-59), attended by 100 Mafia crime bosses from the U.S., Canada, and Italy is busted up the police after they spot all the expensive cars, causing them to flee into the woods, after which over 60 are detained, forcing the FBI to finally acknowledge the existence of the Mafia; meanwhile Sicilian-born Carlo "Don Carlo" Gambino (1902-76) seizes control over the Cosa Nostra at the convention, causing it to become known as the Gambino crime family.
In 1957 the U.S. Senate labor industry McClellan (Valachi) Hearings, chaired by U.S. Sen. (D-Ark.) (1943-77) John Little McClellan (1896-1977) begins, putting Teamsters leader James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa (1913-75) on trial for corruption and mob connections, with grilling by up-and-coming atty. Robert F. Kennedy. In 1957 the Teamsters are expelled from the AFL-CIO after Hoffa refuses to expel criminals and the Teamsters refuse to expel Hoffa, who triple their wages during his tenure and is super-popular. In 1962-3 Joseph "Joe Cargo" Valachi (1903-71) testifies, giving the first public evidence of the existence of the Mafia AKA La Cosa Nostra, before which the feds are playing dumb.
In 1957 ABC's The Mike Wallace Interview (1957-60) airs a live interview with gangster (Calif. gambling czar) Meyer Harris "Mickey" Cohen (1913-76), who calls L.A. police chief (since 1950) William H. Parker (1902-66) (coiner of the term "Thin Blue Line, and model for Star Trek's Spock) "a thief... an alcoholic... a sadistic degenerate of the worst type"; Parker sues ABC for $2M, and settled out of court for $45K, and Wallace is forced to make an on-air apology, later calling it the most regrettable interview of his career.
On Nov. 29, 1958 the Notre Dame U. Fighting Irish football team defeats the USC Trojans 20-13 in LA Memorial Coliseum front of 66,903 fans; Jewish-Am. mob boss Hyman "Johnny Lips" Roth (1891-1960) watches the game on TV on his 67th birthday - The Godfather Part II (1974)?
On June 16, 1959 Am. "Superman" actor George Reeves (George Keefer Brewer) (b. 1914) dies in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, Calif. of a bullet to the temple from a .30 cal. Luger pistol in his bedroom, which is officially ruled suicide; it was really a mob hit ordered by Hollywood studio exec Joseph Edgar Allen "Eddie" Mannix (1891-1963), who had been playing around with a Japanese woman while Reeves was doing it with his wife Toni, with a mutual understanding because they're all Roman Catholics who can't divorce, until early in the year Reeves broke up with Toni and became engaged to socialite Leonore Lemmon (1923-89), devastating her?; buried in his grey Clark Kent suit; beginning of an "untimely death for Superman actor" trend?
On Oct. 7, 1959 Italian-Am. opera singer-actor ("most famous tenor in the world") Mario Lanza (Alfred Arnold Cocozza) (b. 1921) dies in Rome Italy of a pulmonary embolism after entering the Valle Giulia Clinic for their Twlight Sleep Treatment for obesity (250 lb.) on Sept. 25; he had been iced out of Hollywood for his spoiled ways?; victim of a Mafia hit for reneging on a Mafia-backed NATO charity concert appearance in Naples in Sept.?
In Sept. 1960 U.S. Cuba-based Mafia bosses Salvatore "Sam the Cigar" "Momo" "Mooney" Giancana (Giangana) (1908-75) of Chicago and Santo Trafficante Jr. (1914-87) of Fla. are contacted by CIA go-between Robert Aime Maheu (1917-2008) about assassinating Fidel Castro, and after Giancana suggests it they unsuccessfully try getting poison pills slipped into his food - they hadn't invented Pop Rocks yet?
On May 19, 1962 (Sat.) aging #1 Hollywood sex symbol Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Baker) (1926-62) sings a sultry rendition of Happy Birthday, Mister President to her secret lover Pres. Kennedy at a Dem. fundraiser in Madison Square Garden attended by 17K incl. Jack Benny, Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Durante, and Peggy Lee, while wearing a dress described as "skin and beads" by Adlai Stevenson (her last pubic, er, public appearance); the dress by Jean Louis iss auctioned for $1.15M by Christie's auction house on Oct. 27, 1999. After hearing that Marilyn would be at the party, Jackie uttered the soundbyte "Screw Jack" and refuses to attend. A photo of Marilyn and JFK taken after the song becomes the only one of the two to survive after the Secret Service confiscates all the others but misses this one because it was left in the negatives dryer; it is not pub. until June 1, 2010. Did she hum it for him again in private? On July 28-29, 1962 she is at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, owned by her former lover Frank Sinatra and Mafia boss Sam Giancana, where she mopes that Bobby had dumped her and fantasized that he might divorce his wife for her, then threatenes to tell all to the press about her flings with him and JFK, and after she gets too drunk, Sinatra cuts her loose and quits protecting her? On Aug. 5, 1962 after telling Peter Lawford "Say goodbye to Pat, to the president, and to yourself, you're such a nice guy", Marilyn is found dead in her Brentwood, Calif. hacienda-style cottage at 12305 Fifth Helena Dr. at the end of a cul-de-sac, naked and face-down in bed, with a telephone receiver in one hand and bottle of sleeping pills in the other, according to AP. Neighbors allegedly report seeing an ambulance in front of her cottage the evening before, along with a heli hovering overhead and loud voices and breaking glass inside. Others allegedly hear a hysterical woman in the early a.m. screaming "Murderers, you murderers, are you satisfied now that she's dead?" Bobby Kennedy visited her that night, and an ambulance took her away breathing and brought her back dead? A plastic yellow duck floats in her pool, beside which hang antique wind chimes donated by Carl Sandburg. A few weeks earlier 20th Cent. Fox studio boss Peter G. Levathes fired her from Something's Got to Give (a remake of "My Favorite Wife", co-starring Dean Martin after Gardner McCay turned down the part), slapped her with a $500K breach of contract suit, and replaced her with Lee Remick. "Over the Rainbow" was played at her funeral. She was buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in W Los Angeles, after which ex-hubby Joe DiMaggio sent a half-dozen red roses to her crypt three times a week for 20 years and never remarried. She was buried in Corridor of Memories #24, a pink marble crypt, which Hugh Hefner owns the rights to the crypt next to. After an autopsy by Los Angeles deputy coroner (1961-7) Thomas T. Noguchi (1927-) (who became chief coroner in 1967-82, and performed autopsies on RFK and Sharon Tate, becoming known as "Coroner to the Stars"), her death was ruled a probable suicide from an OD of sleeping pills because a concentration of Nembutal (Pentobarbital) equal to 90+ pills was found in her blood, although no pills are found in her stomach and no drinking glass in her room. Was it really a mob hit ordered by JFK for threatening to rat about their love affair by publishing her diary, which is never found? Or was it caused by her doctor prescribing a chloral hydrate suppository thinking she had been weaned off Nembutal and not knowing that another doctor had refilled her prescription? Her cottage was purchased in 1994 by film dir. Michael Ritchie for $995K.
On Aug. 8, 1963 (3:00 a.m.) the night Royal Mail train in England is robbed by 15 men at Bridego Railway Bridge in Ledburn near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire en route to London of £2.6M in banknotes, and sensationalized as the Great Train Robbery; after their hideous at Leatherslade Farm is didsovered, most of the gang is arested, and next Apr. 16 12 men are sentenced to a total of 307 years; the bulk of the loot is never recovered.
On Nov. 22, 1963 (Fri.) (12:30 p.m.) U.S. Dem. pres. #35 (since Jan. 20, 1961) John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (b. 1917) AKA JFK is asassinated in his motorcade in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Tex.; U.S. mob figures Santo Trafficante Jr. (1914-87) and Carlos Marcello (1910-93) are believed to be involved (either with the killing of JFK, Tippit or Oswald) by some because the Mafia had been working with the CIA to oust Castro before JFK pulled the plug, and turned them against him; Tippit is suspected of having contacts with Oswald and Ruby prior to the assassination.
Did you order that Code Red, Colonel? Spring little Cobra, getting ready to strike? The first live murder on TV, compliments of the Dallas Police Department?
On Nov. 24, 1963 (Sun.) (11:21 a.m. CST) (47 hours after you know what) while being transported to the county jail, Lee Harvey Oswald (b. 1939) is neatly assassinated with a snub-nosed Colt Cobra .38 revolver to the guts in the Dallas police station basement parking lot by local strip club owner and suspected Mafia made man (Jewish) Jack Leon "Sparky" Ruby (Rubenstein) (1911-67) in front of nat. TV cameras (first murder seen live on U.S. TV), with the Dallas police standing idly by doing nothing to stop him and leaving the cameras good angles so that everybody knows who did it this time (now he can't be given a r outine 2-3 day murder trial with a good lawyer and easily convicted, ha ha); press photographer Robert "Bob" Jackson, who witnessed a rifle in the 6th floor window of the Depository takes an iconic photo of the shooting of Oswald by Ruby; after being rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, Oswald dies in Trauma Room 1 at 1:07 p.m., 48 hours 7 min. after JFK died; Ruby tells reporters he did it to zoom zoom prove that "Jews have guts", that he is helping the city of Dallas "redeem" itself, and that he wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy the ordeal of appearing at Oswald's trial, although after having time to think he changes his story and says he did it on the spur of the moment (he was taking the diet pill Preludin (Phenmetrazine), which raises the metabolism) (how convenient that this case never sees the inside of a courtroom?); Ruby's gun was purchased at Ray's Hardware and Sporting Goods in Dallas, run by Lawrence Brantley (1921-96); Ruby had previously wired money to a friend/employee, and left his dachshund Sheba in his car, and has no trouble getting let into the garage (by police confidants?), and afterward the govt. does nothing to officially establish Ruby's Mafia ties; Stetson hat-wearing Dallas police detective James R. "Jim" Leavelle (1920-) is handcuffed to Oswald when he gets the lead, becoming a celeb, while detective L.C. Graves (-1995) (brother-in-law of Paul Bentley) wrenches the pistol from Ruby's right hand; on Nov. 24 J. Edgar Hoover writes a memo stating "The thing I am most concerned about... is having something issued so that we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin", I guess the investigation was already over; Oswald's mother Marguerite begins her own investigation, later claiming that her dear son, whom she knew better than anybody, was a govt. agent and a patriotic hero, and would one day be cleared, while the press treats her like merde; the three major networks (all liberal) paint JFK's assassination as the result of a "climate of hate" caused by conservatism, despite Oswald's Commie past, stinking conservatism up until Reagan in 1980?; the Hollywood movie "The Manchurian Candidate" is withdrawn from theaters because of its similarity; meanwhile U.S. TV screens become boring to kids with no network shows, only dreary mourning (a nat. security alert and news blackout in case of a revolt?); on May 8, 1964 (after he earns it by running the Federal Bureau of Uninvestigation to keep his regime stable?) J. Edgar Hoover is appointed FBI dir. for life by new pres. LBJ.
In 1964 the Aryan Brotherhood (The Brand) white supremacist gang is founded in San Quentin State Prison in Calif. by Irish-Am. bikers in reaction to the Black Panthers, with the motto "Kill or be killed".
On May 8, 1968 after the efforts of detectives led by Leonard Ernest "Nipper" Read (1925-), the notorious London East End crime bosses known as the Kray Twins, Reginald "Reggie" Kray (1933-2000) and Ronald "Ronnie" Kray (1933-95), are finally arrested by police after attempting to become respectable by being seen with Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Diana Dors et al., and end up getting life in priz.
In 1969 Houston, Tex.-born Raymond Lee Washington (1953-79) and Shreveport, La.-born black stud Stanley Tookie Williams III (1953-2005) found the Baby Avenues black gang in South Central Los Angeles, Calif., which is renamed the Crips (originally Cribs), soon getting into bloody battles with the rival Bloods black gang for control of the drug trade, and expanding across the U.S.; meanwhile in 1971 two U.S. congressmen visit Vietnam, and report that 10% of U.S. servicemen (up to 16% of whom are black) are addicted to heroin, causing Pres. Nixon to announce in June 1971 that his admin. will give drugs top priority, with emphasis on treatment centers.
On Oct. 15, 1970 the U.S. Racketeering and Organized Crime (RICO) Control Act, which incl. the U.S. Organized Crime Control Act is passed, establishing federal jurisdiction over major gambling operations, interstate sale of explosives et al., and making the death penalty mandatory for bombings resulting in loss of life; designed to prosecute Mafia kingpins, it creates the witness protection program; too bad, the loose language and the super power of federal prosecutors leads to it being abused to prosecute white collar criminals incl. Wall Street traders caught using privileged info., and any little fish they want to squash with a steamroller.
In 1970 New York City reporter Jimmy Breslin (1930-) is beaten up at the Suite restaurant (owned by Lucchese crime family assoc. Henry Hill) by mobster James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke (1931-96) after getting pissed-off at an article he wrote about family member Paul Frank "Paulie" Vario (1914-88). On Dec. 11, 1978 the Lufthansa Heist sees a Lufthansa plane robbed at JFK Airport in New York City of $5M in cash and $875K in jewelry by 6-7 members of the Lucchese family, incl. James "Jimmy the Gent" "the Irishman" Burke (1931-96), who obtained the permission of John Gotti since it's in Gambino territory; on Dec. 18 Parnell Stevens "Stacks" Edwards (b. 1947) is murdered by the mob for forgetting to ditch the van, followed by several more of the heist team, until Lucchese non-goodfella (Irish descent bars him) Henry Hill Jr. (1943-2012) rats them out to the FBI after being arrested for drug dealing in 1980. On May 11, 1980 N.Y. Lucchese crime family mobster Henry Hill Jr. (1943-2012) is arrested for narcotics trafficking, bonds out, and is soon rearrested as a material witness in the Dec. 11, 1978 Lufthansa robbery, deciding to become a rat and join the witness protection program, which leads to 50 convictions, incl. Jimmy Burke and his longtime godfather Paul Vario.
On Sept. 11, 1971 (night) the Walkie-Talkie (Baker St.) Bank Robbery sees Lloyds Bank in Baker St., London robbed of £500K in jewelry and valuables by robbers who tunnel 50 ft. under the Chicken Inn Restaurant and goof up and talk in the clear on you know whats, which are intercepted by a ham radio operator and forwarded to the police; too bad, they still don't catch them, finding "Let Sherlock Holmes try to solve this" written inside the safe; Walter Cronkite mentions it on his CBS Evening News broadcast.
A riddle wrapped in cement? On July 30, 1975 former Teamsters pres. (1958-71) James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa (b. 1913) disappears in Detroit, Mich., and is reported missing on July 31; he is last seen on July 30 at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he went to meet two mob figures incl. N.J. Mafia figure (Genovese crime family) Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano (1917-88), and Detroit Mafia capo Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone (1919-2001) (former Teamsters vice-pres. and friend of Hoffa, who used union funds for personal use with his blessing, and served time with Hoffa in Lewisburg Prison, later becoming enemies), who later speculates "Maybe he took a little trip"; 10 weeks later Pres. Nixon (who pardoned Hoffa in 1971) makes his first appearance since his resignation playing golf with Provenzano; was Hoffa killed by the mob to prevent him from reclaiming the Teamster presidency? - a riddle wrapped in an enigma?
On Nov. 22, 1975 Colombian police seize 600 kilos of cocaine from a small plane at the Cali airport, triggering the Medellin (Medellín) Massacre and revealing the size and power of the new Medellin (Medellín) Cartel of cocaine traffickers who moved to fill the vacuum left by the French Connection heroin traffickers, incl. Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (1949-93) ("the King of Cocaine"), Carlos Lehder (Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas) (1949-) ("the Colombian Rambo"), Jorge Luis Ochoa Vasquez (1950-), and Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha (1947-89) ("El Mexicano"); in 1978 Carlos Lehder sets up on Norman's Cay Island in the Bahamas 210 mi. off the Fla. coast, shipping millions of dollars a day of cocaine and heroin by jet and small aircraft to the S U.S. from his own airstrip until 1982, after which the heat moves in and he is extradited to the U.S. in 1987 and given a life + 135 year sentence; in the 1980s the cartel ships 80 tons/month amid bloody fights with rival cartels, turning Colombia into the murder capital of the world; on Dec. 15, 1989 Gacha is killed by Colombian police in Tolu; on Dec. 2, 1993 Escobar is killed by Colombian police in his hometown of Medellin.
On Nov. 2, 1976 in N.J., the "Crossroads of the East", voters approve legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City, N.J., home of the famous Boardwalk and other streets in the game of Monopoly; the first legal in Atlantic City opens next May 26, becoming the first legal gambling casino in the U.S. outside Nev.; Resorts Internat. opens the first casino in a Boardwalk hotel, taking in $2.6M in the first 6 days; N.J. gov. Brendan Byrne utters the soundbyte: "The mob is not welcome in New Jersey" - like it is in Nev.?
On Dec. 11, 1978 the Lufthansa Heist sees a Lufthansa plane robbed at JFK Airport in New York City of $5M in cash and $875K in jewelry by 6-7 members of the Lucchese family, incl. James "Jimmy the Gent" "the Irishman" Burke (1931-96), who obtained the permission of John Gotti since it's in Gambino territory; on Dec. 18 Parnell Stevens "Stacks" Edwards (b. 1947) is murdered by the mob for forgetting to ditch the van, followed by several more of the heist team, until Lucchese non-goodfella (Irish descent bars him) Henry Hill Jr. (1943-2012) rats them out to the FBI after being arrested for drug dealing in 1980.
On Feb. 9, 1979 Walter Hill's The Warriors (Paramount Pictures) debuts, based on the 1965 novel by Sol Yurick, a cult film about the street gangs of New York City that is really a remake of Xenophon's "Anabasis" and the 401 B.C. March of the Ten Thousand after their leader Cyrus the Younger was killed in the Battle of Cunaxa, featuring the Warriors gang of Coney Island (known for wearing cool maroon leather vests) on the night of June 21, 1979; stars Michael Beck as warchief Swan, James Remar as Ajax (fingerless gloves), Dorsey Wright as leopard skin do-rag-wearing Cleon (black), Brian Tyler as Snow (black), David Harris as Cochise (black), Tom McKitterick as Cowboy, Thomas G. Waites as Fox (who is thrown underneath a subway train by a cop), Marcelino Sanchez as Rembrandt, Terry Michos as Vermin, Ephraim Benton as Ash (black), and temptingly dirty "don't call me no whore" Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Mercy; Mercedes Ruehl plays a plainclothes cop on a park bench; the Warriors gang is framed for killing gang messiah Cyrus (Roger Hill) of the Gramercy Riffs in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx by rival Rogues gang leader Luther (David Patrick Kelly), and forced to fight their way back home through 27 mi. of cops and color-wearing gangs, incl. the bat-swinging Baseball Furies, Hi-Hats, Turnbull AC's, Hurricanes, Saracens, Jones Street Boys, Orphans, Electric Eliminators, Rogues, Destroyers, Panzers, Satan's Mothers, and gun-toting lezzie Lizzies; Lynne Thigpen plays the DJ; Cyrus makes a good point about how the 60K total gang members could rule Gotham if they could work together against the paltry 20K cops; does $22.5M box office on a $4M budget; "Warriors, come out to play"; "Maybe you're all just goin' faggot"; "I'm going to shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle"; does $22.5M box office on a $4M budget; the Warriors Theme (Night Run) is by Philip Marshall; the Furies Chase Theme is by Barry de Vorzon.
On Dec. 16, 1985 6'2" 270 lb. Gambino crime family don (since 1976) Constantino Paul "Big Paul" "Pope" "Chicken Man" Castellano (b. 1915), "the Howard Hughes of the Mob" is murdered in front of Sparks Steak House on E. 46th St. in Manhattan along with his driver Thomas Bilotti while on trial with nine others for auto theft conspiracy under orders of underboss John Joseph Gotti Jr. (1940-2002), who seizes power, becoming known as "the Dapper Don"; the hit man was Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano?
On Apr. 15, 1988 Dennis Hopper's Colors (Orion Pictures) debuts, starring Sean Penn as rookie LAPD CRASH Officer Danny "Pac-Man" McGavin of the LAPD Rampart Div. in gang-ridden South Central Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, Robert Duvall as his veteran partner Officer Bob Hodges, and Maria Conchita Alsonso as Penn's babe Louisa Gomez, showing how the cops are above the law as they take on the Bloods, Crips, and Hispanic street gangs; "Two bulls are up on the hill staring down upon their herd. The young bull says to the old bull, 'Hey let's run down there real quick and fuck one of those cows!' The old bull says 'Nah, lets walk down... and fuck em all'"; $46.6M box office on a $10M budget.
In 1991 N.J. mobster Robert LiButti is banned from N.J. casinos for his ties to Mafia boss John Gotti; Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J. is fined $200K by N.J. for violating anti-discrimination laws after they accede to his demands to remove women and black dealers at his tables; in 1994 LiButti is convicted of tax fraud in the largest federal income tax evasion case in N.J. history (until ?).
In 1995 Ralph Natale becomes boss of the Philadelphia, Penn. crime family (until 1999); in 1995 after underboss Joseph Salvatore "Skinny Joey" Merlino (1962-) takes advantage of him being in jail and takes over, and he is indicted for financing drug deals, he becomes the first Am. Mafia boss to turn state's evidence.
In 1999 the Los Zetas (named after a Mexican radio code for high-ranking army officers) drug cartel is formed from deserters from a special forces unit of the Mexican army by the Gulf Cartel based in Matamoros, Mexico, which defeats the Sinaloa Cartel from the Pacific Coast, after which they split and battle for control, killing 60K in 2006-2013.
On Dec. 12, 2000 the U.N. (Palermo) Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is passed, with three supplementary Palermo Protocols covering trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, and trafficking in firearms, effective Sept. 29, 2003; by June 2016 it is adopted by 187 parties incl. 182 U.N. member states, the EU, the Vatican, the State of Palestine, and Cook Islands; members that have not ratified it incl. Iran, Japan, Repub. of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, and Tuvalu.
In Feb. 2005 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) begins Operation Community Shield, arresting 7,655 street gang members, followed in Sept. by the FBI arresting 660 more incl. members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the 1980s Central Am. (mainly Salvadoran) gang of LA, which has 50K +members.
On Oct. 24, 2005 a Los Angeles judge signs a Dec. 13 death warrant at San Quentin Prison for Crips gang co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams III (b. 1953), who has been on death row since Apr. 20, 1981 for four 1979 shotgun murders, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his prison-written children's books; his lawyers appeal to Calif. Gov. Ahnuld for clemency, hoping to be the first to receive clemency since Reagan spared a mentally-ill killer in 1967; on Dec. 12 the Governator nixes it, and he is executed by lethal injection on Dec. 13 - appealing to the Terminator for clemency?