Chicago gangster Ted Newberry says: "He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." Ted was rubbed out on January 7, 1933

Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

Meet Kiki

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Office

Philadelphia gangsters Sam Grossman and Al Skale sat in the office of their second story gambling and drinking resort the "Jewish Social Cub" located at the south east corner of Girard Aveneu and Watts Street. Sam and Al were former lieutenants in Mickey Duffy's gang. Former because Mickey was rubbed out in an Atlantic City hotel the previous summer. Both Grossman and Skale had been picked up as material witnesses and were currently out on bail.

But eighty-three years ago today they were in their office at the club. Grossman sat the desk, Skale  perched on top. They may have been divvying up the nights receipts as the former had $1000 in his hand as five armed men entered the club and headed directly for the office. Once inside the quintet played a hot number with their .38s. No encore required.

Police were pretty quick to respond. When they entered the office Grossman was keeled over the desk, that grand tight in one fist a gun in the other. His eyes were glazing over but, not wanting to take any chances, a cop knocked the gun from his hand. Skale was blown off the desk and found floundering on the floor amidst $400 in small bills and ever increasing puddle of his own blood.
"Who shot you?", a cop asked,
"[expletive of your choosing] that. I don't know. Get me out of here."
Grossman was questioned but either couldn't or wouldn't respond.

Both men were taken to the hospital where they died a short time later.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dishonest Abe

The 1933 holiday season must have been a tough one for Waxey Gordon’s family. The month started off with Waxey being sentenced to ten years in prison and ended with the murder of his twenty-two year old nephew Abraham Volk.
Volk, whom police called “A small time racketeer and a cheap petty-larceny thief.” Was the son of Gordon’s sister in-law, whom Waxey put to work washing barrels in one of his New Jersey breweries. He had been arrested six times since 1926 for vagrancy and theft but always managed, possibly because of his Uncle’s pull, to receive a suspended sentence or have the charge reduced.
Since the fall of his Uncle’s empire he tried to cash in on his relations by organizing “social” clubs in the Bronx and shaking down businesses for protection money.
As the clock struck midnight ushering in Christmas Eve 1933 Volk entered a Bronx candy shop and spoke with the proprietor for a bit telling him he that he had an appointment to keep. Volk then left the store and moments later the proprietor saw him crouched over running back towards the store. Then he heard five shots ring out and saw Volk fall.
Waxey’s nephew was rushed to the hospital where, even though only a small timer, he kept true to the gangster code and died without telling the cops anything.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pulpy goodness

"Previous job?"
"Disposition towards the French?"
"Hate 'Em"
"Sign here Monsieur. Congratulations, you're in the Foreign Legion."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

S'long Legs

Eighty-Three years ago today internationally famous New York gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond was sent the way of all gangster flesh. Early in the a.m. as the prince of gangsters lay in drunken slumber two guys made there way into his bedroom. Moments later the sugar plums that were dancing in Jack's head had to make away for a number of .38 slugs. Click on Kiki above, she was with him earlier when he was getting blotto.

You can read all about him here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Beware the Ides of December

T'was just about 6:00a.m., in New York City, on this date way back in 1927 when Richard Lubey crossed the threshold into his apartment after a long night of managing his speakeasy. At the ripe old age of six and twenty years, Lubey had many a crime attributed to him, crimes like gun possession, robbery and counterfeiting.

Anywho-ville, his wife who slumbered in the next room, heard him enter and begin to disrobe. First his coat and then his vest. But before anymore articles of clothing could be removed there was a rapping, some might say a gentle tapping, a tapping at the apartment door. "Tis some gangster," Lubey muttered, "tapping at my apartment door. Only this and nothing more."

Mrs. Lubey heard him answer the door but paid no attention to the conversation he had with the early morning visitor.
Ah, but she would henceforth remember/what happened next in that bleak December/ when from the underworld came forth a member/ come to settle a bootlegging score.
A bullet lodged above her bed/ which first passed through her husband's head/ her husband who now lay dead, dead upon the foyer floor.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The King is dead

Early in the A.M. on this date back in 1926 Philadelphia underworld sort, Leo Brown, aka, King of the Greeks, drained his final cocktail at a hotel bar and stepped into the dance room - Leo had been on the spot before on both sides of the gun. He was shot the previous year and recovered and just the past October he was picked up and stuck with a murder charge. - Barely inside the dance parlor some one approached Leo and it wasn't a prospective partner looking to do the Foxtrot. The King caught on and drew his gun but it was to late.  A number of shots were fired and Leo crumpled to the dance floor dead. A guy named "Red" Healy was picked up the following day but the coppers couldn't get him to spill it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not a very happy soul

Hello children gather around for a nice story. Eighty-eight years ago this morning at 3:00am a patrolman was walking his beat in Harlem when a parade led by a snowman came by, of course he hollored "Stop!"...

I did it again.

Truth be told there was no snowman.

A large touring car however did speed past him. The cop immediately blew his whistle and the car came to a stop, that's kind of close.

 As the officer approached the auto, the door opened and what looked like a bundle of laundry was tossed out. Surprise, it wasn't laundry, it was thirty-four year old Dominick Alvero. He had been shot four times in the head, once in the neck and once in the hip. Frosty the Hitman & co. sped off. Last thing the cop heard from the sedan was "Catch me if you can."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Anonymous party of two, Anonmymous

Was this morning in 1928 when some early birds came to an intersection in Chicago Heights and found...a magic hat which they placed on a snowman who miraculously came to life...just kidding, it wasn't a magic hat they found but a dead body with four bullets in the head and neck.

Now I feel bad.

Here you were thinking you were going to be treated to a nice holiday story and I talk about dead gangsters...let's try again shall we? While Chicagoans were trying to figure out who was blocking their intersection, on this date back in 1928, about four hundred miles away in Mount Clemens, Michigan a trucker was hauling produce to Detroit when something off to the side of the road caught his eye. He put on the breaks. Jumping to the road he ran up and found a magic hat. He put it on the nearest snowman who then began to dance around....ok, I lied again. He didn't find a hat it was dead gangster who had been shot and then his body lit on fire.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Unlucky Luciano

Eighty-four years ago last night, also a Sunday, Nick Luciano, called “Cheeks” because of a long scar on the right side of his face, was invited to a small dinner party at a “grimy” lower Eastside restaurant. After nearly a year of seclusion in Bayonne, NJ Luciano gladly accepted the invitation. You see, the reason Nick was in Jersey was because he squealed on some former gun toters he palled around with which ended up with them going to the chair. These guys had friends and Nick knew they weren't going to let bygones be bygones.

     So into New York Nick went. The party, consisting of four other men and three women, was going well and all seemed to be having a good time when at 4:00am the next morning an undetermined number of men entered the restaurant and made their way to the back room where Luciano and his cohorts were having their fun. The men approached the party and pulled out pistols. Knowing Luciano’s history, the men and women who were a moment before partying with him all quickly vacated the premises and left “Cheeks” to his fate. Once they had him isolated the gunmen opened up and perforated Nick with twenty bullets.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pulpy goodness

"Sorry to have kept you waiting"

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

End of an era

Frank "Skinny" Partuese and Frank "Blackie" Stillo have the distinction of being New York City’s last gangland victims of the Prohibition Era. On this date back in 1933 “Blackie” had just parked his car when two gunmen came up from behind and started blasting away. After firing about ten shots the gunmen fled. Hit a number of times, “Skinny”, who was in the passenger seat, managed to get out of the sedan and run up a block or so before dropping dead. “Blackie” also made it out of the car but collapsed in the gutter. He was still alive when found and sent to the hospital where doctors said he would die.
The police believed that Parteuse was responsible for a killing three weeks previous and that he and Stillo were put on the spot for retribution. Whether or not Stillo played a part in the murder is unknown but he was a bit of a Yogi Berra as is evident by a quote he made while being transported to the hospital, “I don’t know why I should get it, but I had it coming to me.”

Monday, December 1, 2014

They can't all have a story

Let us remember John Cody, said to be a member of St. Louis' Cuckoo gang, who was found in a ditch on this date back in 1927. What he did or didn't do to end up in a ditch on the outskirts of town wasn't stated. We here at DGIS offer a few motives.
1) Gang warfare
2) Internecine gang warfare
3) Highjacking booze
4) Somehow wronging some other underworld figure
5) Stating that "Al Jolson really sings!" in the Jazz Singer without first saying, "Spoiler alert."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bye bye brother Tom

Ninety-two years ago today Tom Flanagan, one of the four fierce Flanagans - a quartet of gun wielding law breaking brothers- gave up the ghost after somebody pumped a bullet into his chest at Yumpsy Cunningham's saloon. His pals, being the good guys that they were, placed him in a cab and sent him to his fathers apartment. Pop Flanagan, being of sounder mind thought that a hospital would probably be a better place. He fetched a cop who saw that Tom made it to Bellevue without further ado.

Inside the hospital Tom was questioned about the shooting but, having memorized the Official Rules of the Underworld Volumes I-IV, he refused to say anything about it and passed out of this life at the ripe old age of thirty.

Now, don't go confusing Tom with his little brother Joe who followed his brother to an early grave in 1929.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Even gunmen make mistakes

Eighty-seven years ago today Henry Keller stepped out of a store on Chicago's South Street. He pulled up his collar around his face and braced himself for the cold. Little did Henry know the weather wasn't his only problem. After a few steps a shot rang out and Henry fell to the street with a slight wound to his leg. He looked up and saw a man and woman, an attractive woman at that, standing over him. A smoking gun was in the man's hand...

Was Henry about to get the coup de' grace?
Had Henry double crossed this duo?
Was yet another Chicago hoodlum going to make the front pages for being the victim of a grisly murder?

At this time we would like to inform the reader that Henry Keller was in no way involved with the Chicago underworld, in fact Henry was a night watchman.

As Henry lay on the sidewalk with a bullet wound to the leg looking up at those who had shot him the woman took a closer look at Henry.

"My goodness, that isn't the man!" She blurted out.
"Excuse us." Said the gunman as he and the woman ran off.


We here at the DGIS Institute realize you probably made the trip here to read about a DGIS and to show our appreciation would like to mention that on the same day that Henry Keller received his wound, Chicago police did find a"Well dressed man" with a bullet in his head just outside of town on the road to Bensonville. Because of his fancy clothes and the fact that he had a nice bankroll on him  police believed he, unlike Henry Keller, was probably an underworld sort.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Purples lose two

On this night way back in 1933 Abe Axler and Eddie Fletcher, the "Siamese Twins", of Detroit's Purple gang were found in the back of a sedan in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Both had been riddled with bullets. The "Siamese Twins" label came from the fact that they were always together, both were originally from Brooklyn and made there way to Detroit in the early 1920s where their talents with the gun helped them rise in the ranks as well as earn the titles of Detroit's Public Enemies #1 & #2. (Mommas Axler and Fletcher must have been quite proud.)

As Prohibition was coming to an end so to was Abe's and Eddie's use to the gang. They spent their last night together (naturally) drinking with a couple of other guys, supposedly fellow Purples, leading to the thought they may have been killed by their own gang. The killers were softies, after the deed they clasped one of Abe's hands with one of Eddie's. Together in death as well as life.

Eddie & Abe

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dead Men Write No Tales deux

Eighty-two years ago this evening Francis Fabrizzio sat in the Brooklyn apartment of his parents. In addition to a couple of siblings was a lawyer who was helping Francis out with a literary project. You see, Mr. Fabrizzio was a life long bad guy. Two of his younger brothers were both killed by gangster guns and Francis decided the best way to get back at the underworld was to expose them and so, to that end, he wrote a book.
    As the Fabrizzio family dined, the lawyer punched the typewriter transcribing Francis' memoir.  After a bit there was a knock at the door. The senior Mr. Fabrizzio answered. Three guys flipped some badges and said they wanted to talk to his son. Frances was summoned and asked to step into the hallway. If you guessed that the trio weren't really detectives good for you. Moments after Frances entered the hall the family heard four shots. Mr. and Mrs. Fabrizzio rushed to find their third son claimed by the gun....oh, the manuscript? Coppers took it, evidence you know.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pulpy goodness

Death was eventually disqualified and barred from racing for making opponents burst into flames. His dreams of being a famous jockey dashed, Mr. Reaper went back to harvesting souls. He also made a passive income as a bee keeper.

Can only wonder what is happening down the track as the spectator and the cop seem to care less about the spectacle in front of them...and yes that is the do-nothing Phantom Detective passively looking on as usual.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baby Joe has left and gone away, hey hey hey

Today marks the 85th anniversary of the passing of "Baby" Joe Flanagan. The youngest of New York City's the "Four Fierce Flanagan's ", Joe was the second brother to die by the gun. Brother Tom preceded him by seven years.
      It was Sunday when Joe was eliminated from the underworld and it was a churchgoer who found him. As the pious one was leaving his apartment he saw Joe lying in the hallway and thought he was sleeping off a drunk. When the man returned after the services the “drunk” was still there so the man took a closer look and realized that the “drunk” was in fact quite dead.
     Not quite sure why the dumped Joe in a hallway but then again not quite sure why a lot of these guys did what they did.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dead men write no tales

On this date back in 1930 New York gangster Frank Calibrese and his cohorts were involved in a shooting with rivals. Frank was hit by five shots, one of which smashed into his mouth and cut off his tongue. His partners loaded him into their car and drove him to the house of one of Frank’s distant relatives, Dr. Edward Caselnova. Realizing he couldn't do much for him the doctor brought Frank to the hospital where police questioned him. Since he was missing part of his tongue Frank could only communicate with pencil and paper. In response to police questions Frank wrote down his name, address and the location where he was shot. Then he died.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cohen may have been Lucky, Rich, not so much

On this date back in 1932 gangster Richard Fishman, said to have three notches on his shooting iron, was standing in the front parlor of Lucky Cohen's Chicago gambling joint, which doubled as a cigar store. Just as regular joe Jack Magdal entered, to either buy a cigar or gamble, a burst of machine-gun fire spat forth and Fishman dropped dead Magdal fell with a bullet in the arm. I suspect his stogie was on the house.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Extra! Extra!! Read all about it!!!!


The DGIS Institute is pleased to report that long time crime blogger/author John DuMond has published a true crime short on the 1945 Eastern State Prison break. Mr. DuMond is a top notch researcher, writer and all around swell guy. He comments regularly here and has even treated us to a post in the past.

Under The Wall is a fun, quick read. If you enjoy true, vintage crime stories this is for you. It is currently available on Amazon and Smashwords and will be coming soon to Kobo, Apple, B&N etc.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Luck was no lady to Harry

Ah, the carefree life of a gambler. All you need is a suitcase and a trunk and in the case of Chicago gambler, Harry Teuber, eyes in the back of the head would have come in handy. For it was eighty-one years ago today that Harry was seated at a table in a barbershop getting a manicure. While a young lady polished his digits another, named Annette, who polished other parts of Harry, waited in a barber's chair.

Through the back door of the barber shop crept a man with gun and a grudge, or, possibly just orders from above to remove Harry from Chicago's underworld. He came up through the rear of the shop, stuck a pistol through a partition and fired four shots into Harry's head. Slump went Harry across the table. The manicurist jumped up horrified, Harry's girlfriend jumped up and skedaddled. The gunman escaped out the back.

Harry's wife identified him at the morgue. Police found the apartment he shared with Annette and there they learned that her father worked at the upscale gambling joint the 225 Club. The owner of which went the way of Harry the previous month. That seemed to be enough for the cops to chalk the murder up to "gamblers feud".

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Paul is Dead

Paul Robinson was a Los Angeles gangster, whom police believed was involved in some sort of  gangland feud. This belief stemmed from the fact that Robinson's bullet riddled corpse was found in a recently dug ditch near a San Mateo golf course.

Police determined that Robinson had been killed in San Francisco and his body taken to the golf course and dropped into the ditch. (I suspect a "hole in one" joke is applicable here so if you have one, by all means leave it in the comments) After Robinson's body was deposited his slayers fired ten more shots into him. The dead man's auto was then parked near San Francisco's Presidio district and set on fire.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Breaking bad is never good part II

Two days after his partner Arthur Siegelman disappeared, Joseph Ferro another Johnny come-lately to the bootlegging game, was put on the spot. Unlike the former life guard however there is no mystery clouding Ferro’s murder. The youthful would be gangster-he was only twenty- was walking to his East Village home with his wife and his friend. As they were approaching Ferro's building, two gunmen jumped out of a doorway, ran up to the trio and fired a bullet into Ferro’s head. Another went intohis friend's stomach. Both men were rushed to Bellevue Hospital where Ferro subsequently died and his pal's wound was labeled as mortal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dear screenwriters

The following things need to stop immediately.
 1) The use of the phrase "It's not personal, it's business" it's also hackneyed and cliched writing. We all saw the Godfather. Think up something new.
2) When one character, usually the bad guy, repeats what the antihero just did and tells them they are "Smart".
e.g. "Approach me and my men in the mall food court cause you know we can't shoot you. Smart."    First time I remember hearing a variation of this was in Road To Perdition now the Hollywood hacks whip it out almost as much as "It's not personal, it's business."  
3) The stone faced hero walking towards the camera/away from the explosion. I guess we can blame unimaginative directors for the repeated use of this one.

Anyone else have anything to add? Come on now, it's not personal, it's show business.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breaking bad is never good

Twenty-five year old Arthur Siegelman was a new comer to the New York City underworld who, after a short stay, vanished and was never heard from again. Siegelman had no former training in crime in fact he was a life guard who, at the end of beach season, decided to break into bootlegging as a way to support his widowed mother and six siblings. Needless to say the neophyte gangster did not last long where the gun and knife rule. What he did to seal his fate is unknown but he disappeared on this day in 1932 and his body was never found.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Politics can be murder

Frank Paresi was a life long gangster who was awarded a political appointment for services rendered to Tammany Hall. His record dated back to 1904 when he was sent to the House of Corrections for petty larceny. He was arrested again in 1909 for assault and robbery but released. In 1912 he was sent to Sing Sing for ten years for robbery but his record shows he didn’t serve the full sentence because he was arrested for grand larceny in Brooklyn in 1920. By 1922 however he had been appointed a Market Supervisor by Market Commissioner O’Malley, a Tammany man.

Why all this talk about Paresi? Well, ninety-two years ago today, he was making his rounds amongst the pushcart vendors in his district, who at the time were complaining that they were the victims of municipal graft, when a gunman walked up behind him and shot him down. The killer slipped away with the crowds as they ran for shelter.

The first one at the dead man’s side was his brother Thomas who yelled, “It’s my brother Frank!” Thomas and some others carried Frank into a store then transferred him to a nearby hospital where he died.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Death from below

Back on Chicago's south side on this date in the year of nineteen hundred and twenty-eight, Ralph Murphy and Michael "Bugs" Quinlan had just stepped out of the saloon where the former was bartender. The latter was the owner of a gambling establishment.

Perched in a basement window across the street was a feller with one them there Tommy guns and as Quinlan and Murphy entered the Bugsmobile well, that feller went ahead and pressed down on the trigger long enough to let thirty-five .45 caliber bullets fly. A number of which landed in Quinlan and Murphy. Murphy died on the spot. Quinlan was still breathing when the story went to press but doctors didn't hold out to much hope for him.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Diamonds are not a Noes best friend

Remember how in yesterday's post Legs Diamond got shot in the stomach? What?! You didn't read yesterday's post, go  ahead we'll wait....Ok, a year and a day after he caught that bullet whilst walking on the lower east side with Little Augie Orgen, Diamond was on the other side of the hit. He had an appointment 86 years ago this morning with Joey Noe & Dutch Schultz to exchange some money for territory.
     Correctly assuming that Diamond might try to pull some monkey business, Noe was wearing a bullet proof vest while Dutch and possibly a few others took positions in some nearby second story windows. As Noe approached the designated meeting spot a blue Cadillac came speeding up from behind and a guy, Louis Weinberg, opened fire on him. The assassin scored a lucky shot on Noe's body where the vest wasn't covering and the Dutchman's partner went down. Dutch, and any others, in hiding opened fire on the Cadillac, which sped away. One of the bullets from above pierced the roof of the Caddy and killed Weinberg. The car, with the dead man, was ditched on the lower east side. Noe was taken to the hospital and questioned but kept to the gangster code until dying about a month later.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Little Augie bows out

Four score and seven years ago this night Messrs. Little Augie Orgen and Jack Diamond were walking together on the lower East Side. Diamond was a bootlegger, drug dealer and loft thief. The former a labor racketeer. They became pals through Arnold Rothstein and let each other in on their rackets. Diamond was letting Little Augie in on some dope deals and Orgen gave Diamond a labor contract which caused strife within his own gang. Not happy with their leader's new direction, Orgen's two lieutenants , Lepke Buchalter and Gurrah Shapiro, decided that they should be running the show. So as Augie and Diamond strolled and conversed a sedan laden with gunmen went on the prowl. When they caught sight of Orgen and Diamond, heck they knew where they were gonna be, the car slowed down behind them. A couple of guns stepped out and made their ways up behind the duo. One placed his gun behind Orgen's head and pulled the trigger, the gangleader's hat was blown into the air while its owner was blown into oblivion. Diamond turned and was shot in the stomach lest he try to intervene in any way. If they wanted him dead it would have been so. 
Little Augie

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mandatory retirement for a boss

Mafia boss Salvatore D’Aquila, head of what would one day become the Gambino crime family, and said by his family to be a cheese importer, kept an appointment at his doctor’s office in Manhattan's East Village on this date back in 1928. Due to some health issues D’Aquila and his wife had been making the drive down from the Bronx every day at the same time. Supposedly he was fine but his wife still had some problems.

On the drive down his car acted funny so once at the doctor’s office he walked his wife and kids inside and then returned to the street to inspect the engine. According to a witness, D’Aquila was looking under his hood when three men approached him. The quartet conversed for a number of minutes then the conversation escalated into an argument. Suddenly the three men each drew a pistol and fired a total of nine shots into the gangster killing him.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The dangers of tobacco

In the early hours of this day back in 1931 Abe Lubitsky, Norman Blatt and Harry Abrams were out for a drive in the fine city of Toledo, Ohio when a car full of gunmen pulled up and fired numerous shots into their car then pulled away. If that wasn't offensive enough, just as the gunmen pulled away another car containing gunmen pulled up and they too discharged there weapons into the trios auto.

A number of the bullets came to rest in the heads of Abe and Norman. Harry survived the deal. Why the hate? Well, police said that the two dead men owned a cigar store together and that Abe was shot at previously. Harry had been recently arrested in raids on cigar stores. Having watched many many episodes of Matt Houston and Hart to Hart we here at the institute have come to the conclusion that something nefarious was going on at these Toledo cigar stores.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The bookie's number came up

At some point seventy-six eighty years ago today John Amenbola stumbled out the back door of a New York City tenement building and dropped dead with three bullets in his body. Though only twenty-three years old he was a hardened criminal with a record dating back to 1926.

Amenbola served a term in Sing Sing for robbery and was paroled in 1930. He went back in in March of 1934 for parole violation and was released a short time before his demise. The janitor of the building found him at 11:00pm and reported his grisly find to the police who subsequently found a plethora of policy tickets on and around Amenbola's body. It appears that his post Sing Sing employment was that of a bookie

Friday, October 3, 2014

Funeral home brew

Angelo Lapi was an ex-con, who served sentences for both felonious assault and gun possession. Now out of jail, forty-five year old Lapi took a job as night man at his brother in-laws lower Manhattan funeral parlor. Why did the funeral parlor need a night man? Because people were just dying to get in.

Could it be that this job was just something to show the parole board? Could be, because in addition to his duties at the parlor, Lapi made wine and home brew, which he in turn sold to a local speakeasy and he was also a money collector for the local policy racketeer.

The funeral home was connected to a tenement where Lapi lived with his wife, Maria, who also happened to be the janitress of the building. On the evening of the October 2, Maria was with her husband in the funeral parlor until midnight and then she went up to bed. The following morning as she started her daily chores she walked through the undertaking parlor and found her husband’s body on a couch in the back room. Lapi had been tied and gagged with a handkerchief then stabbed eleven times in the back.

Murdered in a funeral home, the only thing that would have made it better was waiting until Halloween night.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wake up call

On this date back in 1930, Sam Therina, said to be a member of the Cuckoo gang, pulled up in front of a St. Louis hospital, layed on the horn of his coupe then passed out. The reason for his passing out was multiple machine gun bullets in his pelvis. He was carried into the hospital and prepped for surgery.

During the operation police came in to question him. Guess they could do that back then. He told them that he, two other Cuckoos named Peter McTigue and James Dormandy along with William Boody, an "agent" with a plumbing union who happened to have a rap sheet matching the Cuckoo guys and some other guy were working a still near the town of Valmeyer, Ill.

According to Therina, he and McTigue were sleeping when machine gun fire began to rake the shack they were holed up in. Therina jumped up and was immediately wounded. He heard Boody gasp, "I'm dying." and saw that McTigue was already a goner. Dormandy and the other guy hightailed it into the woods.

The gunmen left and Therina managed to get to Boody's coupe and drive himself to the hospital. Detectives went out to the shack and, sure enough, there were McTigue and Boody just like Therina said.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pulpy goodness

"My time is coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow or next week, maybe not even until 1974 but my time is coming."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is the law? No spill blood.

In the summer of 1935 Joey Amberg, a semi-big racketeering feller in Brooklyn, decided that a hoodlum named Hy Kasner had to be killed, so together with two henchmen named Jack Elliot and Frankie Teitlebaum they set out to get Kasner. The latter was snatched, killed, stuffed in a sack and dropped into a sewer. Business as usual in Brownsville back in the 1930's.

Amberg was hoping that the sack would be washed out to sea and Hy's disappearance would be but a mystery, but unfortunately for Amberg it popped up near shore and what was left of Hy was fished out. Soon the names of Kasner’s killers traveled the underworld grapevine. Problematic for Amberg was that Kasner was an associate of both Albert Anastasia and Louis Capone the director and assistant director of Murder Inc and, to paraphrase Bumpy Johnson from the film Cotton Club, "If you have Murder Inc. on your ass, you truly have somebody on your ass."*

A Syndicate hearing was called. Anastasia and Capone argued that Amberg and his murdering cohorts should themselves be put on the spot for taking syndicate law into their own hands by killing Kasner without mob approval while Joe Adonis and Bugsy Siegel argued for Amberg’s clemency.

Adonis and Siegel were overruled and a contract was put out on Joey A. Chosen for the job was “Happy” Maione, Phil Mangano,(brother of Vincent Mangano the patriarch of the Mangano crime family) and another man known as “Red” Pulvino. The location chosen for the hit was the Brownsville garage, which was partially owned by “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss, where Joey Amberg parked his car.

On this day in 1935 Amberg’s sedan, chauffeured by Morris Kessler, pulled into the garage and as the men were stepping out, the killers, two dressed in khaki overalls and the third dressed in blue overalls, ran up with guns drawn and forced them to line up against the wall. As Amberg turned to face the wall he saw Maione’s face and began to say, “It’s - -” but before he could get anything else out he and Kessler were cut down by a blast from a shotgun. Once Amberg and Kessler were on the ground one of the killers ran up and shot each man in the head with a pistol. Justice, Murder Inc. style, had been served

*Johnson was actually referring to Owney Madden in the film. But you already knew that.
Joey Amberg

Monday, September 29, 2014

Iron man

In the early hours of this date back in 1932 Aaron "Iron" Barger's bullet riddled corpse was found in an automobile on Chicago's south side. We say riddled because he was shot nine times. He was also tortured before the riddling process.

Barger was known as suspect in the Evergreen mail robbery and it was his brothers garage that the bandits used as a hideout. He went to trial but was acquitted while robbers Frances Keating and Tommy Holden were convicted.

Police say Iron was riddled and tortured because he was muscling his way into the south side beer business which was currently the theater of battle for the Spike O'Donnell and Danny McGeoghegan gangs.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Trouble with the B & T crowd

On this date in 1930 two cops were walking their beat on Manhattan's Lower Eastside when they heard a series of shots. They ran to a six story tenement from whence the shots were fired and as they entered the gunsmoke filled hallway they found the well dressed corpse of 27-year old Brooklyn gangster Joseph Bivone. The killer(s), after depositing five bullets into Bivone, escaped out of the back of the building but a trail of blood led the police to believe that another person was wounded in the fracas. Bivone had a record consisting of three arrest and, probably because he was from Brooklyn, police believed he was the victim of a battle over gang territory. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What you want is in the limo, what you get is no tomorrow

At 6:00 am on this date in 1925, Murray Goff was driving a fare in his taxi when a large limousine rear ended him. Goff got out of his cab and out of the limousine jumped the driver and two other men cursing and waving pistols at Goff, yelling at him to get back. The men took off on foot while and Goff went to find a cop. Back at the scene the officer and the hack inspected the limo. On the floor of the passenger side was 37-year old David Bram with two bullets in his head. Bram had an extensive record for dealing drugs as well as bootlegging. In addition to New York he had been arrested in Detroit, Toledo, Chicago and Pittsburgh. He was also wanted in Kansas City where he escaped from custody the previous November 20, after appealing a five year sentence for a narcotics rap.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Addy gets subtracted

At fifty years of age Arthur Black, known as Addy to some of the folks in Providence, Rhode Island, had lived two lives in gangster years but when the underworld decides its time for you to go they don't really get sentimental about age, sagacity, years on the job; stuff like that.

So it was on this date back in 1932 when Addy, known to the Providence police as one of the bigger "lottery operators" of the city, was gunned down in his own home. (told you there was no sentimentality. You'd think they would have shot him down in the gutter as is every gangster's birth rite.)

No, there Addy sat at home with his bodyguard when two men rushed into the house with guns-a-blazin'. Addy took a pill to the heart and gave up the ghost. Mr. Bodyguard went to the hospital with holes in his arm and chest.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Last Supper

Let us round out the week in the Motor City where on this date back in 1930 one Marcello Castiglioni drew his final breath. Marcello was a DYI kind of guy. Why buy bootleg beer when you can make it yourself. Marcello spread the word and soon he was setting up breweries for others and instructing them on how to produce their own suds much of which, no doubt, went up for sale.

One can see how this would be problematic for fellows like the Purple gang or Mafia types who weren't keen on competition. Word got back to Marcello that he was earmarked for a slab. He moved into his cousin's house to hide out. It was during a family supper that Marcello's time ran out. Apparently he was expecting it because he had a pistol under his napkin when the family sat down to break bread.

During the meal two guys with sawed off shotguns barged into the house (probably didn't want to interrupt their dinner by knocking or ringing the bell). Marcello grabbed his pistol and charged the intruders, firing and missing. The two dinner crashers fired off a total of four rounds and didn't miss.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Little Jewish Navy loses three of its top torpedos

And so we find ourselves back in Detroit on this date in the year nineteen hundred and thirty one. What was on the docket for that day? Well the Purple gang had a rendezvous set up with the upper echelon of "the Little Jewish Navy" a gang of bootleggers who traversed the Detroit River and a few of the great lakes transporting spirits of an intoxicating nature in from Canada.

Turns out the Purples were not happy with the Navy fellows and meant to terminate their partnership in a most permanent way. Joe Lebowitz, Hymie Paul and Isadore Sutker,  the LJN leadership showed up at the Collingwood apartments with Sol Levine, a mutual friend of both gangs, who was in on the plan. So the quartet arrived to find a couple of Purples, Harry Keywell and Irving Milberg, waiting there and after a few minutes of light chit chat, the Purples drew guns and sunk the Little Jewish Navy.

As the gun men ran out of the building they dropped their pistols into an open can of green paint (why not purple, to obvious?) to obliterate any finger prints. They hopped into a waiting car driven by gang leader and architect of what would become known as the "Collingwood Massacre", Ray Berstein. And off they went.

After awhile Sol Levine got to thinking that the Purples might want to tuck him away for insurance so went to the cops. As a result of his squealing Bernstein, Keywell and Milberg went from selling booze to making license plates.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Had his fine wife, had his ol' fiddle, sun came up and his body got riddled.

William Paske should have stayed behind the plow on his Wisconsin spread but the thirty-year old struggling farmer decided that bootlegging was the short cut to big money. In late spring/ early summer of 1932 he got a job delivering hooch for a concern that involved underworld types from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.

Not long into his job he was hijacked and the load lost. Tough luck for a new timer. By the end of the summer William decided that maybe stealing booze paid more than delivering it (or maybe was he not really hijacked that time, hmmm). So on Sunday night, September 11, he along with a guy named Paul Zimmerman and another confederate stole 600 gallons of alcohol from a warehouse owned by the concern.

Members from the concern learned rather quickly that Paske was behind the theft. Early the next morning Paske received a phone call saying the "Big Shots" wanted to see him in Baraboo post haste. Paske drove over to Zimmerman's house to pick him up. Zimmerman told him he needed a few minutes to get dressed. While dressing, Zimmerman saw a car pull up an order Paske to leave right away for the meeting with the big shots.

Paske pulled out of the driveway and headed out followed by the other car. Zimmerman watched as he stopped at a nearby intersection where two other cars came from the opposite direction and stopped Paske. As Paske idled, the auto that was following him pulled up along side the other two cars. A guy got out and jumped on Paske's running board and fired four fatal shots into the ex farmer.

Zimmerman, who had just dressed, needed to change his pants. He and the other guy involved in the robbery were taken in as witnesses and had no problem singing. As a result of the duet concern big shots, Harry Feinberg, Horace Wrieglow and Richard Green were arrested. Green was exonerated in the spring of the following year. Last we hear of Harry and Horace they went to trial in spring of 1934. Nobody seemed to record the outcome. Voting at the DGIS Institute is 27-11 that they walked.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hey Batto, Batto, Batto swing.

On this date back in 1929 a group of kids were in the street playing baseball. They had a pretty clear field except for a green sedan that had been parked on the block all that day. Sure enough one of the lads got a hit and the ball bounced into an open window of the car. A boy ran over to retrieve the ball, and climbing on the running board, he opened the door and found himself looking into the eyes of a dead man. The lad let out scream and ran into a nearby tenement for help. The deadman was James Batto who had a record dating back over thirty years.

Batto, along with his partner Mortimer "Monkey" Shubert had been involved with some other gangsters, including Eugene Moran, earlier that summer. On the previous August 10, Batto, Shubert and a few others picked up Moran at his New Jersey bungalow for some job. A few hours later Moran's body was found inside a burning Packard.

Was the murder party worried about Batto so they took him out? Did friends of Moran exact revenge? Who knows. Batto's brother told police that his dead sibling had recently had a falling out with Monkey Shubert. Monkey was brought in but shrugged his shoulders and went on his way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pulpy goodness

"Hey pal, I've been dead for two thousand years and could really go for a smoke. Got a Camel on ya?"
"Sure but you should really smoke Old Gold."
"Not a sar-cough-agus in a car load."

No need to thank me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Anniversary

So this car pulls up outside a Chicago hospital back on this date in 1933 and slows down just enough to be polite. The back door swings open and Nicholas "the Little Man" Muscato comes tumbling out. The occupants of the car would have been better off dumping the Little Man at the county morgue however  because by this time all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Muscato back together again.

So the Little Man, said to have been the leader of Chicago's notorious 42 gang, is no more, but why? Well, interestingly enough the date, September 9, held some significance in the gang. It all started back in the summer of 1930....(Cue harp music and transition from Chicago hospital exterior to 42 gang club)

In June of '30 seventeen year old Frank Petito, possible 42 member or maybe just a neighborhood hijacker shows up one day in a brand spanking new sparkly roadster that cost him $3,500. Where'd he get the dough? Simple, he helped himself to a load of booze from some clown named Red Bolton. Easy as pie. Well, turns out Red was paying the 42 gang to protect his stuff. You can see what kind of bind this but Muscato in. There was only one thing to do. So Muscato, along with one of his minions, Peter "the Ape" Nicastro took Frank for a ride. Frank's bullet riddled body was found on June 30. 

Now over the course of the summer the Ape let's everyone know that he was the one that put all those bullets into Petito and not the Little Man who is supposed to be so tough. Gangsters aren't known for their healthy egos and this type of chatter did not sit will with Muscato. After all, if he is going to be a big shot he must keep his reputation intact. So what to do? The Little Man invites the Ape to go for a drive. The ride concludes with the Ape being tossed from the car with four bullets in his head.

A few minutes after the Ape hit the pavement some coppers come by and look him over. By gum the Ape breaths yet!!! The Ape is hurried to a hospital where he is given an "adrenalin" shot which brings him to and he uses his final minutes to tell the police how he came to end up in a road with four extra holes in his head. The Little Man is subsequently picked up and the cops perform the Ape's aria for him. Muscato's reply, "I'll let a lawyer do my talking." and he did, and so he walked.

The date of the Ape's demise? You guessed it September 9. Exactly three years before the Little Man was pitched from the back of a car with the extra weight added to his head. The Little Man's murder? T'was vengeance and nothing more cried the press.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Trouble with Tribbles

On this date back in 1933 James "Trouble" Tribble and Thomas Touhy barged into the headquarters of the Chicago Teamsters Union. (Do I really need to continue?) Inside the office was union head Fred Sass, who had been kidnapped only a few weeks ago and held for ransom.

Some back story: The aforementioned Thomas Touhy was the brother of infamous gang leader Roger Touhy who was currently on trial for another kidnapping. Word on the street was that Sass was kidnapped by the Touhy gang to raise much needed funds for the trial. Needing more funds they informed the union head that if he didn't cough up another pile of dough he would be snatched again.

Now, where were we, oh yeah, Tribble and Touhy are in the HQ and apparently not getting their way because bullets start flying, around forty of them actually. Ten percent of which end up in Tribble. Touhy helps his comrade back to a waiting car which then went to a doctors office. A cop showed up just as Touhy and the driver were setting Tribble down at the doctors door. The officer told them to halt, they did the exact opposite and made a run for it. The cop fired some shots at them, because back then you could do stuff like that when you were a cop. But the men beat a successful retreat.

Tribble? Oh, he didn't make it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The hole truth and nuttin but the truth

James Marlo had just completed a ten year stretch in Sing Sing in the summer of 1932 and didn't want to go back. Perhaps that's the reason he took the stand and testified against three less than kind gentleman for their bending of the law. After many meetings here at the DGIS Institute we have all concluded that Marlo was probably unhappy when the three men he testified against were acquitted.

No doubt Marlo was of the feeling that the past is the past and let bygones be bygones etc, etc..  But the trio of badmen he took the stand against felt differently. Sometimes words aren't adequate at expressing one's feelings, so, unable to tell Marlo how they felt, the trio showed him by luring him into a car and stabbing him over fifty times with icepicks. After more meetings here at the Institute we feel that Marlo received the message loud and clear.

Assuming he was dead, the gruesome threesome dumped Marlo on some rich guys lawn in Westbury, Long Island. Marlo however was still amongst the living, though with all the holes in his body every time he exhaled it probably sounded like somebody sitting on an accordion. Marlo was brought to the hospital where, unlike his assailants he was able to express himself with words, and was able to identify the trio as his killers before dying.

Friday, September 5, 2014

AA Meeting

Today marks the 81st anniversary of L.A. gangster Axel Anderson's demise. Known as Three-fingered Jack, presumably because he had a trio of digits on one hand, or perhaps he was a sloth, either way Axel was not a lucky little gangster in the city of light, but another lost angel, city at night, city at night. Why did he die? Was it a case of motel, money murder madness? It may be he was killed for hijacking a load of booze and/or that he was killed for offing another gangster. Either way we don't get to many L.A. DGISs here so lets just enjoy the moment.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another one bites the dust

Police felt that Michael Stenson- drilled 95-years ago today in the Chelsea section of Manhattan- was a member of the Marginal gang and killed as a result of the death of "Tanner" Smith. An eyewitness to the murder stated that Stenson and another man had been walking together when an argument suddenly broke out. During the argument Stenson’s companion drew a gun and shot him then ran away as Stenson doubled over.

Stenson regained his composure and drew his own gun and began to chase his assailant but dropped dead in the middle of the street between some streetcar tracks. To add intrigue to the killing, the rumor was floated that Stenson’s murder may have been premeditated and had the ok from powerful men because, although the police denied it, a witness said that there was a cop on the corner who watched the whole thing go down but did not interfere.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Temptations sing

It was the third of September.
That date I’ll always remember.
Cause that was the day that Moe Howard died.
It happened way back in 1930 and the facts are few
So Mama I’m depending on you to tell us the truth.

But Mama just hung her head and said,
“Moe Howard got tossed out of a car
Enough slugs in him to fill a baby food jar
They found some coca-a-aine,
perhaps that’s why he was sla-a-ain.”

Hey Mama some people say that Moe wasn’t big on thinking
Stole booze meant for somebody else’s selling and drinking.
And Mama, bad talk going around town
Saying that Moe got arrested and threatened with life so ratted on his friends
And that ain’t right.
Heard some talk about a payroll heist and Moe holding out on his gang and that they were the ones in the car when the pistols went bang.

Mama we’re depending on you to tell us the truth.

Mama looked up with a tear in her eye and said,
“Moe Howard got tossed from a car, my sons
Enough slugs in him to fill a baby food jar.
They found some coca-a-aine
Perhaps that’s why he was sla-a-ain.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The South Pole

On this date back in 1932 Walter “the Terrible Pole” Zwolinski was found on Chicago’s south side, trussed up in the back of a car with about six bullets in his noggin. Zwolinski had been a member of the Spike O’Donnell gang and a few months previous he decided that he should be running the show.

The Terrible Pole, along with two other defectors, approached Spike on the street one day and told him he was out.  But Spike saw things different.

After a handful of attempts on his life however, Spike decided a California vacation might be nice. Meanwhile Zwolinski, now allied with the McGeogehan - Quinlan gang managed to carve out a large piece of the back of the yards locale for his beer business. Yes, the Terrible Pole was doing alright, that is until he was found trussed up in the back seat of a car with six bullets in his noggin.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pulpy goodness

"Quick, you get the jewels and I'll give him a hot foot. The practical joke gang strikes again!"

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Milo's demise

In Detroit, the final day of August 1928 saw the final day of thirty-one year old Pete Milo. Pete didn't spend his entire career in Detroit, he was known to police out west as well as the Motor City. T'was out west where Pete and a pal named Zero Pachi were convicted of murder in Utah in 1914 and sentenced to life. Both were paroled, the former, in the fall of 1926 and headed for Detroit.

On June 16, 1927 Pete and Zero were riding in a cab when they started fighting. Pete drew his gun and perforated Zero. He pushed his friend's body out of the car and forced the driver to take him from the scene. He was arrested however but the jury let him off the hook. Since Michigan was too hot for him Pete went back west where he was arrested for burglary in Salt Lake City. Once again the jury let him go and he returned to Detroit.

The boys in blue weren't aware of Pete's return until he was gunned down a mere three blocks from police headquarters. It was was about 3:30a.m. and as Pete was walking along a car pulled up and some guns went off. Underworld juries seldom acquit.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

He should have saw it coming

A bonus story about a DGIT (Dead Guy in Turban). On this date back in 1930 Chicagoans were walking about minding their own beeswax when *SPLAT* a man's body hit the sidewalk after having been tossed out of a second story window. Ok, maybe not quite a *SPLAT* from that height, maybe more of a *THUDD*. But anyways to add to the intrigue the corpse had been stabbed three times in the chest. Even more exciting is that the dead guy was Chris Vlanos, fortune teller. Who killed him and why? Also why throw him through a window? Only Chris and his killer know. Police found a crystal ball in the dead man's room but the spirits were of no help.


Today marks the seventy-ninth anniversary of the passing of Frank Dolak and Benny Holinksy. Who were they you ask? Well they were part of a gang of Bronx kidnappers who thought they would make a quick bundle by kidnapping a bookie named Bart Salvo and ransoming him back to his outfit. Unfortunately for they gang they either didn’t know or didn't care that Salvo was a connected mob guy.

To make a long story short, Salvo was snatched and ransomed then it was retribution time. Flush with cash the gang was planning their next move. Dolak and Holinsky picked up a third member of the gang named Miller and they went for a ride. Holinsky at the wheel, Miller riding shotgun and Dolak in the rear.

After a bit Holinksy announced that they were being tailed by whom he suspected were cops. Unfortunately for them it was a carload of gun toting gangsters sent to kill them. Holinksy pulled over to see if the cops were indeed following them.

Seizing the opportunity the gangster car pulled up alongside and three men, armed with pistols, jumped out. Miller saw what was happening right away and jumped out his door and rolled on the sidewalk, got up and took off as one of the gunmen fired some shots in his direction. Trapped in the car, Holinsky and Dolak had to take it as the two remaining gunmen pumped bullet after bullet into their bodies. Their guns empty, the gunmen took off. Holinsky and Dolan stayed there and waited for an ambulance. They lingered in the hospital a few hours before expiring.

The full story behind the kidnapping and other depredations of Holinksy and Dolak’s gang can be found in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The long nap

William Cusick make that Mickey Duffy was considered by some to be the Al Capone of Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Though he grew up as Bill Cusick of Polish descent, he changed his named to Mickey Duffy because, well, because a lot of non-Irish gangsters did that in the early days. Guess when the Irish cops were handing out beatings they went a little easier on you if they thought you were green. Guess maybe it helped with the corrupt Irish politicians as well. Anyways we're getting off topic. Topic is that on this date in 1931 the Philadelphia beer baron was shot to death in his suite in the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Earlier in the day three men arrived and the foursome, whom witnesses say were in jovial mood, went out for a stroll along the boardwalk. Later they went into Mickey's suite for lunch and at some point in the early afternoon Mickey laid down to take a nap. As he slept his pal(s) shot him to death.

It was assumed that Mickey was done in by his own gang whom were unhappy with his management. Apparently he had to close down a brewery and was also under Federal indictment for shaking down trucking lines that traversed the south Jersey roadways.  Though he had been wounded in a 1927 shooting in Philadelphia, in which his bodyguard had been killed, he felt safe in Atlantic City and didn't have any security.

Oh, for some reason everyone seems to think he was killed on the 30th or 31st, but as Mickey Duffy himself used to say, "You can't believe everything you read on the internet."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hooray for Hollywood

unless you're gangsters new to the neighborhood
then three pistols go ka-plooey
killing two mugs from St. Louie
who were there to sell their drugs
R. Whiting, J. Mercer, P. Downey

Yes, it was eighty-one years ago today that St. Louis gangsters Harry Mackley and Frank Keller stopped into a Hollywood eatery for their final supper. Whilst the duo broke bread three guys entered and approached their table. Each man drew a gun and emptied it into Mackley and or Keller. The trio of killers then walked out to a waiting auto and made a successful getaway.

Though both men were originally from St. Louis Harry was known to the police of New York and New Jersey as the result of some nefarious activities. It wasn't Harry's first time in Tinsel Town either, he had been arrested as a suspect in a murder back in 1929.

Both men flew in from St. Louis the week before and checked into one of the city's premier hotels. They also got in touch with a woman who had moved there from Kansas City about three years earlier. It was her car that the men used to drive to the restaurant. Cops traced it back to her and through her they learned that Mackley and Keller also had an apartment in town. They checked it out and found $1000 worth of drugs. That's nearly eighteen grand in today's dollars. So perhaps local drug dealers wanted them out of the way or maybe, as the police believed, the murder was retribution from the 1929 killing. Either way, that's wrap!

 Crimes, like customers who get killed before the check comes, don't pay.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jack wasn't nimble nor quick

Around 1:00am eighty-five years ago today a Detroit patrolman was making the rounds when he came across a blood spattered car in the alley behind Euclid Avenue. Hanging out of the auto across the running aboard was racketeer and "police character" Jack Isenberg. And yes it was Jack's blood which had spattered the car. The result of somebody placing a gun inches from his temple and pulling the trigger twice. Why would somebody want to kill Jack? The cops had a couple of reason, maybe it was revenge for the killing of another guy or maybe it was a couple of his own boys who took him out because as it turns out Jack was going to go on trial for a robbery and, well, just maybe his accomplices were afraid of what he was going to say.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

LONdon After Midnight

We here at the DGIS studio would like to remember another DGIC (dead guy in cape) that left us in August. On this date in 1930 Lon Chaney Sr. the man of a thousand faces, like the man of a thousand voices, kept perfectly still. Old timers will tell you that it was his make-up that killed him. His autopsy report however will say it was throat cancer.

Chaney was a big proponent of prison reform, feeling that the institutions of his day did not rehabilitate criminals they only made them mean, bitter, angry and prone to be repeat offenders.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Devil Went Down to Saratoga Springs

"I'll bet this semi-precious stone, against your soul that I'm better at Yahtzee than you."
"I say old man, I'll take that bet and you're gonna regret cuz I'm the best thats ever been"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The not-so-St.Valentine's Day massacre

On this date in 1931 New York had their very own version of the St. Valentines Day Massacre when three men were kidnapped from a dance club, driven to a remote area, lined up against a wall and mowed down with machine guns. Wow! A mini-massacre. How come we never heard of that before. Well, cause it didn’t really happen that way, but the editors of the daily rags thought it sounded good and, really when you think about it, why bother with facts. However, when only one of the victims died it was learned that .38’s were used and not machine guns so the public was un-impressed and the story was quickly forgotten.

How the non-massacre really went down - Anthony Ferrara stepped out of a Brooklyn Dance along with his friends Angelo Ciurrani and Murray Leonardi. He was immediately jumped by two men and dragged to a sedan and tossed into the rear tonneau where gang leader Barney Wolfson and two others waited.

Wolfson informed his two henchman, let's call them Stan & Ollie, that they grabbed the wrong guy, it was Ciurrani that he wanted not Ferrara. You see, Wolfson lead a gang of desperadoes that did some robbin’ and supposedly some killin’ and Ciurrani was a former member of the Wolfson mob who had “failed to connect” on a couple of jobs and to make matters worse was now bad mouthing Wolfson. So, with pistols drawn the two men went back and got Ciurrani and Leonardi (who for some reason stayed put???) and forced them into the car at gun point. They didn't even want Leonardi either but since he and Ferrara were there and dead men tell no yarns…

The three amigos were taken to a lumberyard in a secluded part of Brooklyn and lined up against the wall. Unfortunately for Ferrara, Wolfson an ex-marine with much gun experience, stood behind him while Ciurrani and Leonardi had average gun-toting schmoes (we'll assume Stan & Ollie; you'll see why) behind them. The signal was given and the triggers pulled. Ferrara dropped with a bullet in the head while Ciurrani and Leonardi’s would be executioners missed completely (see) and the duo made a run for it. However, Wolfson, (the guy who could shoot) managed to bring both down with two shots a piece before they got far.

The killers drove away while Ciurrani and Leonardi, both still alive, began to crawl to safety. Luckily for the wounded men the night watchman from the slaughterhouse across the street heard the shooting and called the authorities who arrived in minutes. Although unconscious when the ambulance arrived, Ciurrani came to in the hospital and told the police what happened.

Epilogue: Five days later police got a tip that a group of gangsters were holing up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.  With upwards of thirty officers armed with shotguns, riot guns and tear gas the authorities surrounded the building. Three detectives made their way to the second story apartment and, hearing voices inside, knocked on the door. No one responded to the knock so the detectives proceeded to blow the lock off the door with a shotgun.

Inside they found seven members of the gang, one, Harry Liebowitz, on the floor screaming over a superficial wound. The others, including Wolfson, were all found hidden around the apartment and gave up without a fight. In addition to a number of robberies and two murders, the police tried to blame the lumber yard shooting on them and after nineteen hours of "questioning" the gang admitted to the shooting.

Twenty-four year old Ferrara, although killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, was a member of the underworld. He had a record dating back to 1922 when he was arrested as a juvenile delinquent. He was arrested again on November 27, 1929 for assault and robbery but discharged only to be arrested a month later with Leonardi for robbery for which both young men were sent to Elmira.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Did the Butler do it?

Shortly before 4:00am on this day back in 1930 Detroit police received a call about a shootout taking place on Brooklyn Avenue and Grand River Ave.. By time they got there the shooting was over and lying in the street was bootlegger and possessor of a criminal record William Butler. Nearby was a bullet riddled coupe containing "fifteen sacks of whiskey and two five gallon tins of alcohol". It seems that men in a truck forced the coupe to the curb and attempted to help themselves to  the cache of hooch but the occupants of the coupe weren't in a sharing mood, hence the fireworks. Which side was Butler on? Good question. If anyone has a Ouija board let us know. What is known is that in the end the coppers ended up with the goods.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Big trouble in Little Italy

 Joseph Cigna and Anthony Justiano were standing on a corner in New York City's Little Italy on this date back in 1931. Eight other guys were chatting it up with the duo when four other guys walked up and pulled out some pistols.

Cigna and Justiano apparently knew they were the targets because the both of them immediately fled. The gunmen followed letting loose with a barrage of gunfire. One of the duo almost made it into a tenement but dropped dead at the door while the other pitched forward on the sidewalk. Autopsies proved the gunmen to be competent marksmen. Cigna was hit by eight bullets and Justiano ten.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Truth is stranger than fiction

August sixteenth marks the passing of two of the Twentieth Century's most iconic DGIC (Dead Guys in Capes ) and we here at the DGIS Institute would like to take a moment to remember these two great performers.  As most people know Elvis died on this date thirty-seven years ago but what most people don’t realize is that twenty one years before that the world lost its original caped icon; Bela Lugosi. That’s right Dracula himself passed on August 16, 1956.

The similarities between the two stars doesn’t end there either. You thought that the Lincoln–Kennedy coincidences were eerie just examine these facts:

1- Bela Lugosi was the king of horror until he was usurped by a Brit. One William Henry Pratt, better known as Boris Karloff who starred in Frankenstein. Elvis was the king of rock until usurped by four Brits*, those lads from Liverpool , The Beatles.
2- Bela died in 1956. Elvis’s career was born in 1956.
3- Bela was born in Hungary and in his last years Elvis was always hungry
4- They both wore capes.
5- Bela played a carny in Murders in the Rue Morgue, Elvis played a carny in Roustabout.
6- Both have two vowels in their first name
7- Both had sex with Marilyn Monroe in the White house
8- Bela drove a Presley and Elvis drove a Lugosi
9- Bela shot heroin. Elvis shot tvs
10- Bela made “the Black Cat”. Elvis was a Black Belt

You can’t make this Dead Guys in Suits copyrighted material up folks. Just try to sleep tonight knowing what you now know.

* BTW, shave and a hair cut? That's two Brits.