Monday, December 20, 2010

Jewish Organized crime- Why were so good at it

What is it about Jews that made them some of the most successful mobsters in America? How were they able to organize such a large string of organized crime?

First, I’ll give some background about who some of the famous Jewish mobsters were and what they were instrumental in doing.

One of the most famous Jewish mobsters was Arnold Rothstein, known as the ‘Moses of Jewish Gangsters’. It’s said about him by Leo Katcher, a crime writer, that Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top." Rothstein "understood the truths of early 20th century capitalism (hypocrisy, exclusion, greed) and came to dominate them"

A large wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the late-19th century and early 20th century produced Jewish mobsters such as Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach, "Big" Jack Zelig, and Vach "Cyclone Louie" Lewis who competed with and were acknowledged by Italian and Irish gangs. A Jewish underworld already existed in New York at the start of the 20th century, with Jewish mobsters using Yiddish as their language. A pimp was known as a "simcha," a detective as a "shamus" and a loafer as a "trombenik."Jewish-American organized crime arose among slum kids who in pre-puberty stole from pushcarts, who as adolescents extorted money from store owners, who as young adults practiced schlamming (wielding an iron pipe wrapped in newspaper against striking workers or against scabs) – until as adults they joined well organized gangs involved in a wide variety of criminal enterprises boosted by Prohibition.

During Prohibition, Jewish gangsters became major operatives in the American underworld and played prominent roles in the distribution of illegal alcohol and the spread of organized crime throughout the United States.

I think that the Jews had a lot of characteristics that played to their advantage in being able to successfully run the mob scene. Jews are often seen as the underdog in society, as the quiet, meek, and harmless citizen. By using this stereotype, Jews were able to orchestrate crime and then pass the blame on to other crime groups such as the Italians.

Additionally, the Jewish community is a tight-knit one. Everyone knows everyone, this is very helpful in the world of gangs. All the matters of the mobsters were able to stay ‘in the family’. Also, no Jew wants to disgrace the name of a fellow Jew. So even if someone disapproved of the actions of the Jewish mob, they would keep quiet. This mentality helped to keep the image of the Jews in American society clean. The Jews were trusted, they were successful business men, and they were the last ones anyone would think to be organizing crime.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Charlie "Yardbird" Parker

Charlie “Yardbird” Parker was one of the most influential jazz saxophonists of the 1940s, and one of the most famous sons of Kansas City. He played genius solos, and was one of the most brilliant jazz musicians in the history of the genre. He was born on August 29, 1920. When he was a child, his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Parker first came in contact with jazz while in school there, and played the baritone in his school’s band. When he was 15, he learned how to play the alto sax.
Until 1935, he played with local bands in the Kansas City jazz scene. Then, he left school to pursue music full-time with several local jazz bands. In 1938, Charlie Parker became a member of Jay McShann’s band, and toured with them between Chicago and New York City. After that, Parker became a regular performer at a club in Chicago, but then left for New York City in 1939.
When Parker went to New York City for a visit that year, he wound up staying there for a year working as a professional musician. These years were highly influential on Parker’s musical style, because he was able to develop his repertoire by playing in many improvisational jazz sessions. While working as a dish-washer at a local restaurant, he met guitarist Biddy Fleet; he taught Parker about instrumental harmony, helping him perfect the technique. When he came back to Kansas City, he joined Harlan Leonard’s Rockets, and played with them for 5 months.
Later that year, Parker rejoined McShann’s band, and played with the reed section. In 1940, Parker recorded his first single with them, as well as performed solo with the band in many songs like “Hootie Blues”, “Sepial Bounce”, and “Confessing the Blues”. With the group, he also performed in many jazz sessions at clubs in Harlem. In late 1942, he split from McShann’s band to play with Earl Hines for a few months.
In 1945, Charlie Parker led his own musical group and took them on a 6-week nightclub tour of Hollywood. They performed in Los Angeles until 1946, when Parker had to be hospitalized after suffering a nervous breakdown. When he got out of the hospital, Parker returned to New York City, where he started a quintet. From 1947 to 1951, they played together in a variety of nightclubs and bars, as well as traveled to Europe to play before throngs of fans.
On March 5, 1955, Parker played his last public performance at Birdland in New York City. A week after playing in the bar named in his honor, he passed away at the age of 35.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Following World War I and the Red Scare, Americans wanted “a return to normalcy” and a chance to heal, but more than anything they wanted an escape from the important and significant news of the time. They found this escape in many things including fads, sports and the radio; however one thing that Only Yesterday did not mention was how many Americans found their escape in the movies.

It was during the 1920’s that the movie industry truly flourished. After WWI and into the early 20’s, America was the leading producer of films in the world. To show how Hollywood was becoming the film capital of the world, the Hollywood sign (originally spelled HOLLYWOODLAND) was built above the town in 1923. By the mid 20’s the movie industry had become a booming business and towards the end of the decade there were twenty Hollywood studios with the demand for films greater than ever. The greatest output of films occurred during the 1920’s and 1930’s releasing an average of 800 films in a year while today if studios release 500 films a year than it is regarded as extremely successful.

In order to accommodate the rapidly growing interest in the movies, the major film studios built what they called “picture palaces”. These movie houses were designed for orchestras to play music to go along with the projected films. They were most likely called “palaces” because most of these theatres had over 2,000 seats (The largest one in the U.S and the world had over 6,000 seats). By 1920, there were more than 20,000 movie houses in the US. A famous theater opened during this time, one that started the tradition of having Hollywood stars leave their prints in cement in from of the theater, called the Chinese Theatre, which is still a popular tourist attraction. Legend has it that while the Chinese Theatre was under construction; a silent actress accidentally stepped in cement, which inspired Grauman (builder of the Chinese Theatre among others) to immortalize himself by adding his footprint. He then invited other leading actors and actresses to do the same. This tradition is still in practice today.

One of these famous actresses who left her imprint at the Chinese Theater was Mary Pickford. Pickford was the first star to become a millionaire and live, with her then husband Douglas Fairbanks, in Beverly Hills. Pickford was presented with a wedding gift, a twenty-two room mansion in the agricultural area of Beverly Hills, which was eventually dubbed “Pickfair” a play on Pickford and Fairbanks’ names. This renovation and mansion marked the start of the movement of stars to lavish homes in the suburbs of West Hollywood and the beginning of Hollywood royalty. It was also during this time that the Academy Awards was founded, the invention of color movies and “Talkies,” (talking motion picture), and genre films (such as western, sci-fi, and horror). What struck me as interesting was that the highest grossing movie during this decade was a dramatic war movie named “The Big Parade.”

“The Big Parade” is a movie based on a book written by Laurence Stallings. The film and book are about his experience as a soldier in WWI. In the film, the idle son of a rich businessman joins the army when the U.S. enters WWI. He is then sent to France where he becomes friends with two working class soldiers in addition to falling in love with a Frenchwoman and then leaving her for the frontline. Here’s a clip of the movie for those who are interested:

The 1920’s were a time when people wanted to escape from the pain and anguish that WWI left them with. This need for escape was what helped make movies a huge enterprise and made so Hollywood popular. So why is it that the highest grossing and most popular film during this decade a serious war movie? Another interesting fact about movies being released during this time is that some of the biggest successes released were similar to the wide screen epics of the 50’s (some of which where in the 10 highest grossing films of the decade) such as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Ten Commandments, The King of Kings, and Ben-Hur. Comments? Suggestions?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Lost Art of Silent Film

Modern-day moviegoers may think that watching a silent film would just be watching a movie with the mute button on, but the production and performance of silent film is somewhat of an art form. The first silent film was made in the late 19th century, but the silent film era truly reached its peak in the 20s and although the first “talkies” were released in 1927, production of silent films continued on into the 30s.

Silent films have a bad reputation as being purely slapstick comedies that can only be viewed on fast-forward. This is because silent films are rarely shown at their original speeds, which could vary even within one movie because many films were hand-cranked. And while we might be spoiled as a generation of 3-D, high definition, blue-ray, where the only other advancement possible is movie holograms dancing around our living rooms, silent films had very high visual quality (especially those produced in the 20s). And yet they gained the reputation of being virtually unwatchable for modern viewers. Aside from being played back at the wrong speeds, they also may have gained this reputation because the copies that are viewed today were made from damaged film stock. Many silent film lovers in the industry are trying to restore these classic films and transfer them to DVDs, but this process is not easy and some films are so damaged they are considered “lost.”

Special techniques were needed to act in silent films, such as emphasized body and facial expressions. Some actors coming from the stage tended to overemphasize their expressions even when they were not acting in comedies, but in romances. But actresses such as Greta Garbo perfected the art of naturalism and she therefore was able to continue her long career into the sound era.

For important lines that were essential to the movie’s plot, there were intertitles or title cards that displayed a line the character would say, had they been able to. Film-tinting was another technique used in the silent era. We view all pre-color movies as black and white, but colors were used to indicate time of day or moods. Blue for night, yellow for day, red for fire or anger, and green meant mystery.

And of course, what’s a movie without music? At this time, silent movie theaters had live music ranging from a piano, to an organ that could simulate horses galloping and thunder rolling, to entire orchestras! Even after all we’ve learned about what Fitzgerald dubbed the “Jazz Age,” during this time movies (not jazz clubs) were the single largest employment for musicians in America. And they were hit the hardest by the Great Depression because “talkies” were introduced around the same time, thus depriving them of their main income. And tragically many of these original scores are also damaged and lost.

Since many silent films are damaged and their scores are misplaced, reliving the silent film experience is difficult. But we can try. Just picture a huge auditorium like the one in the picture. A silent film of your choice is on the big screen and a lone yet powerful organ is being played in the corner of the stage.

Now try watching this clip of “City Lights,” a romantic comedy starring, written, and directed by Charlie Chaplin.

If sci-fi is more your taste, watch this clip from “Metropolis,” a 1927 thriller about capitalism:

But of course, if we’ve learned anything from Hannah’s post and comments, this is no replacement for the live experience, even the live experience of a silent movie. So while MOMA does have screenings of silent films periodically, this cannot be called the true silent film experience. And the true silent film experience may no longer exist.

For me what makes silent films so inherently “20s” is the emotions in these films are insinuated but not flat out said (because they can’t be). Yes, there were title cards that said some key lines, but when one girl with a bob looked into the eyes of that fellow with the bowler hat, no title card need say “I love you” because it was all in her eyes.

So too, what struck me most about the 20s wasn’t a mass youth culture experiencing sexual freedoms for the first time. It wasn’t so much about what they did (even though I’m sure there was a lot of doing) but what they hinted at, flirted with, or what a casual wink or glance suggested. They weren’t just free to act, but free to not act, and yet act like they could act… I hope I’m not getting too convoluted here. All of these freedoms, the ability to insinuate without needing to act upon it, seemed to me so essentially “20s.” So too in silent films, it was all about the glances, the gazes, the smiles and therefore the silences of these films said so much more than words ever could.

What do you think? Do you think the medium of silent films with its title cards, dyed film, and subtle insinuations really captured the Roaring 20s (even though they couldn’t roar)? Do you think we’ve lost an art form with the introduction of sound to movies or have we only gained? Do you think modern actors are capable of acting movies out completely visually? Are there any examples of movies you’ve seen that have lines that “hit the nail on the head” or say too much when they should be showing it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boardwalk Empire: When Alcohol was Outlawed, Outlaws became Kings.

Many shows on television today glamorize the subject matter in which they focus. AMC’s Mad Men glamorizes the smoking and sexism of the 60’s. ABC’s Desperate Housewives casts a shiny coating over the lives of, well, desperate housewives in the suburbs. HBO’s newest series focuses its lens on the era we’ve learned so much about this semester, the roaring twenties. Boardwalk Empire is set in Atlantic City literally on the eve of Prohibition. The tag line for the show reads, “Atlantic City, 1920. When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings.” In October I watched the first three episodes but had to stop. The show was very difficult to watch, albeit interesting. But the violence and harshness of the time was hard to bare. I wondered, would I enjoy this show more after our class? So I stopped watching and let our discussions, books, sources, and blog posts, sink in. With all that new information and mind set I watched the Pilot again, noting every sentence of significance, the music in the background, and any detail that now stood out to me and reminded me of a lesson we’ve learned. I was now “in” on all the facts, names, and history of the time. I took 3 pages of notes, 1,502 words. But does a person have to know about the 20’s in order to truly appreciate the show? Or should one simply tune in to learn and see so many of the things that shaped the era and the very class we’ve shared together?
Unlike most television shows, Boardwalk Empire, is almost entirely historically based. Like Mad Men it must point out the historical going ons of their respected eras, for Mad Men its the death of JFK, the civil rights movement while for BWE (Boardwalk Empire, if you don’t mind) issues such as Prohibition, women gaining the right to vote, and the political leadership of America. The main character is the treasurer of Atlantic City, Enoch Lewish “Nucky” Johnson. Wikipedia, always on stand by while watching the show, proved that the character is very much based on the real life Nucky. Nucky, both in the show and in his real life, is heavily involved in bootlegging, gambling and prostitution, all of which are well depicted in the show. A political figure on the outside showing his support for Prohibition, behind closed doors he reaps the profits of this new law and knows how greatly it is bound to fail. As we had learned in class and Only Yesterday, those against Prohibition were either too drunk to fight it or saw the benefit they may acquire and Nucky exemplifies that. On the eve that Prohibition is to be instated, the mayor of Atlantic City, members of city counsel, and leaders of the law enforcement, join Nucky to a great feast as they toast “to the beautiful ignorant bastards” that may declare the country dry but Jersey will stay wet. He convinces his group of leaders that it will be like the Volstead act never existed, except that the prices will go up. They know, as we learned, America would only realize this all too late. Men will pay anything to get a good drink, especially because the government has made it illegal, which makes it even more tempting (as Tami’s blog post showed us).
The episode goes on to introduce some famous faces we’ve learned about; John “Papa Johnny” Torrio, also known as the “The Fox” was the Italian-American mobster who was part of the Chicago mobster scene, Arnold Rothstein, a Jewish mobster from New York City worth approximately 10 million dollars, and Lucky Luciano, an Italian mobster worth around half a million acquired through drugs, heroine and gambling. While all the men meet to discuss a shipment of Canadian Club whiskey set to arrive the next night, their drivers talk outside. Torrio’s driver says to Nucky’s driver that he believes there is more money than Colosimo realizes in the liquor business because he thinks the law will be too strict on it but he dismisses his own thoughts, “who gives a *%#@ what I think?” Nucky’s guy introduces himself:
“Nice talking to you, Jimmy Dormundy.”
“Al Capone.”
In such a small, underrated, moment, we are introduced to two very real men, one of which we now know will be one of, if not the, biggest mobster in American history.
The episode goes on to show how a mob would acquire their liquor. One way we learned about was how normal everyday people were starting to learn how to make their own beers and whiskeys. In BWE a man running a funeral home starts a liquor factory in the basement. A fake wall opens up to reveal how they make their alcohol: 1 part real, 8 parts water, heat it up, let it cool, then add the alcohol, which is fermented from potatoes, carmel coloring depending on what you want to make whether it’s scotch, whiskey or beer, making up to 2,000 crates a week. The other way we learned about, which BWE mainly focuses on is an import of Canadian Club that is coming in by sea. Nucky agrees to buy all 500 crates for $35,000 every week. Then Nucky sells it to Rothstein for $60,000. But Rothstein gambles at one of Nucky’s casinos racking up a winning of $93,000, lowering his payment to $33,000. The load comes in under the vale of darkness, then moved onto a tugboat, then driven into New Jersey by Rothstein’s own men. The prevalent violence we’ve discussed through only words is shown unapologetically. A group of men wearing ski masks each holding arms set up a false barricade and hijack the shipment. Out of fear the seemingly everyday men start shooting out of fear, after killing all of Rothstein’s men it is revealed that it is Jimmy and Al Capone stealing the shipment from everyone. Meanwhile, Jimmy has sent the FBI and law enforcement to raid the alcohol factory. Back in Chicago Torrio is inside his restaurant listening to music and someone comes in, shoots him, and we can assume it is one of Capone’s men. Before going off to Chicago Jimmy gives Nucky a share of their profits from the hijacking and tells Nucky, “You can’t be half a gangster, not anymore.”
BWE shows how much America was simply distracted and turned a blind eye to all the violence going on. A man is on a stage telling “my girl is so dumb” jokes, rather than our modern version “your momma’s so fat,” in front of a roaring crowd. While the crowd of thousands laugh and the jokes go on, the camera shows us the hijacking of the alcohol, demonstrating what we’ve learned in our class. More serious matters were going on in American politics and the growth of gangs and violence, yet the general public only wanted to be distracted, to believe that their homes are dry and their husbands are sober, rather than look at what is really going on. The episode ends on a song that brought a smile to me, it’s called “I Never Knew I Had A Wonderful Wife (Until The Town Went Dry)”. The lyrics are by Lew Brown, music by Al Von Tilzer, which was released in 1919. Here is the chorus, but I suggest everyone to read the full lyrics from this link:
“I never knew I had a wonderful wife until the town went dry.
The way I spent my money on women was a crime,
I found that with my wife, I could have had a better time,
I'd sent her to the country and I'd always yell hooray.
But I saw her picture in a bathing suit the other day.
I never knew I had a wonderful wife
Until the town went dry.”
I suggest everyone in our class to watch at least the first episode, but even if you chose not to, based on what I’ve told you, do you think HBO doesn’t glamorize the issue of gangs and Prohibition on purpose? Do you think people can watch BWE to not only get a glimpse into the Roaring 20’s but to get a visual history lesson?

Advertising in the 1920's

Being an English communications major with a concentration in advertising, I was always intrigued by trends in the advertising world. I also found myself struggling with many ethical questions attached to a career in advertising. Upon hearing my area of study, many will respond, “You know all advertising is immoral. I hope you’re ready to lie for a career, because that’s pretty much what you’re going to be doing.” Lets just say these encounters are usually a little awkward, ending with me smiling politely (or at least trying to) while quickly scanning the premises for the nearest exit.

Being constantly questioned about my career choice, I began to wonder, how did American culture become a place where consumerism is rampant and advertising is a five hundred billion dollar industry?

Although the concept of advertising has pretty much always existed in some form or another, during the course of this class, I learned that modern advertising found its roots in the early 19th and 20th centuries, developing with the rise of mass production. The “wild, tumultuous era”, as it is described in Only Yesterday, of the roaring twenties necessitated a new kind of advertising that reflected an era permeated with the values of pleasure seeking, frivolity and obsession with youth.

In the 1920’s, society tended to “baby” adults. The use of cartoons to communicate, the “faddishness” of the popular songs of the era, society’s obsession with youth, women’s girlish desire to have flat chests and men’s boyish desire to be obsessive about sports, all contributed to the infantilization of American consumerism, a recurring theme in 1920’s advertisements.

In order for any advertisement to be successful, it must reflect the values of the time. An example of one such product whose 1920’s advertising campaign reflected a shift in societal values, is Coca-Cola. Coca Cola’s ability to identify important changes in the wants and needs of society has made it one of the largest and most visible companies in the world. When first introduced in the 1880’s, the product was marketed as having medicinal qualities, beneficial to a person’s general health and well-being. In the 1880’s, this kind of advertisement sold. In the 1920’s, not so much.

In a time of excess, people wanted excess. The American people weren’t interested in a drink that kept them healthy; they were interested in a drink they could enjoy. Seeking to please the consumers, Coca-Cola changed its technique in the 20’s, marketing the drink as a “refreshment” (as it is still known to be today) and a “fun food.”

The advertisements and mass consumer culture of the 1920’s reflected a shift in values, such as a strong emphasis on personal pleasure, leisure activities and entertainment, that remain central themes in American society even today.

How do today’s advertisements differ from those of the 1920’s? What do you think the trends in advertising are today? What modern societal values are reflected in the advertising of today? Do advertisements create the values of a generation or do societal values influence the advertisements? If you ask me, maybe it's a little bit of both.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kansas City Jazz

[NOTE: I am posting this for Hannah, as she is having trouble using the site.]

Jazz in Kansas City started in the 1920s when musicians would assemble in a small union hall on the corner of 18th and Vine in downtown Kansas City for improvisational jazz sessions. Everybody jammed in the hall, regardless of if they were black or white. Their only goal was to experience the riff-and-rhythm-based, rollicking improvisational style characteristic of Kansas City jazz. These jam sessions sometimes went all night long, fueled by the free-flowing booze stemming from the city’s speakeasies. Enabled by the rampant political corruption in the city administration of city manager Tom Pendergast, saloons became gathering places for musicians and their fans.
            Other clubs soon evolved in Kansas City, such as Paseo Hall, the Cherry Blossom, Luciille’s Paradise, The Subway Club, The Ol’ Kentuck’ Bar B-Q, and Fox’s. Famous jazz anthems like “Kansas City”, “Vine Street Drag”, and “Vine Street Boogie” immortalize the exuberant atmosphere of this area, and enshrine it in popular culture as a place where anyone can access the rich soul of jazz.
            In 1917, the musicians formed a union, called the Local 627. It grew to 300 members by 1928, and sponsored an annual battle of the bands that was widely popular in the community. However, segregation proved to be a powerful factor in the area’s evolution as a historically black area. The community was bordered by 12th Street in the north, 27th Street in the south, Charlotte Street in the east, and Benton Street in the west. Within these lines was an entire world of theaters, shops, diners, churches, and clubs that served as the black community’s antidote to the “whites-only” policies that banned them from fully integrating with the rest of the world.
            However, urban renewal efforts in the late 1950s cleared the buildings out of the district in an effort to eradicate unused buildings from the inner city, and desegregation in later years led to many African-Americans departing the city for the suburbs, and left the once-hopping Jazz District to crumble from neglect. Today, only a fraction of its buildings are left standing to preserve the memory of the clubs and bars that served as an incubator for some of the best jazz America has ever known.
            In our class, “Literature and Culture of the Roaring Twenties”, we learn about the Roaring Twenties through 21st-century mediums like streaming video on YouTube, and digital audio files that have been converted from analog records. Though these advances help make the culture of the past accessible to the audience of the present, they also signal a revolution in the way music and culture is disseminated in America.
The popularization of the radio in the 1920s gave music fans the opportunity to listen to music without having to actually be at the venue it was performed at. Just as the radio changed the way people listen to music, so does the popularity of digital mediums in the 21st Century now enable would-be musicians to change the way they make music by enabling them to create and share music without having to be in the same physical location. In light of what we discussed in class about the evolution of jazz music and culture in cities like New York City and New Orleans, is having a physical base still relevant in today’s digital culture? In other words, can music and the arts retain their vibrancy in an age where every aspect of the creative process can be shifted out of the bars and clubs of old and onto the laptops and flash drives of today? Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated, there is no right or wrong answer.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From Zoot Suits to Bling- the Chicago gangster's influence on today’s culture

A few weeks ago, I was in Great Neck for the weekend. My friend and I went on a walk around her neighborhood and she told me that an Israeli mobster lives nearby. His driveway is made of marble and he owns the only house in the area that has a gate securing the entrance. People have been killed due to trespassing his house. I told her that I would love to drive by after the Sabbath to do research for my blog post but she replied “do you know that people have gotten shot for driving too close to his house?” I would still have liked to drive by to see a mafia house in New York.

The New York mafia preceded the Chicago Mafia. Johnny Torrio who was originally part of the mafia in New York, moved to Chicago to begin the Chicago Outfit, his bootlegging empire. He then hired two graduates of his alma mater, New York’s Five Points Gang, Al Capone and Jimmy DeStefano to assist him. DeStefano did not accept and was later killed. Capone became Torrio’s protégé and the leader of the Chicago Outfit.

In Chicago, The Outfit and the North Side Gang, lead by Dion O’Banion, became allies. Later they became rivals due to O’Banion cheating Torrio, therefore Torrio had him killed. This murder led to a brutal war between the gangs and Torrio was forced to leave Chicago. Capone then took over the Outfit.

These mobsters were callous with killing. They were dangerous men that would “whack” anything that got in their way. The police were paid off by the mafia and therefore rarely arrested the gangsters. If they were arrested, no one would testify against them. Mobsters were sometimes charged with small crimes such as tax evasion, like Al Capone. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison but was released after six for good behavior.

The Chicago gangsters continue to have an effect on culture today. A movie called “Public Enemies” was released last year about the mafia in Chicago. The movie begins with two gangsters breaking into a jail and freeing some of their gang-members. A policeman convinces them to hide out in Chicago so the mafia will protect them. An investigation agent is promoted to find the gang leader, John Dillinger, that broke into the jail. Dillinger, before his last robbery, drops off his love interest, Billie, to a place that is thought to be safe however the police abduct her and interrogate her about the whereabouts of Dillinger. She does not speak and gives her lawyer a message to tell Dillinger to wait until she is released from jail. Dillinger is later killed and Billie is let free.

Due to the effect that gangsters have had on today’s culture there are “Gangstas” These men are typically known to dress in baggy clothes and are more likely African American. They also commit crimes and carry weapons like their predecessors. Suge Knight has been known to be in a long-time dispute with P. Diddy which is thought to have lead to the death of many gangsters including Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. The feud occurred due to Knight insulting Diddy’s record label and is thought to also have a connection to drugs.

Organized crime today stemmed from the mafia in Chicago. They had a large influence on today’s gangsters. There are murders, bootlegging and gang wars. The real question is: have gangsters really changed?