Killing Of Frankie Uale Linked By Police To Feud With ‘Scarface’ Capone

Brooklyn Daily Eagle/July 2, 1928

 

Spread of Chicago Gang Wars Seen in Mowing Down of Notorious Brooklyn Leader—Revenge Suspected for Murder of De Amato, Capone’s Aid.

 

The gang wars of Chicago are spreading into New York, detectives insisted today, as men were sent out to search for a shining black sedan motorcar, with Illinois license plates, which was used by four men who with automatic pistols and sawed-off shotguns mowed down Frank Uale, Brooklyn’s most notorious gang leader, strikebreaker and underworld character, late yesterday afternoon.

Inspector John Sullivan, chief of detectives, personally was leading the hunt for Uale’s murderers, not so much because the police felt any particular horror at his killing, but because, recently, the streets have been chosen for spectacular slayings in true Chicago style. And the detectives believe that Uale was killed as a result of a Chicago war, that he was an enemy of “Scarface Al” Capone, although once he had been a friend, and that yesterday’s murder was a reprisal.

District Attorney Charles J. Dodd said he expected more shootings to follow Uale’s death.

“It looks like a lot more trouble,” Dodd said.

Threat By Capone Reported

Just one year ago yesterday seven shots were fired at Uale from the ambush of a doorway at 65th St., near 14th Ave. Six days later one Jimmie De Amato was killed at 153 21st St.— at least his body was found there. De Amato was said to be one of “Scarface Al” Capone’s representatives in New York, and the detectives have been told through those mysterious whisperings of the underworld, that Capone himself sent word there would be “a reply to that death.”

Until February of this year, Uale and Capone, however, were still friendly, at least on the surface. Then, it is known, they fell out.

De Amato Murder Is Clue

All this is clouded by the mystery and mist that always surround a gun battle between rival gangs. But at police headquarters today it was said, as a most workable theory, that Uale was killed because of De Amato’s death and because of the enmity which had grown up between Capone and Uale.

Shortly after De Amato’s death inspector Sullivan questioned five men who were said then and still are said to have been members of Uale’s gang. The police were morally certain they had the murderers of De Amato, but they never could get legal evidence and they had to drop the case. And now the De Amato murder stands out as the chief wheel about which the Uale murder revolves.

Supreme Court Justice Hagarty in 1923 refused an application for citizenship made by Uale, holding that although he had not been convicted of crime his record was such that citizenship should not be granted him. At the same time he enjoined Uale from making any similar application for a period of years.

Inspector Sullivan has learned that Uale came from his Manhattan retreat at 219 W. 81st St. (where he is said to have lived with Lucreida Julotta, asserting she was his wife), to Brooklyn about 2 o’clock yesterday. He went to a speakeasy at 65th St. and 4th Ave.

 Killed Leaving Speakeasy

 Joe Capone, who is no relative of the Chicago gang leader, but who, the police say, was very friendly with Uale, was there, and Joe has told the police that Frankie remained until a telephone call came for him about 4 o’clock.

“That’s my wife,” he told them. “She wants me to come home and take her for a ride.”

So he left and went up through 10th Ave. to 44th St. Between 11th and 10th avenues he was killed. The men in the motorcar which swept up behind evidently yelled at him and then as he turned fired into his car.

“They were professional killers,” said Inspector Sullivan. “Everything about the way in which this thing was handled shows it.”

Graduate of Streets.

Frankie Uale was a graduate of the streets. He was mixed up in a lot of different activities in South Brooklyn, and for years progressed without molestation in the forming of a big gang there. But, like other gangsters, he stretched out for more power. He began to invade the precincts of Bill Lovett and the wars along the East River.

Gangsters of Columbia and Union streets, five years ago, resented his encroachments. There was a gang war for a time which kept the police busy. “Peg Leg” Lonergan was killed. Frank Guffo was found dead. Two men named Anastasia and Ferrero went to the deathhouse, and they, so the police say, were members of the Uale gang.

But Frankie was making money fast enough and he got friendly with “Scarface Al” Capone. He went to Chicago and there learned how to make money from various grafts on a big scale.

Mixed in Chicago Warfare

His business grew. He got mixed up with Chicago warfare and came back here. Then he went back again. And now, shot down in the spectacular manner which has marked all of Chicago’s gang killings, Frankie Uale has been murdered.

Friends of his went to the Brooklyn Burial Company at 860 Atlantic Ave. today and ordered a casket. It will cost $15,000 and will be trimmed in solid silver. And it is to be almost a duplicate of the casket in which Dion O’Banion, slain Chicago gangster, was buried. The Chicago police once arrested Frankie Uale for that murder, but couldn’t “pin it on him.”

Two women claimed the body as his wife. The police are in a quandary about that. Ostensibly, his wife, Mary, and two children lived with him at 1406 66th St., Brooklyn. But he said that Lucreida Pulotta, who also has a young baby, was his wife.

Uale, whose name was pronounced Yale and quite often spelled that way, was killed in a theatrical and almost melodramatic way.

Shortly before 4 o’clock yesterday the big, dark-visaged, black-haired despot of an underworld that extended from Brooklyn into Manhattan and even into Queens was driving in his big new motorcar in 44th St., Homewood, between 4th and 5th avenues. He was driving in the very center of the street, as he always drove, for Frankie Uale alive was under no delusions. He knew certain people wanted to “get” him and he did everything to prevent them. He invariably drove in the middle of the street since it is more difficult to ambush a man there.

He was wearing a new light gray suit and a Panama hat. He had on many of the diamonds which have made him rather famous in South Brooklyn since he has made it his home. He was sitting there, behind his wheel, as haughty as usual, but watching the road and the sidewalks in front of him with a catlike intensity.

Black Sedan Trails Victim

Behind him, more than half a block behind, was a jet black sedan car, which shone gaudily in the afternoon sun. Uale didn’t know it carried a Chicago license. If he had he very probably would have tried to speed away.

Then, in front of 923 44th St., the sedan speeded up. It dashed close behind the Uale machine. And then began a heavy fire of pistols and sawed-off shotguns. There was no machine gun, apparently.

In a few moments it was over. Uale, mortally wounded, lost control of the car and it hurtled to the sidewalk, scattering frightened children and mothers. The machine leaped through a hedge and crashed against the stone steps of the house of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Kaufman at 923.

Shot Misses Child

One of the gunmen’s shots narrowly missed Jeanette Weinstein, 7, who was sitting in her father’s parked car at No. 947.

Various policemen came later. Inspector John Sullivan hurried down with Captain Bishop and 50 or 60 detectives. One after another the police identified Frankie Uale, because they all knew him. They’ve had him under arrest many times, but he has almost always beaten them. Frankie Uale had a reputation for being a “fixer,” and his record proves his reputation pretty well earned.

Having made the identification and successfully held back the large crowd which gathered quickly, the police began to work. The one outstanding thing they had was their knowledge that Uale was “due.” Every detective who knew anything about the situation had been predicting the death of Frankie Uale for at least two years.

 Ex-Pal of “Scarface” Capone

But it was a gunman’s death. And because it was, its details have been effectively covered. The police know well that it was revenge, but even they cannot, today, tell from what quarter that revenge came. There were so many persons who might have felt that Frankie Uale. dead, was a source of quiet for them.

Uale had been associated with noted and notorious people all through his somewhat hectic and excited 35 years of living. When he was a pal of “Scarface Al” Capone, the Chicago gang leader, who has been credited, probably without much reason, to Brooklyn. Uale is said to have provided money and hiding places when “Scarface Al” was in trouble with the Chicago police two or three years ago.

One of “Scarface Al” Capone’s most hated and persistent enemies was Dion O’Banion, a rollicking, singing Irishman, who was as cruel as cruelty could make a man under that exterior of happiness. When O’Banion was shot down and killed in his flower shop, Uale, on Nov. 24, 1924, was “partly identified” as one of the assassins, but escaped trial, as he did in the killing of Jim Colosimo in 1920.

 “Respectable Citizen.”

Before Uale left Chicago finally for Brooklyn he was arrested in Chicago in a raid on a Capone hangout in the Loop. A pistol was found in his possession, but he succeeded in convincing the Chicago authorities that he had a New York permit and that he merely was on a friendly visit to the Windy City.

So he came back. And he became again the quiet and highly dignified undertaker of Bay Ridge that he had been before he went to the Central West. Ostensibly, Uale was for years an undertaker. He was also interested in several restaurants in Brooklyn, and, on the surface he was credited with being a respectable and respected citizen.

If he had ways and means to “fix” things for men whom he knew when they got in trouble, who can prove it? If he collected from strike-breakers everywhere in the city, and supplied the armed forces which caused the trouble in the strikes, who is to prove it? If he ran a string of bootleg joints and collected from each of them, who is to prove that?

These days, your big gang leader doesn’t do the work himself. He is the despot who sits behind the scenes and issues the orders which are invariably obeyed.

Stories of Uale’s activities trickled into headquarters and Inspector Sullivan, head of the Brooklyn detectives, has for years been trying to find evidence enough on Uale to “get” him. But Uale has outguessed him, principally because his followers have kept their mouths shut always.

They tried to hang the murder of “Peg Leg” Lonergan, five years ago, on Frankie Uale without success. They tried to get him on the Mickey Demosel murder, which was a gang fight in 1923 in Manhattan, and they failed again. They tried to clinch him on the murder charges in Queens and on at least three Brooklyn robberies. They never got anywhere.

Way back in 1915, Uale, coming here from Chicago—so reports have it, but they are not very clear—was caught in a $3,000 fur robbery. He was close to conviction when a man named Tony Gregori came forward and confessed. Tony took “the rap”—he went to jail—instead of Uale. The veterans of the police force will insist even now that Tony “took the rap under orders.

Then in 1916 they caught Uale again. It was another fur robbery. But he beat that case. Since 1920 he had been arrested as a gun toter, for disorderly conduct, selling narcotics, robbery and what not. But invariably he had beaten the case against him. And in doing so he had earned his reputation for being a “fixer.”

This Uale was picturesque in his lifetime, but most gang leaders are in one way or another.

Down near 1406 66th St., where he lived, he was called “a good man.” He gave $6,000 to St. Rosalie’s R. C. Church in Flatbush recently, and broke ground for its new parochial school in May. He has given coal and wood to the poor in winter. He gave outings to children. He was “a good man” and no mistake. But he was a despot. And the police know he was a gangster.

Only one thing seems sure today. The police knew he was marked for death.

And they know, too, that unless they get somewhere in solving this murder something is going to happen to them. The Jerge murder and the Uale murder were entirely too spectacular. There may be a connection between them. Anything is possible, but it was certain today that the promised shift of expert detectives would come unless the Uale murder is “broken.”

Among other honors bestowed upon Uale was that of having a cigar named for him and his picture, surrounded by tropical flowers and foliage, portrayed on the inner cover of the box. In the background stands Morro Castle on one side and the Brooklyn Bridge on the other. As Uale pronounced his name Yale, the cigarmakers preferred to call the cigar the “Frank Yale.”

God-Fearing Man, Says Wife.

Mrs. Lucreida Uale discussed her dead husband to some extent this afternoon, although she would not tell much about herself, and would not go into details about the other marriage which, according to reports, preceded hers.

“He was a God-fearing man, but not a man-fearing man.” she said. “He was always paying rent for somebody or doing things like that. He ran a boxing carnival for a church and paid $1,500 out of his own pocket so it would be a success. I knew only the good side of him and I believe that under my influence he would have stopped his affiliations outside the home.”

She said she had received a telephone call that “Frank had been hurt” and that she went to the station house in Brooklyn. She did not know he had been murdered until she arrived there. She said she had never heard him say his life was in danger.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/59885762/)

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New Murder Spurs Hunt For Gunmen Waging Feud; Uale Death Car Found

Brooklyn Daily Eagle/July 3, 1928

 

Killing of Friend of Dead Lovett Gangster Linked to Death of Notorious Racketeer—Police Watch Abandoned Auto All Day in Hope for Killer’s Return.

 

As detectives established a link today between the murder of a man in a vacant lot at Meeker Ave. and Varick St., and the killing of Frankie Uale, often called “Yale,” Brooklyn’s most notorious gang leader, the motorcar used when Uale was killed was found.

The victim in the latest murder, believed by the police to be a gang killing, was James “Hickey” Senter of 238 Kent St., an acquaintance of the late Eddie Lynch, one of Bill Lovett’s former lieutenants, who was murdered in the same section of Brooklyn about six weeks ago.

Watch Car All Day

Actually the car used in the Uale shooting was found early yesterday morning, but throughout the day Inspector Sullivan refused to hint at it, as 25 detectives, hidden away in doorways and in flats, watched the machine constantly. This morning, however, the inspector admitted the car had been found and said that he was positive it was the machine used by the murderers of Frankie Uale.

This machine was a large black, or dark green, sedan, said to be worth about $3,000. Its windows were all closed. It bore a Tennessee license plate. It was first discovered at midnight Sunday on 36th St. between 2d and 3d Aves., but its finder, a citizen, did not notify the police until yesterday. Then detectives examined it and, elated with what they had found, watched it, hoping someone would come back after it.

Holes for Gun Muzzles

Bored through the sides of this machine were several holes, just big enough for the muzzles of revolvers. The inside of these holes were powder and smoke marked. The front glass was of the unbreakable kind. Under the seats in the rear the detectives found three sawed-off shotguns and five pistols, two of them automatics.

The inside and the outside of the machine were carefully searched, and, detectives said, yielded what is believed to be fingerprints. In any event the machine itself, with the guns aboard, was spirited by the police to a hiding place which was kept a close secret.

Uale was undoubtedly killed by sawed-off shotguns. Revolvers were also used as seven or eight shots were pumped into the gang leader’s body. Witnesses had said that the license plate of the murder car was from Illinois, but the detectives said today that an Illinois and Tennessee license would easily be confused in New York where few of them are seen.

Search Staten Island

It is believed that the murderers abandoned their machine, shortly after the murder, in 44th St. between 10th and 11th Aves. And the fact that it was abandoned just where it was, gave the detectives a hint that at least one of the men may know Brooklyn. It is only a short two blocks from the spot where the car was found to the 39th St. ferry from which the murderers could have easily gone either to the Battery in Manhattan or to Staten Island.

For that reason detectives were sent this afternoon to Staten Island in the hope that some “hide out” might be found there. But the entire situation convinced the detectives that a vicious gang fight is going on, and that it is being directed from outside this city.

Two Gangs at War

Adding to the facts on which they base their belief was the murder of Senter. They have no evidence that he was an active gang leader, but they have learned that he knew Eddie Lynch well. Lynch was murdered by “unknowns” at N. 14th St. and Wythe Ave., six weeks ago.

But there has been a war between the remnant of Bill Lovett’s gang and the Uale gang is also known to the police, and it has been hinted that Eddie Lynch, once a Lovett lieutenant, had gone over to the Uale banner. In any event, police today felt certain that there was some connection between the Senter and the Uale murders, but they admitted that they could not trace it clearly as yet.

Senter was identified by his brother, Joseph, who was promptly taken away for questioning by detectives of Inspector Carey’s Homicide Squad. Inspector Coughlin, chief of all the detectives, and Inspectors Carey and Sullivan led the investigation into Senter’s death.

Detectives on Anxious Seat

At Manhattan Police Headquarters detectives were whispering to each other in great worry and anxiety, as rumor followed rumor that the big shakeup, hinted at when Edwin Jerge was killed and the detectives couldn’t find his murderer, is now actually at hand. Heads of some departments were as worried as their men, because the word is out that the high police officials are indignant and disgusted at the work of their detectives.

Meanwhile, down at 42 Lafayette Ave. men from all walks of life, well dressed and poorly dressed, old and young, and women and children were staging an exhibition that stunned even “hard-boiled” detectives. They were filing in a steady line, from 6 o’clock until long after midnight last night, and resuming their march again today, before the $15,000 silver coffin of Uale.

Henchmen Utter Threats.

And as they marched in this tribute to a man who has been accused of two murders and who had been suspected of being embroiled in several others, his grim, angry followers strolled and strutted about the place uttering murderous threats.

These men, mostly young and mostly Italians, did not try to hide their anger. They announced so that anyone who wished could hear—and there were a score of detectives around the place—that they would fill the guy who bumped Frankie off “full of holes.” There were suspicious bulges on the hips of these young men. Not all of them carried flasks there.

Await Politicians’ Attitude

Uale will be buried Thursday in Holy Cross Cemetery in a funeral which, his friends insist, must be “more lavish” than that of Dion O’Banion in Chicago. The body will be kept at the Boyertown Chapel at 42 Lafayette Ave. until Thursday morning at 9:30, when it will be taken to St. Rosalie’s Church, 14th Ave. and 62d St. for requiem high mass.

The burial will not be until the afternoon at 2 o’clock. Special police guards will be placed about the chapel, the church and Uale’s Boro Park home, Inspector Sullivan said today.

Today there was speculation in the city. Will Brooklyn’s politicians, judges and public leaders turn out to the funeral of Frankle Uale, as Chicago’s leaders did when Dion O’Banion was buried, bringing an avalanche of criticism from other parts of the country? Will the men who boast their position of respect in the community, go to pay a last tribute to Frankie Uale, admitted gangster and troublemaker?

As these funeral plans were being made the air was full of trouble. Inspector John J. Sullivan, chief of Brooklyn detectives who is commanding the search for Uale’s slayer, felt it, and admitted it. District Attorney Dodd knew it was there. And detectives felt certain that the lid may blow off of gangland at any minute. The murder of Uale was a direct challenge, they figured, to his gang.

New Outbreak Feared

“It all depends on whether they’ve got a leader with any daring,” one of the detectives said last night, “if they have something is going to break. It may break in Chicago, though, next, but sooner or later it will come back here.”

There seemed no doubt today that the murder of Uale was Chicago planned and Chicago carried out. It was, to quote Inspector Sullivan, a typical Chicago job. But in it, the police have read evidences that the “racketeers” from Chicago have come East—or else New York gangsters have gone West—for lessons and, having been graduated from the school of the sawed-off shotgun, have begun to work for their higher degrees in this city.

The New York gangster has, in the past, ambushed his victim. That has been his outstanding “qualification.” But this killing wasn’t from ambush.

 No Check on Underworld

Inspector Coughlin, chief of the city detectives, has been in constant communication with Brooklyn officers since Uale was shot down. There are several things he has wanted to know. Here are some of them:

Was there any rumbling under the surface before Uale was killed? Did anyone threaten to get him? Were there any Chicago gangsters in town two weeks ago, as has been hinted? Did Yale visit Chicago about ten days ago, as has been said?

Of course there are many more questions that the Inspector probably asked his men. But in the Uale murder there seems to be the same situation that was found in the Jerge murder—the detectives who are supposed to know what is going on in the underworld didn’t know. There were persistent reports that one of “Scarface Al” Capone’s chief aids from Chicago was in New York ten days ago, and that he went around openly. But the detectives who ought to know can’t tell definitely one way or another.

22 Unsolved Murders in Year

There was also a report to be heard last night that “Scarface Al” himself stopped in Brooklyn on his way to Miami recently. If he did, however, no definite report on his activities was available today.

There are at least two, and perhaps more, commanding officers in the police department whose jobs are very insecure today. There have been 22 unsolved murders in New York the past year and three of them have been very spectacular

Lovett Gangsters Quizzed

Some men known to have been members of the Uale gang were questioned informally yesterday. And today some men who had affiliations with the old Bill Lovett gang on the riverfront were questioned.

It was considered possible by some detectives today that Uale’s murder was a result of the killing of ”Peg Leg” Lonergan three years ago. But if that were true, the detectives admitted there were other factors in the case.

“Peg Leg” Lonergan, a Lovett lieutenant, was murdered at a Christmas eve party at Coney Island. “Peg Leg” made an insulting remark about one of Uale’s South Brooklyn followers.

 War With Waterfront Gang

A pistol battle developed in which Mr. Lonergan was killed and one or two others were wounded. Most of the Uale men—accused of the murder by the police—fled the city. They went, it is firmly believed, to Chicago, where some of them enlisted under the banner of “Scarface Al” Capone and Mike Torrio.

Some from the other side also fled to Chicago. They enlisted, so the detectives say, with Dion O’Banion. Then Frankie Uale stretched out his hand to take part in the Chicago wars, and while he was in that city O’Banion was shot down by two strangers. The two strangers were known to have come from Brooklyn.

There has been a war between the Uale forces and the unled waterfront boys recently. Uale has not appeared on Union or Columbia streets in more than a year. Why? Because he had been told definitely and positively to keep away. The Red Hook section of Brooklyn was one section Uale could never win over.

Many stories are told of Uale’s “influence.” A Brooklyn tailor was robbed of several suits of clothing. The loss nearly ruined him. He told some one. The “someone” told Uale.

“Tell the guy not worry,” Uale said, “the suits will all be there when he opens up tomorrow.” They were.

In another case a 14th Ave. shopkeeper complained that a man was giving attention to his daughter, and threatening him for objecting. Uale heard about that. Almost overnight the “attention” of the young man was turned to someone else.

There is the story of the Coney Island resort which tried to compete last winter with a club which, it was said, owed allegiance to Uale. And one night the Coney Island resort burned down.

The body of Frankie Uale was claimed by both Maria Uale and Lucreida Julotta. Maria was his first wife, supposedly divorced this month. But he had been living for more than a year with Lucreida, who insisted she was Mrs. Uale. Lucreida, however, made a fine gesture last night and permitted Maria to be in control of the funeral services.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/59886536/)

 

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One Hundred Deaths In 16 Months Is Record Hung Up By Chicago’s Underworld

News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio)/April 5, 1928

 

Leadership of men, the command of big business, calls for the highest qualities of mind and heart.

Johnny Torrio had elements of greatness—did he not show adaptability, alertness to opportunity, and great business acumen, when he seized upon Prohibition as the ladder by which a little local gambling and vice syndicate was to climb to a business of $75,000,000 a year? But he had his failings. For one thing, he was not sufficiently observant to mark the growing intimacy between Jack Cusick, financial officer of the syndicate and his chief executive officer, and Al Capone, who shared with Dion O’Bannion equal rank as, so speak, vice presidents.

For another thing, he was a man little mean of spirit. He was niggardly, surly. Many a humble worker in the ranks came to him with his trouble, only to be turned away, hurt and angry. Capone, on the other hand, always made friends. He would help—his hand was always in his pocket for the distressed retainer. Yes, he thought the chief might have gone to the front for the man—but he shouldn’t get sore, after all the chief had a lot on his mind, probably. Anyway, the loyal worker could always count on him, Al. And it was all in the family, wasn’t it?

Capone Made Friends

So Capone made friends, loyal friends, who would do a good turn for him any time.

Joe Howard, minor gangster, talked out of turn. A few days later he was shot down near the Four Deuces. Just before the guns barked, a witness heard him shout, unsuspecting, “Hello, Al!”

Capone was questioned too, when “Dutch” Buckner and “Georgia” Meegan, members of the Spike O’Donnell gang, fell to their death before the roar of sawed-off shotguns. Nothing came of that either.

When “Two Gun” Johnny Dougherty’s body was picked up from a desolate road on the outskirts of the city Capone again faced inquisitors. But by this time, under the able tutelage of Jackie Cusick, he was adroit in facing questionnaires successfully, and was released by the police.

Years Bring Change

In fact Capone, today, stands convicted of not one crime.

Years had brought about a change. No longer was Capone the flashy dresser, the gangland “sheik” of yesteryear. He was now the suave business man dressed in conservative fashion. He is today.

Murder followed murder. More than 100 men were killed in sixteen months. McSwiggin fell in front of a west side saloon. Jimmy Doughtery, “Red” Duffy and others were picked off by the deadly weapons of gangland. Their slayers are unknown to police.

Capone prospered. So did Cusick. So did Torrio—for a time. But one day as Torrio stepped from the doorway of his home, there was a roar of machine guns and Torrio fell. He wasn’t dead, however.

For weeks the gangster chief lay in a hospital, slowly creeping back from the death to which he had been sentenced. He finally walked straight from the hospital to the federal building. He had thought things over and, knew when to be quiet—something few gangsters ever have learned. His attorneys bargained with the federal prosecutors and in the end Torrio accepted a federal “rap” for nine months in the Waukegan, Ill. county jail.

Before he left, however, he took Capone by the hand, introduced him to the necessary persons and instructed them to accept Capone as chief until Torrio came back.

When Torrio’s nine months were up he approached Capone and asked for the reins of government back.

Torrio Banished

Capone laughed. So did Cusick.

“You’re through, Torrio. You’ve got about twenty-four hours. Beat it.” Torrio “got.” Like a ghost he flitted. From that day to this, “Scarface Al” Capone has ruled the Chicago underworld.

“Scarface Al” Capone, after ascending to power in the Chicago badlands, ruled with an iron hand which was soon felt by the many little “independents” who sought to oust him from power.

In a few years, directly or indirectly, he disposed of such luminaries as “Polack Joe” Saltis, south side beer baron; Frankie McErland, tried for murder in Indiana: Dion O’Bannion, former muscleman for the north side mob; Vincent “Schemer” Drucci; Hymie Weiss; Big George Moran and others. Only Spike O’Donnell is alive today—but very much out of sight.

There were others—lone wolves, heads of minor groups. The coroner was kept busy. Capone and Cusick went on.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/292110926/)

 

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Mr. Woodman Speaks

Damon Runyon

Harrisburg Evening News/April 5, 1927

The dark-browed, dour looking Joseph Woodman, of the pugilistic corporation of Woodman & Lawrence, had one heavyweight in his lifetime who rather warped Mr. Woodman’s view of all subsequent heavyweights—who made Mr. Woodman most pessimistic about all other heavyweights in fact.

I refer to one Sam Langford, the Devasticatin’ Bear Cat from Boston. Mr. Woodman managed Sam for many years, and Sam’s prowess is a matter of pugilistic record. He was a convenient heavyweight to manage. If Mr. Woodman chanced to be otherwise engaged on the night of one of Sam’s fights, all Mr. Woodman had to do was to dispatch Sam to the arena with a memorandum as to how long Sam was to permit the encounter to go.

Mr. Woodman required no assistant seconds and towel swingers for Sam, and never had to worry about the referee, for Sam carried his own referee into the ring with him concealed in his right fist. He seldom remained in the ring long enough to need any attention in his corner. A handy man was Sam Langford, but he practically ruined Mr. Woodman’s judgment of heavyweights.

YOU SEE, AFTER LANGFORD, Mr. Woodman felt, and perhaps rightly, that the race of heavies had become extinct. When he gazed upon the aspirants to recognition in the large division during the past ten years and thought of Langford, Mr. Woodman became ill. Frequently he had to take to his bed, and at times he became quite violent. The mere question “What would Sam have done to these boys?” has been known to send Mr. Woodman into an attack of the mumbles.

Thus I am somewhat astonished to receive from Mr. Woodman a note expressing admiration and hope for a young white heavyweight who has just come under the pugilistic protectorate of Woodman & Lawrence, Inc. They have had many other young heavyweights in the past, including Knute Hansen, the melancholy Dane, but Mr. Woodman has been content to let his accomplice, George Lawrence, do the muttering about them while he remained in the background scowling darkly and thinking of Sam Langford.

Mr. Lawrence is the optimistic member of the confederation. Mr. Lawrence thinks well of all young heavyweights, not having been acquainted with Sam Langford. Mr. Lawrence attributes his partner’s hallucinations concerning Sam to liver complaint, or possibly the changes in the weather. Mr. Lawrence goes along cheerfully digging up the young heavyweights, but it is said he keeps some of them hidden from Mr. Woodman’s view for fear Mr. Woodman will get to comparing them to Langford and wish to kill them.

THIS TOM SAYERS that Mr. Woodman mentions in his note to me must have some merit to attract Mr. Woodman’s notice unless Mr. Lawrence wrote the note to me and forged Mr. Woodman’s signature.

I judge this Tom Sayers is not the same Tom Sayers who was champion of England many years ago, though Woodman & Lawrence, Inc., will doubtless discover that their Tom Is a descendant of that Tom. The English Tom has been dead a long time, and while I have known Woodman & Lawrence, Inc., to dig ’em up out of the pugilistic graveyard, I doubt that they would go that far back.

Anyway, Mr. Woodman advises me that the new Tom Sayers is from Detroit, which gave Jack McAuliffe II, to the union, a circumstance that is cited here not to the disparagement of Detroit, but as a bit of pugilistic history. The new Tom is 21 years old, six feet 1 inch tall, and weighs 195. He has had thirty bouts and won twenty-three by the old K. O.

If you sometimes marvel who these young heavyweights with the impressive K. O. records really K. O., I might mention that the new Tom K. O.’d Jack Phillips, Matt Brookel, Frank Wheeler, Marine Tolliver and Bill Archer among others, and you may make what you please of that.

I find no mention of Bill Schade in Mr. Woodman’s note, although Bill Schade is obviously the property of Woodman & Lawrence, Inc. But Mr. Woodman prates only of Tom Sayers, so I must infer that Mr. Lawrence has not yet ventured to speak to him about Bill Schade.

I do not blame Mr. Lawrence. I myself would be careful about mentioning any new heavyweights to a man who managed old Sam Langford over a long period of years.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/63319406/)

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Back to Philadelphia

Damon Runyon

Harrisburg Evening News/April 4, 1927

 

THE CITY OF Brotherly Love, which is that dear Philadelphia, has already extended to George Tex Rickard, the eminent fistic entrepreneur, a cordial invitation to pitch his next heavyweight championship struggle there.

It seems odd that the city that has loathed heavyweights since the signing of the Declaration of Independence should suddenly become the seat of the larger operations of the division. You may not know it, but when Mr. Tunney and Mr. Dempsey met in the Sesqui-Centennial Stadium there last fall they established three new records, as follows:

(a) For attendance.

(b) For gate receipts.

(c) For being the only heavyweights who escaped being thrown out of a Philadelphia ring before the conclusion of a bout.

I believe that some Philadelphians claim that the last should not be recognized as a record on the ground that they would have been hurled but for the fact that the referee’s arms were so water-logged that he couldn’t raise ’em in the interests of right and justice before-the end of the ten rounds.

But that as it may, the boys waded through to the finish, a darn good record for that vicinity, as the poet says. Mr. Tunney was doubtless a little nervous before the final bell, because Mr. Tunney knows how hard a heavy can be hurled in Philly. Mr. Tunney was once hurled from a Philadelphia ring along with M. Jacques Renault, the noble Canuck, on the ground of public inconvenience, or something to that effect.

BUT NOW PHILADELPHIA with its yawning stadium has placed a welcome mat at its portals for Mr. Tunney and any other heavyweight who may appear to be what the folks call a logical opponent next fall. I am not so sure that the welcome extends to heavyweights in general, however.

Mr. Tunney and Mr. Dempsey packed the hotels of Philadelphia with eager guests last year and made a good business for the citizens, as well as enlivening the premises. They must have brought a large amount of money to the town, one way and another.

Had they both trained in Philadelphia, as they should, they would have added to the prosperity and happiness of the community, because the strangers who drifted into the city from far-off ports the day of the battle would have been several weeks in advance, spending their money among the Quakers.

Both Mr. Tunney and Mr. Dempsey were working for George Tex Rickard on guarantees. They probably did not think the gate would exceed their guarantees and neither lifted a hand to assist the promoter in the matter of the publicity which attends the presence of a fighter on the scene of action. With both Mr. Tunney and Mr. Dempsey in Philadelphia, all the sports writers and ringworms would have headquarters there and the result would have rebounded to the large ballyhoo of the City of Brotherly Love aforesaid.

It will be different next time. George Tex Rickard tells me both the fighters in his heavyweight championship presentation will train within calling distance of the spot where they struggle. Mr. Rlckard’s idea is that a fighter is not a rose born to blush unseen.

IT IS QUITE EASY to see why George Tex Rickard has a kindly feeling toward Philadelphia. In the first place, there is the stadium in which he spotted over 130,000 clients last fall, with some room to spare. It is ready made for him.

In the second place, he was not “moved around,” politically, or otherwise. I mean to say, George Tex Rickard, on his own statement was subjected to none of the inconveniences, and petty proscriptions that he has encountered in other quarters as a pugilistic promoter.

His advisers told him Philadelphia was a cheap town, and single customers appeared as soon as he opened his offices to order $20,000 worth of seats. He had the most marvelous police protection ever accorded a huge assemblage. He had the friendship and co-operation of the officials.

The only drawback in Philadelphia to a world’s championship bout is the limit of ten rounds. When Mr. Dempsey was champion that made no difference because the clients never expected the contest in which he was engaged to go over ten rounds. He drew $1,600,000 in what was scheduled as a ten round no-decision affair in New Jersey, and close to $2,000,000 in that ten round decision bout in Philadelphia.

With Mr. Tunney as champion it may be a different matter, unless the logical opponent turns up in some good puncher. The clients may not buy $2,000,000 worth of seats to see Mr. Tunney box ten rounds. When the clients pay out that much they reasonably conclude that they are entitled to a murder, or at least a case of mayhem.

OF COURSE George Tex Rickard may give some serious attention to New Jersey, now that the scale of prices has been hoisted over there. I doubt if he will consider New York at any length. In New Jersey, however, he would have to rear a new stadium, now that Boyle’s Thirty Acres is a memory.

It cost Rickard plenty to build his arena on Boyle’s Thirty Acres. True, it was a very profitable venture in the long run, but when he has a stadium already laid out for his purpose, why bother spending money on a new project?

Unless there are some untoward developments within the next few months, I think the ringworms may get ready to buy their transportation to Philadelphia. And it isn’t a bad place to spend a few weeks of the early fall, at that, if anybody asks you.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/63318940/)

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Ruby Draws ‘Em In

Damon Runyon

Harrisburg Evening News/April 2, 1927

 

Proportionately to his pugilistic eminence, Ruby Goldstein, a youthful lightweight, is the biggest drawing card that New York has produced in years.

That is, he draws in New York. He might not mean a dime to a promoter outside of New York, but in the big town he is what my actor friends would call a wow. The small club promoter who can secure Ruby Goldstein’s services remains awake of night congratulating himself. He knows he will turn the clients away.

And Ruby’s opponent doesn’t seem to make any particular difference. He may be regarded as strictly a popover for the young Hebrew, but the boys turn out just the same. I might add that Ruby is by no means careless about his opponent. in fact, he is inclined to be quite choosy.

But he draws the customers, and no one can quite figure it out.

Ruby was knocked bow-legged by Ace Hudkins. Billy Alger took a technical knockout over him on the Pacific Coast when Ruby claimed a broken collar button, or something to that effect. Moreover, the young man failed to show up for bouts in New York so often that he almost sent some of the promoters in sorrow to their graves, and until his courage was aspersed. He got the monicker of “Run-out-Ruby.”

Any other boxer would be in the pugilistic ash can, but the patients still struggle for place in line when Ruby Goldstein is to appear, even if he doesn’t.

 

HE IS THE BEST drawing card in New York since the days when they used to stick Paul Berlenbach in the semi-windup behind a couple of beezarks at the old Garden and sell out the joint to the palpitating members of the New York Athletic Club and their friends.

If you ask me, I think it is the same reason that made Punch ‘Em Paul a great drawing card. When Ruby pops ’em. brother, they remain popped. The pugilistic, patients love to view the knocker-out in action, even though the knocked-out is practically that way when he climbs into the ring.

Goldstein has amazing fistic class along with his punch. He is a nice looking young fellow, and for some months it looked as if they could not keep the lightweight title away from him unless they hid it. As a six-round preliminary boy, he packed ’em in.

Then came the dismal night when Ace Hudkins smacked him on the chops down at Coney Island, and after that Ruby did not seem so rash. He took the incident greatly to heart. Nearly every fighter of any prominence you can name has been dusted off one or more times in his career, but managed to dismiss the matter from his mind.

Ruby brooded over the Hudkins affair to such an extent that he wandered off to the Pacific Coast, where he fell afoul of Billy Alger, with the result mentioned above. Then he returned to New York, where he could at least find sympathy. Now he is again popping ’em over in the small clubs, and gladdening the hearts of the promoters. The small club promoters in New York could stand a number of Ruby Goldsteins right now.

 

IT IS CONCEIVABLE that the young man may become a great fighter. That certainly seemed to be his destiny when he started out. He has everything in the way of skill and bodily vigor. I am inclined to discredit the aspersions against his courage. At least I give him the benefit of the doubt.

But regardless of all that, he can draw. Benny Leonard was no such card as Ruby Goldstein until after he became champion of the world. If Ruby becomes champion they will have to enlarge the open-air arenas. He can fill any of the indoor spots now.

I never say but one better local drawing card in the dear old manly art in the last yen years. That was Bobby Barrett, the red-headed youth from Clifton Heists, Pa. when he was going good around Philadelphia. U

Barrett, at his best, was one of the hardest hitters the game has ever known. The Philadelphia patients learned that any time Robert crawled through the ropes there was apt to be a knockout, either by -Barrett or by his opponent. Thus they got in the habit of turning out en masse, so to speak, to see it come off.

Barrett might get clipped one night, but in a few weeks he would be back packing ’em in again. He crowded the Phillies ball yard one night in a battle with Lew Tendler, the receipts establishing a new record in Philadelphia, I believe.

Say what you please, the ringworm loves action. He wants to see the knockouts. The criticism of Gene Tunney’s very scientific victory over Mr. Dempsey proves it. It was a triumph of boxing skill, yet the boys went away grumbling under their breaths. Had Mr. Tunney bowled Mr. Dempsey over, there would have been no word of complaint.

 

IT WAS HIS ABILITY to bowl ’em that made Mr. Dempsey the greatest drawing card in the history of pugilism. This ability was so largely exaggerated in the public mind that when Mr. Dempsey failed to bowl ’em as in the case of Tom Gibbons, at Shelby, and Mr. Tunney, at Philadelphia, there was much whispering.

I know estimable citizens who will go to their graves believing that Mr. Dempsey “carried” Tom Gibbons at Shelby because he—Mr. Dempsey—was afraid of the hostile crowd, and that he “pulled” to Mr. Tunney at Philadelphia to permit Mr. Tunney to win, both of which beliefs I hold to be quite erroneous.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/63318547/)

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Spanish Influenza More Deadly Than War

Buffalo Enquirer/December 16, 1918

 

Said That Epidemic Cost More Lives Than American Loss in Battle.

Danger Not Over. Great Care Necessary To Prevent Further Outbreak.

The appalling ravages of Spanish influenza in this country are perhaps best realized by the statement recently made, that more deaths have resulted in little more than a month from this disease than through our whole eighteen months’ participation in the battles of the European war.

Our greatest danger now, declare authorities, is the great American tendency to forget easily and so believe the peril is over. Competent authorities claim the coming of cold weather is very apt to bring a return of this disease and there should be no let-up throughout the winter months of the following easily observed precautions, remembering that influenza is far easier to prevent than cure.

Influenza is a crowd disease. Avoid crowds as much as possible. Influenza germs spread when ignorant or careless persons sneeze or cough without using a handkerchief. Cover up each cough or sneeze. Do not spit on the floor, sidewalk, in street cars or public places. Avoid the use of common drinking cups and roller towels in public places. Breathe some reliable germicidal and antiseptic air to destroy the germs that do find lodgement in your nose and throat.

Remember, no safer precaution against influenza could be employed in this manner than to get from the nearest drug store a complete Hyomei Outfit consisting of a bottle of the Pure oil of Hyomei and a little vest-pocket hard rubber inhaling device, into which a few drops of the oil are poured. Yon should carry this inhaler about with you during the day and each half hour or so put it in your month and draw deep breaths of its pure, healing germ killing air into the passages of your nose, throat and lungs.

By destroying germs before they actually begin work in your blood, yon may make yourself practically immune to infection.

All these suggestions about Spanish influenza are equally true in the prevention of colds, catarrh of nose and throat, bronchitis and even pneumonia. Don’t become careless. Do your part. Keep the germs away. You may save yourself a serious illness and the loss of several weeks’ work. Heegaard-Sloan Drug Co.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/326352303/?terms=influenza)

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