The Chicago Syndicate: Lucky Luciano
Showing posts with label Lucky Luciano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucky Luciano. Show all posts

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Long Before the Mafia, There Was the Irish Mob - PADDY WHACKED on The History Channel

Once called the "National Scourge," "The Shame of the Cities" and "The White Man's Burden," the Irish Mob rose from hellish beginnings to establish itself as the first crime syndicate in the United States. From "Old Smoke" Morrissey to "Whitey" Bulger, a parade of characters used ruthlessness, guile, and the diabolical power trio of "Gangster, Politician, and Lawman" to rise to power in the underworld. Their 150-year legacy of corruption is chronicled in the new special from The History Channel, PADDY WHACKED, a world premiere Friday, March 17 at 8 pm ET/PT on The History Channel.

After the devastating mid 19th century potato famine killed nearly a third of Ireland's population, the Irish looked across the ocean to America for salvation and opportunity. They arrived in New York City in droves, starving, destitute, determined ... and loathed by native New Yorkers. Gang wars soon enveloped the streets, and from the chaos rose the first mob boss, James "Old Smoke" Morrissey, as proprietor of gambling joints, saloons, and whore houses who aligned himself with the corrupt power corridors of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed. Soon, the Irish carried the dubious distinction of dominating the lower rungs of the immigrant ladder. For the next century-and-a-half, they rose and found power and glory in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Hollywood, before being done in by Italian foes, infighting, and eventually the law. PADDY WHACKED is the story of a long rise to power and a violent and bloody collapse, with a steady drumbeat of unforgettable characters along the way.

Highlights of PADDY WHACKED include:

* Re-creations of the early New York City gang wars made famous in
Martin Scorsese's film Gangs of New York.

* "King" Mike McDonald's efforts to establish the Irish Mob in Chicago,
under the philosophy of "There's a sucker born every minute" and
"Never steal anything big, the small stuff is safer," and the
portrayal of the mobster as "the man behind the man."

* The rise of bootlegging as a primary source of income for the Irish
Mob during Prohibition, an effort led by Dean O'Banion in Chicago and
Owney Madden in New York.

* The first glorification of the Irish mobster in Hollywood films
starring James Cagney.

* The arrival of ruthless foes like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Meyer
Lansky, who wipe out Irish bosses by the dozen as the mafia rises to
power, while government foes such as FDR and Thomas E. Dewey doggedly
struggle to end corruption in the United States.

* The legitimization of the Irish in the upper levels of American
society crests in the 1950s and 1960s as Irish gangsters begin to take
over legitimate businesses. The son of upper-crust Irishman Joseph
Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, is elected President of the United States
after a multitude of back-channel dealing seals his Democratic Party
nomination.

* The JFK assassination signals the beginning of a murderous era of
bloodshed that leads to Wild West-style shootouts in Boston between
the Mullin Gang, the Winter Hill Gang, and the Charlestown Boys.

* James "Whitey" Bulger's rise as the last great Irish Boss is fueled by
protection from his state-senator brother and his best friend in the
FBI ... a shining example of the "Gangster, Politician, Lawman"
triumvirate that was so hard to crack. But even the untouchable Bulger
can't hide from the government's most powerful weapon, RICO.

Executive Producer for The History Channel is Carl H. Lindahl. PADDY WHACKED is produced for The History Channel by Joe Bink Films Inc.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

From Al Capone, to a Mayor Richard Daley special:

The other big city with questionable alliances between the underworld, and the men who officially run things, is of course Chicago.

When I think of the Chicago mob, I think of Al Capone, as would anyone. As far as big hitters are concerned, he was definitely right up there at the top of the mafia tree, along with his old New York pal, Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano.

Post-Capone, there is the legacy of The Big Tuna himself, Tony Accardo, aka Joe Batters - allegedly handed the moniker by Capone after he bludgeoned a man to death with a baseball bat upon his boss's order.

From streetwise young hoodlum to boss of arguably one of the most powerful La Cosa Nostra families in the United States, the Chicago 'Outfit', Accardo, up until his death in the early nineties, controlled organized crime in 'The Windy City' for the best part of four decades. He was a man adversely disposed towards publicity. Certainly no John Gotti, he. Accardo preferred the shadows, and is considered one of the most astute, and organized of all mafia chieftans. A legend in mobdom, the Carlo Gambino of the midwest.

Accardo, with his top lieutenants, saw to it that Las Vegas, a gambling mecca launched by New York mobster, Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel, in the fifties, would over the next several decades, become almost exclusively controlled by Chicago, with other mafia families like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Kansas City, operating under Chicago's solid umbrella.

Though capable of ordering the most vicious of murders - I recall a bunch of thieves whom had made the mistake of robbing the Accardo home in plush Forest Hills, Illinois, and who were later found horrifically murdered all across the city, stabbed, and beaten, shot and strangled (all mercillesly tortured, naturally) - Accardo, having worked his way up in the organization as a proficient hitman himself, often allowed those close to him to assume the ultimate mantle of boss, at least superficially, but it was always Accardo as the man behind the scenes, running the show, the real power.

When the brash, and high-profile Sam Giancana rose to the top spot in the late 50‘s, and his much-publicized exploits with Marilyn Monroe and JFK (many believe that Sam put Kennedy in the Whitehouse, by securing votes in Chicago) elevated his status, particularly with the federal government, exponentially, came and went with several bullets in his head, he was replaced with a succession of other bosses, from Joe Ferriola - believed to be the man whom sanctioned the hit on Tony Spilotro, one-time Vegas enforcer for the mob - to Joey 'The Clown' Lombardo, whom despite a recent arrest on murder and racketeering charges (what else) is suspected today of occupying the top spot.

Only in the city of Chicago has organized crime enjoyed such strong relationships with law enforcement and upper echelon politicians, for so many years. It is a city that has long been associated with unprecedented corruption, stemming back to before even Al Capone, when Big Jim Colossimo ran the scene, with more crooked politicians in his back pocket than he knew what to do with.

SoBoss Richard J Daley of Chicago, moving away from these more overtly unsavoury characters, and onto City Hall, we come to the mayor of that fair city, Richard Daley, whom was questioned last week by none other than the U.S attorney's office. The two hour grilling session revolved around various scandals, alleged to have taken place in Daley's offices. Daley is likely to have been the first Chicago mayor to face this kind of questioning. Going back over the last half a century, to when Daley’s father was mayor, none have come under such scrutiny by the FBI. Now, they have.

Daley was questioned on Friday by the U.S. Attorney's office in a two-hour session about the alleged scandals that surround him. Talking sparingly with the predicted throng of reporters outside his offices, Daley commented that he would be avoiding specifics pertaining to the matter, though he did concede to answering his questioners in a frank, and honest fashion. Would we expect anything less, one is bound to ask?

Describing questions posed to him as: "very serious," Mayor Daley reinforced that his current predicament would not impact upon his responsibilities in running his city. And contrary to recent speculation that he might not run for re-election, Daley remained more than optimistic about continuing in his role as mayor, all this despite the fact that two city officials have been charged last month with allegedly rigging the city's hiring system to flout a court order that bars City Hall from considering politics when filling most city jobs. The ensuing federal investigation encompasses bribery also.

Well, at least ostensibly, the mayor of Chicago's empire is a respectable, and of course, law-abiding one.

Excerpted with thanks to Steven Morris at New Criminologist

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