Articles by Casey McBride

Frank Costello: Mr. Fix It

We have all heard it before in an old black and white movie or news reel. The sound of morse code comes beeping through the speaker, then that bold announcer’s voice barks, “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all ships at sea. Let’s go to press!” as families gather around the radio, awaiting the latest news with bated breath. It seems cliché today, but in the 30’s and 40’s, the man behind that voice, Walter…


What Happened to Frank Costello’s Voice?

Thank you for keeping it dialed to the National Crime Syndicate. I have collected a few bits that didn’t make it into the first two pieces I wrote about Frank Costello, and I thought some of you might enjoy them. Until part two of ‘I Never Sold No Bibles’ is in the bag, I wanted to post a few shorter bits to avoid what they refer to in show business as dead air. Welcome to…


Chapter 2: Frank Costello – I Never Sold No Bibles

“Tough times make monkeys eat red pepper.” Read Chapter 1: Frank Costello – Gambling Man That’s how Frank Costello used to explain his dubious past. At the age of fourteen, he robbed the landlady at his Harlem apartment building. He knew she always awoke early to sweep the halls. He also knew she didn’t trust banks and kept the rent money she collected tucked between her bosoms. Frank had fallen out of a tree while…


Chapter 1: Frank Costello – Gambling Man

On Sunday, Febuary 18th, 1973, Francesco Castiglia committed his final crime. The man who had stolen from society all of his life would rob us one last time. Peter Maas, the author of the Valachi Papers, Underboss and Serpico, had just received what was at the time, the largest advance in history for a non-fiction book, with the promise of delivering the authorized biography of the man behind “the hand ballet.” Frank Costello, the one Lucky Luciano chose to run…


Ol’ Man Winter: A Trip to Al’s Den

The city I live in, Portland Oregon, is a weird and wonderful place. Some call it the Amsterdam of North America, and I think that is accurate. This is a city full of politically correct, environmentally-friendly beardo-hipsters pedalling large, clownish bikes to their friends’ basement for rehearsal with their indie bands. I have been fortunate, in a town overflowing with musicians, to have secured a respectable amount of work as a sideman session player, and as a result have played…


Who Was Joe Petrosino?

At the upper tip of Little Italy in Manhattan, one block from the old police headquarters, lies Petrosino Square. It’s more of a triangle really, with a handful of park benches, rubbish bins, and tactfully placed flower pots. An iron fence surrounds this modest “square,”and on that fence hangs an old placard with a well placed touch of vandalism asking, “Who was Petrosino?” If you are unfamiliar with the name, it is truly an honor to introduce Lieutenant Joe Petrosino; a mob-busting, super-cop who…


Confessions of a Mob Junkie

Early one morning this past November, I saw something I knew had to exist, but didn’t expect to see. While fighting my way through traffic, a car suddenly cut me off. At first I was too mad to notice it. Then, there in front of me the letters M, O, and B popped out as clear as day, stenciled across a vanity license plate. Like I said, I knew this had to be out there,…