Early Days of Los Angeles

The Man From Chicago: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Installment 16: The Man from Chicago Mystery. Uncertainty. Confusion. Any of these words could describe the criminal climate of early L.A. Many questions remain in regard to the alliances and feuds among Italian gangsters of the Prohibition era. Who sat at the helm? Who vied for control? Who rallied together and who served as the opposition? Quite a few stabs at these riddles have been made, and yet “murky” still defines the kind of clarity…

Read More

The Senator and the Shield: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Installment 7: The Senator and the Shield RICO, the infamous Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, is credited as one of the most effective tools in the fight against the national crime syndicate. It’s aim for the prosecution of top mob members over mere soldiers, is no doubt largely responsible for its level of success. Earlier introduced and lesser known, was another controversial legislative weapon; one which arrived on the law books not…


Prelude to the Kefauver Hearings: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Installment 6: Prelude to the Kefauver Hearings In April of 1950, the Senate Gambling Investigating Committee gathered in Washington DC. On the table, was a new bill that they expected would put “a ban on interstate transmission of race horse information.” Chairmen McFarland and his men were on a crusade to rid the nation of the racing wire service which “the country’s thousands of bookies” relied on. Though top officials from such major cities as…


The Curious Allegiances of Handsome Johnny: The Early Days of Los Angeles With Dr J. Michael Niotta

Similar to the way movie stars are fawned over and followed, a certain mystique also clings to the criminal element. And in rare instances, the celebrity and the gangster are even balled into one. Dillinger, Capone, and Bugsy are but a few examples of well-dress killers who reached media heights and fame during their lifetimes. And nearing a century later, the luster of the gangster genre hasn’t faded. Decades after the demise of each crime…