By Mike Mayo
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Extra resources for American Murder: Criminals, Crimes and the Media
When it was filmed again in 1942, under the title Roxie Hart, Hollywood was under the strict rules of the Hays Office which forbid anyone portrayed on the silver screen from getting away with a crime. So, Ginger Rogers’ Roxie was innocent. Maurine Watkins continued to work occasionally in the film business, but her later years were marked by poor health. She also found religion, and came to be ashamed of the bracing gallows humor that drives Chicago. When choreographer Bob Fosse and dancer Gwen Verdon first approached her about transforming the story into a musical in the 1950s, Watkins rebuffed them.
He was simply the best in the business— smart, patient, cautious… well, usually cautious. Bailey was born in 1887 and grew up in the Midwest. Got married, had kids, and turned to bootlegging. By 1920 he had been arrested for burglary and jumped bond. Two years later, he hit the big time when he went to work with the famous Baron Lamm, the gang that knocked over the Denver Mint. Actually, the Mint was serving as a vault for the Federal Reserve Bank of Denver. On December 18th the Mint transferred $200,000 in crisp new $5 bills and $65,000 in negotiable securities to the Bank a few blocks away.
They operated in Manhattan, only at the better hotels and apartments. Working out of an Upper West Side apartment, Cachet fielded phone calls from clients then got in touch with the appropriate gal and gave her an address. Off the young lady would go in a cab to her assignation, to return a few hours later a few hundred dollars richer. As Barrows describes it in her scrupulously PGrated book Mayflower Madam, the sex biz was downright wholesome. As she puts it, there was virAMERICAN MURDER Barrows, Sydney Biddle Sydney Biddle Barrows (aka the Mayflower Madam) with attorney Robert Halmi and a mysterious unidentified hand at a New York City news conference, 1985.
American Murder: Criminals, Crimes and the Media by Mike Mayo
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