History of the World According to the Movies: Part 61 – Depression Era Outlaws

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I couldn’t have a post dedicated to Depression Era outlaws in the movies without using a picture from the 1967 Bonnie and Clyde. Sure this is a very entertaining movie with all the violence and sex any box office smash could ask for starring the sexy Warren Beatty and the sultry Faye Dunaway who have great chemistry. However, remember that this movie doesn’t tell the real story of Bonnie and Clyde who were no more than a couple of ruthless thugs that didn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor. Nor were they that stylish and good looking either.

You’d think that the repeal to Prohibition would lead to less crime now that alcohol was legal again. However, since this was the time of the Great Depression, you’d be dead wrong. Thanks to the Great Depression and the fact that people back then didn’t have the modern conveniences we have now, 1930s America had a new generation of outlaw legends whose exploits were read in the papers or heard on the radio. Sure they weren’t nice people but many of these outlaws seemed to emanate a sense of romanticism during difficult times. People didn’t mind that they robbed banks, killed people, or held people hostage because their adventures provided some sort of escape from the normal hard life of the general population since these guys didn’t let the law stop them. Didn’t hurt that they dressed well, too. Still, many of these Depression outlaws had celebrity status such as John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, and the Barker gang. And, yes, the 1930s is a rather popular setting for gangster films as well as movies dealing with crime. Nevertheless, there are some liberties Hollywood tends to take with the facts on many of them which I shall list accordingly.

Outlaws and Gangsters:

Henry Young:

Henry Young was convicted of stealing $5 to save his sister from destitution. (This is from a film called Murder in the First Degree that stars Kevin Bacon which seems so sweet but it’s bullshit. The real Henry Young was a hardened bank robber who had taken a hostage at least on one occasion and committed a murder in 1933. In the 1930s, he had been incarcerated in at least 2 state prisons before landing in Alcatraz. Also, he killed Rufus McCain a year after his return in the general prison population, was only in solitary confinement for a few months {not 3 years and certainly not kept in a dungeon}, and didn’t die at Alcatraz in the early 1940s. In fact, he left Alcatraz in 1948 for the US Medical Center for Federal Prisoners and was transferred to the Washington State Penitentiary in 1954. In 1972, he’d be released, jump parole, and disappear. His whereabouts and fate remain unknown to this day.)

Machine Gun Kelly:

Machine Gun Kelly’s girlfriend was Flo Becker. (Her name as Kathryn Thorne and she was his wife.)

Bonnie and Clyde:

Bonnie Parker pressured Clyde Barrow into robbing banks along with pulling big time heists and the two had sympathy for the dispossessed. (Clyde was already a confirmed criminal who had spent time in jail and killed a man by the time he met Bonnie, who also had a husband in prison {who was an abusive drunk no less}. Clyde more or less wore the pants in the relationship and they may not have been as much in love with each other as the movie implies. Also, neither displayed any sympathies or motives for the unfortunate. Not to mention, Clyde was a careless and remorseless killer in pursuit of small stakes, hardly a sympathetic figure at all. He also had a series of love affairs before he met Bonnie and his strongest commitments to women were to his mother and older sister. Bonnie was more of a criminal groupie more than anything and was depicted as a cigar smoking moll. Besides, they didn’t look anything like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and certainly wouldn’t be dressing in those kind of clothes {which resemble designer outfits than anything either of them would actually wear}. Actually their real life counterparts more or less resemble a couple of hicks though Clyde’s brother and sister-in-law were much better looking than Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons who play them in the film {with the real Blanche Barrow saying about Bonnie and Clyde, “That movie made me look like a screaming horse’s ass.”}. The story of Kathryn Thorne and George Kelly Barnes might have been a better tale to film as a kind of relationship where a woman led a man astray and inflated his criminal ambitions. And as a Robin Hood figure who conducted big time heists and tried to avoid killing, John Dillinger.)

Bonnie Parker smoked cigars. (She didn’t despite the photo. She and Clyde smoked cigarettes. She did drink whiskey though.)

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow broke the bonds of convention and became a threat to the status quo who didn’t fear cops and lived a life of glamorous luxury outrunning them. (Bonnie and Clyde were sometimes incompetent and often careless crooks who lived a hard life punctuated by narrow escapes, bungled robberies, injury, and murder. Oh, and they became one of the first outlaw media stars when police found photos of them fooling around with guns.)

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow robbed rich people and banks to give to the poor. (Most of their victims were small town store owners and farmers’ savings banks. During the Depression, they basically robbed from ordinary hard working Americans to give to themselves. What a couple of heroes, yeah right.)

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow often robbed banks together. (Actually they robbed less than 15 banks during their life of crime, some more than once. Also, they usually got away with very little like $80 in one incident, but. In the more successful robberies, Clyde mostly committed them with a criminal associate named Raymond Hamilton. Bonnie would sometimes drive the getaway car but she’d usually stay a hideout while the rest of the gang robbed the bank. Not to mention, unlike in the 1967 film, Bonnie and Clyde would rarely attempt bank jobs on their own and more commonly robbed grocery stores and gas stations that usually had a low take that they had to commit more robberies just to get by. The frequency of these crimes made the couple easier to track.)

Bonnie Parker fired a gun many times during her crime spree with Clyde Barrow. (There’s been controversy over the shooting of Bonnie who may never have fired a gun and seemed not to have been charged with any capital offense.)

The exploits of Bonnie and Clyde were part of one daring crime spree. (Actually Clyde and Bonnie were imprisoned for stints during their career together. Also, the movie about them leaves out a near-fatal car accident that left Bonnie so badly burned down one leg that she was left permanently disabled as well as the fact they made frequent visits to their families.)

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were two criminals in love. (Like I said, Bonnie was kind of a criminal groupie who may have had a mental disorder that made her attracted to seriously violent men. This is a sexual fetish called hybristophilia, or “Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome,” which you see with a lot of women who are attracted to convicted murderers or death row inmates with the most famous example being Carol Anne Boone marrying serial killer, Ted Bundy. So the entire romance between Bonnie and Clyde may have had less to do with love and more to do with her disturbing paraphilia. Not only that, while Bonnie was killed at 23, she had been married to another man for seven years and she was wearing her wedding ring when she died.)

Bonnie and Clyde were hunted down by Frank Hamer who was a bounty hunter. (Hamer was actually hired by the Texas prison system administrator to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde but not as a bounty hunter. He was actually an ex-Texas Ranger called out of retirement. Also, unlike in Bonnie and Clyde, he wasn’t an idiot and had never personally interacted with them before the 1934 shoot-out. Thus, he wouldn’t be kidnapped and embarrassed by the Barrow gang. Still, Hamer’s surviving family were so outraged at the man’s depiction that they filed a defamation lawsuit against Warner Brothers which the movie studio settled out of court.)

Bonnie and Clyde were the crime media darlings of their day. (They were around the same time as John Dillinger who the public actually had more sympathy for. Still, when Bonnie and Clyde came out, newspaper columnist Mike Royko printed a number of angry letters from many of the Barrow Gang’s real-life victims. One said: “They got my father. They did him with machine guns. He lived for three days.” Besides, while Dillinger dominated headlines in the United States, Bonnie and Clyde rarely received any newspaper attention outside the Dallas area.)

The Barrow gang sent photos and poetry to the press. (The photos and poetry were found by police who sent them for publication. They took the photos for their own amusement.)

Clyde Barrow died outside the car while Bonnie Parker died in. (Clyde died in the car with Bonnie.)

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met when Clyde was at Bonnie’s trying to steal her mother’s car. (According to Bonnie’s mother the two met over a mug of hot chocolate at a friend’s house not during a stick-up. Also, they didn’t go on their crime spree until two years into their relationship. Oh, and Bonnie was unemployed at the time.)

Clyde Barrow was impotent. (He wasn’t. His impotence was invented for the film. Still, he did kill a guy in prison for sexually abusing him though.)

Dillinger and Associates:

Dillinger’s gang was responsible for killing a lot of people. (They were responsible for the deaths of a dozen people. Public Enemies just takes it to the nth power.)

Little Bohemia served as a hideout for the Dillinger gang after a disastrous robbery at Sioux Falls. (Actually this wasn’t the case as depicted in Public Enemies since a lot happened between Sioux Falls and Little Bohemia. The film skips over events like the bank robbery in Mason City, Iowa on March 13, 1934, Dillinger, Billie, and Van Meter’s narrow escape from police in St. Paul on April 1st, and a visit to Red Hamilton’s sister Anna Steve a few days before Little Bohemia.)

The Dillinger Gang expected more than what they got during the Sioux Falls robbery. (Though the gang managed to get $46,000 in the Sioux Falls robbery, unlike in Public Enemies, they expected to net at least six figures at the First National Bank in Mason City, Iowa not Sioux Falls. They knew that there was about $250,000 in the bank’s vault but only netted 1/5th of the money because Red Hamilton got stalled by an intelligent bank manager.)

John Dillinger:

John Dillinger died after Pretty Boy Floyd, Homer Van Meter, and Baby Face Nelson. (He actually got killed before all of them. Dillinger was killed in Chicago on July 22, 1934 while Van Meter was shot to death that August by police in St. Paul. Floyd was gunned down in East Liverpool, Ohio on October 22, 1934 and Baby Face Nelson died in a shootout on November 27, 1934 in Barrington, Illinois. And, no, Melvin Purvis didn’t gun down all of them unlike in Public Enemies save maybe Pretty Boy Floyd.)

John Dillinger said, “Why? I have absolutely nothing I want to do in Indiana.” (He would never say this because he would never have dismissed his home state.)

John Dillinger took 3 people prisoner with a wooden gun during a prison escape. (He took 17 possibly 20. Still, while legend says that he used a gun made out of soap and shoe polish, Dillinger always claimed to have used a wooden gun and there are photos to prove it.)

John Dillinger was present at the Indiana State Prison break that took place on September 26, 1933. (He was imprisoned in Lima, Ohio at the time though he did smuggle guns in the place for his associates while robbing banks during that June but we’re not sure how. Nevertheless, the breakout didn’t happen like in Public Enemies as TTI quotes: “According to Bryan Borrough’s book, the escapees took the guards hostage with the guns, then paraded them into the administration building, while fooling the tower guards into thinking that the prisoners were just being escorted by the day captain. Four of them escaped by taking a visiting sheriff hostage in his car, while Pete Pierpont and his group stole a car from a gas station across the street. Only a clerk was injured, shot in the leg. There was none of the mass bloodshed shown in the movie.” As to John “Red” Hamilton, he was there but he was one of the inmates who escaped {as well as the only one to get recaptured before his death in April of 1934} not just outside the prison helping Dillinger with the breakout. Still, except to Indiana Police Officer Matt Leach, Dillinger was relatively unknown before the mass breakout and was first presumably known to many after he broke out of jail in Lima.)

John Dillinger shot down three people consisting of two detectives during the Racine robbery and a police officer during the Sioux Falls robbery. (Dillinger killed nobody during these robberies. In fact, the only person he’s believed to have actually shot and killed was police officer William O’Malley when Dillinger and Red Hamilton held up the First National Bank in East Chicago, Illinois {allegedly when Dillinger lost his temper}. It was this officer’s murder that Dillinger was standing trial for in Indiana.)

John Dillinger was Public Enemy #1 in 1933. (He didn’t become Public Enemy #1 until his 31st birthday on June 22, 1934.)

John Dillinger was shot in the shoulder during the Sioux Falls robbery. (He was shot a week after that during the robbery of the First National Bank in Mason City, Iowa.)

John Dillinger had a brief conversation with Melvin Purvis during the former’s incarceration. (They may have come close to seeing each other shortly before Dillinger died but they didn’t exchange words. However, Dillinger had multiple in-prison encounters with his original pursuer Indiana State Police detective Matt Leach, who was actually more competent than the FBI in pursuing him.)

John Dillinger died within seconds after being shot by Winstead. (He lived a few minutes before taking his last breath. However, he didn’t say “Bye, bye, blackbird” though.)

John Dillinger was a ruthless gangster that regularly killed innocent people. (He’s only said to have killed one police officer during his entire life and it’s questionable whether he actually did it. Still, he was a blue collar crook who planned his bank robberies around not killing people. He robbed for the money, the thrill, and as revenge against a corrupt system he felt betrayed the common man like himself. He despised cold-blooded killers and Baby Face Nelson because he knew he was a criminal and that the people after him were just doing their jobs. He hated being forced to work with Baby Face Nelson and never even bothered trying to hide it. He even threatened to kill Nelson if he shot anyone needlessly despite that Nelson helped Dillinger escape from Crown Point Prison. The resentment was mutual since Nelson hated how Dillinger got all the attention and how the press was drooling over him with all his sightings making the front page. Those who were killed during his robberies were usually shot either by Baby Face Nelson or Homer Van Meter. Nevertheless, many movies portray Dillinger as a remorseless killer with Public Enemies being no exception.)

John Dillinger’s pocket watch had Billie Frechette’s photo inside. (The photo inside was Polly Hamilton’s not Billie’s.)

John Dillinger drove away from the Crown Point jail in Sheriff Holley’s Ford V8. (Deputy Sheriff Ernest Blunk was the actual driver in the escape and Dillinger didn’t get behind the wheel until after Blunk and Saager were set free outside of Peotone, Illinois.)

John Dillinger was recommended Louis Piquett by Alvin Carpis during his incarceration at Crown Point Prison. (It was prison trusty Sam Cahoon who recommended Piquett, which was arranged by the East Chicago mob.)

John Dillinger was shot from behind outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater while strolling with two women. (He actually pulled a gun and tried to get away after he noticed Melvin Purvis standing aside. The agents opened fire and Dillinger was shot three times with bystanders being injured by bullets and debris. Yet, Public Enemies shows him dying without putting a fight though he was accompanied by Polly Hamilton and Anna Sage {who tipped off the authorities}.)

John Dillinger and Anna Sage were friends before she informed on him. (They were not nor did they know each other long before she tipped the authorities on him, and she mainly did it because she was threatened with deportation. She was just Polly Hamilton’s madam and Dillinger knew her after Little Bohemia.)

John Dillinger walked into police headquarters during his own investigation. (No, but he actually walked into another police station and this was after he received plastic surgery which he thought would make him unrecognizable in public. He just didn’t count on his plastic surgeon reaching out to the FBI.)

John Dillinger didn’t alter his appearance in the final months before his death. (He actually had plastic surgery a month and a half before his death including a fingerprint removal/alteration that his family didn’t recognize him when they saw his corpse. Yet, they managed to identify him because he had a scar on his thigh which he received from a barbed wire fence during a watermelon raid years prior. And no, he didn’t look like Johnny Depp. Still, all movies about him don’t have Dillinger alter his appearance for practical reasons. Yet, playwright Joseph Kesselring would take Dillinger’s plastic surgery bit and run with it in Arsenic and Old Lace. Oh, and like Jonathan Brewster, Dillinger had an alcoholic doctor, too {who was an inspiration for Dr. Einstein in the play}.)

John Dillinger was betrayed since he was making too many waves. (Dillinger had a $15,000 reward on him which would’ve been an irresistible sum to anyone during the Depression. Also, Anna Sage was being threatened with deportation while his plastic surgeon was reaching out to the FBI. Also, Dillinger was getting careless since his plastic surgery that he started appearing in public venues thinking that his altered looks would keep him safe. It was only a matter of time.)

John Dillinger was in rigorous health when he died. (Actually he had a heart condition according to a 1938 book by a physician from the Indiana State Prison.)

John Dillinger saw himself in the PSAs when he was at the movies. (There’s no proof he did but it’s possible.)

Billie Frechette:

Billie Frechette was arrested after the shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge. (She was arrested before that. Her arrest was partly why Dillinger and his gang went to Little Bohemia so Dillinger could take his mind off his girlfriend. Also, Dillinger was in the same car during Billie’s arrest yet Purvis didn’t take notice until after it drove away.)

Billie Frechette was John Dillinger’s true love. (Yes, he loved her but he had many girlfriends. Still, when Billie got arrested, Dillinger was so distraught that the rest of the gang {even Nelson} had to discourage him from attempting to rescue her. Nevertheless, he moved on to Polly Hamilton two months later.)

Billie Frechette was a sweet and fragile innocent. (Actually she had worked in nudie nightclubs for awhile and had developed an affinity for the wrong kind of men. Oh, and she and Dillinger were only together for six months.)

Billie Frechette was slapped around during her interrogation. (The FBI treated her badly like handcuffing to a chair under bright lights as well as interrogating her relentlessly for 24 hours straight, when she begged to be allowed to sleep. Yet, there seemed to be no slapping but it was enough for Purvis’ secretary to say something about it.)

Anna Sage:

Anna Sage wore red on the day John Dillinger was killed. (She wore orange, not red. Yet, she’s known as “the Woman in Red.” Oh, and she contacted the Chicago police on Dillinger’s whereabouts not the FBI.)

Homer van Meter:

Homer van Meter was shot dead 20 or more times at Little Bohemia by FBI agents. (Contrary to Public Enemies, was killed after Dillinger and managed to escape from Little Bohemia. He was killed by the St. Paul Police Department who shot him 52 times with some of his fingers shot off as well. His death was a lot uglier than portrayed in the film.)

Homer van Meter escaped from Michigan City Prison during the September 26, 1933 breakout. (He had been paroled by that time.)

John “Red” Hamilton:

John “Red” Hamilton had all his digits. (One of his nicknames was “Three Finger Jack” by the authorities because he was missing two fingers from his right hand and would later lose a third during the East Chicago bank job. Still, Public Enemies probably didn’t have the budget to do CGI on the guys hand.)

Red Hamilton was killed at Little Bohemia. (He died from a wound he received during a shootout at a roadblock during the escape from Little Bohemia.)

Pretty Boy Floyd:

Pretty Boy Floyd was shot near an apple orchard. (He was shot in an open field outside a farm house and by a sniper at great distance. Still, he’s alleged to have died unarmed though I highly doubt it. Nevertheless, his funeral was attended by about 20,000 to 40,000 people, the largest in Oklahoma history.)

Pretty Boy Floyd started out as a boxer who fought under his nickname. (This is in a biopic about him but it’s not true. Floyd never had a career as a professional boxer and actually received his nickname from a robbery. It was a nickname he despised.)

Pretty Boy Floyd’s last words were “You have killed me, you can rot in hell.” (Actually it’s said his last words were, “Fuck you. I’m through. You have got me twice.”)

Baby Face Nelson:

Baby Face Nelson was executed by the electric chair 1937. (Contrary to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, he died in a 1934 shootout so his death in the electric chair didn’t happen and he never stepped foot in Mississippi. His death in Barrington, Illinois happened like something you’d see in a Quentin Tarantino movie according to TTI: “In his real shootout on November 27, 1934 in Barrington, Illinois against Agents Samuel P. Cowley and Herman Hollis (both of whom were mortally wounded), Nelson refused to fall despite having been struck a total of seventeen times (Hollis shot him ten times in his legs with a shotgun, and Cowley shot him seven times with a submachine gun). This is attributed to adrenaline surging through his body – which kept Nelson alive for approximately three hours before he succumbed to his wounds. And the bullets that felled Cowley and Hollis were fired after Nelson had been really shot up.” Man, why isn’t this scene in Public Enemies?)

Baby Face Nelson and Tommy Carroll escaped from the Sherone Apartments building when police tried to arrest them. (A bungled up attempt to arrest a criminal did happen at this building but the guy was Verne Miller, who was wanted for the Kansas City Massacre in June 1933. Yet, the Dillinger gang did have a shooting in an apartment building but it was at the Lincoln Court Apartments in St. Paul, Minnesota, which involved Dillinger, Billie Frechette, and Homer van Meter. Basically it consisted of Dillinger and Billie getting away while van Meter fired at the agents.)

Baby Face Nelson and several others were killed when FBI agents raided Dillinger’s hideout. (Though this is Nelson’s death scene in Public Enemies, in reality, it was his most famous escape with every single criminal getting away unharmed. The only casualties were a civilian killed by FBI agents and an Fed killed by Baby Face Nelson himself. Nelson also shot another agent and a police officer there, too. Only three of the gang’s women were taken into custody that consisted of Nelson and Tommy Carroll’s wives and Homer van Meter’s girlfriend. So like Public Enemies the raid at Little Bohemia was a disaster, but for the FBI.)

During the Sioux Falls Robbery, a boy jumped on Baby Face Nelson’s back and struggled with him a few moments before Nelson threw him off shattering a window. (This incident did happen to Nelson but this was during a robbery Merchants National Bank in South Bend, Indiana on June 30, 1934.)

Baby Face Nelson’s real name was George Nelson. (Actually George Nelson was a pseudonym and he hated his nickname “Baby Face Nelson.” His real name was Lester Joseph Gillis. Still, he was a homicidal maniac known for killing more FBI agents in the line of duty than any other person.)

Law Enforcement:

The FBI used enhanced interrogation techniques on Dillinger gang members called the “third degree.” (Though it’s shown in Public Enemies, it’s very unlikely enhanced interrogation techniques were used on Dillinger gang members, though it’s alleged to have happened to other prisoners. Still, agents who tried using physical torture got very little information for the pain they inflicted on prisoners. The senior men got agents who attempted this back in line. Nevertheless, they more likely had these people in the room for hours to wear them down like most law enforcement do but no one wants to see that. Also, when Dillinger heard rumors about an interrogator had done something like this to Billie Frechette, it’s said Dillinger considered assassinating the guy.)

The failure at Little Bohemia was due to poor FBI judgment. (It was also due to J. Edgar Hoover wanting all the credit and glory for his own organization and made it a policy to cooperate as little as possible with other law enforcement agencies. One of the reasons why Purvis didn’t rely on local authorities when he should’ve was because he was worried about what his boss may think. Still, in Little Bohemia, Purvis was basically screwed either way.)

Melvin Purvis:

Melvin Purvis and the FBI were after John Dillinger from the very beginning. (Contrary to Public Enemies, the early hunt for John Dillinger was actually primarily led by the Indiana State Police. In that period, the most the FBI did to get involved in the Dillinger manhunt was attending a number of conferences and offering to help in fingerprinting. After the death of Sheriff Sarber, J. Edgar Hoover actually ignored pleas from then Indiana Governor Paul McNutt for the FBI’s help until Dillinger drove a stolen car over state lines during his escape at Crown Point Prison {because before then, Dillinger hadn’t committed a federal crime}. As for Purvis, he had been SAC of the Chicago field office for several months when Dillinger first began robbing banks.)

Melvin Purvis was assigned to lead the hunt for John Dillinger. (He was the head of the FBI’s Chicago office but the person leading the Dillinger investigation in the final months before Dillinger’s death was fellow agent Samuel P. Cowley. Hoover actually thought Purvis to be quite inept {though he might’ve just said that out of jealousy of Purvis getting all the media attention}.)

Melvin Purvis shot himself with the gun he killed John Dillinger with. (The gun he shot himself with in 1961 was given to him by his colleagues as a retirement gift when he left the FBI in 1935. Dillinger was gunned down in 1934, and not by Purvis. Also, guns make terrible retirement gifts, really.)

The death of Pretty Boy Floyd helped Melvin Purvis land the Dillinger case. (Actually Floyd’s death happened after Dillinger was killed though Purvis was there, but he and his agents had help. It had more to do with Dillinger’s escape from Crown Point prison in which Dillinger drove a stolen sheriff’s car between the Indiana and Illinois state border.)

Melvin Purvis was an experienced FBI agent who was dragged down by well-meaning but raw agents. (He was just as inexperienced as his co-workers. According to Brian Burroughs, “He once “forgot” to arrest George “Machine Gun” Kelly, despite iron-clad intelligence from other FBI agents of a meeting Kelly had planned at a Chicago tavern. And under his leadership, the Dillinger manhunt became a comedy of errors. For months, Purvis inexplicably neglected to order a watch kept on the homes of Dillinger’s family and associates, allowing the outlaw to hide out in ease. Purvis ordered raids on the wrong houses, and arrests of the wrong people. And he and his men lost Dillinger’s trail countless times.  They were finally able to corner him only because an informant, Anna Sage (the fabled ‘woman in red;’ though she actually wore orange, as the film shows’) contacted the Chicago police with information on Dillinger’s whereabouts.” Also, he never threatened to resign unless J. Edgar Hoover obtained experienced law enforcement officials skilled with guns and he wasn’t a fearless man of action.)

J. Edgar Hoover:

J. Edgar Hoover and Agent Melvin Purvis killed John Dillinger. (Dillinger was gunned down by agents Charles Hurt, Charles Winstead, and Herman Hollis. Most historical accounts usually name Winstead as the guy who delivered the fatal shot to the back of Dillinger’s head. J. Edgar Hoover even sent Winstead a letter of commendation for it.)

J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dressing homosexual momma’s boy. (Well, he and Clyde Tolson were very good friends who spent a lot of time together and were buried side by side. Tolson also inherited the bulk of Hoover’s estate when he died. Still, whether to say Hoover and Tolson were lovers is anyone’s guess {though there were rumors}. However, as to whether he was a cross dresser, we’re pretty sure that this is a myth, though many wish it was true. As for his mother, he actually spied on her. Still, the fact he lived with his mother until her death wasn’t unusual for Hoover’s generation. He was, however, a Freemason and a highly commended one at that.)

The Lindbergh Kidnapping:

The notion of the crime laboratory in the FBI originated with the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. (The crime lab had been around much earlier according to the FBI’s website. Also, it was actually the New Jersey police headed by Superintendent Norman Schwartzkopf Sr. {father and namesake of the future commander of Desert Storm} that did the work on the Lindbergh kidnapping, including the forensics that led to the mill where the kidnapper was employed. The Treasury Department was also involved with cracking the case with Frank J. Wilson able to incriminate Bruno Hauptmann through the serial numbers on the money that was found at his place.)

The Lindbergh baby kidnapping was a watershed moment in J. Edgar Hoover’s career. (The Lindbergh case actually merits a little more than a couple of pages in any Hoover biography. He wasn’t at the center of the investigation or the subsequent trial.)

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