Greek Mythology Reexamined: Minor Deities, Protogenoi, and Titans

While I basically covered all the major Ancient Greek gods months ago like in January, the Ancient Greek pantheon is among the most diverse with hundreds of gods and goddesses. And according to Greek mythology the famous gods we all know and love on Mount Olympus aren’t even the original generation. You have the Protogenoi who were created in the beginning by a god known as Chaos which is just a primordial void through which most things came into existence. Those gods who originated from Khaos were among the first as with the Greek mythological narrative. The Titans consisted of a couple classes of gods. The first generation of Titans were the second generation of Greek deities to rule the world after Cronus chopped off his dad Uranus’ genitalia in order to release his siblings (I’m not making this up). Of course, this group of Titans’ rule didn’t last since Cronus would swallow his children with the exception of one (Zeus) who basically had his dad regurgitate them and a stone decoy. The first generation of Titans would be overthrown by Zeus and the Olympians and sent to Tartarus. The second generation of Titans consist of a class of gods who were the offspring of the first generation, other than Cronus and Rhea. And then you have a group of minor deities who could be characters in the Greek myths or the anthropomorphic personification of some concept. Still, since these are large classes of deities I’m dealing with, I’ll only go over some of the most important which aren’t part of any ensemble. So without further adieu, if you’re stuck in the Greek mythological world, here are some things you need to know about the common minor figures.

1. Gaia

Sure she may be Greek Mythology's Mother Nature herself, but she's one nasty bitch who couldn't care less about how many trees you cut down or oceans you pollute. All that concerned her was what was causing her pain or filling her bowels at the moment as well as those who worshiped her.

Sure she may be Greek Mythology’s Mother Nature herself, but she’s one nasty bitch who couldn’t care less about how many trees you cut down or oceans you pollute. All that concerned her was what was causing her pain or filling her bowels at the moment as well as those who worshiped her.

AKA: Gaea, Terra Mater, Tellus, Mother Earth, Mother Nature

Type: Protogenoi

Domain:The primal Greek goddess of the earth and great mother to all such as the Earth and all the Universe, the heavenly gods, the Titans, and giants.

Pro: Well, she’s very powerful and not someone even Zeus wouldn’t mess with. Also, very much loved by Neopagans and rewarded those who worshiped her. Really cared about her followers so perhaps Neopagans are rather safe to benefit her if she ever causes an apocalypse.

Con: Despite being Mother Nature, she’s not much of a benevolent figure as the true force of Nature. She seemed to care for little else so long as they weren’t filling her bowels or causing her pain. Couldn’t care how many trees you cut down or oceans you pollute. Also spawned several monsters to kill the ruling gods whether it be Uranus or Zeus. Not to mention, she prefers to spawn minor demonic monsters to do her dirty work. Still, we’re not sure whether she cared for her offspring or just wanted them out of her. Also bore a lot of children with her own kids (like Uranus) and descendants.

Patron City: None.

Symbols: Earth.

2. Uranus

Yes, his name may inspire shits and giggles since it reminds many of somebody's butt hole. Yet, Uranus basically lived up to his name as a literal divine primordial asshole who imprisoned his own kids he thought were ugly. Serves him right to have his nuts cut off by Cronus.

Yes, his name may inspire shits and giggles since it reminds many of somebody’s butt hole. Yet, Uranus basically lived up to his name as a literal divine primordial asshole who imprisoned his own kids he thought were ugly. Serves him right to have his nuts cut off by Cronus.

AKA: Ouranus, Caelus

Type: Protogenoi

Domain: The primal sky god and father of the giants, cyclops, Hecatonchires, and the first generation Titans.

Pro: Well, he was right about what would happen to Cronus, even if he made that prophecy out of spite.

Con: He was a cruel and evil tyrant and abusive dad who imprisoned his children in Tartarus (or Gaia’s womb) because of their bizarre appearances. This led to Gaia to shape a great flint sickle blade and asked her sons to castrate him. Only Cronus was willing to do the honor. The drops from his blood became the avenging Furies and in some stories, his genitals would become mixed in the ocean’s foam and create Aphrodite. Not to mention, he’s Gaia’s also son alongside being her consort. Also, his name has basically become the butt of inappropriate jokes related to butts. Then again, he was a literal asshole in Greek mythology so the name fits.

Patron City: None for there was no cult addressing him that had survived into Classical times.

Symbols: sky and sphere usually carried by Atlas

3. Nyx

Nyx was the Greek primordial goddess of night known for her exceptional power and beauty. Still, she's so protective of her many children (unpleasant or not) that not even Zeus wants to risk taking her on.

Nyx was the Greek primordial goddess of night known for her exceptional power and beauty. Still, she’s so protective of her many children (unpleasant or not) that not even Zeus wants to risk taking her on.

AKA: Nox

Type: Protogenoi

Domain: Primal goddess of the night and mother of many deities with her brother Erebus.

Pro: Often portrayed as someone with exceptional power and beauty. Also, she’s seen as a decent mom that you don’t want to mess with her. Not only that, but even Zeus is afraid of her that he allowed her son Hypnos escape which caused a lot of misfortune to Hercules.

Con: She’s kind of a shadowy figure and rather unpredictable. Doesn’t appear much and only ever seen in glimpses and her appearances are sparse in the surviving mythology. Not only that, but a lot of her kids are personified deities that represent things that aren’t so nice like death, old age, doom, and others. Said to live on Tartarus and bore a lot of her kids with her brother.

Patron City: Megara where she had an oracle according to the geographer Pausanias.

Symbols: black cloth representing the cover of night

4. Cronus

 Cronus may be seen as a god of time and patron of the harvest. Yet, he's one mean son of a bitch who basically castrated his dad (justifiably though), disrespected his mom Gaia's wish to free his siblings, and ate his kids (save for Zeus). There's a good reason why Zeus overthrew his Titan dad as king of the gods.

Cronus may be seen as a god of time and patron of the harvest. Yet, he’s one mean son of a bitch who basically castrated his dad (justifiably though), disrespected his mom Gaia’s wish to free his siblings, and ate his kids (save for Zeus). There’s a good reason why Zeus overthrew his Titan dad as king of the gods.

AKA: Saturn, Cronos

Type: First generation Titan

Domain: Youngest and leader of the first generation of Titans as well as a god of agriculture and fertility. Patron of the harvest. In Roman mythology, he’s the god of time (though Saturn might’ve started out as a completely separate deity before being merged into Cronus.)

Pro: In some myths, he’s said to have brought a golden age of to Man which ended in Zeus’ reign. Still, had a good reason to castrate and overthrow his dad Uranus.

Con: Let’s see, castrated his dad, turned his back on his imprisoned siblings (as well as disrespected his mom Gaia’s wish to free them), probably raped his wife Rhea (who was also his sister), and even devoured his newborn children (except for Zeus who made him vomit his siblings out). Let’s just say he didn’t turn out much better than his dad or perhaps worse.

Patron City: None, but he did have his own festival in Athens called Kronia. Of course, the Romans viewed him more positively and had at least one temple to him as well as a festival called Saturnalia (which doesn’t have a lot in common in Christmas though both holidays share a few customs).

Symbols: hourglass, sickle, scythe, and harpe

5. Oceanus

Before there was Poseidon, there was Oceanus who ruled the waves. Still, not taking sides in the war between the Titans and Olympians and the overthrowing of Uranus explains why he avoided Tartarus.

Before there was Poseidon, there was Oceanus who ruled the waves. Still, not taking sides in the war between the Titans and Olympians and the overthrowing of Uranus explains why he avoided Tartarus. Still, he’s the one with a serpentine tail and horns.

AKA: Ocean

Type: First generation Titan but might’ve started as a Protogenoi.

Domain: Said to be the original ruler of Olympus before Cronus cast him into the sea. Ruled over the sea during the Titanomarchy and regulated the rising and setting of heavenly bodies, which the Greeks believed to have emerged and descended into his watery realms at the ends of the earth. Also said to be the father of rivers and streams as well as the ocean nymphs. Not to mention, had a bunch of kids with his sister Tethys.

Pro: Didn’t take sides in things like the Titanomarchy or overthrowing his father Uranus, which was the reason why he probably stuck around. Waterways were said to originate from his own tears.

Con: Doesn’t appear much in myth other than in the story of Hercules and the sun bowl or the wedding between Thetis and Peleus.

Patron City: None.

Symbols: ocean waves

6. Selene

Selene is the goddess of the moon who drives a chariot across the night sky. Unfortunately, she's also known for her obsession with Endymion and was said to have born 50 daughters by him after he was put into eternal sleep. Yeah, you can guess the disturbing unfortunate implications there.

Selene is the goddess of the moon who drives a chariot across the night sky. Unfortunately, she’s also known for her obsession with Endymion and was said to have born 50 daughters by him after he was put into eternal sleep. Yeah, you can guess the disturbing unfortunate implications there.

AKA: Luna, Phoebe, Cynthia

Type: Second generation Titan

Domain: Goddess of the moon who drove a moon chariot across the heavens.

Pro: She’s said to take on the dreaded monster Typhon which is said to be why the moon has craters. Doesn’t have a lot of lovers unlike a lot of gods in this pantheon (I’m talking to you Zeus).

Con: Unfortunately, her best known story has her obsessed with the handsome mortal Endymion who was put into eternal sleep in a cave on Mount Latmus. Didn’t stop her from visiting him or in some stories making out with or bearing 50 daughters to him which kind of puts her up there with Zeus as one of the rapiest gods of the Greek pantheon. Let’s just say that her relationship with Endymion is very unhealthy.

Patron City: Well, she’s said to have had an oracular sanctuary near Thalamai in Laconia as well as Elis and perhaps had a festival in Athens called the Pandia. Yet, other than possible moon cults in Minoan Crete, the role of the  moon itself in magic, folklore, and poetry, and the later worship of the Phrygian moon-god men, there was relatively little worship of her as a goddess.

Symbols: crescent, raised cloak, bull, rooster, dog, torch, and the moon, naturally.

7. Helios

Helios is best known as the god of the sun who drives a chariot of fiery horses. Still, while he's capable of violent strength, he's sometimes unable to defend himself such as the time when Odysseus men killed his sacred cattle.

Helios is best known as the god of the sun who drives a chariot of fiery horses. Still, while he’s capable of violent strength, he’s sometimes unable to defend himself such as the time when Odysseus men killed his sacred cattle. Still, letting his son drive his chariot was a bad idea.

AKA: Sol, Phoebus

Type: Second generation Titan

Domain: God of the sun who drove a chariot of fiery steeds across the sky.

Pro: Helped Hercules complete the labor of Erytheia to retrieve Greyon’s cattle by lending him his giant cup. Still, he’s usually nice unless he’s pissed off. Also, whether Demeter liked it or not, he was right about Hades being perfect for Persephone.

Con: Let’s just say despite that he’s capable of violent strength on multiple occasions, he’s often depicted as weak and incapable of fighting for himself. Also, when Odysseus’ men slay his sacred cattle, he told Zeus, “Either you kill these guys or else I’m going to the Underworld.” This results in Odysseus being stranded on Thrinacia as well as losing his ship and crew. Doesn’t help that his daughters on that island were witches with “evil eye” power derived from himself (with Circe being the most famous of his). Also, let his son Phaeton drive his chariot, which didn’t end well.

Patron City: Rhodes where there was once a giant statue of him which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The island city also held gymnastics tournaments in his honor. Also had a significant following cult in Corinth.

Symbols: chariot with flaming horses and the sun, of course.

8. Eos

Eos is the goddess of dawn who either opens the gates for her brother Helios or harnesses his horses just before he goes out. Also known for kidnapping a series of young men after being cursed with insatiable lust after her affair with Ares. Also, her laying her son Memnon on her lap might've inspired the Pieta.

Eos is the goddess of dawn who either opens the gates for her brother Helios or harnesses his horses just before he goes out. Also known for kidnapping a series of young men after being cursed with insatiable lust after her affair with Ares. Also, her laying her son Memnon on her lap might’ve inspired the Pieta.

AKA: Aurora

Type: Second generation Titan

Domain: Goddess of dawn who either opens the gates for her brother Helios or harnesses the horses on his chariot. Also, rose each morning from her home at the edge of the Oceanus.

Pro: Well, she took her son Memnon’s death in the Trojan War hard and is sometimes depicted as holding him across her knees like in the Christian Pieta paintings.

Con: Well, after caught having an affair with Ares by Aphrodite, she was cursed with an unquenchable lust which led her to abduct several handsome young men. One of her conquests ended up having to spend eternity as an old man since she forgot to ask that he have eternal youth. Another was accidentally killed.

Patron City: Well, she did have a cult in the Roman city of Matuta where she had her own festival as Aurora called the Matralia, which was only for women during their first marriage.

Symbols: golden throne, saffron rose, and angel wings.

9. Prometheus

Here's Prometheus being chained to the Caucasian mountains and having a giant eagle devour his liver on a daily basis all because he stole fire from Mount Olympus for humanity. Of course, he knew this would happen when Zeus would find out. Luckily, he'll be freed by Hercules soon enough.

Here’s Prometheus being chained to the Caucasian mountains and having a giant eagle devour his liver on a daily basis all because he stole fire from Mount Olympus for humanity. Of course, he knew this would happen when Zeus would find out. Luckily, he’ll be freed by Hercules soon enough.

AKA: None

Type: Second generation Titan

Domain: One of the original Titans who either remained neutral during the Titanomarchy’s struggle against the Olympians or sided with Zeus. He’s best known for stealing fire from the gods for humanity and suffering eternal punishment as a result by having a large eagle devouring his liver on a daily basis while chained to the Caucasian Mountains. That is, until Hercules frees him.

Pro: He was smart not to side with the Titans and he’s the only god who’d unfailingly put humanity before himself. So much that he only claimed the inedible parts of cattle to be reserved for ritual sacrifices and stole fire from Mount Olympus for humanity despite knowing what Zeus would do with him. Also, when Hercules freed him, Zeus didn’t seem to mind since he told him to let Thetis marry Peleus since her son would be greater than his father. This probably save Zeus’ throne. Not to mention, he’s one of the most popular figures in Greek Mythology with his legend enjoying appeal up to today.

Con: Let’s just say that if he wasn’t chained to a rock somewhere his brother probably wouldn’t have married Pandora. Then again, her story is rather sexist in itself and Epimetheus is kind of an idiot anyway.

Patron City: Athens where there was an altar honoring him at the Academy as well as the Panathenic festival held in his honor where there was a torch race from the altar to the Parthenon.

Symbols: torch, chains, wreath of thorns, and giant eagle

10. Atlas

Contrary to popular imagery, Atlas' job wasn't to hold up the Earth, it was the Heavens. Still, let's just say people today don't get how the Ancient Greeks saw in cosmology. Nevertheless, he's best associated with geography.

Contrary to popular imagery, Atlas’ job wasn’t to hold up the Earth, it was the Heavens. Still, let’s just say people today don’t get how the Ancient Greeks saw in cosmology. Nevertheless, he’s best associated with geography.

AKA: None

Type: Second generation Titan

Domain: Titan who was charged with holding up the sky away from the Earth to prevent the two from “embracing” as punishment for siding with the Titans against the Olmypians. Also associated with navigation and astronomy, obviously.

Pro: Helped Hercules fetch the golden apples while the Greek strongman did his task. Also didn’t fool around as much.

Con: Tried to trick Hercules with holding up the heavens permanently, but the demigod tricked him into retaking his load (either by running away or building the two great Pillars of Hercules which liberated him from his load).

Patron City: None, but he has a whole ocean named after him though.

Symbols: globe

11. Eros

Though typically seen as a cute little cherub associated with Valentine's Day, Eros actually is supposed to be depicted as a handsome young man who wasn't much into clothing. Yet, he's best remembered for shooting his arrows which can inspire love or hate.

Though typically seen as a cute little cherub associated with Valentine’s Day, Eros actually is supposed to be depicted as a handsome young man who wasn’t much into clothing. Yet, he’s best remembered for shooting his arrows which can inspire love or hate.

AKA: Cupid

Type: Well, depending on source. In some myths he’s a Protogenoi and in others a minor deity as the son of Aphrodite.

Domain: God of love as well as sexual desire and attraction.

Pro: Though usually dainty and non-threatening, he could best even the greatest of gods (usually by taking pot shots from far away with his bow that had arrows which could inspire both love and hate). He’s also one of the most benevolent and good natured gods to mortals as well as a constant and faithful companion for his mother Aphrodite (in stories he is her son). If he’s a protogenoi, he helps create the world with Chaos as a procreation deity. Genuinely loved and was faithful to Psyche.

Con: He has a mischievous side and his arrows can just as much inspire hate as love. You can guess that the Greeks believed his arrows could lead to stalkerism and sex crimes. Also, though genuinely nice, he does have a temper and could be coldly unforgiving to those who insult him as Apollo found out the hard way. Yet, he only reserves his wrath for the immortal side of his family. Not to mention, has no shame with taking his clothes off. Also, refused to show himself to Psyche that led him to abandon her for awhile.

Patron City: Was worshiped as a fertility cult in Thespiae and was rather popular in Athens.

Symbols: bow, arrow, candle heart, cupid, wings, and kisses

12. Psyche

Psyche who was the goddess of soul was once a mortal princess who Eros fell in love with despite Aphrodite's jealousy. Best known for her beauty, determination, and her insatiable curiosity that almost left her for dead when she looked into a box of beauty.

Psyche who was the goddess of soul was once a mortal princess who Eros fell in love with despite Aphrodite’s jealousy. Best known for her beauty, determination, and her insatiable curiosity that almost left her for dead when she looked into a box of beauty.

AKA: None

Type: Minor deity since she used to be mortal and former princess of Sicily.

Domain: Goddess of the soul and wife of Eros.

Pro: She was as well known for her beauty that not even Eros was immune to her charms and fell for her. She completed several seemingly impossible tasks to win back her husband Eros even if she had to petition to every god in the pantheon (which only took three but unfortunately the third was her mother-in-law Aphrodite). Was the only female mortal to travel to the underworld and succeed in her quest as well as one of the few to achieve immortality. And she did all this while pregnant and not knowing what Eros looked like.

Con: Unfortunately, she tends to let her curiosity get the best of her such as wanting to see Eros’ true form after her sisters basically tried to convince her that she might’ve married a horrible monster (despite that she previously had sex with him and conceived a child by this point. Don’t ask.) This leads her to suspect her husband as a winged serpent as well as confront him only armed with a lamp and a steak knife. Oh, and she nearly died after peeking into the box of beauty which lead to Eros saving her with a true love’s kiss as well as standing up to his mother.

Patron City: None

Symbols: a box of beauty

13. Pan

Of course, this satyr like god Pan is best associated with nature, pleasure, and sexuality who couldn't care less what goes on at Mount Olympus so much as it doesn't pertain to him. Still, out of the Greek pantheon, he's probably the one who'd most likely show up at Woodstock.

Of course, this satyr like god Pan is best associated with nature, pleasure, and sexuality who couldn’t care less what goes on at Mount Olympus so much as it doesn’t pertain to him. Still, out of the Greek pantheon, he’s probably the one who’d most likely show up at Woodstock.

AKA: Faunus

Type: Minor deity as the son of Hermes.

Domain: God of nature, the wild, goats, mountains, fields, forests, shepherds, and male sexuality.

Pro: He’s more concerned with the preservation of nature and the enjoyment of earthly pleasures such as music and sex. Though he often pals around with Dionysus, he generally doesn’t interact with other gods (besides his dad Hermes) because he simply doesn’t care about their political schemes unless it concerns him directly. Also generally friendly.

Con: Though he’s generally friendly, he’s known to be mischievous, lecherous to women, and spread panic.

Patron City: Arcadia but he was usually worshiped in caves and grottoes since he’s the only god who comes closest to being a hippie.

Symbols: pan flute and goat

14. Thanatos

Thanatos is the personification of Death who is disliked by mortals and other gods alike. Fortunately he doesn't care much about them either. Still, depicted as a pretty boy though.

Thanatos is the personification of Death who is disliked by mortals and other gods alike. Fortunately he doesn’t care much about them either. Still, depicted as a pretty boy though.

AKA: Thanatus, Mors

Type: Minor deity.

Domain: Personification of death.

Pro: Well, he doesn’t show any favoritism among mortals and gods. His existence doesn’t make war entirely pointless which was why Ares rescued him when Sisyphos put him in chains and had to spend all eternity by rolling a rock up a steep hill every day. Also, tends to be depicted as handsome.

Con: He basically hates everyone whether mortal or god and they tend to hate him back. Mortals hate him for causing and bringing death. He hates the gods for being immortal and outside his power.

Patron City: None, since he’s a death deity.

Symbols: poppy, theta, butterfly, sword, and inverted torch

15. Charon

Charon is the Ferryman who helps transport souls to the underworld just as long as they pay him. This is why the Ancient Greeks put coins in dead people's mouths and didn't cremate them. Still, letting him give you a ride for free is a noteworthy feat.

Charon is the Ferryman who helps transport souls to the underworld just as long as they pay him. This is why the Ancient Greeks put coins in dead people’s mouths and didn’t cremate them. Still, letting him give you a ride for free is a noteworthy feat.

AKA: Charun

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Ferryman of the River Archeron (and sometimes Styx) where he helps the souls of the newly dead to cross for a small price.

Pro: Well, he’s mostly harmless and is usually shown doing his job. As Charun he has a really nice hammer and is a more active guide of the dead.

Con: Let’s just say, he’s only the Ferryman for the money and if your loved ones don’t bury your corpse or give you a coin to pay him, then he’ll just leave you stranded on the coasts for a hundred years. Also, since Archeron is the river of pain and Styx the river of death, you might not want to wade in either. Let’s just say that the Ancient Greeks weren’t fans of cremation.

Patron City: None, but Greeks who died did have coins placed in their mouths to pay him.

Symbols:a haunted rowboat and a coin

16. Iris

Iris is best known as the messenger to the gods and goddess of the rainbow. She links the gods to humanity and travels at wind speed from one end of the world to the other.

Iris is best known as the messenger to the gods and goddess of the rainbow who travels on them to deliver messages from gods to mortals. Yet, sometimes the mortals would refuse to listen.

AKA: Arcus

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Messenger to the gods as well as goddess of rainbows, sea, and sky. Links the gods to humanity and travels with the speed of wind from one end of the world to the other and into the depths of the sea and the underworld.

Pro: Well, she saved Phineus from the Harpies’ torment and assured they won’t bother him again despite not being killed. Travels by rainbow.

Con: Puts perjurers to sleep with the water from the River Styx. In a play by Euripides she and Lyssa cursed Hercules with a fit of madness that led him to kill his wife Megara and their three sons. Also said to cause storms. Other than that, she doesn’t appear much.

Patron City: None.

Symbols: rainbow, of course

17. Hecate

Hecate may be a goddess of magic as well as known for her benevolence to those who venerate her. Yet, the fact she's confined to the role of a household goddess just kind of seems a little unfair to her.

Hecate may be a goddess of magic as well as known for her benevolence to those who venerate her. Yet, the fact she’s confined to the role of a household goddess just kind of seems a little unfair to her. Yet, she’s best known for appearing in Macbeth as the witches’ boss which is set in medieval Scotland. But, hey don’t ask me why that is.

AKA: Trivia

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Goddess of magic, crossroads, moon, ghosts, and necromancy. Said to have three appearances or just three heads.Feared and and revered by night travelers and worshiped by about to deliver mothers. Associated with knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants

Pro: She was honored by Zeus and is always called upon whenever men offer rich sacrifices or pray for favors according to custom. She is very generous with those who worship and honor her and will receive great blessings and victories. Assisted Demeter in the search for Persephone and became the latter’s companion on her yearly journey to and from the underworld.

Con: Despite being a powerful goddess and well loved in her own right, she doesn’t appear much in Greek mythology.

Patron City: Lagina where she had a sanctuary attended by eunuchs but is also thought to have a following in Thrace. She was also a patroness for the Macedonian Stratonikeia. Still, she was more or less worshiped as a household goddess by the Athenians seen as a protective deity who bestowed blessings and prosperity on the family. Honored with the evening feast of the Deipnon.

Symbols: paired torches, dogs, keys, and daggers.

18. Hypnos

Hypnos is the god of sleep and is best known for escaping Zeus' lightning bolt of divine retribution after he put the chief deity to sleep while Hera harassed Hercules. Of course, he went home to Mama Nyx who Zeus really didn't want to cross.

Hypnos is the god of sleep and is best known for escaping Zeus’ lightning bolt of divine retribution after he put the chief deity to sleep while Hera harassed Hercules. Of course, he went home to Mama Nyx who Zeus really didn’t want to cross.

AKA: Somnus

Type: Minor deity

Domain: God and personification of sleep. Lives in a cave next to his brother Thanatos that doesn’t see the sun rising or the moon with no gate or door. Yet, it houses a lot of hypnotic plants and poppies with the river Lethe flowing through it.

Pro: Is probably the only god that Thanatos didn’t hate (or perhaps). Is happily married to his wife Pasithea who was one of the youngest Graces and mother of his three sons. Is in good graces with Hera for all its implications.

Con: Let’s just say he has a mischievous side and managed to avoid Zeus’ bolt of divine retribution by running off to his mother Nyx for protection. Also allowed Hera to arrest Hercules in Homer by putting Zeus to sleep.

Patron City: None.

Symbols: poppy

19. Enyo

Enyo is the goddess of war and destruction who serves as a Ares' companion in battle. She is the most destructive and bloodthirsty god of the Greek Pantheon (even more so than Ares) and tends to make war absolute hell. Definitely not a pleasant goddess.

Enyo is the goddess of war and destruction who serves as a Ares’ companion in battle. She is the most destructive and bloodthirsty god of the Greek Pantheon (even more so than Ares) and tends to make war absolute hell. Definitely not a pleasant goddess.

AKA: Bellona, Duellona

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Goddess of war and destruction as well as companion of Ares often accompanying him into battle.

Pro: Well, she refuses to take sides in war but not in a good way.

Con: She’s responsible for orchestrating the destruction of cities and inflicted terror and bloodshed in battle. Would rather see Zeus battle it out with Typhon than take sides in that conflict since she delights in warfare. Still, she’s much more destructive than Ares and the bloodiest god in the whole Greek pantheon.

Patron City: None, though she did have a festival in Thebes and Orchomenos called Homoloia. As Bellona, whenever Rome declared war on someone the Fetial priests often threw a spear into her temple.

Symbols: Lady armor, sword, and shield.

20. Eris

Eris is the goddess of discord known for basically throwing a golden apple at a wedding she wasn't invited to. This led to the Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War.

Eris is the goddess of discord known for basically throwing a golden apple at a wedding she wasn’t invited to. This led to the Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War. Still, should’ve received a wedding invitation though she would cause trouble anyway.

AKA: Discordia

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Goddess of chaos, strife. and discord. Also, a deity in the modern Discordianism.

Pro: Let’s just say no harm will come to anyone in Ancient Greece if you invite her to a wedding or party.

Con: She’s not a pleasant goddess and her kids are even worse than her. Basically could be blamed for starting the Trojan war because she wasn’t invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis where she basically crashed the occasion and tossed a golden apple Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite fought over. This ushered the Judgement of Paris. Then again, she wasn’t invited because she had a reputation to cause trouble out of pure malice. Also escorted Typhon into his battle with Zeus. Still, she should’ve gotten a wedding invitation. A lot of people’s lives could’ve been saved that way.

Patron City: None, of course.

Symbols: Golden Apple of Discord

21. Nike

Nike is the goddess of victory led Zeus into battle against the Titans. Yet, when you hear her name, you think of a brand of athletic shoe with the famous swoosh logo.

Nike is the goddess of victory led Zeus into battle against the Titans. Yet, when you hear her name, you think of a brand of athletic shoe with the famous swoosh logo.

AKA: Victoria

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Goddess of victory, strength, and speed, and divine charioteer to Zeus.

Pro: Since she’s the goddess of victory, she’s certainly someone you’d want on your side in anything you can’t lose. Flies around battlefields and rewards victors with glory and fame. Led Zeus into battle against the Titans.

Con: She doesn’t appear much in Greek mythology and is best remembered as having an athletic shoe brand named after her which is better remembered than she is.

Patron City: None, but she was commonly depicted on Greek coins.

Symbols: torch and laurel wreath

22. Nemesis

Nemesis is the goddess that personified revenge and divine judgement of hubris before the gods. She distributes fortune to mortals, both good or bad yet her verdict is always correct whether you like it or not. You might want to devise a will if you see her in a Greek tragedy for you will die a horrible death over something you did even if consisted of speeding.

Nemesis is the goddess that personified revenge and divine judgement of hubris before the gods. She distributes fortune to mortals, both good or bad yet her verdict is always correct whether you like it or not. You might want to devise a will if you see her in a Greek tragedy for you will die a horrible death over something you did even if consisted of speeding.

AKA: Rhamnousia, Invidia, Adrasteia

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Goddess of revenge, implacable justice, and divine judgement for hubris before the gods. Also a distributor of fortune both good and bad.

Pro: She’s a respected goddess as well as always gives everybody what they deserve as far as the Greeks are concerned since they viewed her judgements as absolutely correct. Also one of the few deities that no one dared to cross intentionally since divine judgement on hubris is itself hubris. Even Zeus would avoid messing with her.

Con: Let’s just say she has no personality outside fulfilling her duties and doesn’t care what others think about her decisions. She’s also absolutely uncaring to anyone or anything that doesn’t fall within her judgement and even then, is impassive, implacable force of nature. So if she appears in a Greek tragedy in which you’re the main character, expect to meet a really nasty demise leaving a mutilated corpse and you can do nothing about it.

Patron City: Rhamnous in northeastern Attica where she had an archaic sanctuary in her honor. Had a festival in Athens called Nemesia.

Symbols: hourglass, scales, and sword

23. Astraea

Astraea is the goddess of justice, purity, and innocence who chose to leave the earth after being disenchanted with humanity's wickedness and became the constellation Virgo. Her scales would become Libra. Still, she's said to return eventually.

Astraea is the goddess of justice, purity, and innocence who chose to leave the earth after being disenchanted with humanity’s wickedness and became the constellation Virgo. Her scales would become Libra. Still, she’s said to return eventually.

AKA: Justitia, Lady Justice, the Celestial Virgin

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Goddess of justice, innocence, and purity. One of the last immortals to live with humans during the golden age of Man.

Pro: She’s one of the nicest gods of the Greek pantheon and the closest thing to an all loving deity in Ancient Greece.

Con: Basically left Earth because she thought humanity too wicked during the Iron Age (though she may come back and usher a new Golden Age). Opted to ascend into heaven become the constellation Virgo instead while her scales became Libra.

Patron City: None

Symbols: scales

24. Triton

Though he is a merman and carries a trident, he's not Ariel's dad from The Little Mermaid. Rather he's Triton who's the messenger of the sea who also carried a conch shell he blew to control the waves.

Though he is a merman and carries a trident, he’s not Ariel’s dad from The Little Mermaid. Rather he’s Triton who’s the messenger of the sea who also carried a conch shell he blew to control the waves.

AKA: None

Type: Minor deity

Domain: Messenger of the sea and herald to his father Poseidon. Lived in his parents’ golden palace Celaeno at the bottom of the sea.

Pro: Blew into his conch shell to control the waves. Guided the Argonauts to find the passage from the river back to the sea when they got lost. Sometimes depicted as a foster parent to Athena.

Con: Doesn’t appear much in Greek mythology.

Patron City: None.

Symbols: trident and conch shell

25. Circe

Circe may not be a notable goddess of magic but she's best known for having an island mansion she surrounded with predatory beast. She's also known to turn people into animals and her encounter with Odysseus.

Circe may not be a notable goddess of magic but she’s best known for having an island mansion she surrounded with predatory beast. She’s also known to turn people into animals and her encounter with Odysseus.

AKA: None

Type: Minor deity

Domain: A goddess of magic and called “the loveliest of all immortals.”

Pro: Had a vast array of knowledge of potions, drugs, and herbs and was a very powerful sorceress with her magic wand (or staff). Also, has a great monologue on sexism and double standards on Mount Olympus in The Odyssey. Seemed like a gracious hostess to Odysseus’ men at first anyway.

Con: Transformed her enemies (as well as those who offended her) into animals. Said to be exiled to the island of Aeaea for killing her husband, the prince of Colchis. Lived in a large mansion surrounded by forests and feral predators she culled with her magic. Turned some of Odysseus’ crew into pigs that he set out to rescue them with Athena’s help. Luckily he was able to gain her trust and she helped him on his journey home.

Patron City: None.

Symbols: wand or staff

Advertisements

Halloween Decorating Do’s and Don’ts

Exterior-pergola-Halloween-GTL1005-de

Of course, autumn is in the air and Halloween will soon be upon us before we know it. A lot of people relish in Halloween who tend to get all up in the festivities. I mean many of them dress in costumes as well as decorate their homes in the Halloween spirit. Yet, for those who plan to decorate for All Hallows Eve, you might want to be mindful of your neighbors if you want to be decked out around your house. I mean though you can go for scary, your decorations must be inoffensive and kid friendly because you never know what kind of trick or treaters you may get. If not, then you’ll probably find your Halloween decorations on the news stirring controversy which you don’t want. Nevertheless, for those who want to be creative, here is a nice little how-to on what and what not to do.

Do: A Halloween display of your favorite franchise.

Sure neighbors may think you had too much time on your hands while doing a Star Wars scarecrow display but at least some people would like it.

Sure neighbors may think you had too much time on your hands while doing a Star Wars scarecrow display but at least some people would like it.

Don’t: Do a lawn display that could lead the neighbors to dial 911.

It's said that the neighbors actually called 911 for this all too realistic decor of people getting run over. Don't do this.

It’s said that the neighbors actually called 911 for this all too realistic decor of people getting run over. Don’t do this.

Do: Have decorations that were inspired by clever puns.

While this display may make neighbors question your parenting skills, I'm sure it's nevertheless in the spirit and funny.

While this display may make neighbors question your parenting skills, I’m sure it’s nevertheless in the spirit and funny.

Don’t: Have Hallwoeen displays that include execution methods no matter how cool or scary the idea may seem.

Because you never know where your neighbors and guests may stand on the death penalty. Seriously, don't do this.

Because you never know where your neighbors and guests may stand on the death penalty. Seriously, don’t do this.

Do: Displays with skeletons enjoying the pleasures of life.

Just a nice quiet afternoon open air picnic with Mr. and Mrs. Bones. I'm sure the neighbors won't complain though they'd wonder where you got the skeletons from.

Just a nice quiet afternoon open air picnic with Mr. and Mrs. Bones. I’m sure the neighbors won’t complain though they’d wonder where you got the skeletons from.

Don’t: Use hangings for your Halloween display unless they’re naked skeletons and not with rope by the neck.

Because an image like this can cause a lot of unpleasant feelings for people who may be anti-death penalty, know people who've tried killing themselves this way, actually have attempted suicide this way, or are African American. If they are the last part, then be warned that such displays may remind them of that old kind of racist hate crime used on them during the Jim Crow era. So don't do this.

Because an image like this can cause a lot of unpleasant feelings for people who may be anti-death penalty, know people who’ve tried killing themselves this way, actually have attempted suicide this way, or are African American. If they are the last part, then be warned that such displays may remind them of that old kind of racist hate crime used on them during the Jim Crow era. So don’t do this.

Do: Be eco-friendly and use any leftover supplies you may have.

Using old chicken wire to create ghostly dresses isn't just creative, it's also good for the environment as well. Besides, you can use these decorations again and again.

Using old chicken wire to create ghostly dresses isn’t just creative, it’s also good for the environment as well. Besides, you can use these decorations again and again.

Don’t: Use your daughter’s baby dolls for your Halloween display or mutilated doll exhibit.

This just goes too far as scary goes. Besides, this might traumatize many trick or treaters, especially young girls. This is just plain sick if you know what I mean.

This just goes too far as scary goes. Besides, this might traumatize many trick or treaters, especially young girls. This is just plain sick if you know what I mean.

Do: Go with a ghost coven in your yard.

Now this isn't just spooky but also rather eco-friendly, simple, and clever.

Now this isn’t just spooky but also rather eco-friendly, simple, and clever.

Don’t: Incorporate politics in your Halloween lawn display.

I know that Halloween isn't too far from Election day. As a Catholic I'm perfectly fine with Halloween religious displays since well, there's a lot of creepy religious stuff. Yet, as a Democrat, for the love of God, don't incorporate politics in your Halloween displays because you never know who you may offend.

I know that Halloween isn’t too far from Election day. As a Catholic I’m perfectly fine with Halloween religious displays since well, there’s a lot of creepy religious stuff. But it’s only as good if the religion your mocking is your own, Christianity, cults, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, or Satanism. Yet, as a Democrat, for the love of God, don’t incorporate politics in your Halloween displays because you never know who you may offend in your neighborhood.

Do: Go with shadows.

May not be that scary up close but they're sure clever, simple, and rather effective.

May not be that scary up close but they’re sure clever, simple, and rather effective.

Don’t: Go for horrific circus displays that may traumatize children.

Now there is such a thing as being too scary. This horrific display may traumatize little kids and not want to make them see a circus in their lives.

Now there is such a thing as being too scary. This horrific display may traumatize little kids and not want to make them see a circus in their lives.

Do: Mock non-political celebrities like Justin Bieber and Hugh Hefner.

After all, a guy known for founding a slutty magazine and an annoying Canadian teenie bopper are perfectly acceptable targets.

After all, a guy known for founding a slutty magazine and an annoying Canadian teenie bopper are perfectly acceptable targets.

Don’t: Use any Halloween displays that go beyond the PG rating in anything other than gore.

While blood and gore are all right in your Halloween decorations to an extent, doing a pumpkin display with exposed boobs and butts will make many parents complain. I mean you want kid friendliness in this department so don't do this.

While blood and gore are all right in your Halloween decorations to an extent, doing a pumpkin display with exposed boobs and butts will make many parents complain. I mean you want kid friendliness in this department so don’t do this.

Do: Go with cobwebs, graveyards, and Hollywood style Satanic and cult rituals.

After all, using elements in Halloween displays that have anything to do with death or the occult are perfectly acceptable.

After all, using elements in Halloween displays that have anything to do with death or the occult are perfectly acceptable.

Don’t: Have Halloween displays that depict murder and graphic violence or the neighbors may get upset with you.

I say this especially since the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown as well as the controversial "shoot first" laws in many states. Also, such violent displays are too graphic for the kiddies.

I say this especially since the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown as well as the controversial “shoot first” laws in many states. Also, such violent displays are too graphic for the kiddies.

Do: Decorate your lawn by reenacting your favorite movie in a Halloween style.

Now a skeleton version of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? now that I approve most admirably. Looks like Blanche has rat for din din tonight.

Now a skeleton version of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? now that I approve most admirably. Looks like Blanche has rat for din din tonight.

Don’t: Make your Halloween lawn display offensive, especially in a racial context.

Now this is just terrible. I mean just who in their right mind would make such a display of someone being gunned by a scary black person in a hoodie. I mean that's just racist.

Now this is just terrible. I mean just who in their right mind would make such a display of someone being being chained by a black person in a hoodie? Seriously, this is just blatantly racist. Don’t ever do this for the love of God.

Do: Use your old dresses to create an illuminated Halloween display the neighbors would never forget.

Now using lights, wires, and dresses to create an illusion that ghosts are wearing your clothes is very creative and impressive. Kudos to the person who thought up this.

Now using lights, wires, and dresses to create an illusion that ghosts are wearing your clothes is very creative and impressive. Kudos to the person who thought up this.

Don’t: Go for mutilated corpses that may make the neighbors complain.

A British man was told to remove this decoration, which probably serves just as well. I mean this is too graphic and gross to display in the front lawn anyway.

A British man was told to remove this decoration, which probably serves just as well. I mean this is too graphic and gross to display in the front lawn anyway.

The Real People of Boardwalk Empire: Part 5 – Mae Coughlin Capone to Owney Madden

boardwalk-empire-gambling

As I may have said before, before states in the Mid Atlantic started to legalize gambling and build casinos of their own in recent times, Atlantic City was renown as the Las Vegas of the Eastern Seaboard before Las Vegas with its share of casinos and gambling establishments. It was also the city that served as a model for the Parker Brothers’ game of Monopoly but that will come out during the Great Depression but it’s no coincidence why some of the areas in that city seem to remind you of it. Nevertheless, Atlantic City also began the Miss America beauty pageant which started as a way to get more tourists to their resort boom town, but has become a national beauty contest owned by Donald Trump (and whatever he has on his hair). Still, during Prohibition, it was famous for ignoring Prohibition thanks to the efforts of one Nucky Johnson who’s the inspiration for the Steve Buscemi character on Boardwalk Empire. Yet, we’ve come to the final installment but we still have more people to go over. In this final selection, we’ll look at some historical wives to famous figures like Mae Capone, First Lady Florence Harding, and Katherine Bader. We’ll also meet Al Capone’s mother Theresina and Warren G. Harding’s alleged daughter Elizabeth Ann Blaesing. Yet, we’ll also see investigators William Frank and Eliot Ness as well as Nucky Johnson’s servant Louis Kessel. And then we have famous horse trainer Max Hirsch, boxing manager Jack “Doc” Kearns, and possible Billie Kent inspiration Dorothy “Dot” King. Finally, we’ll meet gangsters Salvatore Maranzano and Owney Madden. So without further adieu, enjoy this final installment of the real people seen from Boardwalk Empire.

53. Mae Coughlin Capone (1897-1986)

Mae Capone was Al Capone's beautiful wife and mother to his son. Yet, since she was a private person, there's very little else that's known about her. Still, Al knew how to pick em' didn't he?

Mae Capone was Al Capone’s beautiful wife and mother to his son. Yet, since she was a private person, there’s very little else that’s known about her. Still, Al knew how to pick em’ didn’t he?

Known in Life as: Al Capone’s wife.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, she was Irish.
Differences: Born in New York and married to Al since she was 21 three weeks after their son was born. Had syphilis. Was an ardent churchgoer. Stuck with Al until the end and was reputed to be beautiful. Still, despite her husband’s infamy as perhaps the most famous American gangster who ever lived, there’s surprisingly little about her.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Miami in 1986 at 89.

54. Max Hirsch (1880-1969)
Known in Life as: American Hall of Fame Thoroughbred horse trainer. One of the most successful in history. His horses gave him 3 wins in the Kentucky Derby, 2 wins in the Preakness Stakes, and 4 wins in the Belmont Stakes. Also, trained the 1946 Triple Crown winner Bold Venture.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he did condition horses for various clients but I’m not sure if Rothstein was one of them.
Differences: Born in Texas and spent his early years as a groom and jockey at the Morris Ranch. Married with at least one son named Buddy who also followed in his footsteps.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Long Island, New York in 1969 at 88.

55. Florence Harding (1860-1924)

Though we're not sure whether she was called

Though we’re not sure whether she was called “Flossie” we’re pretty sure that if Florence Harding ever had anything to do with her husband’s death it had more to do with trusting the wrong doctor than anything. I mean you shouldn’t trust homeopaths for their pseudoscientific quacks.

Known in Life as: Wife of President Warren G. Harding and First Lady of the United States from 1921-1923. Known as the brains behind her husband’s newspaper business, called “The Duchess,” and was said to give notably elegant parties.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, she had gray hair and glasses. Also actually consulted a fortune teller who said that her husband would become President but die in office.
Differences: Was married twice and had a son with her first husband who she divorced on grounds for gross neglect. May or may not have been called “Flossie.” Once studied to be a concert pianist and worked as a piano teacher. Helped Warren run his newspaper business where she organized circulation, improved distribution, trained newsboys, purchased equipment at keen prices, and installed the first local wire service. She also managed her husband’s finances, social life, and public image. Said to have a strong influence in Warren’s administration and held outspoken political views. Her great cause was championing the welfare of war veterans and served alcohol to guests. Though alleged by Gaston Means that she killed her husband, it’s highly unlikely though she did destroy many of his papers.
Ultimate Fate: Died of renal failure after her last public appearance on Veteran’s Day in 1924. She was 64.

56. Teresina Raiola Capone (1867-1952)

Theresina Capone with her grandson Albert Francis. I guess while she didn't seem to like her son's gangster interests, she didn't seem to disown him.

Theresina Capone with her grandson Albert Francis. I guess while she didn’t seem to like her son’s gangster interests, she didn’t seem to disown him.

Known in Life as: Al Capone’s mother.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, she’s Italian though I’m not sure if she went to Chicago.
Differences: Born in Naples and was a seamstress before marrying barber Gabriel Capone. Had 10 children. Came to the US in 1893.
Ultimate Fate: Died in 1952 at 85.

57. Katherine Holvick Bader (1878-1969)
Known in Life as: Edward L. Bader’s wife.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, she did attend dinners with her husband.
Differences: Married with 4 kids. Still, there’s really not much about her.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Atlantic City in 1969 at 91.

58. Jack “Doc” Kearns (1882-1963)

Jack

Jack “Doc” Kearns was a world renown boxing manager most famous for overseeing the career of Jack Dempsey. Still, there may be details in his autobiography that might be rather sketchy.

Known in Life as: World renowned boxing trainer and manager for Jack Dempsey during the 1920s. Also trained Mickey Walker, Joe Maxim, and Archie Moore.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Trained Jack Dempsey around the time of his upcoming fight against Georges Carpentier. May have been corrupt.
Differences: Hailed from the state of Washington and wrote his autobiography called The Million Dollar Gate that was published posthumously in 1966. Quit school at 14 and stowed away on a freighter to Alaska to stake a claim in the Klondike Gold Rush. Said he worked as a dognapper and helped smuggle Chinese laborers. Was a boxer himself in 1900 and said to take part in 60 bouts. Operated a boxing club and bar in Spokane for a time. Remained an active fight manager until his death.
Ultimate Fate: Died in 1963 at 81.

59. Salvatore Maranzano (1886-1931)

Salvatore Maranzano may look rather sharp but this is perhaps the only picture I could find him alive. Other photos depict him as brutally shot up and they're not pretty. Still, let's just say he'd start a gang war and be killed by Luciano.

Salvatore Maranzano may look rather sharp but this is perhaps the only picture I could find him alive. Other photos depict him as brutally shot up and they’re not pretty. Still, let’s just say he’d start a gang war and be killed by Luciano.

Known in Life as: Early Costa Nostra boss in the US who instigated the Castellammarese War to seize control of American Mafia operations and briefly became the Mafia’s “Bosses of Bosses.”
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was in direct competition with Masseria.
Differences: Born in Italy and once studied to be a priest yet immigrated to Brooklyn in 1919 on a Sicilian mob boss’ orders. Had a commanding presence as well as greatly respected his underworld peers. Was fascinated with Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire as well as loved discussing these subjects with his less-educated American counterparts. Though he was a legitimate real estate broker, he also had businesses in bootlegging, prostitution, and illegal narcotics smuggling. Divided his organization into squads with each soldier pledging loyalty to his squad leader.
Ultimate Fate: Shot and stabbed by 4 hitmen posing as accountants in New York on Luciano’s orders in 1931. Still, he already hired someone to kill Luciano. After his murder, Luciano abolished the “Boss of Bosses” title and his organization would become the Bonnano Crime Family since it was given to Joseph Bonnano.

60. William Frank
Known in Life as: A lawyer who led a joint IRS and FBI task force to take down Nucky Johnson.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for Nelson Van Alden which is rather loosely based.
Similarities: Well, they did lead an operation to take down a corrupt political boss making money on illegal activities.
Differences: His operation to take Nucky Johnson down wasn’t until 1936, which was 3 years after Prohibition. Also, he probably wasn’t a religious fanatic (if so, then he perhaps wasn’t as batshit crazy as Van Alden) and was rather successful at getting his man.
Ultimate Fate: Don’t really know what happened to him.

61. Eliot Ness (1903-1957)

I think Eliot Ness is one of the more overrated people in history mainly because his actions during Prohibition make a rather good story despite that he didn't take down Al Capone. Also, he was a womanizer and a drunk.

I think Eliot Ness is one of the more overrated people in history mainly because his actions during Prohibition make a rather good story despite that he didn’t take down Al Capone. Also, he was a womanizer and a drunk.

Known in Life as: American Prohibition agent famous for his efforts to enforce the 18th Amendment in Chicago as well as leader of a legendary team of law enforcement agents known as the Untouchables (and no, they didn’t take down Al Capone. IRS agent Frank J. Wilson did).
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he did publicly declare he’d take down Al Capone while still a Chicago Treasury agent (he didn’t in real life).
Differences: Born to Norwegian immigrants and attended the University of Chicago where he served as a member in Sigma Alpha Epsilon and graduated with an economics degree in 1925. Career as investigator began for the Retail Credit Company of Atlanta. Returned to college to earn a master’s degree in criminology. With his Untouchables, he staged raids against illegal stills and breweries and was said to have seized such facilities worth as much as a million bucks. Also used wiretapping. Had a close friend killed and survived assassination attempts. Was a womanizing drunk. Had one adopted son and was married 3 times (divorced twice).
Ultimate Fate: After Prohibition, his later years as a law enforcer would come to an end in the 1930s and his latter life consisted of two divorces, business failures, and alcoholism. Died of a heart attack in Coudersport, Pennsylvania at 54. ATF building is named after him.

62. Louis Kessel (1888-1944)

Louis Kessel was the inspiration for Boardwalk Empire's Eddie Kessler. A former cab driver, he worked as Nucky Johnson's valet, driver, and bodyguard and was called by his boss,

Louis Kessel was the inspiration for Boardwalk Empire’s Eddie Kessler. A former cab driver, he worked as Nucky Johnson’s valet, driver, and bodyguard and was called by his boss, “the most loyal man I ever knew.” If there was one thing, Nucky Johnson regretted in his life, it was not attending Kessel’s funeral (due to being incarcerated for tax evasion).

Known in Life as: Former cab driver and personal servant to Nucky Johnson at his Ritz-Carlton residence in Atlantic City. Johnson called him, “the most loyal man I ever knew.”
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for Eddie Kessler.
Similarities: Well, he was German (despite being born in Russia). Also served as chauffer and bodyguard, too.
Differences: Born in Russia and was 42 in 1920. Was of stockier build than Anthony Laicura but had a similar appearance otherwise. Smoked a pipe. Stood 5’5” and weighed 260 lbs. Before he became a cab driver he was a wrestler and bartender. Could easily break down a door. Woke his boss every day at 3:00 pm and gave him a vigorous massage with wintergreen oil, answered his calls, and prepared him of the day. Was arrested in a prostitution sting. Had a wife and kids though (his granddaughter is still alive). Visited his boss in prison a few times a week with Johnson’s second wife Florence.
Ultimate Fate: Died in a broadsided limo accident during a drive to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to see his incarcerated boss. He was 56. Nucky Johnson was upset that he couldn’t go to the funeral, and not being there haunted him for decades. Still, his boss would write a moving tribute for him.

63. Elizabeth Ann Blaesing (1919-2005)

Young Elizabeth Blaesing with her mother Nan Britton. Though alleged to be Warren G. Harding's daughter, I don't think she bears any resemblance to the President. Still, Harding was known to be philanderer but might've been sterile.

Young Elizabeth Blaesing with her mother Nan Britton. Though alleged to be Warren G. Harding’s daughter, I don’t think she bears any resemblance to the President. Still, Harding was known to be philanderer but might’ve been sterile.

Known in Life as: Alleged daughter of Warren Harding by alleged mistress Nan Britton. Her claims were never conclusively proven.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show though she won’t be known by her surname Blaesing until after she was married. Yet, since we don’t know who her father is and went by different surnames prior to her marriage, we’ll just use her maiden name.
Similarities: Well, she was definitely Nan Britton’s daughter. And Warren G. Harding’s according to DNA tests.
Differences: Born in New Jersey and lived in multiple states. Married and had at least one son. Said that Warren G. Harding was her father but has refused interviews or a DNA test (not anymore).
Ultimate Fate: Died in Oregon in 2005. She was 86.

64. Dorothy “Dot” King (1896-1923)

Dorothy

Dorothy “Dot” King was a former showgirl, model, and actress who was famously found murdered in her New York apartment in a building owned by Arnold Rothstein. Still, compared to Billie Kent, she was no saint.

Known in Life as: Ziegfield Follies chorus showgirl who lived in an apartment owned by Arnold Rothstein found famously murdered in 1923.
Character or Inspiration? Likely inspiration for Billie Kent though rather loosely.
Similarities: Well, they do have a similar taste in certain infamous men like sugar daddies, playboys, top-hatted stage-door Johnnies, and Just Plain Gigolo. Both were said to have diamonds, furs, and a bachelor girl apartment in New York.
Differences: Daughter of Irish immigrants. She wasn’t the loyal mistress Billie was to Nucky on the show (who had a sugar daddy but also a Puerto Rican con man lover) and was actually in her late 20s. Also wasn’t blown up in a nightclub. Was married once to a chauffeur but he divorced her after catching her cheating on him. Appeared in only one Broadway production for 105 performances in 1920 and worked in modeling. Yet, left both to make a living as an honest to goodness vamp who had affairs with string of wealthy and powerful men.
Ultimate Fate: Murdered in her yellow silk pajamas in her New York City apartment in 1923. She was 27. Some of her jewelry was missing from the scene as well. Killing remains unsolved and no one was tried.

65. Owney Madden (1891-1965)

Owney Madden may not look like much and may have spoken in a Yorkshire accent like you hear on Downton Abbey. Yet, he was a notorious gangster who had future movie star George Raft as his personal driver (yes, that George Raft if you know who he was. Well, if you don't, he's the head gangster in Some Like It Hot, which you should watch).

Owney Madden may not look like much and may have spoken in a Yorkshire accent like you hear on Downton Abbey. Yet, he was a notorious gangster who had future movie star George Raft as his personal driver (yes, that George Raft if you know who he was. Well, if you don’t, he’s the head gangster in Some Like It Hot, which you should watch).

Known in Life as: Leading underworld figure during Prohibition in New York, most notable for his involvement in organized crime, running the famous Cotton Club, and being a leading boxing promoter in the 1930s.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Spoke in a Northern English accent.
Differences: Born in England to Irish parents. Came to US in early 1900s and was a member of New York’s Gopher Gang where he got a notorious reputation as a fighter and killer. Lead pipe and gun were his signature weapons. Enjoyed an opulent lifestyle and was often accompanied by several women. Yet was known for his violent jealousy and shot a store clerk who asked one of his girls out while boarding a trolley. Despite several witnesses, the case was dismissed. Yet, was eventually sent to Sing Sing for 20 years for his violent behavior but only served 9. Found the Gopher Gang broke up at his 1923 release so went to be a muscle for a friend’s cab business and started running Canadian whiskey to New York. Onetime personal driver would be future movie star George Raft (I’m not making this up).
Ultimate Fate: After being responsible for the killing of Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll and being arrested for a parole violation in 1932, he would soon leave New York in 1935. Settled in Hot Springs, Arkansas where he opened the Southern Club where Luciano was arrested as well as became involved with other criminal activities like illegal gambling. Became a US citizen in 1943 and married the city postmaster’s daughter. Gave up his British passport when threatened with deportation in the 1950s. Died of emphysema in 1965 at 73.

The Real People of Boardwalk Empire: Part 4 – Nan Britton to Richard “Peg Leg” Lonergan

IF

Vaudeville was one of the dominant forms of variety show entertainment from the 1880s to the early 1930s, which was very popular in the United States and Canada during the 1920s. A typical performance was made up of a series of unrelated acts groups together on a common bill. Acts could consist of popular and classical musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, male and female drag shows, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels (hopefully not to a black audience), and even movies. This kind of entertainment developed from many sources including the concert saloon, minstrelsy (unfortunately), freak shows, dime museums, and literary American burlesque. It’s no wonder it’s called “the heart of American show business,” since it brought us people like Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Eddie Cantor, Buster Keaton, Mae West, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Abbot and Costello, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, and George Burns. Still, it’s a dominant form of entertainment in Boardwalk Empire filled with many showgirls that all the gangsters can screw. Nevertheless, in this selection, we’ll meet political figures like President Warren G. Harding, Irish revolutionary and politician Eamon De Valera, New Jersey Governor Edward I. Edwards, and Atlantic City Mayor Harry Bacharach. We’ll also be introduced to Al Capone’s son Albert Francis, alleged Harding mistress Nan Britton, Arnold Rothstein’s wife Carolyn, ragtime composer James Scott, and famous criminal defense lawyer William J. Fallon. And of course, Boardwalk Empire won’t be without the gangsters in which we have in this selection Big Jim Colosimo (the mustachioned guy who was killed in the pilot), Chicago Outfit adviser and Capone Associate Jake Guzik, as well as White Hand leaders “Wild Bill” Lovett and “Peg Leg” Lonergan. So without further adieu, here are some more real life historical figures from the world of the Emmy-winning Boardwalk Empire.

40. Nan Britton (1896-1991)

Nan Britton may or may not have been Warren Harding's babymama but she did cause a sensation with her 1927 book alleging that. Still, I wonder how she got the fur stole.

Nan Britton may or may not have been Warren Harding’s babymama but she did cause a sensation with her 1927 book alleging that. Still, I wonder how she got the fur stole.

Known in Life as: Associated with the Warren G. Harding Presidency because she publicly claimed in a tell-all book in 1928 that Harding had fathered her illegitimate daughter shortly before his election as president in 1920.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was infatuated with Harding since she was a teenager and before he started his political career (who was a friend of her dad). Also, had his love child according to DNA evidence.
Differences: Was about 24 in 1920 and worked as a secretary in New York City. Had her daughter in 1919. Also, despite that she claimed that Harding fathered her daughter, Elizabeth Ann, there’s little concrete evidence that an affair between them ever took place and might’ve just existed in her head (save maybe an occasional hook up prior to his presidency). If so, then we’re sure that Harding wasn’t her baby daddy because he was said to be sterile (though DNA evidence has rebuked this). Also wasn’t hidden away until the 1920 election to avoid political scandal because that honor went to a woman who was Harding’s mistress but for very different reasons.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Oregon of natural causes in 1991 at 94.

41. Eamon De Valera (1882-1975)

John McGarrigle may not be a surrogate for Eamon De Valera but he did share a lot of his personality and wore glasses. Nevertheless, Valera would be a dominant figure in Ireland during the 20th century until his death in 1975.

John McGarrigle may not be a surrogate for Eamon De Valera but he did share a lot of his personality and wore glasses. Nevertheless, Valera would be a dominant figure in Ireland during the 20th century until his death in 1975.

Known in Life as: One of the dominant figures of early 20th century Ireland whose political career spanned from 1917-1973 with roles from revolutionary to several terms as head of state and government. Led the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland. Was in Sinn Fein and founded Fianna Fail. Political creed evolved from militant republicanism to cultural conservatism.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for John McGarrigle (though not necessarily a stand-in but close).
Similarities: Well, they had similar appearances and personality. Both fund-raised for the IRA in the US.
Differences: Born in New York to a Cuban father. Was a devout Catholic man who once considered becoming a priest yet might’ve prevented doing so because of his possible illegitimate birth (out of wedlock children couldn’t enter into the secular or diocesan priesthood at the time, though he could’ve been a priest of a religious order {like Erasmus}. Still, his half-brother was a priest though). Happily married for 65 years and fathered 7 kids. Was a math professor before getting involved in Irish politics. Was never assassinated unlike McGarrigle.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Dublin of natural causes in 1975 at 92. Body lay in Dublin Castle and was given a full funeral at St. Mary Pro-Cathedral, which was broadcast on national television.

42. Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)

Warren G. Harding did make a dandy looking president in the early 1920s. Too bad that he was a horrible judge of character that Teapot Dome happened.

Warren G. Harding did make a dandy looking president in the early 1920s. Too bad that he was a horrible judge of character that Teapot Dome happened.

Known in Life as: 29th President of the United States from 1921-1923. Republican from Ohio who served in the state and US Senate but was nominated on the ballot for being an inoffensive compromise candidate and used advertising experts to publicize his presidential appearance and conservative promises like “a return to normalcy,” an end to violence and radicalism, a strong economy, and independence from European intrigues. Though appointed great minds in his cabinet like Andrew Mellon for Treasury, Herbert Hoover for Commerce, and Charles Evans Hughes for State, he also rewarded friends and contributors with powerful positions who were known as the Ohio Gang. Presidency was famous for multiple cases of corruption exposed both during and after his death, including the notorious Teapot Dome scandal which was “greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics” before Watergate. Seen as one of the worst US Presidents, despite setting up what would eventually become the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was a womanizer and frequently cheated on his wife. Had to have a mistress hidden away during his 1920 presidential campaign. And had a love child out of wedlock to Nan Britton according to DNA evidence. But both these things didn’t apply to the same woman.
Differences: Born and spent most of his life in Ohio as well as owned a newspaper. Actual mistress who was to be hidden away wasn’t Nan Britton, but his mistress of 15 years Carrie Fulton Phillips (who he certainly did have an affair with since there are 1,000 pages of intimate letters between them which may be available online), a wife of a department store owner and a close friend. Yet, she was hidden away due to her vocal support for Germany during WWI and was deliberately blackmailed by the Republican Party with an all-expense paid vacation to East Asia. Also said to be linked to two of his wife’s friends named Susan Hodder and Grace Cross. Heavy drinker and gambler. Still, wasn’t as much a crook and more like a bad judge of character.
Ultimate Fate: Died in office under mysterious circumstances in San Francisco in 1923 at 58 (Mrs. Harding refused an autopsy. Still, even if Flossie didn’t poison her husband {and it’s highly unlikely she did}, we’re not sure what killed him. He was officially said to succumb to apoplexy and recently had a heart attack as well as food poisoning {from seafood} that led to pneumonia in Alaska but it may have been stroke, congestive heart failure, food poisoning, or heart attack. It’s also widely believed that Harding might’ve been a victim of medical malpractice since the doctor treating him when he died was a homeopath {a field of medicine that’s now considered a pseudoscience}.)

43. James “Big Jim” Colosimo (1878-1920)

Big Jim Colosimo with his lawyer. Notice that he used to wear that white suit to lure women into his prostitution cathouses. Still, you probably remember him for getting killed in the Boardwalk Empire pilot.

Big Jim Colosimo with his lawyer. Notice that he used to wear that white suit to lure women into his prostitution cathouses. Still, you probably remember him for getting killed in the Boardwalk Empire pilot.

Known in Life as: Italian American Mafia crime boss who built a criminal empire in Chicago based on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering. From 1902-1920 would lead a gang that would be known after his death as the Chicago Outfit.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was actually a big guy with a mustache. Refused to invest in the alcohol business when Prohibition came around. Had a restaurant and night club called Colosimo’s Café (where Al Capone would work as a bouncer). Was killed in 1920 (but in May not January as in the pilot).
Differences: Born in Italy and immigrated to Chicago in 1895. Recruited Johnny Torrio from Brooklyn and made him his second in command (this would prove to be a very big mistake). Married twice and divorced once (to Torrio’s aunt whom he deserted). Frequently dressed in a white suit as well as wore diamond pins, rings, and other jewelry.
Ultimate Fate: Shot and killed in his café in Chicago in 1920 at 42. Though Torrio is the most likely suspect responsible (who may have hired Frankie Yale to do the deed), no one was ever arrested for it.

44. Albert Francis “Sonny “Capone (1918-2004)

Sonny Capone on one of his wedding days, I think. Still, basically rebelled against his dad by going to college, getting a legitimate job, and not breaking the law.

Sonny Capone on one of his wedding days, I think. Still, basically rebelled against his dad by going to college, getting a legitimate job, and not breaking the law.

Known in Life as: Al Capone’s son.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was a kid at the time (well, he was 2 in 1920). And he did have hearing problems.
Differences: Wasn’t born deaf and only went partially deaf at age 7 (due to being born with congenital syphilis and experiencing a serious mastoid infection that required brain surgery). Went to high school with Desi Arnaz Sr. from I Love Lucy and attended the University of Miami. Married 3 times and fathered at least 4 daughters. Changed his name to Albert Francis Brown in 1966 in order to distance himself from his notorious dad.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Florida of natural causes at 85 in 2004, after a lifetime as an upstanding citizen with no mob ties (except in genetics). At least a few of his daughters are still alive.

45. Jake Guzik (1886-1956)

Yes, this is a picture of Guzik from 1946 but it was one the few good ones I could find. Still, you didn't want to beat him up or his buddy Al Capone would show his famous violent tendencies in your direction.

Yes, this is a picture of Guzik from 1946 but it was one the few good ones I could find. Still, you didn’t want to beat him up or his buddy Al Capone would show his famous violent tendencies in your direction.

Known in Life as: Jewish American financial and legal advisor as well as political “greaser” for the Chicago Outfit. Had a great relationship with Al Capone.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was involved in prostitution and protected by Al Capone (hurting him was a quick way to get Al to practically murder you).
Differences: Born in Krakow, Poland and came to the US in the early 20th century. Was incapable of using a gun or killing anyone. Served as principal bagman in payoffs to Chicago police and politicians. Capone actually came to trust and rely on his advice as well as told him to make sure his wife and kid were provided for when his health failed.
Ultimate Fate: He would also go on to work for Paul “the Waiter” Ricca and Tony Accardo. Spent a few years in prison for tax evasion. Died of a myocardial infraction in 1956 at 69. Funeral was said to put more Italians in a synagogue than ever before in history.

46. Carolyn Greene Rothstein (1888-?)

Carolyn Rothstein wasn't too happy with her husband Arnold's life choices but she stuck with him until his 1928 murder. I mean she had to put up with his gambling, stealing, marital infidelities, and having people killed.

Carolyn Rothstein wasn’t too happy with her husband Arnold’s life choices but she stuck with him until his 1928 murder. I mean she had to put up with his gambling, stealing, marital infidelities, and having people killed. Ladies, if you want to know what it’s like being a gangster’s wife, you might want to read her book if available.

Known in Life as: Arnold Rothstein’s wife.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, she was blond.
Differences: Was a New York showgirl before meeting her husband who interrogated her coworkers and friends after four dates. Was Irish Catholic (as well as half-Jewish) and married Arnold at 21 though he pawned all her jewelry for cash (he got it back after winning $12,000). Though remained married to Arnold until his murder, she didn’t like him being a New York gang boss and gambler. Also put up with his cheating, stealing, and killing.
Ultimate Fate: Wrote a book about her life with her husband after his murder called Now I’ll Tell You that was published in 1934. Well, she didn’t died rich if she survived Arnold by more than 10 years.

47. William J. Fallon (1886-1927)

William J. Fallon was a noted criminal defense attorney who has become the archetype of all sleazy lawyers everywhere. Still, you have to give him credit for him never losing a case pertaining to murder.

William J. Fallon was a noted criminal defense attorney who has become the archetype of all sleazy lawyers everywhere. Still, you have to give him credit for him never losing a case pertaining to murder.

Known in Life as: Criminal defense attorney in New York City who represented the city’s leading pimps, illegal narcotics dealers, embezzlers, and operators. Inspiration for Billy Flynn of Chicago as well as the archetype for the amoral criminal defense lawyer.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was known to defend a lot of famous morally dubious people. Also represented Arnold Rothstein.
Differences: Son of Irish immigrants. Graduated at the top of his class at Fordham University. Was in the New York State Assembly and was charged in 1924 for bribing a juror but acquitted. Called, “The Great Mouthpiece.” Said to be talented, vain, and flamboyant as well as drank a lot. Was very smart and eloquent but also immoral, dishonest, and self-indulgent. His 120 homicide defendants were never convicted. Married with two daughters. Wore exquisitely tailored suites, had the finest silk ties, and donned no shirt more than once. Yet, left his cobbler made shoes unshined.
Ultimate Fate: Died of heart disease at the Hotel Oxford in 1927 at 40.

48. William “Wild Bill” Lovett (1894-1923)

Yes, he may have an unremarkable appearance, but he's the famous White Hand leader known as Wild Bill Lovett who made money through dockside extortion as well had alcoholic rages that were the stuff of legend. Was shot up dead on Halloween night.

Yes, he may have an unremarkable appearance, but he’s the famous White Hand leader known as Wild Bill Lovett who made money through dockside extortion as well had alcoholic rages that were the stuff of legend. Was shot up dead on Halloween night.

Known in Life as: Irish American gangster in early 20th century New York.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Leader of the White Hand Gang and worked with “Peg Leg” Lonergan.
Differences: Spent his childhood as a juvenile delinquent in various gangs. Served in WWI and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. Though well-educated and articulate, was a temperamental alcoholic who made even his own men nervous. Took control of the waterfront rackets after the death of White Hand Gang leader Dinny Meehan (and was believed to have killed him). Income came from dockside extortion, burglary and other crimes. Survived a few assassination attempts such as a stabbing and 3 shots to the chest.
Ultimate Fate: Upon his 1923 marriage to Lonergan’s sister, he swore to give up criminal rackets and drinking. Turned power to his brother-in-law and was safe for 3 months, but was up to his old ways and his wife refused to take him back. Beaten and shot up near a store on Halloween night (most likely by Irish gangsters) after leaving a bar drunk. He was 29.

49. Edward I. Edwards (1863-1931)

Edward I. Edwards was governor of New Jersey during the early 1920s and US Senator from 1923-1929. Didn't have it so good after politics since he went broke and later killed himself. Nevertheless, he seems to be a rather distinguished man.

Edward I. Edwards was governor of New Jersey during the early 1920s and US Senator from 1923-1929. Didn’t have it so good after politics since he went broke and later killed himself. Nevertheless, he seems to be a rather distinguished man.

Known in Life as: Governor of New Jersey from 1920-1923 and US Senator from 1923-1929.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Frank Hague was one of his allies (they’d soon have a falling out).
Differences: Had dark hair even in the 1920s. Married with 2 kids. Studied law in his brother’s office and engaged in the banking and construction businesses. Went broke with the Wall Street crash of 1929 and was implicated in an election fraud scandal.
Ultimate Fate: Was diagnosed with skin cancer and shot himself in 1931. He was 67.

50. James Scott (1885-1938)

James Scott was one of the premiere African American ragtime composers in the early 20th century. A lot of his compositions were used as accompaniment in silent movies and his fortunes went in decline when talkies came around. Still, he has a rather nice hat and suit.

James Scott was one of the premiere African American ragtime composers in the early 20th century. A lot of his compositions were used as accompaniment in silent movies and his fortunes went in decline when talkies came around. Still, he has a rather nice hat and suit.

Known in Life as: African American ragtime composer. Regarded as one of the three most important composers of ragtime music along with Scott Joplin and Joseph Lamb.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Wearing a hat was a trademark of his.
Differences: Born in Missouri and son of former slaves. Worked in a music store in 1902 and wrote his first composition compilation in 1903. A lot of his pieces were used to accompany silent movies.
Ultimate Fate: After his wife died and the coming of sound in movies, his fortunes and health deteriorated. Published nothing after 1902. Died in Kansas City, Missouri in 1938 at 53.

51. Harry Bacharach (1873-1947)
Known in Life as: Mayor of Atlantic City for 6 months in 1912, from 1916-1920, and 1930-1935. Also served as city commissioner.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was mayor in 1920 but there’s not much on him.
Differences: Tried for election fraud in 1914 for the 1910 mayoral election. Had a Negro League Baseball team named after him called the Bacharach Giants. Him and brother Isaac founded the Betty Bacharach Home for Afflicted Children in honor of their mom in 1924 which cared for kids with polio.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Atlantic City in 1947 at 74.

52. Richard “Peg Leg” Lonegran (1900-1925)

Peg Leg Lonergan may have lost a leg in a trolley accident. Yet, he achieve distinction as the last boss of the White Hand Gang in New York as well as known to be a vicious street brawler and hater of Italians. Killed on Christmas 1925.

Peg Leg Lonergan may have lost a leg in a trolley accident. Yet, he achieve distinction as the last boss of the White Hand Gang in New York as well as known to be a vicious street brawler and hater of Italians. Killed on Christmas 1925.

Known in Life as: Irish American gangster, labor racketeer, and final leader of the White Hand Gang. Led a 2 year campaign against Frankie Yale over the New York waterfront.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Associated with the White Hand Gang and friend of Bill Lovett.
Differences: Was one 15 kids and son of a prizefighter and bare knuckle boxer named John Lonergan. Lost his right leg in a trolley car incident. Childhood friend of Bill Lovett. Believed to have been involved in at least a dozen murders during his career as well as had a reputation as a vicious street brawler. Said to hate Italians
Ultimate Fate: He and his 5 lieutenants were killed in South Brooklyn during a Christmas Day celebration at the Adonis Social Club in 1925. He was 25. Murder has been attributed to Capone but remains unsolved. White Hand Gang disappeared from the New York waterfront which allowed Frankie Yale and eventually the Five Families to take control.

The Real People of Boardwalk Empire: Part 3 – Henry Earl J. “Hymie” Weiss to Santo Trafficante Sr.

Boardwalk-Empire-Promotional-Poster-boardwalk-empire-16631443-460-647

Though once seen as the Las Vegas of the East Coast before Vegas, Atlantic City, New Jersey was also known for its beaches as well as King Neptune which is a cultural icon of the area. Of course, as someone well versed in Greek mythology, I just known him by Poseidon. Still, he was featured in an episode of Boardwalk Empire when the whiskey swept ashore but he ended up having to cut his speech short and heading to the waters to get some. Still, if Atlantic City is hurting because of other states legalizing gambling, it can sure benefit from its beaches. Nevertheless, in this selection, we’ll look at famous gangsters like Hymie Weiss, Mickey Duffy, the Lanzetta brothers, and Santo Trafficante Sr. We’ll also get to know public officials like New Jersey politician Walter E. Edge, Harding era aide who killed himself Jesse Smith, and Jersey City Mayor and Democratic political boss Frank Hague. We’ll get to boxer and heavyweight champion  sensation Jack Dempsey and renown rum runner Bill McCoy. Finally, we’ll meet some entertainers who may have a minor role but were major figures like actress and singer Edith Day, African American blues and jazz singer the Queen of Blues Mamie Smith, the musical comedic Sophie Tucker, and the magician and escape artist Theodore Hardeen best known as Harry Houdini’s younger brother. So without further adieu, let me introduce to you some real historical figures from Emmy winning HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

27. Henry Earl J. “Hymie” Weiss (1898-1926)

Not a bad looking guy here despite having the nickname of "Hymie." Still, was said to be no guy to mess with since he shot his own brother, threatened photographers, and chased after US marshals as well as sued the police over stolen shirts. Won't be North Side Gang leader for long though.

Not a bad looking guy here despite having the nickname of “Hymie.” Still, was said to be no guy to mess with since he shot his own brother, threatened photographers, and chased after US marshals as well as sued the police over stolen shirts. Won’t be North Side Gang leader for long though.

Known in Life as: American mob boss who became leader of the North Side Gang and a bitter rival of Al Capone.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he’s an associate and close friend to Dean O’Banion (they knew each other as kids). Also, would take over the North Side Gang after O’Banion’s death.
Differences: Born in Poland and always carried a rosary and Bible with him to remind everyone he was Catholic despite the Jewish sounding name. Brother said he once saw him in 20 years “when he shot me.” When photographers tried to take his picture, he’d glare at them and say in a low voice, “You take a picture of me and I’ll kill you.” Once chased away a US marshal at gun point who came to arrest a friend for a Mann Act violation at a party he attended. After the marshal returned with reinforcements, arrested the friend, and confiscated a bunch of booze and weapons, Weiss would file a lawsuit to recover some silk shirts and socks he claimed the marshals had stolen. It came to nothing.
Ultimate Fate: Unfortunately, he wasn’t head of the North Side Gang for long. Was killed at O’Banion’s old flower shop in 1926 by two gunmen wielding submachine guns. He was 28.

28. Mickey Duffy (1888-1931)

Does Mickey Duffy always that glum or did he just not like getting his picture taken? Still, didn't have as much as Mickey Doyle does on Boardwalk Empire.

Does Mickey Duffy always that glum or did he just not like getting his picture taken? Still, didn’t have as much as Mickey Doyle does on Boardwalk Empire.

Known in Life as: Polish American gangster and rival Max “Boo Hoo” Huff during Prohibition. Was one of the most powerful beer bootleggers in Philadelphia.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for Mickey Doyle.
Similarities: Well, both were born Polish with the name Cusick (or Kuzik) yet changed to Irish sounding names (but while Duffy did it to fit in with Irish gangs in Philly and married an Irish girl, Doyle just thought the name sounded better).
Differences: Was a criminal from the time he was a child and had served time in prison in 1919 for assault and battery with intent to kill for 3 years. Got into organized crime and smuggling during Prohibition. Was one of the most dominant bootleggers in the Delaware Valley in the early 1920s with breweries in Philadelphia, Camden, and South Jersey. Despite being engaged in fights with his rivals, he owned several clubs and ran bootlegging numbers at the old Ritz-Carlton hotel. Was shot 3 times with a Thompson submachine gun and survived. Wasn’t as much of an idiot as Doyle nor as lucky either.
Ultimate Fate: Shot to death by unknown assailants at Atlantic City’s Ambassador Hotel in 1931. He was 31. The murder remains unsolved to this day. Thousands try to come to his funeral but were blocked by police.

29. Walter E. Edge (1873-1956)

Despite how he's depicted on Boardwalk Empire, Walter Edge wasn't an old man in the early 1920s and actually wore glasses. And no, he didn't have a construction business, he was a media guy.

Despite how he’s depicted on Boardwalk Empire, Walter Edge wasn’t an old man in the early 1920s and actually wore glasses. And no, he didn’t have a construction business, he was a media guy.

Known in Life as: New Jersey US Senator from 1921-1929 as well as governor from 1917-1919 and 1944-1947. Also served as US Ambassador to France from 1929-1933.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Campaign manager’s name was Nucky whose relationship with him would soon sour (in real life they openly broke in 1928 though). Also was on a possible shortlist to be Warren Harding’s VP (though he lost out due to a Republican Party leader holding a grudge against him because Edge wouldn’t appoint his guy to be county prosecutor).
Differences: Wore glasses and was never in the construction business but in media and publishing. Was only 47 in 1920. Education was in a 2 room school house and went only as far as 8th grade. Started a weekly newspaper devoted to social news when he was 10 which had a circulation of 100. Owned his own advertising business in Atlantic City when he was 17 which became a multi-million dollar agency with offices in numerous US and European cities. Founded two newspapers and bought another. Helped get worker’s compensation in New Jersey. As governor obtained legislation consolidating state boards, improving the civil service, imposing a franchise tax on public utilities, allowing greater home rule for cities, reforming corporation law, and improving state institutions, especially the prisons. Also reorganized the state road department and authorized a few bridge constructions. Was openly anti-Prohibition. Married twice and fathered 4 kids.
Ultimate Fate: Edge would go on to be Ambassador to France as well serve another term as governor in the 1940s. His second term as governor would be marked with numerous battles against Frank Hague. He would also restructure the civil service system, incorporate an anti-discrimination agency into the education department, and create a department of economic development. Would retire from politics for good in 1947 but would spend his later years as an elder statesman of New Jersey’s Republican Party. Owned the home of Richard Stockton for a time. Died of natural causes in 1956 at 82.

30. Jesse Smith (1871-1923)

I know he's supposed to be known for being found mysteriously shot in his green house on K Street, yet I can't help but say that Jesse Smith looked like a muppet. Seriously, he reminds me of the disgruntled customer at Grover's diner but in 1920s clothes.

I know he’s supposed to be known for being found mysteriously shot in his green house on K Street, yet I can’t help but say that Jesse Smith looked like a muppet. Seriously, he reminds me of the disgruntled customer at Grover’s diner but in 1920s clothes.

Known in Life as: Member of Warren G. Harding’s Ohio Gang as well as friend and gofer of Harry Daugherty.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he’s an aide to Daugherty and wielded considerable influence in the Justice Department. His activities were said to make him become an embarrassment to Daugherty and the Harding administration. Was found dead with a gunshot wound in his home and a pistol by his side.
Differences: Though fat, he actually wore Harry Potter glasses and had a bit of a Hitler mustache. Was divorced and it’s only alleged that he sold liquor to bootleggers at his little green house on K Street. It’s said that Harding wanted Smith out of Washington before he went to Alaska while his administration was engulfed in the Teapot Dome scandal.
Ultimate Fate: Found dead at his K Street home with a gunshot wound and a pistol by his side. He was 52. Death was ruled a suicide though many authors who write about the Teapot Dome scandal and the Harding administration say he as murdered. Still, Smith’s well-timed death through gunshot wound is was during the worst of the Harding administration scandals of 1923 and the reason why he’s best remembered.

31. Theodore Hardeen (1876-1945)

Well, he sure looks like he could be Houdini's brother. Yet, Hardeen also had a good bit of talent as a magician and escape artist, tool. Also founded a union for magicians as well.

Well, he sure looks like he could be Houdini’s brother. Yet, Hardeen also had a good bit of talent as a magician and escape artist, tool. Also founded a union for magicians as well.

Known in Life as: Magician and escape artist who was the younger brother of Harry Houdini. Founder of the Magician’s Guild and first magician to escape from a submerged straitjacket in full view of the audience, rather than behind a curtain.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, when his brother was alive, he was the guy you got when you couldn’t get Houdini.
Differences: Born in Hungary. While he did study under his brother, he’s also said to have considerable talent of his own. He did many of his brother’s routines after the former’s death in 1926. Entertained the troops during World War II.
Ultimate Fate: Though he planned to write a book about his brother, he died from surgical complications in 1945 at 69.

32. Edith Day (1896-1971)

Edith Day in a film by Republic Pictures called Children Not Wanted. I suppose this is a comedy, right? Still, she was more of a musical gal if you know what I mean.

Edith Day in a film by Republic Pictures called Children Not Wanted. I suppose this is a comedy, right? Still, she was more of a musical gal if you know what I mean.

Known in Life as: Actress and singer best known for her roles in Edwardian musical comedies and operettas, first on Broadway and then on London’s West End.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Sang “Alice Blue Gown.”
Differences: Was born in Minnesota. Married 3 times and saw her only son die in WWII. Best known for the title role of Irene. Was part of the 1928 cast of Show Boat in which she did 350 performances. Has a cocktail named after her.
Ultimate Fate: Died in London in 1971 at 75.

33. Mamie Smith (1883-1946)

Mamie Smith was one of the first female African American singers to work in a recording studio. She was also called "Queen of the Blues" and ushered the careers of the female singers. Apparently Niki Minaj and Beyonce probably don't know who she was.

Mamie Smith was one of the first female African American singers to work in a recording studio. She was also called “Queen of the Blues” and ushered the careers of the female singers. Apparently Niki Minaj and Beyonce probably don’t know who she was despite owing their careers to her.

Known in Life as: African American Vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist, and actress who appeared in several films late in her career. Performed in a number of styles including jazz and blues. Was the first African American artist to make vocal blues recordings in 1920.
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Sang “Crazy Blues.”
Differences: Born in Cincinnati. Was a successful blues artist as well as helped the recording industry see African Americans as a great market since they bought most of her records. Helped usher careers for other female blues artists like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday as well as opened the music industry for other African Americans in other genres. Once billed, “Queen of the Blues.” Also performed on radio. Married to movie producer Jack Goldberg.
Ultimate Fate: Died in New York in 1946 at 63.

34. Sophie Tucker (1887-1966)

Despite being overweight, Sophie Tucker would enjoy a long career in show business entertaining generations around the world. Apparently comical risque songs never seem to go out of style. Still, you can't help but be creeped out seeing her holding flowers in this picture.

Despite being overweight, Sophie Tucker would enjoy a long career in show business entertaining generations around the world. Apparently comical risque songs never seem to go out of style. Still, you can’t help but be creeped out seeing her holding flowers in this picture.

Known in Life as: Jewish American singer, comedian, actress, and radio personality. Known for her stentorian delivery of comical and risqué songs, she was one of the most popular entertainers in the US for the first half of the 20th century. Known as “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas.”
Character or Inspiration? She’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Sang “Some of These Days.”
Differences: Born in Russia. Married 3 times and had at least one son. Began singing at her parents’ Connecticut restaurant for tips. Before taking orders she, “would stand up in the narrow space by the door and sing with all the drama I could put into it. At the end of the last chorus, between me and the onions there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.” Would continue to sing at cafes and beer gardens until she made her first Vaudeville appearance in 1907 but in blackface. When she lost her makeup, she just performed without it, she stunned the crowd by saying, “You all can see I’m a white girl. Well, I’ll tell you something more: I’m not Southern. I’m a Jewish girl and I just learned this Southern accent doing a blackface act for two years. And now, Mr. Leader, please play my song.” Though made fun of herself for being overweight, she didn’t see anything wrong with being chunky. Performed with the Ziegfield Follies as well as for King George V. Elected present of the American Federation of Actors in 1938. Had her own radio show and made numerous guest appearances in radio and television including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. Was a punchline to a Beatles joke by Paul McCartney.
Ultimate Fate: Continued to perform for the rest of her life until her death from a lung ailment and kidney failure in 1966 at the age of 79. Still, she influenced a lot of female performers including May West, Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, “Mama” Cass Elliot, and Bette Midler.

35. Jack Dempsey (1895-1983)

Jack Dempsey would win the World Heavyweight Championship title for most of the 1920s. Still, despite being a Mormon since he was 8, he married his 3 wives one at a time.

Jack Dempsey would win the World Heavyweight Championship title for most of the 1920s. Still, despite being a Mormon since he was 8, he married his 3 wives one at a time.

Known in Life as: American professional boxer and cultural icon of the 1920s. Held World Heavyweight Championship from 1919 to 1926. His aggressive style and exceptional punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history. Had many of his fights set financial and attendance records, including the first million dollar gate.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he’s a famous boxer and his fights were frequently broadcasted on the radio.
Differences: Born in Colorado and was baptized at 8 into the LDS church with his parents in 1903. Elementary school dropout and left home at 16. Frequently traveled underneath trains and slept in hobo camps in his early years. Started his career in barroom brawls saying, “I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I can lick any SOB in the house.” Was a part time bodyguard for John Kearns who was the son of a US Senator. Lost the World Heavyweight Championship title in 1926 to Gene Tunney coining the phrase, “Honey, I forgot to duck.” Married 3 times and had at least 3 kids.
Ultimate Fate: Retired from boxing in the 1930s and went on to other things like writing, training, and philanthropy. Assisted Joe Louis when the latter fell on hard financial times as well as made friends with former rivals Henry Wills and Gene Tunney. Was a close friend of famous Watergate judge John Sirica. Beat up a couple of muggers in 1971. Died of heart failure in New York in 1983 at 87. Influenced Bruce Lee.

36. Frank Hague (1876-1956)

Frank Hague would be Jersey City's mayor and political boss for the New Jersey Democratic Party for 30 years. Was known to be very corrupt and a chronic backstabber as well.

Frank Hague would be Jersey City’s mayor and political boss for the New Jersey Democratic Party for 30 years. Was known to be very corrupt and a chronic backstabber as well. Still, nice suit though.

Known in Life as: Mayor of Jersey City from 1917-1947 and prominent Democratic politician and political boss. Had a widely known reputation for corruption and bossism and by 1947, enjoyed palatial homes, European vacations, and a private suite in the Plaza Hotel. Said to have amassed wealth of over $10 million at the time of his death though his city salary never exceeded $8,500 annually and he had no other legitimate income. Personal influence extended to national level, especially in federal patronage and Presidential campaigns.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was well known as a chronic backstabber (even before the 1920s). Didn’t bat an eye at doing nefarious deeds with Democrats.
Differences: Born to Irish immigrants. Expelled from school at 14 for poor attendance and unacceptable behavior. Worked as a blacksmith’s apprentice and tried to be a boxer. Won his first election at 20. Pride and joy was the Jersey City Medical Center. Had a wife and son. Was seen as a reformer who wanted to reshape the corrupt Jersey City police force and spearhead crackdowns of prostitution and narcotics trafficking. Also made improvements to the city’s fire department. Had very little tolerance for those who opposed him publically. Took a lot of kickbacks but was able to avoid state and federal investigations for years. Use of voter fraud was said to be the stuff of legend.
Ultimate Fate: Retired from politics in 1947. Died at his Park Avenue duplex in New York in 1956 at 79. Though hundreds attended his funeral only a few removed their hats while passing his coffin. One woman held an American flag and a sign reading, “God have mercy on his sinful, greedy soul.”

37. William “Bill” McCoy (1877-1948)

Of course, I could only wonder what kind of booze Bill McCoy brought to the Eastern Seaboard. Let me see, Bacardi or Captain Morgan? Oh, wait, that's rum and he transported his stash from the Bahamas.

Of course, I could only wonder what kind of booze Bill McCoy brought to the Eastern Seaboard. Let me see, Bacardi or Captain Morgan? Oh, wait, that’s rum and he transported his stash from the Bahamas.

Known in Life as: American sea captain and rum runner smuggler during Prohibition. Smuggled whiskey from the Bahamas to the Eastern Seaboard.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Retired from bootlegging after a stint in jail in late 1923.
Differences: Though seen drinking on the show on numerous occasions, he was actually a teetotaler. Viewed John Hancock as a role model and called himself, “an honest lawbreaker.” Never paid a cent for organized crime, politicians, and law enforcement for protection. Born in Syracuse and had a bricklayer father who served in the Union blockade during the American Civil War. Attended the Pennsylvania Nautical School on board the USS Saratoga and graduated first in his class. Served as mate and quarter master on various steamers. Had a reputation as a skilled yacht builder. Moved to Florida in 1900 and only went into the bootlegging business because he and his brother fell on hard financial times. Also smuggled liquor from other Caribbean islands and Canada.
Ultimate Fate: After being arrested by the US Coast Guard, he spent 9 months in a New Jersey jail. Quit bootlegging upon his release and spent the rest of his life investing in Florida real estate as well as build boats and travel down the coast. He died in 1948 at 71.

38. The Lanzetta Brothers
Known in Life as: Six gangster brothers from Philadelphia during the 1920s and 1930s. Were notorious gunmen, numbers gamblers, narcotics dealers, and liquor bootleggers. Used an “Alky Cooking” supply network by providing a contingent row of house dwellers with home sills and paying them to sell saleable liquor. Criminal career was marked by frequent arrests and brutal violence.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for the D’Alessio brothers, particularly Leo and Ignacius.
Similarities: Well, both clans have brothers named Ignatius, Pius, Lucien, and Leo, who was considered the leader.
Differences: Two of the brothers were named Willie and Teo and I’m not sure if they had a brother who was a dentist anywhere. May have possibly murdered Mickey Duffy. Held out for much longer than their TV counterparts (who all die by a half-faced war vet in the first season). Leo was considered the leader since he was the oldest. Pius was “the Brain.” Ignatius was always impeccably dressed. Lucian had the explosive temper. Willie was the quiet one. And Teo, “the Baby” made women swoon because of his matinee idol good looks.
Ultimate Fate: Well, a lot of them didn’t come to good ends. Leo was killed in 1925 after leaving a barbershop in an apparent retribution of the murder of rival Joseph Bruno. Pius and Willie were killed by enemy bullets in 1936 and 1939. By 1940, Teo was serving a sentence in drug trafficking and Ignatius was released by a US Supreme Court decision declaring the New Jersey “Gangster Law” unconstitutional and might’ve joined Lucian and their mother in fleeing to Detroit.

39. Santo Trafficante Sr. (1886-1954)
Known in Life as: Sicilian born American gangster based in Florida and father of notorious mobster Santo Trafficante Jr.
Character or Inspiration? Possible inspiration for Vincenzo Petrucelli yet he hasn’t actually appeared on the show, yet.
Similarities: Both had a long time alliance and friendship with Masseria. Both were based in Florida.
Differences: Married with 5 sons. Wasn’t Masseria’s cousin, though he did send Santo Jr. to New York to learn under other mobsters. Gained power as a mobster and ruled the Mafia in Tampa from the 1930s to his 1954 death. Was a well-respected boss with ties to Luciano and Thomas Lucchese.
Ultimate Fate: Died in Tampa, Florida in 1954 at 68 and left his organization to his son who was respected under the New York bosses.

The Real People of Boardwalk Empire: Part 2 – Jimmy Boyd to Frankie Yale

boardwalk-empire-babette-s-supper-club

So we’re off to a good start. Of course, there may be plenty of famous gangsters you might recognize, some you may not, and some you may think were just made up by the writers of Boardwalk Empire but weren’t. Of course, I have to open this post in this series with a poster of Babette’s Supper Club which was a real place in 1920s Atlantic City but didn’t get the name until the 1930s. Still, it’s one of the more iconic places in the Prohibition era HBO show as well as one of Nucky Thompson’s frequent hangouts with his friends, lovers, and associates. In fact, it’s his favorite restaurant. Still, in this selection, we’ll look at Atlantic City notable Jimmy Boyd who was a partial inspiration for Jimmy Darmondy but came on the scene after the 1920s. At this time, he’s just a bell boy. Yet, I’ll also introduce to you two of Al Capone’s brothers who joined him in the Chicago Outfit bootlegging business. Their names were named Ralph and Frank. Then we’ll get to know officials in government like Gaston Means (who’s a con artist), Attorney General Harry Daugherty, Treasury Secretary, banker, and Treasury notable Andrew W. Mellon, the infamous FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and Assistant Attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt who’s the inspiration for Esther Randolph. We also have famous booze baron and possible inspiration for Jay Gatsby, George Remus who you remember referring to himself in 3rd person as well as the renown entertaining powerhouse Eddie Cantor you recall for telling all those stupid jokes about dumb women. Oh, yeah, almost forgot gangsters Waxey Gordon, Dean O’Banion (the mob boss with the flower shop), and Frankie Yale. So without further adieu, in this second installment, here are some more real people from Boardwalk Empire.

14. Jimmy Boyd (1906-1974)
Known in Life as: Political operative who worked closely with Nucky Johnson and Frank Farley as well as become member of the Atlantic Board of Freeholders for about 40 years as well as executive chairman of the 4th Ward Republic Club for 2 decades.
Character or Inspiration? An inspiration for Jimmy Darmondy (though maybe a bit of a stretch).
Similarities: Well, they were war veterans and have rags to riches stories. Both were married. Both did dirty work for their bosses. Yet, that’s about it.
Differences: Probably started off as a bell hop at the Ritz and worked his way up. Served in WWII. Was never a gangster nor was killed by Nucky Johnson. Certainly wasn’t the son of “the Commodore” and a teenager nor did he go to Princeton.
Ultimate Fate: Died in 1974 at 68. His widow is still alive and established a scholarship at Atlantic Cape Community College in his name.

15. Gaston Means (1879-1938)

Actually he looks quite like the guy who played him in the show. Not sure if he made Jess Smith commit suicide but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Nevertheless, he'll go to Leavenworth after he tried to pull a con during the Lindbergh kidnapping. Bastard.

Actually he looks quite like the guy who played him in the show. Not sure if he made Jess Smith commit suicide but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Nevertheless, he’ll go to Leavenworth after he tried to pull a con during the Lindbergh kidnapping. Bastard.

Known in Life as: Private detective, salesman, bootlegger, forger, swindler, murder suspect, blackmailer, and con artist. Though not involved with the Teapot Dome scandal, was associated with other members of the so-called Ohio Gang that gathered around the Harding administration. Also tried to pull a con associated with the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Had a Southern accent. Was a con man and master manipulator you couldn’t trust. Was hired as an investigator for the FBI despite his dubious reputation as a detective. Wasn’t well liked by Harry Daugherty (but for the right reasons). Assisted bootleggers and was arrested for perjury.
Differences: May or may not have had anything to do with Jess Smith’s death. Wrote a book saying that Warren G. Harding was killed by his wife and later repudiated it.
Ultimate Fate: After trying to pull a con associated with the Lindbergh kidnapping, he was arrested, found guilty, and sentence to 15 years of prison. Died at Leavenworth in 1938 at 59.

16. Eddie Cantor (1892-1964)

Yes, this is Eddie Cantor during his younger years. No, this isn't Mr. Bean I'm sorry to say. Still, you have to love how he looks in that outfit.

Yes, this is Eddie Cantor during his younger years. No, this isn’t Mr. Bean I’m sorry to say. Still, you have to love how he looks in that outfit.

Known in Life as: Performer, comedian, dancer, singer, actor, and songwriter. Worked in vaudeville, Broadway, radio, movies, and early television.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was a well-known Vaudeville performer on stage.
Differences: Raised by his maternal grandmother (whose name was Kantrowitz but was shortened to Kanter by a clerk when he attended the Surprise Lake Camp). Though you might not know it on the show, he was a happily married man from 1914 to 1962 (to a woman named Ida Tobias who suggested he used Eddie as a stage name) and father of five daughters. Also was known to entertain the audience with his intimate stories and anecdotes of his wife and kids, sometimes to his children’s chagrin. Was president of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1930s and coined the term for “the March of Dimes” for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and was its spokesman for its 1938 campaign.
Ultimate Fate: Though he lost his multi-millionaire status and was left deeply in debt in the 1929 Stock Market Crash, he managed to rebuild his fortune with a new bank account and a series of highly popular bestselling humorous books with cartoons. In 1935, he, Charles Tobias and Murray Melcher would write “Merrily We Roll Along” which he recorded in the 1950s but was used as a theme song for the Merrie Melodies cartoon series for Warner Brothers between 1937 to 1964. Also had a successful career in film and television despite being turned down for The Jazz Singer. Died of a heart attack at 72 in 1964.

17. Harry Daugherty (1860-1941)

Looked much different than I thought he did. Sure he's wearing a nice 3 piece suit but he's corrupt as hell and tried to say his friend killed himself after being diagnosed with diabetes. Seems suspicious.

Looked much different than I thought he did. Sure he’s wearing a nice 3 piece suit but he’s corrupt as hell and tried to say his friend killed himself after being diagnosed with diabetes. Seems suspicious.

Known in Life as: Attorney general under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Was an influential official behind the election of several Congressmen and US Senators and served as Harding’s campaign manager in 1920. Instrumental for winning presidential pardons for jailed anti-war dissidents including one Eugene V. Debs. “Ohio Gang” member and may have been involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. Forced to resign as attorney general after being twice subject to US government investigations in 1924.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was massively corrupt and untrustworthy. Shared a hotel room with Jesse Smith and was close friends with him.
Differences: Let’s just say that he and Jesse Smith may have just been good friends and leave it at that. Also, was married with two kids, fat, and bald. Was about 60 in 1920.
Ultimate Fate: After indictments and his resignation, he returned to practicing law until his retirement in 1932. Wrote a book trying to clear his name pinning the Teapot Dome scandal on Albert Fall and saying that Jesse Smith killed himself because of diabetes, not a guilty conscience. He planned on writing two more. Died in his sleep in 1941 at 81 a year after he experienced two heart attacks and pneumonia that made him blind in one eye.

18. Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937)

Now I know that Andrew Mellon exists since he's a Pittsburgh native. And the Mellon name is incredibly famous in the area with the now Bank of New York Mellon. Nevertheless, he didn't look at all like James Cromwell as you see here.

Now I know that Andrew Mellon exists since he’s a Pittsburgh native. And the Mellon name is incredibly famous in the area with the now Bank of New York Mellon. Nevertheless, he didn’t look at all like James Cromwell as you see here.

Known in Life as: Banker, businessman, industrialist, philanthropist, art collector, US Ambassador to the UK, and US Treasury Secretary under Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was Harding’s Treasury Secretary. Responsible for upholding taxes and Prohibition despite that he hated both.
Differences: Resembled nothing like James Cromwell. Had a mustache and a head full of white hair at this time period. Believed in a progressive income tax but at lower rates. We’re not sure whether he owned a distillery in the 1920s though he denied it amid rumors. Fathered two children and was divorced. Was in his 60s and early 70s during the 1920s.
Ultimate Fate: Became unpopular with the onset of the Great Depression that he was nearly impeached but resigned in 1932. Was investigated and indicted over his personal tax returns by the FDR administration though he’d later be exonerated. Died in New York in 1937 at the age of 82.

19. Waxey Gordon (1888-1952)

Let's just say that while Waxey Gordon may seem like a guy the Boardwalk Empire writers made up, he actually was a real gangster. Still, he was born Irving Wexler and the name he's best known by was made up.

Let’s just say that while Waxey Gordon may seem like a guy the Boardwalk Empire writers made up, he actually was a real gangster. Still, he was born Irving Wexler and the name he’s best known by was made up.

Known in Life as: A Jewish American crime boss in Philadelphia during Prohibition who specialized in bootlegging and illegal gambling.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was an associate of Arnold Rothstein and helped run most of his East Coast bootlegging operation.
Differences: Real name was Irving Wexler and was born in New York. Married to a rabbi’s daughter and had a son in medical school. Was a chunky dark skinned man. Started out as a pickpocket before he became a rum-runner during the early days of Prohibition. Lived an extravagant lifestyle from his multi-million dollar empire and had mansions in New York and Philadelphia.
Ultimate Fate: After Rothstein’s death in 1928, his glory days were over. Though he made alliances with future National Crime Syndicate founders Luciano, Lansky, and Louis Buchaller, his struggles with Lansky over bootlegging and gambling interests would lead to a gang war between the two as well as the deaths of several associates (the writers missed a great opportunity there). Lansky and Luciano would later supply US Attorney Thomas E. Dewey with evidence that led to his conviction of tax evasion in 1933. After his 10 year prison sentence, he found his gang disbanded, divorced, and his East Coast empire lost. Tried to start over as a single man by moving to California, selling 10,000lbs of coupon rationed sugar during WWII, and imported illegal drugs. Was busted for selling heroin to an undercover cop in 1951. He was convicted of narcotics and trafficking and sentence to 25 years. He died of a heart attack on Alcatraz in 1952 at 64.

20. Ralph “Bottles” Capone (1894-1974)

Now he doesn't seem to resemble Herc from The Wire at all who plays him on the show. Reminds me more of Al Capone if he ever became a milkman in a newspaper cap. You can see the family resemblance there.

Now he doesn’t seem to resemble Herc from The Wire at all who plays him on the show. Reminds me more of Al Capone if he ever became a milkman in a newspaper cap. You can see the family resemblance there.

Known in Life as: Chicago gangster and brother of Al Capone. Most famous for being “Public Enemy #3.”
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Got his nickname “Bottles” for running a legal bottling plant (it was for soft drinks like ginger ale as well as soda water for mixed drinks and was very profitable for the Chicago Outfit).
Differences: Was born in Italy and came to the US as a baby making him older than Al. Married three times and divorced twice. Took his son Ralph Jr. away from his wife and had his mother raise him as her youngest child. Was the dominant soft drink vendor other than Coca Cola during the 1933 World’s Fair. Had relatively little power in the Outfit and the National Crime Syndicate.
Ultimate Fate: Remained in the Outfit after his brother’s arrest as well as hosted several high-level Outfit conferences from his brother’s Palm Island, Florida residence. Managed Chicago’s Cotton Club where he was involved in syndicate gambling and vice districts. In 1932, was convicted of tax evasion and served 3 years. Purchased a home and was a silent partner in a hotel/tavern at Mercer, Wisconsin. Moved to Wisconsin after his release. Died of natural causes in Hurley, Wisconsin in 1974 at 80. His widow would marry his best friend three years later. So let’s just say that Bottles post-crime life was very good indeed.

21. Frank Capone (1895-1924)

I know this isn't much but this is the only picture I could find of Frank Capone alive. Most of the photos featured of him on Google Images show him shot up and dead. Still, probably the best looking brother in the Capone bunch as we've seen.

I know this isn’t much but this is the only picture I could find of Frank Capone alive. Most of the photos featured of him on Google Images show him shot up and dead. Still, probably the best looking brother in the Capone bunch as we’ve seen.

Known in Life as: Chicago gangster and Al Capone’s brother who participated in the attempted takeover of Cicero, Illinois for Al’s criminal organization.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Dressed in well attired clothes to project an image of a mild-mannered businessman. Was shot to death by Chicago police shooting him up on Election Day.
Differences: Older than Al but they were close. Was involved in the Five Points Gang with Johnny Torrio. Was considered more violent than his younger brother and certainly didn’t die just defending him. Actually unleashed a wave of terror during the Illinois Democratic Party that April sending Southside gang members with submachine guns and sawed-off shotguns to make sure the locals voted for Cicero city manager Joseph Z. Klenha. Those who didn’t cooperate were assaulted and blocked. Also led an attack at the opponent’s campaign headquarters ransacking the office and assaulting several campaign workers, one of whom was shot in both legs and held hostage along with 8 others until after the primary was over. CPD had to send 70 plainclothes officers over this.
Ultimate Fate: Was shot dozens of times by Chicago police during the Illinois Democratic Primary on April 1, 1924 at 28. It was considered a justifiable shooting since police said he pulled out a gun at them though some witnesses disagree. Al escaped unharmed but retaliated by murdering one official, kidnapping others, and stealing ballot boxes from the polling stations. Still Frank Capone was laid in a silver laden casket and had an extravagant funeral that costs $200,000 worth of flowers from Dean O’Banion’s florist shop as well as over 150 cars in the motorcade. Al also had gambling dens and speakeasies closed for two hours for the funeral.

22. J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972)

Sure the young FBI director was a rabid lifelong racist but damn, did he really know how to dress. Also, didn't wear women's clothes but sure knew how to wear a suit. Probably should've considered becoming a male model and save people from decades worth of pain with him in government.

Sure the young FBI director was a rabid lifelong racist but damn, did he really know how to dress. Also, didn’t wear women’s clothes but sure knew how to wear a suit. Probably should’ve considered becoming a male model and save people from decades worth of pain with him in government.

Known in Life as: First FBI director in the United States and led the bureau from 1924 to 1972. Instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935 and is credited with building it into a large crime fighting agency and with instituting a number of modernizations to police technology such as a centralized finger print file and forensic laboratories. Was a much more controversial later in life as evidence of his secret actions became known. His critics accused him of exceeding the FBI’s jurisdiction and used the organization to suppress dissidents and activists, to amass secrets on political leaders, and collect evidence using illegal methods. Amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten sitting US Presidents.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was only 29 in 1924. Was obsessed with bringing down Marcus Garvey as well as racist (remember he opposed the Civil Rights Movement and taped Martin Luther King Jr.). Instituted highly selective hiring standards and ruthlessly efficient investigation procedures that provided his organization to infiltrate and thoroughly investigate criminal empires during Prohibition.
Differences: Helped carry out the Palmer Raids in 1919 (hated liberals, too, as you know) and was appointed as director of the BoI when his boss was alleged to have been involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. Despite his racism and obsession with hunting down black civil rights leaders, he didn’t ignore organized crime (at least later on). Was noted to be rather capricious in his FBI leadership as well as frequently firing agents or singling out those who “looked stupid like truck drivers” or considered “pinheads.” He was even said to relocate agents who’ve displeased him to career-ending assignments and locations (Melvin Purvis is a good example of this). Was alleged to be gay as well as had a close lifelong friendship with Clyde Tolson (as we know it).
Ultimate Fate: Hoover will lead the FBI for a very long time serving as its director under every US President to Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon and will gain a lot of power and notoriety. Died from a heart attack at his Washington D. C. home in 1972 at 77 and his body lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda with Warren Burger and Richard Nixon. Still, Nixon’s appointment of L. Patrick Gray over Hoover’s No. 2 at the time Mark Felt would lead Felt to leak information to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the Watergate Scandal.

23. Mabel Walker Willebrant (1889-1963)

And you thought Esther Randolph was just totally made up to make the 1920s seem like a more feminist time than it was. Actually, she's based on a real Assistant Attorney General named Mabel Walker Willebrandt who actually did nail George Remus and other wrongdoers during Prohibition. Too bad she didn't get promoted to Attorney General under Herbert Hoover. Damn, and we couldn't get a woman Attorney General until the 1990s. Isn't sexism unfair?

And you thought Esther Randolph was just totally made up to make the 1920s seem like a more feminist time than it was. Actually, she’s based on a real Assistant Attorney General named Mabel Walker Willebrandt who actually did nail George Remus and other wrongdoers during Prohibition. And this is her picture here. Pretty wasn’t she? Too bad she didn’t get promoted to Attorney General under Herbert Hoover. Damn, and we couldn’t get a woman Attorney General until the 1990s. Isn’t sexism a bitch?

Known in Life as: “First Lady of Law” was US Assistant Attorney General from 1921-1929 handling cases concerning violations of the Volstead Act, federal taxation, and the Bureau of Federal Prisons.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for US Attorney Esther Randolph.
Similarities: Well, they’re both Assistant Attorney Generals in the 1920s who deal with the Volstead Act. Both were willing to take down bootleggers when their superiors wouldn’t. Brought down George Remus and were successful in the biggest prosecutions during Prohibition. Both showed high degrees of professionalism.
Differences: Was divorced but she probably didn’t sleep with her assistant. Wasn’t reduced to prosecuting bit time bootleggers at the D. C. night court circuit for she had other things to do. And she’d probably not ally herself with booze barons. Yet, she did get her start defending prostitutes without pay and handled 2000 cases pertaining to them. During WWI, she served as head of the Legal Advisory Board for draft cases in Los Angeles, California. Oh, and she was the second woman appointed as Assistant Attorney General but the first to serve an extended term, which made her the highest ranking woman in the federal government. Her administration the establishment for the Alderson federal prison which was the first of its kind for women. She was also an opponent to Prohibition but aggressively upheld the Volstead Act but criticized the federal government’s efforts to enforce the law in her book The Inside of Prohibition describing political interference, incompetent public officials, and public indifference. Her efforts to prosecute bootleggers were hampered by the Treasury and Justice Departments though she managed to prosecute 48,734 Prohibition-related cases from June 1924 to June 1925, of which 39,072 resulted in convictions. Submitted 278 cases of certiorari to the Supreme Court regarding defense, clarification, and enforcement of Prohibition and the Volstead Act. Also argued more than 40 cases before the Supreme Court and won several victories.
Ultimate Fate: Though she heavily campaigned for Herbert Hoover in 1928, she failed to be appointed Attorney General (not surprisingly) and resigned her post in 1929. She continued to work as an attorney having offices in Washington and Los Angeles. In 1950 she represented the Screen Actors Guild during a labor hearing as well as California Fruit Industries. Became the first woman to chair a committee of the American Bar Association on the committee of aeronautical law as well as held several honorary doctorates. Later converted to Roman Catholicism and died of natural causes in Riverside, California in 1963 at 73.

24. George Remus (1874-1952)

Cincinnati booze baron George Remus behind bars. After he gets out of prison he's going to find out his wife had an affair and basically swindled him royally. He'd then kill her in front of a lot people in broad daylight and get off on temporary insanity. Yet, George Remus won't be nearly that rich again.

Cincinnati booze baron George Remus behind bars. After he gets out of prison he’s going to find out his wife had an affair and basically swindled him royally. He’d then kill her in front of a lot people in broad daylight and get off on temporary insanity. Yet, George Remus won’t be nearly that rich again.

Known in Life as: Cincinnati lawyer and bootlegger during Prohibition. It’s been claimed that he was the inspiration for the title character in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was brought down by a female Assistant Attorney General. Exploited a loophole in the Volstead Act that permitted its trade for medicinal purposes (which was why he moved to Cincinnati where 80% of the US “bonded” whiskey was located). Entered the booze business to get rich but wasn’t really violent. Was a teetotaler as well as short, fat, and bald. Actually referred to himself in the 3rd person.
Differences: Born in Germany and came to the US at 5. Supported his family by working in a pharmacy at 14 because his dad couldn’t work. Bought the pharmacy at 19 and another at 24 but became a lawyer after getting bored. Daughter was Romola Remus who played Dorothy Gale in the 1910 silent version of The Wizard of Oz when she was 8. Specialized in criminal defense and became rather famous that he was earning $50,000 annually by 1920 on his legal career alone. Married twice and divorced once. Was known as “The King of Bootleggers” for his vast booze empire as well as extravagant lifestyle and parties you’d see in The Great Gatsby including one in which he gave all the adult male guests diamond watches and their wives a brand new car. At his peak he owned 10 distilleries, employed 3,000 people, and had the most dominant bootlegging operation in the Midwest that would put Al Capone to shame. Loved fine food, art, literature, and swimming. Was well liked by the local kids as well as let them swim in his Grecian Olympic sized swimming pool. Beloved in Cincinnati and known for his generosity.
Ultimate Fate: In 1925, he was indicted for 3,000 violations under the Volstead Act and convicted by a grand jury in just 2 hours as well as received a 2 year prison sentence. While in the slammer, befriended a fellow prison inmate who turned out to be an undercover Prohibition agent named Franklin Dodge who later resigned and had an affair with his second wife Imogene. Dodge and Imogene would liquidate his assets and hide as much money as possible, strip his large Marble Palace mansion of everything of value and nail the doors shut, attempt to deport him, and even hire a hitman to murder him for $15,000. Imogene sold his Fleischmann distillery in which she gave him $100 for it and would file for divorce. In 1927, he had his driver chase his second wife and daughter through Eden Park on her way to the divorce finalization, where he fatally shot his wife in the abdomen in front of the Spring House Gazebo in front of horrified onlookers. He successfully pleaded temporary insanity in record time while acting as his own attorney with a case bringing national headlines for a month as well as prosecuted by a former president’s grandson. Was sentenced for 6 months. Upon release, tried to return to bootlegging but found it was taken over by gangsters so he moved to Covington, Kentucky where he lived a modest life for the next 20 years without incident and though he tried to regain his vast fortune, he was never successful. He died there in 1952 of natural causes at 77.

25. Dean O’Banion (1892-1924)

Dean O'Banion posing in a photo with his wife Viola holding one of his bouquets he styled himself. Too bad he'll be whacked by Frankie Yale's boys in his own flower shop.

Dean O’Banion posing in a photo with his wife Viola holding one of his bouquets he styled himself. Too bad he’ll be whacked by Frankie Yale’s boys in his own flower shop.

Known in Life as: Irish American gangster in Chicago and rival of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone during the brutal Chicago bootlegging wars of the 1920s. Led the North Side Gang until his murder by Frankie Yale, John Scalise, and Albert Anselmi in 1924.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Owned a flower shop (which was originally set up for a money laundering scheme but he found out he actually liked it). Had his men encroach others’ territory and breweries.
Differences: Was once a choir boy as a kid and sang at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral. Childhood buddies were Hymie Weiss, Vincent Drucci, and Bugs Moran who were in the Market Street Gang specializing in theft and robbery. Worked as a singing waiter at McGovern’s Liberty Inn and was said to have a beautiful tenor voice while his buddies picked pockets in the coatroom. Also drugged his patron’s drinks known then as “slipping a Mickey Finn.” They also inflicted violence in the 42nd and 43rd ward for political bosses. As a head of the North Side Gang, his men stole liquor from other bootleggers, hijacked trucks en route (a pioneer in that), tried to frame Torrio and Capone for a murdered, trolled the Genna brothers (a Chicago Outfit affiliated gang) for no apparent practical reason, and conned Angelo Genna out of a large sum of money. Also did flower arrangements for mob funerals and regularly attended Mass at Holy Name Cathedral. At his height he was making $1 million in the early 1920s when he and his gang eliminated the bootlegging competition. Abhorred prostitution.
Ultimate Fate: Shot up by two of Frankie Yale’s hitmen in his flower shop in 1924 at the age of 32. Was denied to be buried on consecrated ground by the Catholic Church but his funeral was presided by a priest who knew him since childhood and was quite lavish. His killing would spark a 5 year gang war between the North Side Gang and the Chicago Outfit which would culminate in the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

26. Frankie Yale (1893-1928)

Yes, that's Frankie Yale. Despite the Ivy League sounding name, he's actually was an Italian born gangster who didn't go to college. Still, he and Al Capone were good friends, for a while.

Yes, that’s Frankie Yale. Despite the Ivy League sounding name, he’s actually was an Italian born gangster who didn’t go to college. Still, he and Al Capone were good friends, for a while. Had a very expensive gangster funeral.

Known in Life as: Brooklyn gangster and original employer of Al Capone before the latter moved to Chicago.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was responsible for killing Dean O’Banion in his flower shop though possibly could’ve killed Colosimo (we aren’t sure on that one).
Differences: Born in Italy, came to the US at 7, and befriended Johnny Torrio as a teenager who ushered him in the Five Points Gang. Believed in putting business ahead of ego. Took over Brooklyn’s ice delivery trade by selling “protection” and creating monopolies. Opened a bar on the Seaside Walk in Coney Island with the proceeds known as Harvard Inn. It was in this place where a young waiter named Al Capone got his famous scar. His gang also engaged in Black Hand extortion activities (especially in rackets with dock workers and unions) and ran a string of brothels. Had a sideline of notorious foul-smelling cigars packaged in boxes that bore his smiling face as well as operated his own funeral home. Was one of Brooklyn’s biggest bootleggers at the beginning of Prohibition as well as known for his generosity for the less fortunate people in his neighborhood. Yet, was a violent man who didn’t hesitate to inflict pain on others and beat his younger brother so badly he wound up in the hospital. Married twice as well as fathered 3 daughters. Survived a lot of assassination attempts and supplied much of Al Capone’s whiskey imported from Canada and would oversee the transport personally.
Ultimate Fate: Unfortunately, his long friendship with Capone began to fray when his Chicago bound trucks would fall to hijacking before leaving Brooklyn. When Capone found that Yale was stealing his booze, his informant tried to kill Yale but was gunned down instead. On July 1, 1928, Yale received a cryptic call in his Sunrise Club saying that something was wrong with his wife. Yale would dash out in his brand new armored coffee-colored Lincoln coup (but lacked bullet-proof windows) and took up at New Ultrecht Avenue in which he was chased by a Buick sedan carrying four armed men (who were from Capone’s Chicago Outfit). The Buick would catch up to him and Yale was murdered in a storm of bullets that cause his car to crash into the stoop of a brownstone at No. 923. He was 35 (still, the writers missed a great opportunity here). Had one of the most impressive gangland funerals in American history which was attended by thousands of people and set a standard for opulence for American gangsters that has been seldom matched over the years. Also led to drama when two different women claimed to be his wife.

The Real People of Boardwalk Empire: Part 1- Enoch “Nucky” Johnson to Louis “Commodore” Kuehnle

boardwalk-empire

A few months ago my dad was reading a book about the Rooney family and the early days of owning the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since we’ve been watching the first three seasons of Boardwalk Empire, my dad had to show me the name of “Arnold Rothstein” when he got to the part about Art Rooney’s luck as a gambler on the horse racing track. Let’s just say that before he managed to read the guy’s name, he thought that Rothstein was just a fictional character created by the writers of the hit Emmy-winning HBO show. Of course, I couldn’t write about Boardwalk Empire at that moment since I was possibly working on my blog series on movie history. Yet, that incident got me to thinking about doing a series dedicated to the historical figures who’ve appeared or inspired  characters on the show no matter how minor. I mean sure I’ve watched the first three seasons but I really like the show and it’s not because of the violence. I like the characters, the clothes, the sets, and well, the historicity of it all. Still, since Boardwalk Empire is airing it’s final season around this time of year, I thought this little five part blog series would be a nice commemoration as a tribute to the Prohibition Era, the 1920s, the Jazz Age, and all that. In this selection, we’ll look at Atlantic City locals like Enoch L. “Nucky” Johnson and his brother Alf, Mary Ill, Mayor Edward L. Bader, and Louis “Commodore” Kuehnle. We’ll also get to know Casper Holstein an inspiration to Casper Holstein. Of course, we’ll also get to see famous gangsters like Johnny Torrio and Al Capone from Chicago and men like Arnold Rothstein, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, and Joe Masseria. So without further adieu, let me introduce you to my first installment of the real people of Boardwalk Empire.

1. Enoch L. “Nucky” Johnson (1883-1968)

Doesn't seem to remind me of Steve Buscemi in the least. Rather he seems to resemble an old timey college professor of some sort. Still, very well dressed.

Doesn’t seem to remind me of Steve Buscemi in the least. Rather he seems to resemble an old timey college professor of some sort. Still, very well dressed.

Known in Life as: He was a New Jersey political boss and racketeer. From the 1910s to his 1941 conviction and imprisonment, he was the undisputed “boss” of the political machine that controlled Atlantic City and the Atlantic County government. His rule saw Atlantic City as a refuge from Prohibition and was at its height of popularity as a tourist destination. His organization engaged in bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution. Yet, he was also known for giving freely to those in need and was widely beloved by local citizens, among whom his benevolence and generosity were legendary.
Character or Inspiration? He’s the main inspiration for “Nucky” Thompson and to a lesser extent Chalky White.
Similarities: Well, he and Nucky had wives named Mabel who died in 1912 (but from TB not suicide) and began to live fast lives after that. They both lived on the ninth story of the Ritz-Carlton rather lavishly, wore a fresh red carnation on their lapels daily, and had a German personal assistant and valet. They also both served as Atlantic County treasurer and were natty dressers. Like Chalky, he was seen as a benefactor to the Northside African American community but that’s pretty much it.
Differences: Unlike Nucky on the show, Johnson didn’t have any kids and didn’t remarry until 1941 and to a showgirl 25 years his junior. Also, in addition to mob boss, booze baron, political boss, sheriff, and county treasurer, Johnson was also county collector, campaign manager to Walter E. Edge, publisher of a weekly newspaper, president of a banking and loan company, and director of a Philadelphia brewery. Yet, though a political boss, he didn’t have much influence in US politics outside the state of New Jersey where he helped get several governors and US Senators elected. Not to mention, he briefly studied to be a teacher and before quitting for an unpaid clerkship and eventually work for his sheriff father (thus, he basically rose to power through nepotism). Still, Johnson didn’t have a terrible childhood, was probably a WASP, or an abusive dad who was a drunk(as far as we know) and wasn’t known for killing anybody (at least in the premeditated sense) or engaging in competition or turf wars with organized crime (though he did take a cut in illegal alcohol sales in Atlantic City). Also was 37 in 1920 as well as a tall, muscular, and bespeckled man who weighed 225 and stood 6’4” tall. Not to mention, he swam every week to keep in shape and was a forceful and outgoing personality.
Ultimate Fate: Was convicted and imprisoned for tax evasion (after being under investigation since 1933 thanks to William Randolph Hearst who leaked his name out of spite because they were both after the same showgirl). Was paroled in 1945 as well as worked in sales at the Richfield Oil Company and with his wife for Renault Winery. Yet, he did continue to dress impeccably and attend political events. Died of natural causes in 1968 at 85.

2. Alfred “Alf” Johnson (1878-1958)

Of course, I don't know if this is from the 1920s but it's the only picture I could find of him. Still, he doesn't look that bad and seems to love his little kitty.

Of course, I don’t know if this is from the 1920s but it’s the only picture I could find of him. Still, he doesn’t look that bad and seems to love his little kitty.

Known in Life as: Sheriff of Atlantic County and Nucky Johnson’s brother.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for Eli Thompson.
Similarities: Well, he was his brother’s henchman and did serve as county sheriff.
Differences: Unlike Eli Thompson in the show, Alf Johnson was actually older than his more famous brother Nucky. Also, he didn’t have any kids and may not have been married. Not to mention, his father was also a sheriff as well and wasn’t brought up in an abusive home and probably not Irish Catholic. In addition didn’t become sheriff until after 1920 long after his brother and father served that post.
Ultimate Fate: Died from a lingering illness in 1958 at 80.

3. Mary Ill
Known in Life as: Housewife, boardinghouse maid, and political activist. Best known for requesting a meeting with Nucky Johnson and being one of his political supporters.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for Margaret Shroeder.
Similarities: Well, they were both married to part-time baker’s helpers who were gamblers and abusive drunks. Like Margaret, she was also active in local politics and charitable organizations.
Differences: It’s fair to say that she and Nucky Johnson were never romantically involved (and certainly not married, though they did remain friends and he did give her $100 and a house). Nor did Johnson have her husband murdered (actually had him banned from local gambling halls instead). Also, we’re not sure whether she’s even an Irish immigrant.
Ultimate Fate: Well, her extensive interviews were used as research for a non-fiction book (the show was based on) and helped create Nucky Thompson’s character on the show. She at least lived long enough for that.

4. Arnold Rothstein (1882-1928)

Yes, ladies, this is a genuine photograph of the guy who fixed the 1919 World Series on his telephone. Kind of disappoints you that he doesn't look like the New York Jewish mob boss from Boardwalk Empire doesn't it?

Yes, ladies, this is a genuine photograph of the guy who fixed the 1919 World Series on his telephone. Kind of disappoints you that he doesn’t look like the New York Jewish mob boss from Boardwalk Empire doesn’t it?

Known in Life as: Jewish American racketeer, businessman, gambler, and kingpin of the Jewish mob in New York City. Best known for being a corrupting influence in professional sports and fixing the 1919 World Series. According to Leo Katcher, “transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top.” Rich Cohen says he was the first person to realize that Prohibition was a business opportunity, a means to enormous wealth who, “understood the truths of early century capitalism (giving people what they want) and came to dominate them.”
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he did have a criminal organization that included notables like Meyer Lansky, Jack “Legs” Diamond, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, and Dutch Schultz. Frequently mediated differences between the New York gangs and reportedly charged a hefty fee for his services. Did business in both bootlegging and narcotics as well as on the street (but surrounded by bodyguards). Wore bow ties.
Differences: He was nowhere near as attractive as Michael Stuhlbarg is and certainly didn’t fit the mainstream idea of handsome. And despite what the show implies, he wasn’t faithful to his wife (had at least 2 known mistresses). Also, he’s only alleged to fix the 1919 World Series while official records state it wasn’t fixed at all nor was he involved. Let’s just say that all the evidence and minutes of the Grand Jury disappeared during the investigation and the case was dismissed. While not shown on the show, he also exploited his role as mediator in the legitimate business world and soon forced Tammany Hall to recognize him as a necessary ally in its running of the city. Let’s just say Nucky Thompson’s role in Atlantic City is similar to his in New York City.
Ultimate Fate: Due to failure to pay a large debt of $320,000 that resulted from a 3 day long fixed high stakes poker game, he was shot and mortally wounded during a business meeting at Manhattan’s Central Park Hotel on 7th Avenue near 55th Street in 1928. He died at 46 at Stuyvesant Polyclinic Hospital. Who was responsible for his murder remains a mystery to this day. Still, by fast forwarding to 1931, I think the show’s writers missed a great opportunity with this. His illegal empire was divided by his underlings after his death and the political boss system of the 19th century was in total collapse. Ten years after his murder, his estate would be bankrupt and all his wealth would disappear.

5. Charles “Lucky” Luciano (1897-1962)

Now seriously, I'm not sure if I'd want that guy to star in Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys. Then again, he doesn't look that bad, for an outright Prohibition bootlegging gangster. Of course, he'll whack anybody who stands in his way.

Now seriously, I’m not sure if I’d want that guy to star in Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys. Then again, he doesn’t look that bad, for an outright Prohibition bootlegging gangster. Of course, he’ll whack anybody who stands in his way.

Known in Life as: Sicilian-born American mobster and considered the father of modernized crime in the United States for splitting New York City into 5 different Mafia crime families and establishment of the first Commission. He was the first official boss of the Genovese crime family. Along with Meyer Lansky, he was instrumental in the development of the National Crime Syndicate of the United States. Said to be the most powerful American Mafia boss of all time.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Met and befriended Meyer Lansky as a teenager as well as Rothstein’s protégé. Was a womanizer. Arranged Masseria’s murder in 1931.
Differences: Actually started working as a gunman for Masseria before he went to Rothstein in the early 1920s and didn’t return to him until after Rothstein’s murder. He didn’t turn against Rothstein nor did Rothstein double cross him. Also, may have been called “Lucky” as early as 1923 after being severely beaten by 3 men and having his throat slashed. Not to mention, despite being arrested 25 times between 1916 to 1936, he spent no time in prison. Actually he got beat up a lot over his lifetime and survived a 1929 kidnapping when he was beaten and stabbed by 3 men before being dumped on a Staten Island beach (this would’ve made a great episode). Certainly wasn’t nearly as handsome as Vincent Piazza on the show.
Ultimate Fate: Though he’d continue trying to run his criminal enterprise, Luciano would later see prison in the late 1930s, would strike a deal with the US government to help root out German and Italian agents in New York, and would be deported to Italy in 1946. Except for a stint in Cuba, he would remain in Italy for the rest of his life. Also, would get in trouble with the Italian authorities which would result in a ban from Rome and his passport revoked. Died of a heart attack in Naples International Airport in 1962 at 65.

6. Alphonse “Al” Capone (1899-1947)

Now this is the 1920s Prohibition gangster we all remember unless we're under 5 or hiding under a rock somewhere. Still, he had great fashion sense.

Now this is the 1920s Prohibition gangster we all remember unless we’re under 10 or hiding under a rock somewhere. Still, he had great fashion sense and today he’s the most famous American gangster who ever lived.

Known in Life as: A violent Chicago gangster who attained national fame during Prohibition and was crime boss of that city for seven years. Alleged to be responsible for the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 (show missed great opportunity there). Possibly the most famous Prohibition gangster in the United States who ever lived.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was born in New York. Said he served in WWI (even though he didn’t but he was embarrassed that he got his nasty scar from a knife fight). Had an Irish wife and brothers in the business as well (save one who was a Prohibition agent).
Differences: Was bigger than Stephen Graham. Moved to Chicago after being in memberships with small town gangs and the Five Points Gang where he was mentored by Frankie Yale. Was 21 in 1920 and started out in Chicago as a Johnny Torrio’s bodyguard not driver. Still, though he may have been a violent gangster who gained control of the Chicago bootlegging through violent means, he knew the value of PR and would stylize himself as a generous benefactor and a modern day Robin Hood. He’d also help cultivate relationships with Mayor William Hale Thompson and the city police.
Ultimate Fate: Was investigated and convicted of tax evasion thanks to the efforts of IRS agent Frank J. Wilson. Was sentenced to 11 years in prison but would serve 7 including a stint in Alcatraz where he’d be diagnosed with syphilis and gonorrhea. Was paroled in 1939 and would spend his remaining years in Florida where he showed symptoms of syphillic dementia. Died of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke in 1947 at 48. His Chicago Outfit would continue at a low profile though and is still around.

7. Meyer Lansky (1902-1983)

Still, while Luciano is the better looking gangster on Boardwalk Empire, Lansky probably beats him in the looks department in real life. Of course, that's just my opinion. Nevertheless, Lansky will eventually outlive most of his peers from this era and enjoy a nice retirement in Florida.

Still, while Luciano is the better looking gangster on Boardwalk Empire, Lansky probably beats him in the looks department in real life. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Nevertheless, Lansky will eventually outlive most of his peers from this era and enjoy a nice retirement in Florida.

Known in Life as: Called the “Mob’s Accountant” was a major organized crime figure who along with Luciano was instrumental in developing the National Crime Syndicate in the United States. Thought to be one of the most powerful men in the country for decades. Had a gambling empire that stretched across the seas and was said to own casinos in Las Vegas, Cuba, the Bahamas, and London. Despite being in the Jewish Mob, he had as strong influence on the Italian Mafia and played a large role in consolidating the criminal underworld.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Met and befriended Luciano as a teenager as well as served as Rothstein’s protégé. Also was acquainted with Bugsy Siegel during that time as well (they became lifelong friends as well as had the latter save him several times).
Differences: Was 18 in 1920. Was much closer to Siegel than Luciano (he and Bugsy formed their own gang and were BFFs for life). Probably didn’t turn on Rothstein. Also didn’t quite look like Anatol Yusef.
Ultimate Fate: Well, he’s much luckier than a lot of his colleagues. Though he did get deported to the US from Israel and have his Cuban ventures end to the rise of Castro, he manage to establish a lot of gambling operations (considered to have high integrity) and transferred a lot of his earnings to a Swiss bank account. Was instrumental in Operation Underworld during World War II for the US Navy. From 1974 to his death of lung cancer at 81 in 1983, he spent a long peaceful retirement at Miami Beach. Yet, the amount of money he left will never be known though he was survived by his widow and 3 children.

8. Casper Holstein (1876-1944)

Let's just say that while the Harlem Renaissance had it's share of African American musicians, academics, scientists, and writers, they also their share of Prohibition era gangsters. Casper Holstein is the most famous despite his Germanic name. Yet he had a Scandinavian father.

Let’s just say that while the Harlem Renaissance had it’s share of African American musicians, academics, scientists, and writers, they also their share of Prohibition era gangsters. Casper Holstein is the most famous despite his Germanic name. Yet he had a Scandinavian father.

Known in Life as: Prominent New York gangster involved in the Harlem “numbers rackets” during the Harlem Renaissance. He, along with his rival Stephanie St. Clair, was responsible for bringing back illegal gambling to the neighborhood after an 8 year absence following the conviction of Peter H. Matthews in 1915. Was well known for his generosity with his wealth in Harlem.
Character or Inspiration? Main inspiration for Doctor Valentin Narcisse and to a lesser extent, Chalky White.
Similarities: Both hailed from the West Indies. Both were prominent crime figures in Harlem during Prohibition. Both were philanthropists and financed the Harlem Renaissance (Holstein donated money to build dormitories at black colleges, was patron to the area’s artists, writers, and poets.) Were very supportive of the UNIA-ACL and wanted to improve African American society.
Differences: Didn’t call himself a “doctor of divinity.” Was of mixed African and Danish descent. Regularly contributed to the NCAAP’s Crisis. His operation actually focused more on “number rackets” and illegal gambling than anything (though he owned a few nightclubs and other legitimate businesses). Was in the US Navy during WWI as well as had several jobs like a Manhattan porter and doorman as well as head messenger to a Wall Street brokerage firm. Was kidnapped by a few whites in 1928 for a $50,000 but was released days later with the ransom never paid. Was never involved in drugs as far as I know.
Ultimate Fate: After serving a stint in prison following his 1937 arrest for illegal gambling (after leaving the numbers game in 1932), he “retired” from gambling but continued his philanthropic activities in Harlem and got in the real estate business. He died in 1944 at 67. 2,000 people attended his funeral. Has a scholarship in at the University of the Virgin Islands and a housing development in St. Croix named after him.

9. Johnny Torrio (1882-1957)

Sure he may remind you of some distinguished gentleman you'd see at Barnes & Noble. However, this guy was a Chicago Outfit mob boss as well as Al Capone's immediate supervisor and mentor.

Sure he may remind you of some distinguished gentleman you’d see at Barnes & Noble. However, this guy was a Chicago Outfit mob boss as well as Al Capone’s immediate supervisor and mentor. He’d later quit the racket and would later become a mob consultant in New York.

Known in Life as: Italian American gangster who helped build the Chicago Outfit in the 1920s that would be inherited by his protégé Al Capone in 1925. Also put forth the idea of a National Crime Syndicate in the 1930s and later became an unofficial adviser for the Genovese crime family.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Well, he was Al Capone’s mentor who helped bring him to Chicago and was second to Big Jim Colosimo (who was his uncle by marriage and invited him to deal with extortion demands from the Black Hand.) Might’ve set up Colosimo’s murder after he refused to invest in the alcohol business (though we aren’t so sure). Made no distinction between Irish and Italians in his gang. Was a rival of the Northside Gang headed by Dean O’Banion. Handed over the reins to Capone after an assassination attempt put him in the hospital and moved to Italy in 1925.
Differences: Was only 38 in 1920 while Greg Antonacci is certainly not. Also, resembled much more of a grandfatherly businessman in his later years. Not only that, but Torrio also may have set up Colosimo’s murder for a more personal reason which was divorcing his aunt so he could marry an actress and singer. Still, we’re not sure whether he did.
Ultimate Fate: Of course, he only lived in Italy for 3 years and moved back to the US due to the rise of Benito Mussolini. Engaged in a number of legitimate businesses including liquor distribution and bail bonds and acted as a crime consultant before his income tax arrest and conviction in 1939 which resulted in 2 years in prison. After his release, dabbled in real estate and spent a nice long retirement as a promise he made to his wife. Died in a Brooklyn barber shop of a heart attack in 1957 just before he was to get his hair cut. Left a wife and three kids.

10. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906-1947)

Oh, my is this bad boy a very handsome man? And in a checkered sports coat who knew? Still, it's a shame that this gangster would go to a bad end and with a left eye blown out of its socket. Jesus Christ!

Oh, my is this bad boy a very handsome man? And in a checkered sports coat who knew? Still, it’s a shame that this gangster would go to a bad end and with a left eye blown out of its socket. Jesus Christ!

Known in Life as: Jewish American gangster with the Luciano crime family and known to be one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of his day. Was one of the first front-page celebrity gangsters and a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas strip, a founder and leader of Murder, Incorporated, and Prohibition bootlegger. One of the most feared hitmen in history.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was a teenager in the 1920s as well as a close associate with Meyer Lansky (they were BFFs for life). Lansky would hire him out as a hitman. Was bloodthirsty, aggressive, and audacious.
Differences: Was a boyhood friend to Al Capone and allowed him to hide out with his aunt. Would soon rise to prominence as a gangster. Had a record that included armed robbery, rape, and murder dating back to his teenage years.
Ultimate Fate: Would soon have to move to California and develop a syndicate with Mickey Cohen during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Befriended a lot of Hollywood stars and had an extravagant life. Went to Las Vegas to develop the Flamingo Hotel on the strip which was an initial failure but made a profit. Shot in the head by an M-1 carbine at his girlfriend Virginia Hill’s Beverly Hills home in 1947 at 41. May have received “the Moe Greene Special.” His murder remains unsolved. The Flamingo Hotel still stands though.

11. Edward L. Bader (1874-1927)

Not a great photograph of the Atlantic City mayor of the 1920s who died from peritonitis, but it'll have to do. Still, very different looking from the Ed Bader we see on the HBO show.

Not a great photograph of the Atlantic City mayor of the 1920s who died from peritonitis, but it’ll have to do. Still, very different looking from the Ed Bader we see on the HBO show.

Known in Life as: Mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey from 1920-1927.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Had a construction business prior to his election as mayor.
Differences: Was actually bald and son of Catholic German immigrants (since he was part of the Atlantic City Knights of Columbus). Played for the Latrobe Athletic Association in US professional football after attending the University of Pennsylvania. Was a champion for education. Spoke out against the KKK, was a patron of athletics, and set up a garbage collecting operation as well as helped rebuilt Atlantic City during a hurricane. Very active in his community, sponsored a lot of construction projects, organized the first Miss America pageant, as well as had a wife and four kids. Still, he was much more than a pawn to the political bosses and he and Nucky Johnson were good friends (the latter was at his deathbed).
Ultimate Fate: Died of peritonitis in 1927 at 52 (and the fact his appendix was on the left side of his torso).

12. Joe Masseria (1886-1931)

Man, he doesn't seem like a nice guy here. Still, seems to have a lighter skin complexion than Ivo Nandi on the show to my surprise. Of course, he'll be done in by Luciano some time after this picture is taken.

Man, he doesn’t seem like a nice guy here. Still, seems to have a lighter skin complexion than Ivo Nandi on the show to my surprise. Of course, he’ll be done in by Luciano some time after this picture is taken.

Known in Life as: Early Mafia boss in New York City and what is now called the Genovese crime family. Waged a bloody war to take over criminal activities in the city.
Character or Inspiration? He’s a character on the show.
Similarities: Was the big Italian crime boss in the 1920s who gangsters feared and respected. Survived numerous assassination attempts save the one ordered by Luciano.
Differences: Gave Luciano his start as a gunman before he left for Rothstein. May have played a role in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929. Was only top mob boss in New York for 3 years. Wasn’t the head of the Morello crime family until 1922.
Ultimate Fate: Assassinated at a Coney Island restaurant in 1931. He was 45. We’re sure it was on Luciano’s orders since he wanted to end the Castellammarese War and dissolve the old Costa Nostra structure.

13. Louis “Commodore” Kuehnle (1857-1934)

I know this is a picture of Kuehnle from 1916 but it'll have to do. Yet, he doesn't look in the way I expected him to. Wonder if he hunted animals enough to make them an endangered species.

I know this is a picture of Kuehnle from 1916 but it’ll have to do. Yet, he doesn’t look in the way I expected him to. Wonder if he hunted animals enough to make them an endangered species.

Known in Life as: American business entrepreneur and politician. Leader of the Republican organization that controlled Atlantic City during the early 1900s. Was pursued for election fraud by New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson in 1910 and was convicted on conflict of interest in 1913 where he served 6 months in prison.
Character or Inspiration? Inspiration for Louis Kaestner a. k. a. “the Commodore” (also has a personality more akin to an evil Teddy Roosevelt).
Similarities: Both founded a political machine and were succeeded by a guy named Nucky. Both were crooks who served jail time.
Differences: Didn’t really successfully challenge Nucky Johnson (at least not to have him put in prison, though Nucky did help him to get elected as City Commissioner which he served for the rest of his life). Owned the Kuehnle Hotel where he ran a gambling and prostitution racket. Probably didn’t rape a 13 year old girl and didn’t have a maid try to poison him. Was clean shaven and had no kids.
Ultimate Fate: Died of complications from appendicitis operation in 1934 at the age of 76.