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.

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

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