Rothstein_ The Life, Times, And Murder Of The Criminal Genius

David Pietrusza

Part 26

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86-87 New defense team: Logan, pp. 252-53, 256-58; Root (One Night in July), pp. 271; Mitgang, pp. 103-04. In 1890 c.o.c.kran defended William Kemmler, a Buffalo vegetable dealer charged with murdering his common-law wife. Kemmler would become the first man executed in an electric chair, and electricity interests feared his death would give their new product a bad name. George Westinghouse thus hired c.o.c.kran to save Kemmler from having 2,000 volts pumped through his body. c.o.c.kran failed, and Kemmler was duly executed-using a Westinghouse generator ( notorious_murders/not_guilty/chair/5.html?sect= 14 ).

87 "all them ... in New York.": Klein, pp. 293-314; Logan, p. 266; Root (One Night in July), pp. 289-91.

87-88 Whitman elected: Whitman defeated inc.u.mbent Governor Martin Glynn and the disgraced William Sulzer (running on the Prohibition and American Party tickets). In that same election, Samuel Seabury won a seat on the Court of Appeals. The year before he bolted the Democratic Party, running-and losing-for the same office as a Progressive. In 1914, after presiding at the Becker trial, he ran-and won-with Tammany backing.

88 "My private telephone ... I could.": Klein, pp. 128, 379; Logan, pp. 301-06; Root (One Night in July), pp. 297-99, 303. The July 29, 1915 New York Times reported: "Mr. Whitman had evidence of the Circle Theatre conference at the time of the second trial, but could not bring it out because Becker failed to take the stand. This conference was held on the Sunday night before Rosenthal was murdered. It was on this occasion Becker urged 'Big Tim' Sullivan not to raise a sum of money to send the gambler out of the city. This was known to the District Attorney's office all along, together with the motive for Becker's admonition. Becker at that time had arranged for Rosenthal's murder the following night." Becker's account actually confirms Rosenthal's account, explaining why Herman was so incensed at Becker's shakedowns. Becker wasn't just extorting Beansy. With Big Tim being Beansy's partner; Becker was also shaking down "The Big Feller" himself. No wonder Sullivan's henchmen were so eager to sacrifice Becker.

90 Helen Becker: NY World, 2 August 1912, pp. 1, 2; NY World, 13 August 1912, pp. 1-3. The one decent thing about Charles Becker was his love for his third wife, Helen Lynch Becker. It may have been that love, and his desire to prevent her from seeing the real Lieutenant Becker, that prevented him from ever coming clean about himself and thus cutting a lifesaving deal. For her husband's funeral Helen Becker prepared a bra.s.s plate to lay upon his casket. It read: "CHARLES A. BECKER, MURDERED JULY 30, 1915, BY GOVERNOR WHITMAN." Police made her remove it.

91 "about to be ..." ... "... how to die." Clarke, p. 31; Logan, pp. 320-4; Root (One Night in July), pp. 309-11.

91 "Well, that's it.": Clarke, p. 31; Root (One Night in July), pp. 312-13; Logan, p. 340.

Chapter 7: "Let's Go Look for Some Action".

92-93 Long Beach gambling house:; Reynolds became mayor of Long Beach in 1922. Found guilty of financial improprieties while in office, his conviction was overturned on appeal.

92 Vernon (1887-1918) and Irene (1893-1969) Castle were the premier preWorld War I dance team. Vernon, a British national, enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in 1916. He flew 150 combat missions safely, but died in an aerial exhibition in Texas in February 1918.

93 "People like ... let them.": Rothstein, pp. 55, 135; Betts, p. 231; Katcher, pp. 109-10.

93-94 "Mr. Rothstein is ..." ... "... owe me anything.": Rothstein, p. 135.

94 Partridge Club clientele: NY Times, 27 February 1918, p. 22; Rothstein, pp. 46-47; Katcher, p. 108; Thomson and Raymond, p. 74. Lew Fields (1867-1941) and Joe Webber (1867-1942) comprised Webber and Fields, America's most popular "Dutch" (German or "Deutsch") vaudeville dialect act at the turn of the century. After they split up in 1904, Fields became one of Broadway's most prominent musical-comedy producers.

95 "one of the ... sporting game": NY Journal-American, 19 April 1946. Actually, the Partridge Club began in 1903, but only then as a rather, modest, informal affair.

95 "My dear Arnold ... THAT SORT OF THING.": Thomson and Raymond, p. 75.

96 "We counted on ...and our inexperience.": NY World, 20 December 1912.

96 chemin de fer: Rothstein, p. 47.

96 Lowden: Katcher, pp. 108-09.

96 "that Nat Evans . . . and be fleeced.": NY American, 22 February 1918. Evans and Tobin were also Rothstein's partners in Saratoga's The Brook gambling house (See Chapter 9).

96-97 Bauchle a front: NY Times, 21 February 1918, p. 9; NY Times, Feb 27, 1918, p. 22; NY Times, 7 March 1918, p. 9.

97-98 "Dear Arnold ... and never will.": NY Herald, 1 April 1922; NY World, 2 April 1922; NY American, 25 June 1922; NY Times, 9 January 1923, p. 25; Thomson and Raymond, pp. 76-79.

98 "I don't ... your money.": NY Times, 28 April 1939, p. 16; Thomson and Raymond, pp. 59-60; Katcher, pp. 224, 304; Clarke, pp. 79-80; Fowler (The Great Mouthpiece), pa.s.sim.

99 "Arnold lent ... six percent.": Rothstein, pp. 31, 150. The Selwyn Theatre's career as a legitimate house was short-lived. By the 1930s it converted to burlesque and motion pictures. In 2000, however, renamed as the American Airlines Theater, it again functioned as a legitimate Broadway house.

99 "He [Rothstein] had ... loved it.": Katcher, pp. 274-45. In July 1928 Murphy answered the bell at his Chicago home. n.o.body was there. Before closing the door, he was riddled with machine gun bullets from a pa.s.sing car. Some said it was revenge for the 1920 slaying of rival labor racketeer Maurice "Mossie" Enright.

99 Break the lease: NY World, 9 November 1928, p. 18. White's productions ran exclusively at the New Apollo from 1923 through 1928. In 1931 the New Apollo featured Charming Pollock's The House Beautiful. Dorothy Parker's New Yorker review ran as follows: "The House Beautiful is The Play Lousy."

100 "I'm not in ..." ... "... to be protected.": NY World, 9 November 1928, p. 18; Rothstein, pp. 150-01; Katcher, pp. 303-74; Waller, Fats Waller pp. 72-73. The Fulton Theater became the Helen Hayes Theater. It is not the current Helen Hayes Theater, which is the former Little Theater. The Fulton/Helen Hayes was demolished in 1982.

100 Ray Miller: NY Sun, 12 November 1928, p. 3; NY Times, 6 December 1935, p. 5. In December 1935 Supreme Court Judge Lauer ruled that Rothstein's estate remained liable for the $76,000, even though the original agreement was purely oral. "There was testimony," said Lauer, "that Rothstein, who was a notorious gambler, had a code of honor, according to his standards, to which he meticulously adhered. The indemnity company [the New York Indemnity Company], it appears, knew of this quality in the deceased, had tested him and found his word or oral pledge dependable. This would tend to afford a reason for the acceptance by the indemnity company of an oral arrangement in a transaction of this magnitude rather than an insistence upon a written agreement, which might otherwise be regarded as a usual course of procedure."

101 "Why don't ..." ... "... You can't lose.": NY World, November 9 1928, p. 18; Rothstein, p. 151; Waller (Fats Waller), p. 72; Bordman, p. 437. Shuf- flin' Along featured Eubie Blake, n.o.ble Sissle, Fats Waller, and Florence Mills in its Broadway incarnation and Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson in touring companies. Rothstein's death in November 1928 left Keep Shufflin's road cast stranded in Chicago.

101-2 "The cops like me." ... "... don't, we do!": Thomson and Raymond, p. 67; Rothstein, p. 151. Gottlieb, pp. 79-80; Katcher, p. 209; Walker, p. 86. The Backstage was Billy Rose's first nightclub, opened with royalties earned from writing "Barney Google with his goo goo googly eyes" with Con Conrad. Duffy later managed heavyweight Primo Carnera. Joe Frisco (1889-1958), a popular comedian and dancer of the time, specialized in a stuttering act. Helen Morgan (1900-1941) won fame as a speakeasy chanteuse, but also had a career in film and on Broadway. In in 1927 she introduced the songs "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Bill."

102 "Good ... boy," ... "... pay the": NY World, 10 November 1928, p. 2.

103 "Often on ... profit": Rothstein, pp. 73-74.

Chapter 8: "Take Any Price".

104 Havre de Grace: NY Times, 22 September 1912, Sect. 3, p. 2; NY Times, 23 September 1912, p. 3; NY Times, 25 September 1912, p. 9; Betts, p. 231; Rothstein, pp. 230-01; Katcher, p. 122; Conversation with David R. Craig, 18 November 2002. Laurel (1911), Havre de Grace (1912), and Bowie (1914) opened within four years of each other. Maryland authorities, led by Attorney General Edgar Allan Poe, attempted to close Havre de Grace shortly after it opened, but it remained in business. The track remained profitable until Eddie Burke's death in the late 1940s. It closed in 1950.

105 Arnold handed over his remaining 75 shares to Carolyn, providing her with a handsome yield. She retained them until their divorce proceedings began. After Arnold's murder, she got them back, and their sale eventually netted her $33,000.

106 "[Omar Khayyam's jockey Everett] ... front to stay": NY Times, 19 October 1917, p. 10; Katcher, pp. 119-122; Hourless%20and%2OMike%2OHall.htm.

107 Hourless: New York Sun reporter Edward C. Hill penned the original print account of A. R.'s Hourless coup. It included the patently false contention that Hildreth and Rothstein had not previously known each other-a detail probably meant to draw attention from their manipulation of events.

108 "For all ... standing deserved.": Eliot, p. 14. The name Belmont was part of the family's social climbing. Belmont Sr. was originally "August Schoenberg." "Schoenberg" and "Belmont" both meant "beautiful mountain." But a French surname possessed greater cache and was less visibly Jewish.

109 "I would ... Mr. Belmont.": Clarke, pp. 105-06; Katcher, pp. 136-37; Rothstein, pp. 99-101; Betts, p. 231.

111 "While [Rothstein] is a . . ." . . . "a liability, Arnold,": Lewis (Man of the World), p. 54; Kahn (The World of Swope), p. 118. Leo Katcher places this incident in 1921-following the World Series fix ("You know what people are saying, Arnold. And what they're thinking. Half the country believes you were the man who fixed the World Series."). In view of the date of Swope's letter, Katcher's date and quote must be considered incorrect.

112 "Please believe ... honest mistake.": Betts, p. 226.

112 "See, you can't ..." ... . .. somin-a-b.i.t.c.h-a Rothastein.": Betts, pp. 231-33.

112 Close shave, Polo Grounds: Clarke, pp. 302-03.

113 "Ha! Ha!" ... Belmont Park today?": ibid. pp. 296-97; Rothstein, p 105.

113 "And every ... after that." Clarke, pp. 87-88.

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113-14$10,000 5-2 bet: Betts, p. 234.

130 "I can't hear you!" ... ...the money.": Betts, p. 237; Hotaling, p. 217.

131 "Forget about ..." ........ hundred-dollar bill.": Betts, p. 225-26.

131 Sailing B: NY Journal-American, American Weekly, 13 March 1949, p. 11.

131-32"The afternoon's . . . box was occupied.": NY Times, 21 August 1921, Section 8, pp. 1, 3.

133-34"The two got ... the afternoon": ibid; 3; Katcher, pp. 132-35; Hotaling, pp. 218-19; Heimer, pp. 210-12. A. R. later sold Sporting Blood to Bud Fisher, creator of "Mutt and Jeff," the first successful daily comic strip.

Sporting Blood was the t.i.tle of a 1931 horse racing film starring Clark Gable as a gambler who owned a racehorse. It was Gable's first starring role.

134 Nineteen twenty-one was a good year for Redstone Stables. Georgie captured Jamaica's Interborough Handicap with veteran Bunny Marinelli aboard. Gladiator with Clarence k.u.mmer in the saddle took the Toboggan Stakes at Belmont.

134 "I don't like ..." ... "... make a million.": Rothstein, p. 102.

134 Lansky, Luciano: Lacey, p. 83; Katcher, p. 115; Hotaling, p. 216; Bradley, p. 323-14; Heimer, pp. 218-19.

135 Brook burns: Saratogian, 31 December 1934; Saratogian, 30 August 1935, p. 1.

Chapter 10: "I Never Take My Troubles to the Cops".

136 "Now, you Blankity-Blank ..." ... "... it to you.": Rothstein, p. 115.

137 "Now, all ..." ... "... going on.": Katcher, p. 153.

137-38 "Haven't I ..." ... "What's your address?": Clarke, pp. 37-38.

138 "Thirty-five hundred," ... "... tomorrow morning.": Katcher, p. 153. A subway pickpocket once relieved Arnold of this same stickpin. The next day A. R. received a package, containing the purloined jewelry and a note reading: "We are returning your stickpin. The guy who took it didn't know who you were."

138 "I thought ..." ... "... you're buffaloed.": Katcher, pp. 154-55; Kahn (The World of Swope), pp. 122-23.

139 "Well, I guess..." ... "... them know it.": Katcher, pp. 155-56.

139 "Killer" Johnson: Rothstein, pp. 113-14. In 1917, Reisenweber's, a tremendously popular Broadway restaurant similar to Rector's or Jack's, booked the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first appearance by a jazz band in the Northeast, creating a sensation and launching the jazz Age.

140 Harlem robbery: NY World (thrice-a-week edition), 1 October 1920, p. 1; Clarke, p. 40.

140 "I don't think ... his career.": Rothstein, p. 118.

140-42 "Four is my point." ... ". . . years in State prison.' "': NY Telegraph, 24 January 1919, p. 1; NY Telegraph, 29 January 1919, p. 3; NY Times, 27 January 1920, p. 21; Clarke, pp. 44-45.

142 "rumors that ... prevent prosecution.": NY Times, 15 February 1919; p. 6.

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