"Never Trust a Woman or an Automatic Pistol" … John H. Dillinger


Sorry to slip in an extra post, but I couldn’t let this one pass.
Maybe I’ll count it as my next weekly effort.

72 years ago today, John Herbert Dillinger was intercepted by Federal Agents (they wouldn’t officially become the FBI for almost another year) and local police as he came out of the Biograph Theater in Chicago with two women. The feature showing was Manhattan Melodrama starring Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy, and some say Dillinger chose that theater in the middle of July because it had a new feature – air conditioning. Supposedly he went for a gun and tried to run for it. Still some controversy over what really happened, but whatever the real facts, he was shot dead on the spot. Even though his “career” lasted only 14 months, he was, far and away, the most famous of the Depression Era outlaws of the ‘20s and ‘30s (by “outlaws,” I mean the independent operators as opposed to the organized crime guys like Capone).

Using Dillinger and a few others like “Pretty Boy” Floyd and “Baby Face” Nelson as high profile adversaries, J.Edgar Hoover was able to get legislation passed and build support for his little known Department of Justice operation and build it into America’s first national police force. Hoover ruled with an iron hand, building up a significant domestic intelligence and anti-terrorist operation starting during WWII. Until his death in 1972, Hoover was the scourge of bad guys as well as being feared by every politician in Washington from the president on down. None of them really knew what he might have on them in his famous private files. Those files, by the way, were, as per his orders,immediately taken from his office upon his death and haven’t been seen since.

BTW For any who might be interested, some of my “Gangster Geek” friends actually have a slightly tongue in cheek fan club called The John Dillinger Died for You Society.

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