Loophole – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 3

LOOPHOLE

Airdates: November 16th, 1961
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Jack Klugman
Co-starring Martin Landau, Gavin MacLeod, George Tobias
Featuring Vaughn Taylor, John Weingraf, Lorna Thayer, Wendell Holmes, Joe Turkel, Peter Brocco, Alexander Lockwood, Karen Verne, Alan Gilbert, Larkin Ford

“In the latter half of 1932, the Untouchables had been training their big guns on Mikahil “Red” Mike Probich who had hard-fisted his way from the docks to the top spot in Chicago’s hierarchy of crime. January 1933, they were ready to move.”
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The Matt Bass Scheme – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 3

THE MATT BASS SCHEME

Airdates: November 9th, 1961, and April 23rd, 1963 
Written by David Z. Goodman 
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg 
Produced by Lloyd Richards 
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Telly Savalas
Co-starring Bruce Gordon, Milton Seltzer, Michael Constantine
Featuring Carl Milletaire (uncredited), Joseph Bernard, Toni Tucci, John Harmon, Grant Richards, Herman Rudin

“In mid-June, 1932, Eliot Ness, having compiled a list of Frank Nitti’s breweries and distilleries, began a series of raids designed to break the back of the Capone empire, which was being run by his trusted lieutenant.”
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The Genna Brothers – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 3

THE GENNA BROTHERS

Airdates: November 2nd, 1961 and April 19th, 1962
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by x
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Marc Lawrence, Anthony Carbone, Frank Buglia, Alrene Sax Featuring Grant Richards, Steve Gravers, Eugene Iglesias, Peter Coe, A.G. Vitanza, Willian Tannen

“In the years following World War I, a flood-time of European immigration rowed through Ellis Island in New York harbor. Early in the 1920s, the ferry that made the run to Manhattan carried six men across the bay. Six brothers. Duly processed and certified for entry into the United States. Family name, Genna. Place of origin: Scilly. Destination: Chicago. Where streets were said to be paved with gold. The brothers picked up their share fast. In a few short years, they were the ruling lords of Chicago’s Little Italy. Their name, a byword of violence and death.”

The six Genna brothers, assuming control of Chicago’s Little Italy, are up to no good, bringing in illegal aliens to make their whisky for the Capone mob. After an alien is killed, an emissary of Capone orders the Gennas to discontinue the practice of greenhorn smuggling. Eliot Ness finds a reluctant ally in an Italian shopkeeper whose daughter is accidentally gunned down when one of the Gennas, a rival for her affection, attempts to kill off her new husband.

“With four of the Gennas dead, the brothers were no longer a factor in the underworld. But the name Genna had left a scar in Chicago’s Little Italy. And it would be a long time healing.”

REVIEW

Yes, Virginia, there really was a mob made up entirely of Gennas. Those nasty Italians (Sicilians, actually) are back with serpentine Marc Lawrence to head them up in this variation of the Augie Ciamino story. Enjoy them – this is the last of the thoroughbreds except for a couple of miscellaneous leftovers.

After all the flak from the previous year, it was assumed that the Italians were gone for good, but the agreement was for the elimination of fictional Italian gangsters. This episode generated another round of unpleasant and not-so-thinly-veiled threats aimed at the network and the Culver City crowd. Ultimately, it lead to the outright ban imposed on the use of any ethnic types for the 1962-1963 season, although a handful of evil Irishmen and several Italians will manage to sneak in anyway.

In the very same agreement, Desi Arnaz had made a point to say that Enrico Rossi would have a more prominent role in the show and this episode seems designed to show good and bad Italians, rich and poor, fed and hoodlum alike. Nevertheless, the promise to raise Rossi’s profile in the squad went about as far as the others. While actor Nick Georgiade gets a few extra lines and otherwise chews some scenery as Rossi, he’s left completely out of the climax of the episode as Ness and Hobson take on the remaining Gennas on their own, negating any attempt at what we’d describe today as a “narrative arc.” There is no satisfying resolution to Rossi’s indignancy toward the Gennas and it is otherwise Eliot Ness who gets to offer the beset immigrants a helping hand. A missed opportunity.

QUOTES

NESS: Do me a favor, Genna. Run.

HISTORICAL NOTES

The real Gennas were indeed rather unpleasant people, but their power and influence in Chicago was largely vanquished by opposing forces by 1930. They were the catalyst behind Chicago’s early gang war after murdering Dean O’Banion, leader of the North Side Gang, and nearly succeeding an assassination on Capone mentor Johnny Torrio. Like his fictional counterpart, the real Mike Genna later shot and killed by law enforcement in 1925.

GALLERY

Tunnel of Horrors – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 3

TUNNEL OF HORRORS

Airdates: October 26 and February 22nd, 1962
Written by John Mantley
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Martin Balsam
Co-starring Bruce Gordon, Don Gordon
Featuring Joseph Ruskin, Robert Bice, Harry Bartell, Barbara Pepper, Arnold Freeman

”August 28th, 1933, 9:15 p.m. Acting on an anonymous tip, Eliot Ness, and the Untouchables aided by plainclothesmen from the Chicago police, was staked out on an amusement pier along the Chicago lakefront. Weeks of intensive investigation had convinced Ness that Alexander Raeder, former European circus impresario and present owner of the giant Raeder Amusement Pier was the source of the narcotics that had begun to flood the city. Ness’ information stated that Raeder was delivering, to an unidentified syndicate contact, a shipment of pure heroin worth half a million dollars. Place of transaction: the Tunnel of Horrors. ”
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Power Play – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 3

POWER PLAY

Airdates: October 19th, 1961 and July 12th, 1962
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Albert Salmi, Mary Fickett, Carroll O’Connor.
Special Guest Star Wendell Corey.
Featuring Robert Bice, Larry Breitman, Paul Genge, Bing Russell, Richard Reeves.

“Towards the end of 1932, the power of Chicago’s underworld seemed to be waning. But by Summer of the following year, a new wave of crime had engulfed the city. Frightened and angry, civic groups demanded action. The appointment of Willard Thornton followed. Willard Thornton: age 48, Chicago Society, eastern college; recently retired from a distinguished career at the bar. His immaculate reputation and his impressive record of public service had made him an almost unanimous choice for the newly created post.”
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The Troubleshooter – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 3

THE TROUBLESHOOTER

Airdates: October 12th, 1961 and April 26th, 1962
Written by Louis Pelletier
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Alan A. Armer
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Peter Falk
Co-starring Murray Hamilton, Ned Glass, Vincent Gardenia.
Featuring Michael Dana, Vladimir Sokoloff, Frank Wilcox, Barnaby Hale, John McLiam

”In the Summer of 1934, a new gambling device swept across the country. A mild-looking game of chance which anybody could play and everybody did play. A nickel and dime game that looked like small-time stuff. In one year, the mild-looking punchboards grew bigger than the numbers racket. The take in Chicago alone rose to $70 million dollars. Because of Eliot Ness’s raids on punchboard manufacturing sites, the city-wide profit on the boards dropped a sizable fifteen percent. But Ness wanted the men on top. There were five men who ran the punchboard syndicate. Their headquarters was an old building down by the freight yards. The five top men represented the five major cities controlled by the syndicate. At the head was Chicago, then Cincinnati, St. Louis, Detroit, and New York. ”
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90-Proof Dame – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

90-PROOF DAME

Airdates: June 8th, 1961, April 12th, 1962, March 19th, 1963
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Walter E. Grauman
Produced by Alan Armer
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Steve Cochran
Co-starring Joanna Barnes, Steven Geray
Featuring Warren Stevens, Harry Dean Stanton, Gilbert Green, Norman Burton

”April 1932. Chicago ruled by its underworld czars. One of the strongest: Nate Kestor, former henchman of Capone and still a very big noise with the mob. He maintained a pretense of legality by owning and running the Odeon Burlesque. Kestor’s shows were notoriously underdressed. His girls wore just enough to cover his real operation.” Read More

The King of Champagne – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

THE KING OF CHAMPAGNE

Airdates: May 25th and September 14th, 1961
Written by David Z. Goodman
Directed by Walter E. Grauman
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Robert Middleton, Michael Constantine, Barry Morse. Featuring George Kennedy, Jason Wingreen, Grant Richards, Jack Anthony, Jean Harvey, Ben Wright.

”During the third week in November, 1932, Eliot Ness and his Untouchables, acting on the information imparted by an anonymous tip, raided a warehouse on Lorry street on Chicago’s South Side.”

A wealthy restaurateur is talked into entering the lucrative Champagne trade by his brother-in-law, who has long made bottles for the illegal whiskey business.

”Four hours later, the new year of 1933 was ushered in. But for a large portion of Chicago’s Champagne drinking population, it was ushered in dry.”

REVIEW

Portions of this workaday story are rather interesting, and certainly Champagne is a new angle. George Kennedy makes a highly remarkable appearance as Birdie, a deaf-mute in the sympathetic employ of the Edmund Wald bottle plant. In that he lives quietly in Wald’s basement and goes about strangling people upon request, he makes himself rather useful. He even tries to strangle Eliot Ness a couple of times.

Barry Morse, the chap who would earn his living chasing David Janssen all over the country a couple of years later in Quinn Martin’s Fugitive, makes for a colorfully malevolent Frenchman with a good accent, even if it borders on an early Inspector Clouseau. Of the wares imported from the Champagne region of northern Indiana, he remarks, “Nawht bahd … a leetle flaht dew tew theh poohr corhking…”

OBSERVATIONS

• The second episode to take place on New Years Eve.

GALLERY

The Seventh Vote – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

THE SEVENTH VOTE

Airdates: May 18th and September 21st, 1961
Written by Richard Collins
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Alan A. Armer
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Bruce Gordon, Joseph Ruskin
Special Guest Star Nehemiah Persoff
Featuring George N. Neise and Allen Jaffe

”April 25th, 1932. While Al Capone was in Cook County Jail awaiting transfer to the Atlanta federal penitentiary to serve the remainder of an eleven-year sentence for income tax evasion, his lieutenants were gathered in the office above the cafe Montmartre. The meeting had been called by the heirs apparent to Capone’s underworld throne: Jake ‘Greasy Thumb’ Guzik, bookkeeper for the syndicate’s far-flung criminal empire and Frank ‘the Enforcer’ Nitti whose job it had been to see that Capone’s edicts were carried out. Their purpose: to resolve the chaos created by Capone’s empty chair.

Nevertheless, in the weeks that followed, the empire suffered a succession of savage and unexpected blows. For the first time since the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Chicago was rocked by gangland wars. With increasing regularity, Capone’s speakeasies were raided, his trucks hijacked and his breweries, which represented an investment of $100,000 each, smashed.”

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The Nero Rankin Story – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

THE NERO RANKIN STORY

Airdate: May 11th, 1961
Written by Leonard Kantor
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Joanna Moore
Co-starring Will Kaluva, John Dehner
Featuring John Duke, Jean Carson, Richard Karlan, Barry Kelly, Brook Byron, Murvyn Vye, Wolfe Barzell

“September 1933. Although Eliot Ness had successfully destroyed the Underground Court, he had not been able to smash its parent organization, the Big Syndicate, then in control of over fifty percent of the nation’s crime. With the death of Judge Foley, chief of the court and chairman of the Syndicate, it was expected that the power of the Syndicate would wane. But, on September the 16th, at a roadhouse on the outskirts of Chicago, top-ranking members of the national organization had congregated to vote on the man whom Foley had designated as his successor months before he died.

“The heir apparent was an elder chieftain of crime named Nero Rankin, Foley’s teacher, in infamy, and at present, proprietor of Chicago’s most popular roadhouse, the Club Debutante. But before Rankin could assume his role as head of the Syndicate, he had to win a vote of approval by the Syndicate big wigs: Maury Brigger, who controlled the Southwest; Lou Hyndorf, boss of the East Coast from Canada to the Florida Keyes; Hooey Barker, who had been able to dominate the underworld of the Midwest without stepping on Al Capone’s toes; Patty Polofsky of Detroit, who headed the gunman squad, and Cy Brenner of New Orleans, bookkeeper for the Syndicate. Others present were top-ranking subordinates of the Syndicate who had no voting privileges.” Read More