90-Proof Dame – Episode Review

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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 Nick Acropolis Story – Episode Review

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THE NICK ACROPOLIS STORY

Airdate: June 1st, 1961
Written by Curtis Kenyon and John Mantley
Directed by Don Medford
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Lee Marvin.
Co-starring Bruce Gordon, Constance Ford,
Johnny Seven.
Featuring Carl Milletaire, Leonard Stone, Michael Granger, Lindsay Workman, Arthur Kendall.

“In the late summer of 1931, while the Capone organization reaped a golden harvest through the sale of illegal beer and booze in a hundred Chicago speakeasies, an obscure bookmaker, whose headquarters was a small flower shop on the west side of the city, was quietly developing into a new underworld titan. In eighteen months, he had organized the bookmakers of Illinois and half a dozen surrounding states, into a mammoth combine, which brought him a gross business of over $2 million a month. It also brought his interstate organization into the jurisdiction of Eliot Ness and the Untouchables. By the end of August, in an attempt to discover the identity of this new underworld power, Eliot Ness had two of the largest bookmaking parlors under surveillance, and Ness succeeded in tapping the phone lines of a third.”
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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

Stranglehold – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

STRANGLEHOLD

Airdate: May 4th, 1961
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Alan Armer
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Ricardo Montalban.
Co-starring Philip Pine, Kevin Hagen.
Featuring Trevor Bardette, Robert J. Wilke, Oscar Beregi, Burt Miller,
Adrienne Marden, Gene Roth, Frank Puglia.

“The Prohibition years wrote a dark page in our history. Americans who had once defied a king, refusing to pay a tax on tea, now paid a tax to the underworld on everything they drank or ate. From booze to bacon, from medicine to milk, racketeers poked their greedy fingers into every corner of the nation’s business. One little pig was going to market: The Fulton Fish Market in New York. A wholesale market, serving the entire east, shipping as far as Mississippi; a business of fantastic totals turning over $200 million a year, weighing out 700 million pounds of fish and one man’s thumb resting heavy on the scale.” Read More

Death for Sale – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

DEATH FOR SALE

Airdate: April 27th, 1961
Written by David Z. Goodman
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star James MacArthur

Co-starring Ned Glass, Carole Eastman, Lou Polan
Featuring Mario Gallo, Jon Lonner, Michael Fox, Neil Rosso. 

“On June 14th, 1930, the establishment of a bureau of narcotics signaled the beginning of an all-out effort by the government against an alarming rise in opium addiction. The bureau’s vigorous action, coupled with the complete cooperation of the Chinese government, sharply reduced the flow of illegal opium into the United States, and by 1932, the smuggling of opium from China to this country had virtually come to an end.

“During the last week in April of 1933, Frank Nitti, who had ascended to Al Capone’s throne following Capone’s conviction, was offered a huge quantity of Chinese opium. And on May the 4th, 1933, Nitti sent Ed Getty, one of his top lieutenants, to rendezvous with agents of the man who claimed he could supply the opium. There were two additional men at the rendezvous; uninvited guests.” Read More

Mr. Moon – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

MR. MOON

Airdates: April 20th, 1961 and  August 24, 1961
Written by Charles O’Neal and John Mantley
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Josef Shanel
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Victor Buono, Bruce Gordon, Karl Svenson.
Featuring Ellen Madison, Robert Osterloh, Russ Conway, Tommy Nello, Stewart Bradley, Byron Morrow

“On a dark night in the fall of 1934, an armored truck carrying the special paper used in the printing of United States currency was speeding towards Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its ultimate destination was the Bureau of Engraving in Washington, D. C. Waiting at a crossroads a mile ahead was a group of men about to make the first overt move in the greatest counterfeiting swindle in the history of the world. The execution of this ingenious plan had been in preparation for over two years.

In less than two minutes, the first step in a plan to defraud the people of the United States of $100 million dollars was completed and three men lay dead. Within 48 hours, Eliot Ness and five other top crime experts of the federal government had been flown to Washington, and were in conference with the men whose job it was to protect the nation against the economic cancer of counterfeiting.”
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Ring of Terror – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

RING OF TERROR

Airdate: April 13th, 1961
Written by John Mantley
Directed by Walter E. Grauman
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Viveca Lindfors
Co-starring Harold J. Stone, Featuring Richard Karlan, Vaughn Taylor, Sheldon Allman, John Day, Frank Wilcox, Howard Caine, Walter Burke, Russell Collins, George Garver

“Chicago Sports Arena in July 1931, was like a half-hundred other boxing rings throughout America. A place where tough young animals from reform schools and rotting tenements, were willing to sacrifice their blood for a chance to lick the twin phantoms of poverty and obscurity. It hardly mattered that, in the process, Demarcus of Queensbury got only lip service, and that the men who got the big payoffs fought with machine guns instead of gloves. In the ring, Joey McGrath, a young man on the way up. Twenty-three knockouts in twenty-five fights; a picture fighter with all the moves. A boy that the sportswriters have tagged as the next light heavyweight champion of the world. But tonight, Joey McGrath is on his way out.” Read More

Testimony of Evil – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2

TESTIMONY OF EVIL

Airdates: March 30th, and August 17th, 1961, February 12th, 1963
Written by Joseph Petracca
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Joseph Shaftel
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star David Brian.
Co-starring Fay Spain, Jack Elam, John Marley.
Featuring Johnny Seven, Robert Brubaker, K. L. Smith, Robert Comthwaite, Ross Elliott, Paul Genge.

“On the night of October 11th, 1932, less than a month before the people of Chicago went to the polls to elect a state’s attorney, David Mantley, heading the reform ticket to dissolve the marriage of gangsters and politicians, addressed a small crowd from the back of his campaign truck.” Read More