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The Empty Chair
Episode 1
The Untouchables (1959) "The Empty Chair"
Narrator: "Chicago, May 5, 1932. After 7 months of legal delays, Al Capone... was on his way to federal prison, to serve 11 years for income tax evasion."* Eliot Ness and his Untouchables had spent 18 months to get Capone behind bars-- but now who would try to take over the throne, the Empty Chair? May 8. Barbara Ritchie (niece of Jake Guzik) has been grieving over the death of her husband George Ritchie for 12 months-- unaware that it was her own uncle Jake who had him knocked off for being an informer to Ness. At a service at the cemetery, marking the first anniversary of Georges death, are: Barbara Ritchie (Georges widow), her uncle Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik (treasurer and bookkeeper for the Capone mob), Norma Guzik (Jakes widowed sister, Barbaras mother), Phil DAndrea (expert machine-gunner), "Fur" Sammons (hijacker and rumrunner), Gus Raddi ("pineapple" expert), Tony "Mops" Volpe (chief triggerman) and last and most important Frank Nitti ("The Enforcer").May 12. Two of Capones principle lieutenants-- Gus Raddi and Tony "Mops" Volpe-- go to a barber shop where Enrico Rossi is working as a barber. Nitti barges in with a machine-gun and blasts them, eliminating some competition for the Empty Chair. (Unfortunately, some stray machine-gun bullets hit pretty Tessie DiGiovanni, the 17-year-old manicurist working in the barber shop.) Enrico Rossi uses his straight razor to attack Nittis henchman and agrees to testify against Nitti. Since being a witness against "the Enforcer" can be hazardous to ones health, the Untouchables must give Rico protection. They figure the best way to do this is to hire him on as their driver. Thus, Rico joins the squad where he will remain for the entire run of the series.Guzik calls a meet of the 4 still-living heirs at the Montmartre Cafe, headquarters of the Capone gang: himself, Frank Nitti, "Fur" Sammons and Phil DAndrea. Nitti sits in Capones Empty Chair, saying "Big chair-- big man. It fits all right. Anybody ob
Added on January 21, 2022
Ma Barker and Her Boys
Episode 2
The Untouchables (1959) "Ma Barker and Her Boys"
January 16, 1935. Oklawaha, Florida. Eliot Ness, along with Bill Youngfellow and Martin Flaherty, are closing in on Ma Barker, who is holed up in a house along with 2 of her sons, Lloyd and Fred. Ness says they are wanted for everything from bank robbery, kidnapping, to first-degree murder. Now that Ness has found where the Barkers are, he contacts half a dozen state troopers and local police for backup. From a distance, Ness yells at Ma Barker and her boys to surrender and come out with their hands up. Ma Barker goes to a closet, and inside is an arsenal of weapons-- machine guns, pistols, hand grenades, etc., enough for a small army. She fires a chopper at Ness; he jumps behind an 8-foot long wooden flower pot that gets riddled with bullets. Ma Barker throws a hand grenade that almost blows up Bill Youngfellow. Ma Barker is the most vicious outlaw theyve ever faced. In a flashback, we see how it all started in Tulsa, Oklahoma years ago: Ma Barker was a church-goer, but always making excuses for her 4 boys who were committing petty crimes, which escalated into serious crimes. In 1927, while the 4 boys were looting a store, Herman got shot by a policeman. Pa Barker finally had the guts to walk out on the bunch. Ma and her 3 boys committed bank robberies, and killed a bank guard; also a kidnapping. They committed crimes in a 10-state area. In 1935, Pa Barker tipped Eliot Ness, and Ness almost caught the Barker gang in St. Paul, Minnesota. Then the Barkers kidnapped a millionaires son and got $200,000 ransom. Arthur "Doc" Barker and his fiance Eloise left the gang; Arthur took his share of the ransom and went to Chicago, but all the serial numbers were recorded with the police. Around the first of January, 1935, when Arthur spent a $10 bill, the grocer informed Eliot Ness, so Ness knew Arthur was in Chicago. Ma Barker stupidly sent a birthday cake to Arthur (who was using the alias Clarence Tillman), and enclosed a postcard, "Greetings from Oklawaha, Florida." Art
Added on January 1, 1970
The Jake Lingle Killing...
Episode 3
The Untouchables (1959) "The Jake Lingle Killing"
Gangs have divided Chicago in 2-- the northside is run by the Bertshce mob, the southside by the Viale brothers, Augie & Vito. The line of demarcation being Madison Street. At the news office, Jake Lingle phones in a story to the front desk: gang war has erupted on the near northside, 2 hoods with machine guns smashed the liquor supply at Bertsches Club Chapeau, in retaliation for Bertsches mob raiding a Viale warehouse. Jake Lingle gets shot in the back at the subway station. The public turns out by the thousands for his funeral. It was the first time in history that a newspaperman was killed by the mob. Publicly, Augie Viale says Bertsche killed him; Bertsche says Viale did. The newspaper puts up a $25,000 reward for the capture of the killer. Former hood Bill Hagen meets with Ness. He says hell give Ness information about the booze racket, if Ness finds out who killed Jake Lingle and tells him first, so he can get the reward money. Ness reminds him the Lingle killing is not a federal matter. Later, Ness meets with D.A. Beecher Asbury; he tells Ness the truth. Dead, Jake Lingle is a martyr, a rallying point for the public to demand reform; but alive, Lingle was pocketing 50 grand a year by being a broker-- through him, the mob bought protection from the police. Bill Hagen, who used to be a big-time bootlegger from St. Louis, meets with Barney Bertsche, and gets a job with his mob. Barney Bertsche trusts him. Hagen tips off Ness about one of Bertsches stills, at a farmhouse 9 miles outside of town. Ness grills all the crooks there, and finds out that a Patty ODay, who used to drive a truck for Bertsche, supplied the gun for the Lingle killing-- Ness relates this info to Hagen. Over the next few weeks, Hagen tips Ness off 5 more times. Bertsche figures these raids are just bad luck; Jack Zuta tells him Hagen is a stoolie. They set a trap: they give Hagen false info about a still. Hagen calls Ness, tells him theres a cooker on Columbus Drive. If Ness raids it,
Added on January 1, 1970
The George Bugs Moran...
Episode 4
The Untouchables (1959) "The George Bugs Moran Story"
March 2, 1932. Gangster Joe Carroll, sidekick of George "Bugs" Moran, kidnaps 9-year-old Larry Halloran, Jr.-- the son of Lawrence Halloran, president of the United Truckers Union. It just so happens that at this very moment, Ness and his Untouchables are trying to nail Bugs Moran-- who is now the top criminal in Chicago, since Capone is in prison. Ness leaves Agent Martin Flaherty in charge; Ness has to fly to Washington, DC, since the brass wants him to give Congress the whole story about the Capone operation. Bugs Moran and Joe Carroll phone Lawrence Halloran at his home; they say Halloran should meet them at his union building. There, Moran spells it out: he wants control of Hallorans union. Halloran is to call a meeting of the union, recommend they elect Moran as vice president, and Joe Carroll as executive secretary-- and then Halloran is to keep his mouth shut. In exchange, Halloran will get his kid back; Halloran has no choice but to agree. Flaherty and Youngfellow are tailing Moran the whole time; after Moran leaves, Flaherty talks to Halloran-- but Halloran wont make a move until he gets his son back. Later that night, the kid is returned to Halloran. Next day, Halloran drops in on Flaherty in room 208 of the Federal Building. Flaherty wants to get Moran; but he tells Halloran that as a Federal agent he can do nothing, since kidnapping is not a federal offense, (if it doesnt cross state lines). Halloran leaves, disgusted. Flaherty phones Ness for some sage advice. Ness surprises Flaherty by telling him he should let Moran take over the union: give him enough rope and hell hang himself. Ness says, let Moran try to put his arm on some interstate hauler, and theyll nail him for violation of interstate commerce: a federal offense. (thats why Ness is the brains of the Untouchables.) Halloran pays a visit to non-union "Patterson & Sons" Trucking & Hauling. Halloran wants to warn them that Bugs Moran is taking over his union, and Bugs will take over their
Added on January 1, 1970
Aint We Got Fun?
Episode 5
The Untouchables (1959) "Aint We Got Fun?"
Summer 1933, Chicago. The mobsters were branching out from liquor, going into the numbers racket, call girls, gambling and dope. One of the most successful gangsters is "Big" Jim Harrington; right now he and his gang are in back of Benny Hoffs Blue Poodle nightclub, and they smash a truckload of liquor. Harrington tells Hoff, from now on, he will only buy booze from him-- and Harrington demands 75% ownership. When Hoff balks, one of Harringtons boys, Loxie the Torch, intimidates Hoff. Loxie takes out a whiskey hip flask, but its not filled with whiskey. Loxie goes, "Alright, now, smell it," as he pours the gasoline on the terrified Hoff, "light a match and >fshhh!!<" and he holds the lighted match up to him. Hoff doesnt want his club to be torched, too; the club becomes Jim Harringtons Blue Poodle. Harrington was out to get ownership of all the speakeasies and nightclubs in Chicago, and flood the town with his rotgut-- 1,000 gallons a day. The violence was a matter for the police; the booze was a federal matter. And so Eliot Ness meets with Hoff, but Hoff doesnt want to talk about it. Hoff also owns another small club on the side, a German beer garden called the Double Eagle. Hoff is manager and best friend of a stand-up comedian named Johnny Paycheck, who is working there this week, and his jokes are strictly from hunger. Paycheck regales the audience, "We were so poor, one day my mom said to the landlord, What about the floor? and he said, What about it? and my mom said, We want one." You get the idea. Harrington is in the audience with his moll Renee Sullivan, and figuring that Paychecks rotten jokes are no worse than his rotgut, he offers Paycheck a job in one of his downtown speaks, the Blue Poodle. Harrington now has his sights set on taking over the swankiest nightclub in town, Schlessingers Mohawk club. Eliot Ness warns the owner about Harringtons plan to take over. 6 weeks later, Johnny Paycheck has picked up some better jokes (thank heavens)
Added on January 1, 1970
Mexican Stake-Out
Episode 7
The Untouchables (1959) "Mexican Stake-Out"
Chicago. October 1, 1932.* In 32 hours, Judge McGinnis will consider evidence against racketeer Theodore Newberry-- owner of gambling parlors, speakeasies and houses of prostitution. Ness and his men had been working on the case for a year. The key witness in the case against Newberry is a timid City Hall clerk named Julius Embry. That night, Newberrys hitman Jerry Fanning goes to Embrys house to shoot him-- he fires at a shadow in the window. But police guarding the place fire back, chasing Fanning away. Fanning then goes to Newberrys place to report his failure-- Newberry takes the bad news graciously: he belts Fanning, giving him a black eye. Newberry is holding a party, and one of the guests is a corrupt Commissioner. Ness has Embry moved to a hotel room for safe keeping. However, the corrupt Commissioner sends a couple of City Hall crooks (Whelan & Dottweiler), pretending to be agents (and having a document signed by the Commissioner) to the hotel, and they tell the guard they have orders to put Embry into protective custody. The hoods knock the guard unconscious, and put the snatch on Embry. The next day, D.A. Beecher Asbury has to ask the judge for a postponement because Embry has vanished. That night, Ness is sitting alone at a table in the Savoy restaurant. A Mr. LaMarr strikes up a conversation with him. Then LaMarr hands Ness an envelope with $20,000 in it. Before a surprised Ness can react, a photographer takes a picture of the "transaction." Ness has been framed! The photo winds up on the front page of the newspapers the next day, along with the headline: "What was in that envelope, Mr. Ness?" To make matters worse, the kidnapped Embry has been taken out of the country-- down to Chihuahua, Mexico. Newberry decides to rub out Ness and Embry at the same time. Newberry has Fanning pose as a cab driver, and give Ness and Agent Martin Flaherty a sob story-- Fanning tells them hes ratting on Newberry because he "added a new girl to his collec
Added on January 1, 1970
The Artichoke King
Episode 8
The Untouchables (1959) "The Artichoke King"
April 19, 1931. New York City. Every 48 hours, more than 25 million pounds of fruits and vegetables stream into the city; this multi-million dollar business is the target of gangsters. Eliot Ness and his Untouchables have recently been brought to New York on special assignment to investigate the produce market racket. After senior Angelo Cestari, a produce retailer, is machine-gunned by one of Terranovas gangsters, Ness talks to his son Tony Cestari; Tony tells Ness that his father didnt deal with Terranova like the other retailers did, and now hes paid the ultimate price. Ciro Terranova is The Artichoke King; his racket is simple: he buys carloads of artichokes at $6 a crate, and sells them for twice the price-- at the point of a gun. Despite his wealth, Terranova is a notorious cheapskate. Right now, Terranova is mad at his henchman Frankie Yale, and Yales sidekick Marlowe, for rubbing out Cestari. But Yale has a surprise for Terranova: Yale says that Terranova is no longer his boss, from now on they are partners. Yale and Marlowe go to Tony Cestari and demand $1,200 for artichokes he should have bought from them; and they tell Tony he has to buy $600 worth of artichokes a week from them from now on. Ciro Terranova, meanwhile, goes to Chicago and hires a hitman for 20 grand-- to get rid of his new "partner." Hitman Felix Burke is expensive because hes the best, he did the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Terranova gives him 5 grand now, and promises to pay the rest of the money immediately when the job is done; Burke makes him sign a contract, in case Terranova tries to stiff him. Felix Burke rubs out Frankie Yale, and tosses the machine gun. Eliot Ness finds the tommy gun, and traces it back to the Capone mob. Just as Burke figured, miser Terranova is slow to pay him the rest of the 20 grand; so slow, that Ness and his men have time to tail Burke. When Burke gets the rest of the dough, he demands another 20 grand from Terranova, since his procrastination has pu
Added on January 1, 1970
The Tri-State Gang
Episode 9
The Untouchables (1959) "The Tri-State Gang"
In the latter part of 1933, there was an epidemic of truck hijackings in the states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania; this was the work of 6 gangsters: the Tri-State Gang. Tonight, in Richmond, Virginia, theyre hijacking a truckload of radios. As usual "Big" Bill Phillips, a 64" ox of a man, takes over the hijacked truck, transferring the load onto their truck; Artie McLeod, a cheap tinhorn gambler, puts a burlap sack over the drivers head, blinding him, and chains the driver to a tree. Other gang members are Georgie Kaufman, an ex-boxer, the oldest of the gang; and James Jonathan Harris, aka Gentleman Jim, aka "Harris the Fence"; and the 2nd-in-command, Bobby Mais. Their leader is the vicious, sadistic Wally Legenza-- he shoots 4 bullets into the driver (who never got a good look at the gang members, and couldnt identify them) because Legenza is a psychopath. Ness and his men, who had been assigned by Washington, DC, to investigate the Tri-State Gang, are on the scene. May 14, 1934. That night, Wally Legenza calls a meet, to go over tomorrow nights hijacking job. "Big" Bill Phillips is absent-- hes seeing his sweetie, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Dauphine, a French girl from Quebec, Canada that he nicknames Alouette. Legenza goes to their place and breaks it up. The night of May 15, in Oakhurst, Virginia, the gang hijacks a truck hauling $20,000 of tobacco. Again they chain the driver to a tree, but this time Legenza only shoots one bullet into him; the driver doesnt die, and when the sack over his head falls off, he sees their license plate number: T-4514. Ness and his men are staying in Richmond; Ness investigates this first break in the case. The Dept. of Motor Vehicles shows the truck is registered to Briggs Salvage Co.; the Internal Revenue shows the owner is James J. Harris. Ness and his men stake out the Briggs Salvage place; it is virtually deserted, only Harris and one watchman. But on the 5th night, Harris shows up with Legenza and "Big" Bill Phillips.
Added on January 1, 1970
The Dutch Schultz Story...
Episode 10
The Untouchables (1959) "The Dutch Schultz Story"
March 1935. One of the toughest mobsters in New York City is Dutch Schultz. He and his mob were responsible for over 100 murders. Dutch is into every racket: liquor, narcotics, labor shakedowns, the numbers, selling protection. But "Lucky" Luciano is muscling in on his territory; to try to keep his clients from paying to Luciano, Dutch Schultz has his boys work his clients over with fists. When Joe Floris wont pay 30% protection money to Schultz, saying he is already paying 15% to Luciano, Joe Floris gets some acid in the face, blinding him. But Dutch has a gentler side, too-- his wife just had a baby. Eliot Ness and his Untouchables are on special assignment in New York City. Agent Flaherty works undercover, and Ness and his men get Schultzs books. It looks like Eliot Ness is about to nail Dutch Schultz on income tax evasion, just like he did Al Capone. One night, Dutch Schultz offers Eliot Ness and Flaherty a $75,000 bribe; the Untouchables facetiously pretend they are interested. Flaherty: "Thats a lot of money. I could buy a whole chain of delicatessens." Ness: "You know, Ive always thought Id like to own a chateau in France." Flaherty: "Well, if you throw any parties, Ill cater them from my delicatessen." Ness: "Special rates?" Flaherty: "Youll be rich, you can afford to pay the going price." Ness: "Now wait a minute, with a special chateau I ought to get special rates..." Dutch Schultz is angry at being mocked, and leaves in a huff. Later, Schultz is indicted. But Schultzs crafty attorney says his client cant get a fair trial in New York City, and asks the judge for a change of venue. Arriving in the small town of Clearview, in upstate New York, Schultz ingratiates himself to all the townsfolk by spreading money around; not by bribery, but legally. For example, he talks to the grade school teacher, Marsha Harper, and offers to buy uniforms for the schools baseball team; that sort of thing. By the time the trial starts on September 7, the town thinks
Added on January 1, 1970