Filmed in 1967 this docu-drama stars Jason Robards as Al Capone. The film goes into to great detail the events leading up to and including the killing of Bugs Morans men 80 years ago today on Feb 14, 1929. The film gives time lines and introduces characters with on screen titles.
Think of it as Tora! Tora! Tora! for Mobsters.
On February 14th, Al Capone’s men dressed as Police Officers came to a North side Chicago Garage to murder Bugs Moran who controlled the north side liquor / beer distribution. Capone and Bugs were rivals and Capone made his move to take over. Conveniently, at the time, Capone was in Florida vacationing.
Machine Gun Jack McGurn was tasked with carrying out the hit. Jack and his gang arrived at the garage of the SMC Cartage Company on 2122 North Clark Street in Lincoln Park on the North Side of Chicago disguised as Police Officers where Bugs Moran was supposedly seen entering. They lined up the men in the garage and mowed them down. The movie depicts as accurately as possible the hit including how the men fell as they were shot.
Up until this point, Capone was seen as a Prohibition Robin Hood. After the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre came the crackdown on organized crime by the Feds & local authorities throughout the country. The glory days of 1920′s gangsters ended.
The 7 victims of the massacre were:
- Frank Gusenberg, the brother of Peter Gusenberg and also an enforcer. Frank was miraculously still alive when police first arrived on the scene. He died three hours later, saying only, “Nobody shot me.”
- Adam Heyer, the bookkeeper and business manager of the Moran gang.
- Reinhart Schwimmer, an optician who had abandoned his practice to gamble on horse racing (unsuccessfully) and associate with the Moran gang. He would, in contemporary parlance, be referred to as a “gang groupie“. Though Schwimmer called himself an “optometrist” he was actually an optician (an eyeglass fitter) and he had no medical training.
- Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran. His physical and even clothing resemblance to Moran is what allegedly set the massacre in motion before Moran actually arrived.
- John May, an occasional car mechanic for the Moran gang, though not a gang member himself. May had two earlier arrests for safeblowing (no convictions) but was attempting to work legally. However, his desperate need of cash, with a wife and seven children, caused him to accept jobs with the Moran gang as a mechanic.
(Source: Wikipedia contributors, “Saint Valentine’s Day massacre,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Saint_Valentine%27s_Day_massacre&oldid=270520634 (accessed February 13, 2009)).
Eventually, Capone served time in Alcatraz for tax evasion. The IRS got him while he constantly evaded the FBI. Capone was never charged with the massacre. Bugs Moran survived too, but was marginalized over time.