Tag Archives: true crime

Dragnet

I grew up watch Dragnet reruns, so when I read “The Black Dahlia” I couldn’t help but hear Jack Webb’s voice and his distinctive cadence in my head. Here’s a video of him clowning around with Johnny Carson: He sounded … Continue reading

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Mencken/Mitchell

I suspect most of us have heard of H.L. Mencken. He gets quoted all the time, because he had a lot to say and he said it so well. But Joseph Mitchell was a new name to me. From what I … Continue reading

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Burning down the house

In the appendix to Torso, Bendis says that people often think that the shantytown fire was made up for dramatic purposes. Maybe the idea that police would burn poor people out of house and home is hard to believe. Because … Continue reading

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Cleveland rots

In 1935, Cleveland’s so called Boy Scout Mayor, Harold Burton, decided to do something about official corruption and organized crime. He brought in a heavy hitter: Eliot Ness. At that time, Cleveland was the most dangerous city in America. Ness … Continue reading

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“Find the heads.”

Bendis tells the Torso story in a very cinematic fashion. The dramatic lighting and the camera angles all look like something out of film noir. Then there’s that repetition from panel to panel, sometimes with slight variations, that gives it … Continue reading

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Bastardy Bonds

When we were kids my brothers and I were doing something annoying, I don’t remember what, but it prompted my aunt to call us bastards. Of course, we thought that was the funniest thing ever, and never passed up a … Continue reading

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“Lassoed”

In “Mad Love,” the last sentence of the opening paragraph says, But Alice Mitchell was the first to be lassoed by Frederica Ward’s charms… I like the verb in there, lassoed. Mainly I associate it with cowboys and rodeo. It … Continue reading

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Fred & Allie, then & now

I find it fascinating to compare “Mad Love: The Ballad of Fred & Allie” to the way the story was received at the time it happened. Livingston’s essay was published this year, in a society that’s beginning to accept same-sex … Continue reading

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Go Stagger Lee

I was going to do murder ballads for this week’s crime time, since that’s what’s coming up in the true crime course. But instead I’m just going to stick with one: Stagger Lee. It’s the story of one pimp shooting … Continue reading

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Anticipating awesomeness

So we have a game show with a highway robber, and a president with a mistress(?). A number of people seem quite excited about the video project, and they’re having fun with it, so I think we’ll end up with … Continue reading

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