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Noir Factory Podcast

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History
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The Noir Factory Podcast is created for the mystery reader, noir movie goes, or true crime buff who wants a closer look into the genre. Mystery writer Steven Gomez looks at crime history, pulp stories, noir films, and the men and woman who made them. Each week we will examine an event or figure in crime history, a pulp or noir writer, or a piece of detective work, both fictional and in real life.

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The Noir Factory Podcast is created for the mystery reader, noir movie goes, or true crime buff who wants a closer look into the genre. Mystery writer Steven Gomez looks at crime history, pulp stories, noir films, and the men and woman who made them. Each week we will examine an event or figure in crime history, a pulp or noir writer, or a piece of detective work, both fictional and in real life.

iTunes Ratings

171 Ratings
Average Ratings
140
16
8
2
5

Great Stuff

By Krazy Hands - May 22 2019
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Informative. Entertaining. Conversational without rambling. Don’t change a thing.

Impressed

By Lucky LA - May 12 2018
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Great podcast for mystery buffs.

iTunes Ratings

171 Ratings
Average Ratings
140
16
8
2
5

Great Stuff

By Krazy Hands - May 22 2019
Read more
Informative. Entertaining. Conversational without rambling. Don’t change a thing.

Impressed

By Lucky LA - May 12 2018
Read more
Great podcast for mystery buffs.
Cover image of Noir Factory Podcast

Noir Factory Podcast

Latest release on Apr 27, 2018

Read more

The Noir Factory Podcast is created for the mystery reader, noir movie goes, or true crime buff who wants a closer look into the genre. Mystery writer Steven Gomez looks at crime history, pulp stories, noir films, and the men and woman who made them. Each week we will examine an event or figure in crime history, a pulp or noir writer, or a piece of detective work, both fictional and in real life.

Rank #1: Case #002- Mickey Spillane: Writer

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He was born on March 9, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Elizabeth, NJ, in a neighborhood he called “grimy, industrial, and working class.” It was exactly the kind of neighborhood you would expect a tough-guy to grow up in.

Mickey Spillane was christened Frank Morrison Spillane by his Protestant mom, Catherine Ann. Apparently his Catholic father, John Joseph wasn’t having any of that. Whether he didn’t care for the name “Morison” or simply forgot his son’s middle name we’ll never know, but he was baptized as “Frank Michael Spillane.

Not that that either name mattered.

His father nicknamed his son “Mick” after his Irish heritage and the name stuck. Besides, as the man said later “women loved the name ‘Mickey.’

Oct 23 2015

19mins

Play

Rank #2: Case #29: George Remus-King of the Bootleggers

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"He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

George Remus was born on November 13th 1876 in Germany to Frank and Maria Remus, a working class family. He was the middle child with an older sister and younger brother and while he was still just a toddler, the family immigrated to the US.

The Remus family landed in Baltimore, then Cincinnati, and finally to Chicago, along with an intense wave of German immigrants to the Midwest.

Frank Remus found work as a lumber scorer during a boom time in Chicago and his son George flourished in school. Picking up the language quickly, he was fluent in both German and English at an early age and carried with him only the slightest German accent.

When George was only fourteen his father, Frank, who had suffered from acute rheumatism, was left disabled by the disease and unable to work. That left George to take up the mantle as breadwinner of the family. With fierce determination, he told his father not to worry and dedicated himself not only to supporting his family but to rise up through society as well.

He went to work at his uncle's pharmacy as a clerk and at the age of nineteen passed the state exam for a pharmacist's license. He continued to save and invest and within two years of becoming a pharmacist he purchased his uncle's shop and a few years after that opened a second, all the while dabbling in health insurance the side.

As a young adult Remus grew to be a fastidious man who was meticulous about his clothes and his surroundings. He prided himself as being a connoisseur of good food, fine wine, art, and literature. He also considered himself a “man's man,” and even though he grew into a soft, pudgy adult, he could still count on his iron will to achieve any goal he set for himself.

He was quick with his fists and even though he wasn't the most athletic man he could wear down almost any opponent. He also took up swimming with the same amount of focus and determination that he did everything.

He became a member of the Illinois Athletic Club and joined their water polo team, participating in national events. In 1907 he set the record for endurance swimming in Lake Michigan by swimming for 5 hours and 40 minutes in the dead of winter.

It was a record that held up for decades.

In 1899 he fell in love with one of his customers, Lillian Klauff, and in July of that year, the two were married. The following year, George Remus's daughter, Remola, was born.

When Remola was only eight years old she was cast by L. Frank Baum himself to play Dorothy Gale in the first film adaption of The Wizard of Oz.

Before George Remus was thirty years old he had met every goal society, or more importantly, he himself had ever set. But the arena, that of a pharmacist and a business owner, wasn't the one he had chosen. He had been thrust into it.

Now it was time for George Remus to face bigger challenges.

May 15 2017

21mins

Play

Rank #3: Case#30: Billie Holiday- Jazz Legend

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Behind me, Billie was on her last song. I picked up the refrain, humming a few bars. Her voice sounded different to me now. Beneath the layers of hurt, beneath the ragged laughter, I heard a willingness to endure. Endure- and make music that wasn't there before.”

-Barack Obama

The woman who would be Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7th, 1915. In her autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, written with William Duffy, Billie said that her parents were “just a couple of kids” when they were married. She said that her father

was eighteen at the time, her mother was sixteen, and that she was three.

In reality her mother and father were never married, never lived under the same roof, and her mother nineteen when she met Billie’s father, who was himself only seventeen.

Lady Sings the Blues is littered with inaccuracies and misquotes. The book was written quickly, from conversations between the two writers, Billie telling William Duffy stories of her life. He was interested in getting her story, what she felt, and was less interested in fact checking.

And in this case, that’s fine. We may slip over a lyric or two, but the melody of the song, the voice, IS clear and true, and it really tells us everything we need to know about Billie Holiday, the immortal Lady Day.

May 31 2017

23mins

Play

Rank #4: Case #33: The Black Sox-Baseball's Most Notorious Scandal

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Case #33: The Black Sox

I'm forever blowing ballgames,

pretty ballgames in the air.

I come from Chi, I hardly try,

just go to bat and fade and die.

Fortune's coming my way,

that's why I don't care.

I'm forever blowing ballgames,

and the gamblers treat us fair.

-Ring Lardner

You could say that it started with Charlie Comiskey, because a lot of things started with Charlie Comiskey in Chicago in 1919. Comiskey owned the Chicago White Sox, a serious contender in any year, and he enjoyed the reputation as a tightwad and a fierce negotiator.

I want to go on record by saying that although Comiskey fostered the reputation as a hard-guy and a tightwad, the payroll of the Chicago White Sox was one of the best in the league. The team was filled with solid players and had two bona fide stars on its roster; outfielder Joe Jackson and third baseman Buck Weaver. They each made over $6000 a year in 1919 and a lot of the other name players on the team made around half that. And that was about what they would have made on any other roster in the Bigs, so while money was a factor in the Black Sox Scandal, it wasn't the only factor.

Jul 14 2017

23mins

Play

Rank #5: Case #013: Bugsy Siegel-American Gangster

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Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was born in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to a family of poor Jewish immigrants, who
came from Eastern Europe. His parents, Max and Jennie, worked
whatever jobs they could find to provide for their five children,
and their neighborhood constantly invented new definitions for the
word “Poor.”

As
a child, the second of five, Benjamin saw that struggle as well as
what his parents struggled against, and he vowed that he would rise
above a life of poverty.

He
dropped out of school somewhere around the age of eleven and
started his life of crime. Even as a child he was familiar with
violence and intimidation, learning most of what he knew from the
Irish and Italian street gangs around him.

Apr 28 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #6: Case #009: Dame Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie was the bestselling author of all time, and living in the days of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, that means something. In literature, it goes the bible, Shakespeare, and Christie.

In short, she is what legends in mystery writing aspire to be.

But it wasn’t always like that for her.

When you look at Agatha Christie’s story, is helps to know something about her mother, Clara Boehmer. Clara was the only daughter of a military man and an Englishwoman. She older brothers, one of which died very young, but they had left home to join the armed forces or to make their own way in the world.

But Clara was the youngest and she stayed behind at the family’s home in Belfast, Ireland. At least as long as she could.

Clara was still very young when her father, a captain, died in a riding accident. Her mother scraped by on a meager income and could barely support herself, let alone her daughter. So in her daughter’s best interests, she sent her to live with her aunt in West Sussex. Clara’s aunt had married a wealthy American, so the move not only kept young Clara from poverty, but it opened up a whole new world for her.

The couple introduced Clara to society, as well as to a young American stockbroker who had originally come to Europe to finish his education.

Frederick Aluah Miller was raised in the upper class of American culture, and he seemed born to be a man people trusted with their money. He was friendly, personable, attractive, and right from the start, young Clara seemed quite smitten.

They were married in April of 1878 and lived in Torquay, an English seaside village.

The couple’s first child, Margaret Frary Miller, was born a year after they were married, followed by their son, Louis Montant Miller, or “Monty,” a year later. They settled into the seaside village and brought a villa they called “Ashfield.” The couple settled in and Clara spent the next decade raising her children there.

Then came the “mystery” of Agatha Christie.

Feb 10 2016

23mins

Play

Rank #7: Case #32 : Alan Ladd and Box 13

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Noir Factory 

Case #32

Alan Ladd and Box 13

I'm the most insecure guy in Hollywood. If you had it good all your life, you figure it can't ever be bad, but when you've had it bad, you wonder how long a thing like this will last.”

-Alan Ladd

Alan Walbridge Ladd was born on September 3rd, 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was the only child of Ina Raleigh and Alan Ladd. Like most of the characters Ladd went onto play, his upbringing was rough and growing up was a constant struggle.

The family lost Alan's father, a freelance accountant, to a heart attack when Alan was only four. Shortly afterwards the family apartment was lost when Alan accidentally burned it down playing with matches.

After they lost their home Alan and his mother moved to Oklahoma City where she remarried. Afterwards they went to Pasadena, in a Grapes of Wrath-like journey,where his step-father found short-time work painting movie sets. Later in life, Ladd said they existed for long periods of time on nothing but potato soup.

Jun 30 2017

20mins

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Rank #8: Case #005: John Dillinger-Public Enemy Number One

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In the 30's, the FBI used the term “Public Enemy Number One” as a designation of infamy. Although that period in time became known as the “Public Enemy Era,” there were only three people actually held that designation.

The first one wore the title like a crown.

John Herbert Dillinger was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 22nd, 1903. His father, John Wilson Dillinger, owned a small grocery store. His mother, Mary Ellen, died from a stroke when he was three.

His sister, Audrey, was fourteen years older than John and the responsibility of caring for the child fell to her. She carried on with that responsibility until she married and moved out to begin her own family.

That left John Wilson Dillinger to raise his son on his own, and raising kids wasn't his strong suit.

Accounts of John Dillinger's childhood vary. His father was at times abusive and at other times gracious, lavishing money on his son for toys and treats. Those same accounts vary on John Dillinger's behavior.

Some say that the young Dillinger was a well-behaved child with a precocious streak. Others point to his childhood gang, the Dirty Dozen and their purchase for mischief. He also gained a reputation as a baseball player. For most of his life, John Dillinger would walk the line between fame and infamy.

By the time he reached his teenage years, he was on his way to becoming his own man.

Nov 19 2015

29mins

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Rank #9: Case#012:Mata Hari-Spy

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The name evokes visions of a dancer, slithering through a smoke-filled parlor, wisps of cloth snaking over her as she moves. Her eyes are like polished opals in the moonlight, dark, mysterious, and you can’t bring yourself to look away.

You dare not look away.

Okay it probably didn’t play out exactly that way, but I imagine that is how she would have enjoyed being remembered, so let’s go with that.

There are many questions that still linger about her. The easiest is “was she guilty?”

The answer is obvious. She was Mata Hari, and she was as guilty as sin.

What was she guilty of?

Well, that takes a lot more thought, and we may never have the answer to that.

Apr 10 2016

27mins

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Rank #10: Case #014-Eliot Ness-Untouchable

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Even as a boy Eliot Paul Ness seemed destined for excellence and if you asked his fellow students, probably seemed most likely to be a crime fighter. He was the youngest of six siblings born to Peter and Emma Ness, a Norwegian immigrant couple that operated a small bakery in Chicago.

Eliot Ness was a bookish young man and a good student, with a reputation for a neat appearance as well as being a loner. As a kid he grew up with a healthy appetite for Sherlock Holmes mysteries and as a son, he kept his nose to the grindstone. He occasionally helped his family out with their bakery, but his parents had bigger plans for their children.

He attended Christian Fenger High School in Chicago where he graduated in the top third of his class. There he was an average athlete who didn’t seem to care for team sports.

After high school he attended the University of Chicago, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He also excelled at tennis, a sport where he had only himself to rely on. He grew to appreciate mental discipline, and took up Jujitsu as a hobby.

Again he graduated in the top third of his class and received a dual bachelor’s degree in political science and business. Despite the success he saw in college, he was characterized as a loner.

May 29 2016

31mins

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Rank #11: Case# 003-Black Bart: Outlaw Poet

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Life changed quickly for the people of Norfolk County, England in the 1800’s. The large estates were falling. The families of privilege, who employed large households full of servants, often for life, grew more scarce by the day.

John and Maria Bowles could see the writing on the walls, so to speak. Their way of life, their means of support, was going away, never to return. They had to make some big decisions. With a meager savings and nine children in tow, they made their way across the ocean, to the land of second chances.

They went to America.

What they found there was farmland, and they were used to that. With many strong sons, enough funds to buy some land, and the vision to use the resources they had, the Bowles family settled into Jefferson County, in upstate New York, and grew their farm to a 100-acre homestead.

And the man who would become Black Bart grew up the farm outside of Plessis Village, with much grander dreams than a life of working the soil.

Born Charles Earl Bowles, Charlie was two when his family immigrated to America from England. He was a strong child and athletic child, but smaller than the rest of his family.

Oct 23 2015

22mins

Play

Rank #12: Case #34: Joseph Weil-The Yellow Kid

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Case #34

Joseph Weil: The Yellow Kid

“Who's going to believe a con artist? Everyone if she's good.”

-Andy Griffith

Joseph Weil was born in Chicago in 1875 to Mr. and Mrs. Otto Weil. The couple owned a small neighborhood grocery store and made a decent income. Their boy, Joseph, helped out after school by sweeping up and stocking shelves.

And then he discovered racehorses.

Jul 27 2017

19mins

Play

Rank #13: Case #18: The Cotton Club

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NOIR FACTORY PODCAST

CASE #18: The Cotton Club-Nightclub

“It was infamously racially exclusive. W.C. Handy wished to go one evening to the Cotton Club and he was turned away. And he could hear his music being performed!"

-Levering Lewis, historian

It was the greatest nightclub of its day and there's a convincing argument to be made that it was the greatest nightclub that ever was. Opening its doors during the Harlem Renaissance, The Cotton Club was part Speakeasy, part dance-hall, part supper club, and all entertainment. Owned by Chicago gangster Owney Madden, the Cotton Club featured expensive food, cold beer, even during prohibition, and the greatest lineup of black entertainers in America of its time, and perhaps of any time.

And all of it was available for a small cover charge.

But only if you were white.

We can talk about the spectacle and grandeur that was the Cotton Club literally for hours. It was the greatest showplace of its day. If a song or a band was a hit there, it was a hit in America. If a dancer killed on stage, then they made a career for themselves. It was THE venue of its day, and one of the few available to black entertainers, but it was also a huge symbol of segregation.

Aug 11 2016

25mins

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Rank #14: Case #16: The Strand and the Black Mask-Pulp Legends

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“A pulp story without a detective and, obviously, somebody for him to do battle with is unthinkable, and I can't remember reading a pulp story that didn't have a dame - either a good girl or a bad girl.”

-Otto Penzler

The 1890’s in Europe was, for all intents and purposes, a golden age for serialized stories in print. In England Charles Dickens became the first rock star the world had ever seen, and in France, serialized versions of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo were spread out over hundreds of installments, making their publishers wealthy.

In one case, a German novel published in serialized form for Die Gartenlaube catapulted their circulation to over 350,000 readers in 1875.

The public was hungry for serialized literature, and the novel, thanks to writers such as Dickens and Wilkie Collins, was still in its infancy. Put those two facts together, and you were truly on to something.

In 1890 George Newnes and Editor H. Greenhough Smith founded The Strand Magazine, named for a fashionable London area. The goal of the magazine was to elevate story-telling and discourse and it attempted to appeal to mass market family readership.

Jul 07 2016

16mins

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Rank #15: Noir Factory Case #15: Willie Sutton-Bank Robber

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It is a rather pleasant experience to be alone in a bank at night.” –Willie Sutton-Bank Robber

William Francis “Willie” Sutton Jr. was born on June 30th, 1901 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a poor tenement neighborhood known at the time as Irishtown. He was the son of a blacksmith and the fourth of five children. His mother was a devout Irish Catholic who suffered from depression, which was said to be caused by the early death of a daughter. His father, William Sr., traveled for work and was absent more times from home than not.

It was a tough time for the US, but for Irishtown in particular. Willie, a small child who was always fast, wiry, and quick-witted, left school before the eighth grade, but didn’t give up on education entirely. Brooklyn in the early twentieth century was a master-class in crime for a guy who knew how to apply himself, and if Willie Sutton was anything, it was industrious.

He tried his hand early on at gainful employment, but honest work didn’t seem to suit Willie. He toiled as a store clerk, a gardener, as well as a driller, but said in an interview later that his longest period of “legal” employment was 18 months.

Jun 29 2016

21mins

Play

Rank #16: NF Case #35: Sexton Blake-Pulp Detective

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Noir Factory Podcast

Case #35

Sexton Blake-Pulp Detective

“If there is a wrong to be righted, an evil to be redressed, or a rescue of the weak and suffering from the powerful, our hearty assistance can be readily obtained. We do nothing for hire here; we would cheerfully undertake to perform without a fee or a reward. But when your clients are wealthy, we are not so unjust to ourselves as to make a gratuitous offer of our services.”

-Sexton Blake

As the 19th century came to a close, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was the undisputed heavyweight champ of popular fiction. From London to California, the exploits of the World’s Greatest Detective were the stuff of legend, and the public, more literate now than at any other time in history, were hungry for more.

And while Arthur Conan Doyle was hoping to distance himself from his great creation, one man, Henry Blyth, saw a hole in popular fiction that needed to be filled. And while he was just the man to do that, he saw no reason to re-invent the wheel.

Please stop by Facebook and "like" the Noir Factory. It don't cost nuthin'. 

Dec 02 2017

20mins

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Rank #17: Interrogation #3: Will Viharo-Gonzo Pulp Writer

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Noir Factory Podcast

Interrogation #3

Will Viharo: Gonzo Pulp Writer

Will Viharo is the author of the Vic Valentine series as well as the host of Seattle's Noir at the Bar, a seasonal showcase that combines author readings with alcohol, the way God intneded it. He is a writer that defies classification, with his work mixing humor, surrealism, gore, violence, and sex.

His newest work, Vic Valentine, International Man of Misery, is due out this fall and in this interrogation I get a chance to get the skinny from an unconventional writer, society observer, and all-around good guy.

You can connect with Will at www.thrillville.net

Cover Art provided by Matt Brown. You can find his work here.

Aug 10 2017

29mins

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Rank #18: Case #004: A Brief History of the K9 Corp

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The partnership between mankind and canine is one of the oldest and most successful relationships on Earth. Every since early man sat around a fire and tossed scraps of meat to a curious gray wolf, the relationship between the two was based on trust.

Virtually all breeds of dogs stem from the gray wolf and they have been tied to mankind ever since.

It isn't just by accident that the scientific name for the dog is Canis Lupus Familliaris . The canine has been man's constant companion for centuries, and with apologies to cat lovers everywhere, they have earned the nickname “man's best friend.”

Nov 04 2015

18mins

Play

Rank #19: Case #007: The Christmas Bank Heist

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The Great Santa Claus Bank Robbery-An APB on Old Saint Nick!

As a crispness fills the air and the scent of gingerbread begins to waft from the kitchen, one only has to pull on an ugly sweater and curl up with a tablet to find some old-fashioned, weird Christmas crime.

And as always, Texas is as good a place to start as any.

In 1929 banks in Texas fell victim to robbers almost daily, and it was with an eye to protect what was theirs that the Texas Bankers Association offered a reward of $5,000 to anyone who killed a bank robber in the course of a crime.

Dec 23 2015

10mins

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Rank #20: Case #006: The Subject of Fingerprints

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It’s hard to tell where exactly the story begins because there was no huge discovery. At the tips of your fingers there are marks. Loops and swirls, whorls and arches. It was kind of like telling the world that you were the first to discover ...your belly button.

It just didn’t go over well, but unlike your bellybutton, the patterns on the tips of fingers meant more than just a physical oddity. The patterns on your fingers tell a story.

But yeah, I guess so does your belly button.

Dec 10 2015

22mins

Play

Noir Factory Case #37: Huey Long- The King Fish

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The Noir Factory Podcast

Case #37

Huey Long-The King Fish

“One of these days the people of Louisiana are going to get good government. And they aren’t going to like it.”

-Huey Long

Huey Pierce Long Jr. was born to Huey Pierce Long Senior and Caledonia Tison Long on August 30th, 1893 in Winnfield, Louisiana. Winnfield was a dirt-poor parish and the wealthy Long family stood out. They were the wealth and class of Winn Parish and lead the community for generations.

Huey’s grandfather had purchased 640 acres of woods and carved out a farm for his family. Huey’s father continued that tradition by buying up 320 acres near Winnfield.

Huey himself was the seventh of nine surviving children and from the day of his birth expectations were high. His father insisted that the kids should strive “to be someone,” and the lesson took. Of Huey Long’s siblings, two became Louisiana governors, one later a senator, a U.S. congressman, a district attorney, and five became school teachers, one at the university level.

In such a household it was hard to stand out, so Huey Long Jr. adopted a strategy that would serve him well for the rest of his life. He was very loud, and he was very proud.

Known to be fearless and exuberant, Huey learned to walk at eight months and would wander out of the house to play with livestock. He was hard to keep track of and according to his father, he was forced to build a cover for the family well just in case Huey had decided to jump in.

Apr 27 2018

33mins

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Noir Factory Episode C#36: Leopold and Loeb CORRECTED

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Noir Factory Podcast

Episode #36

Leopold and Loeb

CORRECTED BACKGROUND AUDIO

My deepest apologies! The previous version of this episode was released “in progress” and by mistake . Please enjoy this updated version and again, my sincerest apologies!

-Steve Gomez

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“To be an effective criminal defense counsel, an attorney must be prepared to be demanding, outrageous, irreverent, blasphemous, a rogue, a renegade, and a hated, isolated, and lonely person - few love a spokesman for the despised and the damned.”

― Clarence Darrow

Nathan F. Leopold Jr. was born on November 19th, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois to Nathan and Florence Leopold. The elder Nathan was the son of Samuel and Babette, Jewish immigrants from Germany who had brought their family to Michigan. He worked in shipping and had made a fortune. Their son Nathan had moved to Chicago and married Florence Foreman in 1892.

Nathan Leopold Sr. was already wealthy but had a gift for making more. He started up many successful enterprises in Illinois, such as Leopold & Austrian, a lending firm, the Manitou Shipping Company, a copper mining company, as well as the Fiber Can Corporation, a paper mill in Morris, Illinois.

Leopold Sr. was an active member of the community. He was president of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association in Chicago, one of the Chicago’s first bankers, and when he married Florence, he married into one of the most prestigious families in Illinois.

Feb 11 2018

25mins

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BEST OF 2017:George Remus

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Noir Factory

BEST OF 2017

There’s a tradition in the podcasting world that during the first week of a new year you look back at the episodes you’ve put out in the world.

I know, if it’s a podcasting tradition how old can it be, right?

Still, just like drinking too much on New Year’s Eve and stepping on the scale after the holidays, we look at one episode that seemed to resonate with our listeners more than any other.

Perhaps it’s because the subject of the episode is a self-made man, who showed more grit and determination than most.

Perhaps it’s because he rose to dizzying heights only to fall from a peak, again, of his own making.

Or perhaps its because he was a prohibition guy, and everyone loves a good drink.

Whatever the reason, our listeners fell for the story of George Remus-King of the Bootleggers.  And that makes episode 29 the best of 2017.

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“He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

George Remus was born on November 13th 1876 in Germany to Frank and Maria Remus, a working class family. He was the middle child with an older sister and younger brother and while he was still just a toddler, the family immigrated to the US.

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If you haven’t done so, please leave a review on iTunes for The Noir Factory. It is an important way for new listeners to discover the show. www.iTunes.com

Also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for our death-defying tales and banal thoughts. And check out our homepage at TheNoirFactory.com where you can download a FREE dossier: THE SECRETS OF THE NOIR FACTORY!

Jan 05 2018

1min

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Hero Obscura Episode 48-Santa Claus

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Hero Obscura

Episode #48

Santa Clause

Today’s hero isn’t obscure. Not in the least. In fact, he’s known by all. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. And how dreary a world it would be if he didn’t.

Old Saint Nick. Father Christmas. Kris Kringle. Santa Clause. Today on Hero Obscura.

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If you haven’t done so already, please review us on Apple Podcasts! Reviews are an important way to help listeners discover the show.  www.itunes.com

Look for our signal in the sky or simply follow us on Facebook! Also visit our www.HeroObscura.com for your FREE list of “The Top Superhero Lairs in Comics!”

Dec 25 2017

7mins

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Noir Factory Interrogation #4-Dmitri Matheny

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Noir Factory

Interrogation #4

Dmitri Matheny- Noir Jazz

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Crime Jazz: “The Femme Fatal. The cop on the beat. The hard-boiled detective. The saxophone under the street lamp in the fog. It’s the music of “Chinatown” and “Taxi Driver.”

-Dmitri Matheny

Find Dmitri’s work at www.dmitrimatheny.com

If you haven’t done so already, please review us on iTunes! It is an important way to help new listeners to discover the show. https://tinyurl.com/y7py6qn7

Chat with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter at www.TheNoirFactory.com

Dec 21 2017

32mins

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NF Case #35: Sexton Blake-Pulp Detective

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Noir Factory Podcast

Case #35

Sexton Blake-Pulp Detective

“If there is a wrong to be righted, an evil to be redressed, or a rescue of the weak and suffering from the powerful, our hearty assistance can be readily obtained. We do nothing for hire here; we would cheerfully undertake to perform without a fee or a reward. But when your clients are wealthy, we are not so unjust to ourselves as to make a gratuitous offer of our services.”

-Sexton Blake

As the 19th century came to a close, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was the undisputed heavyweight champ of popular fiction. From London to California, the exploits of the World’s Greatest Detective were the stuff of legend, and the public, more literate now than at any other time in history, were hungry for more.

And while Arthur Conan Doyle was hoping to distance himself from his great creation, one man, Henry Blyth, saw a hole in popular fiction that needed to be filled. And while he was just the man to do that, he saw no reason to re-invent the wheel.

Please stop by Facebook and "like" the Noir Factory. It don't cost nuthin'. 

Dec 02 2017

20mins

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A short interruption for the Noir Factory

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We will be back the week of October 16th.

Sep 21 2017

1min

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Interrogation #3: Will Viharo-Gonzo Pulp Writer

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Noir Factory Podcast

Interrogation #3

Will Viharo: Gonzo Pulp Writer

Will Viharo is the author of the Vic Valentine series as well as the host of Seattle's Noir at the Bar, a seasonal showcase that combines author readings with alcohol, the way God intneded it. He is a writer that defies classification, with his work mixing humor, surrealism, gore, violence, and sex.

His newest work, Vic Valentine, International Man of Misery, is due out this fall and in this interrogation I get a chance to get the skinny from an unconventional writer, society observer, and all-around good guy.

You can connect with Will at www.thrillville.net

Cover Art provided by Matt Brown. You can find his work here.

Aug 10 2017

29mins

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Case #34: Joseph Weil-The Yellow Kid

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Noir Factory Podcast

Case #34

Joseph Weil: The Yellow Kid

“Who's going to believe a con artist? Everyone if she's good.”

-Andy Griffith

Joseph Weil was born in Chicago in 1875 to Mr. and Mrs. Otto Weil. The couple owned a small neighborhood grocery store and made a decent income. Their boy, Joseph, helped out after school by sweeping up and stocking shelves.

And then he discovered racehorses.

Jul 27 2017

19mins

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Case #33: The Black Sox-Baseball's Most Notorious Scandal

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Case #33: The Black Sox

I'm forever blowing ballgames,

pretty ballgames in the air.

I come from Chi, I hardly try,

just go to bat and fade and die.

Fortune's coming my way,

that's why I don't care.

I'm forever blowing ballgames,

and the gamblers treat us fair.

-Ring Lardner

You could say that it started with Charlie Comiskey, because a lot of things started with Charlie Comiskey in Chicago in 1919. Comiskey owned the Chicago White Sox, a serious contender in any year, and he enjoyed the reputation as a tightwad and a fierce negotiator.

I want to go on record by saying that although Comiskey fostered the reputation as a hard-guy and a tightwad, the payroll of the Chicago White Sox was one of the best in the league. The team was filled with solid players and had two bona fide stars on its roster; outfielder Joe Jackson and third baseman Buck Weaver. They each made over $6000 a year in 1919 and a lot of the other name players on the team made around half that. And that was about what they would have made on any other roster in the Bigs, so while money was a factor in the Black Sox Scandal, it wasn't the only factor.

Jul 14 2017

23mins

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Case #32 : Alan Ladd and Box 13

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Noir Factory 

Case #32

Alan Ladd and Box 13

I'm the most insecure guy in Hollywood. If you had it good all your life, you figure it can't ever be bad, but when you've had it bad, you wonder how long a thing like this will last.”

-Alan Ladd

Alan Walbridge Ladd was born on September 3rd, 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was the only child of Ina Raleigh and Alan Ladd. Like most of the characters Ladd went onto play, his upbringing was rough and growing up was a constant struggle.

The family lost Alan's father, a freelance accountant, to a heart attack when Alan was only four. Shortly afterwards the family apartment was lost when Alan accidentally burned it down playing with matches.

After they lost their home Alan and his mother moved to Oklahoma City where she remarried. Afterwards they went to Pasadena, in a Grapes of Wrath-like journey,where his step-father found short-time work painting movie sets. Later in life, Ladd said they existed for long periods of time on nothing but potato soup.

Jun 30 2017

20mins

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Hero Obscura Podcast Preview #3

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NFL SuperPro

For a hero to fail, a lot of things has to happen. It has to be poorly thought out, ill conceived, and have little in terms of redeeming quality. Oh, and it should be created with ulterior motives.

Sounds pretty harsh? Then you just haven't met NFL SuperPro.

Jun 29 2017

6mins

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Hero Obscura Podcast Preview #2

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Space Cabbie!

Everyone has a hero. For cop's it's probably the Dark Knight and for soldiers I can imagine Captain America, depending on the army your in. But what about the ordinary guys? What about the accountants and pastry chefs or the mail carriers and DMV workers?

Fishermen, okay...we'll give you Aquaman.

But for the Lyft and Uber drivers out there, today's episode is for you!

I give you Space Cabbie!

Jun 28 2017

5mins

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Hero Obscura Podcast Preview #1

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The Blue Diamond

Some heroes are with us for ages and other are gone in the blink of an eye. If you are in the business of being a hero, particularly a super one, you never know how long you'll have. You just have to make sure that you use our time wisely.

That and you should punch a lot of Nazis.

Jun 27 2017

7mins

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Case #31: The Batman

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He's clearly a man with a mission, but it's not one of vengeance. Bruce is not after personal revenge ... He's much bigger than that; he's much more noble than that. He wants the world to be a better place, where a young Bruce Wayne would not be a victim ... In a way, he's out to make himself unnecessary. Batman is a hero who wishes he didn't have to exist.”

-Frank Miller

In 1939 detectives and vigilantes rules the popular literary landscape. They were hard men who handed out justice at the end of a gun. Even the heroes that appeared in pulps, the early Super Heroes, such as the Shadow and the Spider, handed out death sentences with regularity, and whenever justice didn't come from them, it usually came in another fatal form, and no one seemed really broken up over it.

But suddenly comics and comic books were picking up steam with the public, serving as moral compasses for the kids of America, and that brand of quick justice would no longer do.

Names like Doctor Occult, the Clock, Superman, and the Crimson Avenger were on the scene, and to tell the truth, the transition from pulp sensibilities to comic books was rough. Heroes still wailed on the bad guys with little regards for health or civil rights, and even Superman was not above sending a guy to the hospital.

You know....if society needed that to happen.

In truth even Batman carried around a gun in the early days, but that went away quickly. Comics had a wider audience than the pulps, and Bob Kane and Bill Finger had a job to do.

That job wasn't to protect children. It was to sell comics to kids and approving parents.

Jun 17 2017

21mins

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Case#30: Billie Holiday- Jazz Legend

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Behind me, Billie was on her last song. I picked up the refrain, humming a few bars. Her voice sounded different to me now. Beneath the layers of hurt, beneath the ragged laughter, I heard a willingness to endure. Endure- and make music that wasn't there before.”

-Barack Obama

The woman who would be Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7th, 1915. In her autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, written with William Duffy, Billie said that her parents were “just a couple of kids” when they were married. She said that her father

was eighteen at the time, her mother was sixteen, and that she was three.

In reality her mother and father were never married, never lived under the same roof, and her mother nineteen when she met Billie’s father, who was himself only seventeen.

Lady Sings the Blues is littered with inaccuracies and misquotes. The book was written quickly, from conversations between the two writers, Billie telling William Duffy stories of her life. He was interested in getting her story, what she felt, and was less interested in fact checking.

And in this case, that’s fine. We may slip over a lyric or two, but the melody of the song, the voice, IS clear and true, and it really tells us everything we need to know about Billie Holiday, the immortal Lady Day.

May 31 2017

23mins

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Case #29: George Remus-King of the Bootleggers

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"He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

George Remus was born on November 13th 1876 in Germany to Frank and Maria Remus, a working class family. He was the middle child with an older sister and younger brother and while he was still just a toddler, the family immigrated to the US.

The Remus family landed in Baltimore, then Cincinnati, and finally to Chicago, along with an intense wave of German immigrants to the Midwest.

Frank Remus found work as a lumber scorer during a boom time in Chicago and his son George flourished in school. Picking up the language quickly, he was fluent in both German and English at an early age and carried with him only the slightest German accent.

When George was only fourteen his father, Frank, who had suffered from acute rheumatism, was left disabled by the disease and unable to work. That left George to take up the mantle as breadwinner of the family. With fierce determination, he told his father not to worry and dedicated himself not only to supporting his family but to rise up through society as well.

He went to work at his uncle's pharmacy as a clerk and at the age of nineteen passed the state exam for a pharmacist's license. He continued to save and invest and within two years of becoming a pharmacist he purchased his uncle's shop and a few years after that opened a second, all the while dabbling in health insurance the side.

As a young adult Remus grew to be a fastidious man who was meticulous about his clothes and his surroundings. He prided himself as being a connoisseur of good food, fine wine, art, and literature. He also considered himself a “man's man,” and even though he grew into a soft, pudgy adult, he could still count on his iron will to achieve any goal he set for himself.

He was quick with his fists and even though he wasn't the most athletic man he could wear down almost any opponent. He also took up swimming with the same amount of focus and determination that he did everything.

He became a member of the Illinois Athletic Club and joined their water polo team, participating in national events. In 1907 he set the record for endurance swimming in Lake Michigan by swimming for 5 hours and 40 minutes in the dead of winter.

It was a record that held up for decades.

In 1899 he fell in love with one of his customers, Lillian Klauff, and in July of that year, the two were married. The following year, George Remus's daughter, Remola, was born.

When Remola was only eight years old she was cast by L. Frank Baum himself to play Dorothy Gale in the first film adaption of The Wizard of Oz.

Before George Remus was thirty years old he had met every goal society, or more importantly, he himself had ever set. But the arena, that of a pharmacist and a business owner, wasn't the one he had chosen. He had been thrust into it.

Now it was time for George Remus to face bigger challenges.

May 15 2017

21mins

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Noir Factory Interrogation #002

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Eddie Muller is the founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation. According to their website, the Film Noir Foundation is a non-profit public benefit corporation created as an educational resource regarding the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of film noir as an original American cinematic movement.

Eddie is also the host of Noir City, the coolest non-profit fundraiser known to man. Noir City is a traveling film festival and chief fundraising event for the Film Noir Foundation. The event is a fun, immersive festival that makes its home in San Francisco’s Castro Theater but makes its way around the country.

In addition to Noir CIty, Eddie is also the host of Noir Alley on Turner Classic Movies. Noir Alley runs every Sunday at 10:00AM and showcases the best in noir.

Outside of film and television, Eddie is the senior editor of Noir City, FNF’s monthly e-magazine, as well as a contributing writer to Oakland Noir, a collection of Bay Area noir stories, as well as his studies of films and his work in fiction, which earned him the Best First Novel of 2002 by the Private Eye Writers of America.

Eddie Muller has forgotten more than most of us will ever know about Noir film and has earned the nickname the “Czar of Noir.”

Apr 28 2017

46mins

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Case #28: Charles Ponzi- Conman

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“Even if they never got anything for it, it was cheap at that price. Without malice aforethought I had given them the best show that was ever staged in their territory since the landing of the Pilgrims! It was easily worth fifteen million bucks to watch me put the thing over."

-Charles Ponzi

Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tobaldo Ponzi was born in Lugo, Italy in 1882 and did the world a favor, one of very few, by changing his name to Charles Ponzi.

He came from a family that was at one time well-to-do but,  by the time of Charles’ birth, had fallen onto hard times. His mother used the title “Dona” before her name, an honorific usually reserved for the upper-tier of Italian society, but the title was a holdover from days long gone.

The Ponzi family had, by all reports, fallen onto hard times.

Charles Ponzi himself was a charming and likeable fellow who was an less-than-average student who was interested in good times a little more than schoolwork. After he graduated primary school he took a job as a postal worker, but left it when he was accepted at the University of Rome La Sapienza.

While he “studied” there, and because this is a podcast I’ll tell you I just used “air quotes,” he fell in with the children of wealth and leisure.

They treated their time at the university like a four-year holiday and Charles was more than happy to do the same. He hung out with the “beautiful people” in bars,cafes, and concerts, and he considered himself to be every bit as privileged as they were.

He ended his career at the university, however, flat broke with very little to show for it.

The one thing he did learn from his time at school was that young men were traveling to the US and returning wealthy.

Apr 17 2017

23mins

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Case #27: "Durable" Mike Malloy

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Noir Factory Podcast

Episode #27

In 1996 a board game called KILL DR. LUCKY came out. It was a wildly fun game where each person takes turns trying to, well...kill Dr. Lucky.

Don't judge me. It was a simpler time.

The game required each player to take a turn at doing in the Rasputin-like physician, which was sooo much more difficult than it sounded. It took luck and daring to get the good doctor away from all other players and do him in, and more often than not, he escaped no worse for wear.

In short he was one hard SOB to kill. I'll go ahead and put a link in the show notes so you can see what I mean.

What does that have to do with today's case?

Well, a lot of what we do here is based in hard, cold fact and today's case is a little incredible. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that today's file is a little something we overheard at the corner bar.

Everything here, like all of our cases, has been researched and verified to the best of our ability. So sit back and have a pint as you listen to tonight's tale. Hell, have two if you aren't driving.

Case #27: “Durable” Mike Malloy. Today on the Noir Factory.

Join the discussion over at Facebook.com/TheNoirFactory

Mar 30 2017

20mins

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Great Stuff

By Krazy Hands - May 22 2019
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Informative. Entertaining. Conversational without rambling. Don’t change a thing.

Impressed

By Lucky LA - May 12 2018
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Great podcast for mystery buffs.