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Noir Factory Podcast

Updated 9 days ago

Arts
Books
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

166 Ratings
Average Ratings
138
15
6
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
Read more
Great podcast for mystery buffs.

iTunes Ratings

166 Ratings
Average Ratings
138
15
6
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.

Listen to:

Cover image of Noir Factory Podcast

Noir Factory Podcast

Updated 9 days ago

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.

Case #008: Alcatraz Island

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Sitting about a mile and a half off San Francisco in the middle of a bitter, inhospitable California bay, Alcatraz Island is a lot like many other pieces of bay area real estate. Many have claimed ownership and many court battles were waged over ownership.

But unlike other prime pieces of San Francisco real estate, few have wanted to call it home. The Island, Alcatraz Island, is also known as “The Rock.” And those who did call it home didn’t care for the experience.

The island, one of a group of small islands sitting in the bay, was known to the Native American population of the area but was not inhabited by them.

In truth, there was nothing to lure them, or anyone else, to the rock. Vegetation was almost non-existent. The island was composed mostly of irregular, stratified sandstone. It was described by an American officer as “entirely without resources within itself and the soil scarcely perceptible being rocky and precipitous on all sides.”

The rock itself was 1700 feet long, 580 feet at its widest side, with two peaks of about 130 feet each. It measured a total of 22 acres.

There was nowhere on the island to land a boat, no beach or shore, and the rock was overwhelmed by birds. So much so that Juan Manuel DeAyala called it “La Isla De Los Alatraces,” or Island of the Pelicans.

So while the island had nothing really going for it, the real estate did have three things in its favor: location, location, location.

Jan 20 2016

29mins

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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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Case #24- The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew

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“...My husband pointed out that kids frequently have an instinctive desire to follow the good example rather than the bad, once they find out which is which. We agreed that a good moral background and thorough grounding in the Hardy Boys would always tell in the long run.”

-Shirley Jackson, author

They are still in print today and they are still popular, even though they aren’t really like the stories you remember. Today there are smart phones and text clues, hackers and virtual reality, but don’t let that bother you.

They really weren’t for you in the first place.

They were for the person that you used to be. They were for the ten year old that you were. The one who stayed up late and smuggled a flashlight under the covers because you had to know what The Secret of the Old Clock really was or because you had to learn the true meaning behind the Mystery of the Whale Tattoo.

And if you are unhappy with the changes in the text or because Frank and Joe don’t look the way you remember them as kids, then that’s not on them. After all these years, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew are still just kids. If you can’t stand that modern sensibilities are creeping into your precious stories, then that’s on you.

But before you pass final judgment on some of your best childhood memories, then again let me remind you that they probably weren’t cutting edge entertainment when you read them. Adults probably looked down on them and thought of the stories as simple or cartoonish, or even, God forbid, juvenile.

But then what the hell did the adults know anyway?

Nov 28 2016

26mins

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NF Case #17: Raymond Chandler-Writer

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NOIR FACTORY PODCAST CASE #17: Raymond Chandler-Writer

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”

-Raymond Chandler, Writer

Raymond Chandler didn’t invent hard-boiled fiction. Chandler, like Dashiell Hammett, saw a new narrative forming in popular literature and they felt comfortable working in it. It was a style of detectives and dames and it rang a bell with the American public.

The school of hard-boiled literature would still exist without men like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, but we would probably have to call it something else. They put the word “literature” to the form, and without them, they would only be stories of “detectives and dames.” They would be sensational and fun, but very little more.

Raymond Chandler wrote with elegance and grace. His dialogue was quick and intellectual and his characters were multifaceted. To call him one of the greatest pulp writers of the twentieth century is accurate but demeaning. Quite simply, he was one of the best writers of the twentieth century, period.

Jul 28 2016

24mins

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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

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Case #25-Humphrey Bogart

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“Whether in a white dinner jacket or in a trench coat and a snap-brim fedora, he became a new and timely symbol of the post-Pearl Harbor American: tough but compassionate, skeptical yet idealistic, betrayed yet ready to believe again, and above all, a potentially deadly opponent.” -Ann M. Sperber, author A lot of what we do here at the Noir Factory revolves around noir films, crime history, and pulp stories. And like it or not, whenever the subject of noir comes up, it has only one face. And that face has a scar on its upper lip, sleepy eyes, a fedora worn at a roguish angle, and a cigarette dangling from its lips.And most of us wouldn't have it any other way. Humphrey DeForest Bogart was a Christmas baby, born on December 25th, 1899 in New York City. And while that sounds like a typical "tough-guy" bio, it was anything but. Bogart was the son of a prominent New York surgeon with the unfortunate name "Belmont Bogart," and successful commercial illustrator Elizabeth Bogart. Humphrey Bogart was raised in the Upper West Side, in a fairly privileged home, and before we go any further into Humphrey Bogart's childhood, we have to address the elephant in the room regarding his childhood.Namely “Was Humphrey Bogart the Gerber baby food?”We were all beautiful babies because every baby is beautiful. But again, none of us were beautiful babies like Humphrey Bogart was a beautiful baby.

Dec 30 2016

33mins

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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 #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

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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 #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

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Case #23: The Real Inspiration for Professor Moriarty

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  • NOIR FACTORY PODCAST CASE #23- The Real Life Inspiration for Professor Moriarty.   “He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city, He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans.” -Arthur Conan Doyle     He was the World's Greatest Detective, but what did that mean if he went up against purse snatchers and sneak-thieves. He matched wits with the best criminals in London, but how impressive was that if you always came out on top? If you always won?   Doyle’s detective bored quickly and needed the game to keep his senses sharp, his intellect keen. So if you are Arthur Conan Doyle and you have the great Sherlock Holmes at your disposal, you don't need a good villain or even a brilliant foe.   You need the greatest criminal mind ever.   You need the man Scotland Yard dubbed the “Napoleon of Crime.” Adam Worth was born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1844 and traveled with his parents to America five years later. The Worth family settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Adam's father was a tailor and young Adam helped around the shop.   When he was 5 years old, young Adam was conned into trading two old, dull pennies for a bright, shinny new one.   Adam's father beat the boy for falling for the trick and even at that early, tender age, Adam Worth vowed that “no one would ever get the better of Adam Worth in any business transaction, regular or irregular.

Nov 03 2016

24mins

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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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Case #19: The Kray Twins

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NOIR FACTORY PODCAST

CASE #19: The Kray Twins

“They were the best years of our lives. They called them the swinging sixties. The Beatles were rulers of pop music, Carnaby Street ruled the fashion world...and me and my brother ruled London. We were fucking untouchable.”

-Ronnie Kray, from his autobiography

The East End of London during the sixties was a mixture of poor and artistic, of modern and bohemian, of classic and diversity that England had never seen before or since. It was like Bauhaus before Hitler. It was like Harlem in the 20's. It was like.... well, it wasn't like anything ever, and that's what made it special.

Clubs and art galleries sprang up amid the squalor that was the East End, and with them came the rich and the beautiful. It was said, rather famously, that “London's West End has all the money and leisure and that the East End monopolizes most of the labor and nearly all of the dirt.”

In the 60's it was time for the dirt in the East End to shine.

The wealthy and the influential came to the East End to rub shoulders with the infamous, the dangerous, and the notorious. There was no neighborhood in all of England that encapsulated the 60's like the East End, and all through it lurked a dark and dangerous thread that lead to a pair of twin brothers looking to make London their own.

Aug 25 2016

22mins

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Case #20: Ida Lupino- Hollywood Legend

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"My agent told me that he was going to make me the Janet Gaynor of England-I was going to play all the sweet roles. Whereupon, at the tender age of thirteen, I set upon the path of playing nothing but hookers.”

-Ida Lupino

There are certain family names in Hollywood make you sit up and take notice. Today those names are the Fonda and the Bridges, Coppola and Sheen. It wasn't any different in the early days of Tinseltown. The names were different, but royalty was still royalty. Back then if you were a Barrymore than it caught people's attention, and if you were a Huston, then folks wanted to see what you had.

For Ida Lupino, the family tree she grew out of was just as solid and sturdy as any in Hollywood, but the roots went deeper than most. She wasn't a Coppola or a Barrymore. She was a Lupino.

And that name had a weight all of its own.

Sep 08 2016

25mins

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Case #010:Bonnie and Clyde-American Outlaws

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Letter to Henry Ford on April 10, 1934….

Dear Sir,

While I still have breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car make. I have driven Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8-

Yours truly,

Clyde Champion Barrow

Feb 25 2016

30mins

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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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CASE #22-The Inspiration Behind Sherlock Holmes

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NOIR FACTORY PODCAST

CASE #22-The Inspiration Behind Sherlock Holmes

“Science gave us forensics. Law gave us crime.” -Mokokoma Mokhonoana, author     Arthur Conan Doyle published his first Sherlock Holmes story in 1887 to mild reception. The story, A Study in Scarlet, introduced  the Holmes character to the world. An eccentric investigator with an encyclopedic mind, razor-sharp instincts, and a lightning-fast wit, Holmes is the prototype detective, the model against which all others are measured.   Arthur Conan Doyle, himself a medical doctor, was considered a highly-intelligent man by those who knew him, and it was thought he brought much of himself to the creation of the perfect detective. Doyle was fascinated with puzzles and riddles, the great mysteries. He studies procedure and methods of investigation and criminology, and even lent his voice to the odd court case.   Later on the Noir Factory will open a case on Arthur Conan Doyle, but for today, we’ll focus on the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes

Oct 12 2016

24mins

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Case #026: "Count" Victor Lustig- Con Man

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Noir Factory Podcast

Case #026: Victor Lustig-Con Man Extraordinaire

“I’ve always loved movies about con men. I think con men are as American as apple pie.”

-Bill Paxton, actor

Victor Lustig was born on January 4th, 1890.  Maybe. He said, more than once, that he came from the Austria-Hungarian town of Hostinné, in what is now the Czech Republic. He said once that he was the son of the town’s burgomaster. He also said that he was the son of the poorest couple in the village. Believe what you like about the childhood of Victor Lustig, just know that there’s not a lot of upside in taking the word of a con man.

As a boy, Victor Lustig was an excellent student. Not of books and notes, not of procedure and equations. He was a student of people. He picked up languages quickly and he saw patterns in people’s behaviors where others didn’t.

He studied at the University of Paris and became fluent in Czech, French, English, German, and Italian. While he never was an imposing person, he learned charm and poise, and he learned to make them work for him.

Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TheNoirFactory

Jan 14 2017

24mins

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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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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

------

“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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