Public Enemy #1 on Mississippi Gulf Coast

Apr 2013
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“Mother of Mercy…is this the end of Rico?” This famous line ended the classic gangster movie, Little Caesar, starring Edward G. Robinson. That line may have ended the movie, but it was the beginning of America’s fascination with gangsters. Hollywood peppered the public’s appetite with movies like Scarface, White Heat and The Public Enemy. Movies like these were based in gritty reality, using real events like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. They were also based on real people like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and John Dillinger.

By the mid-30s, the violence surrounding gangsters and their illegal shenanigans was front page news. As the murderous violence increased, so did the public’s demand to stop it. To save the day, in blazed J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI with their “War on Crime.” That war led to the demise of the likes of “Baby Face” Nelson, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis. Of all the famous gangsters from the 20s and 30s, Karpis was the last Public Enemy #1 to be arrested, and also spent the longest time as a federal prisoner in Alcatraz, serving twenty-six years.

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