Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Late Great Lionel Jeffries

Character actor, screenwriter, and director Lionel Jeffries died at the age 83 after a long illness. He appeared in films ranging from The Quatermass Xperiment to First Men in the Moon to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He directed such films as The Railway Children and Wombling Free.

Lionel Jeffries was born in Forest Hill, London on 10 June, 1926. He attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Wimborne, Dorset. During World War II he served in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. For his service he was awarded the Burma Star. Following the war he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). He debuted on stage in Carrington V. C. at the Westminster Theatre in 1949. He made his film debut the following year in Stage Fright, in a bit part credited as the Bald RADA Student. In 1952 Mr. Jeffries made his television debut on BBC Sunday Night Theatre in 1952. In 1953 he had a small role in the film Will Any Gentleman..? His first major film role was in the 1954 thriller The Black Rider.

The late Fifties saw Lionel Jeffries' career well underway. He appeared in The Colditz Story, the Hammer sci-fi horror classic The Quatermass Xperiment, Doctor at LargeThe Vicious Circle, Blue Murder at St. Trinian's, and The Trials of Oscar Wilde, among other films. On television he guest starred on Assignment Foreign Legion, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Tales from Dickens, Dick and the Duchess, and The Four Just Men.

The Sixties saw Lionel Jeffries appear in such films as Fanny, The Notorious Landlady, The Scarlet Blade, Call Me Bwana, and 12 + 1. Mr. Jeffries played some of his best known roles during this period. He played Inspector Oliphant in The Notorious Landlady, Joseph Cavor in First Men in the Moon, King Pellinore in Camelot, and Grandpa Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (even though he was six months younger than the man playing his son, Dick Van Dyke). In 1970 Mr. Jeffries made his directorial debut, directing an adaptation of E. Nesbit's The Railway Children, which won much praise.Throughout the Seventies he would direct four more films, including The Amazing Mr. Blunden, Baxter!, Wombling Free (featuring The Wombles of television fame), and The Water Babies. As an actor he appeared in Whoever Slew Auntie Roo, What Changed Charlie Fleming?, Royal Flash, and the 1979 remake of The Prisoner of Zenda. He also provided the voice of the title character in the animated series Fred Basset.

Starting in the Eighties, Lionel Jeffries appeared increasingly on television. He was a regular on the show Shillingbury Tales, and starred in the series Father Charlie and Tom, Dick, and Harriet. He guest starred in the shows All For Love, Minder, The Collectors, and C.A.T.S. Eyes. He appeared in the telefilms Ending Up, First and Last, and Jekyll and Hyde. He appeared in the films Better Late Than Never and A Chorus of Disapproval.

In the Nineties Mr. Jeffries guest starred on Inspector Morse, Boon, The Mixer, Casualty, and Lovejoy. He was a regular on the series Rich Tea and Sympathy and Woof. His last role on screen was a guest appearance on the series Lexx.

There can be no argument that Lionel Jeffries was one of the greatest comic actors of all time. His talents were put to great use in comedies ranging from Doctor at Large to Royal Flash. He had utterly perfect timing and a knack for making the most outrageous characters believable. At the same time he could be very convincing in more serious roles, such as that of Joseph Cavor in First Men in the Moon. Of course, Jeffries was also a talented director and screenwriter. His adaptation of The Railway Children was one of the best adaptations of a book ever filmed. Lionel Jeffries was a multi-talented artist with a considerable gift for inducing laughter. Very few actors were ever his equal, and it's doubtful very many ever will be.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Actress Betty Lou Keim R.I.P.

Betty Lou Keim, who played Frank Sinatra's wild child niece in Some Came Running, passed on January 27 at the age of 71. The cause was lung cancer.

Betty Lou Keim was born on September 27, 1938 in Malden, Massachusetts. She started acting while very young, making her Broadway debut at the age of seven in the play Strange Fruit. In 1948 she appeared in a revival of Crime and Punishment. In 1949 she was on Broadway once again, in the play Texas, Li'l Darlin'. It was in 1949 that she made her motion picture debut, in Doorway to Death. She appeared in three episodes of the anthology series Armstrong Circle Theatre, an episode of Lights Out, and there episodes of Hallmark Hall of Fame.

In 1953 Betty Lou Keim played Peggy Allison in the short lived series My Son Jeep. Later that year she appeared on Broadway again in The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker. Over the next few years Keim appeared in episodes of  Philco Television Playhouse, The Alcoa Hour, and Goodyear Televison Playhouse.  In 1955 she made one last appearance on Broadway, in the play A Roomful of Roses.

Betty Lou Keim would become an exception to the rule in that she was actually under contract to two different studios, MGM and 20th Century Fox. For MGM she appeared in These Wilder Years in 1956. For Fox she reprised her role in the adaptation of A Roomful of Roses, Teenage Rebel, also released in 1956. It was the first of two times she would play a rebellious teenager. Keim continued to appear on television, in episodes of Robert Montgomery Presents, The U. S. Steel Hour, and Matinee Theatre In 1957 she played a small role in the film The Wayward Bus. It was in 1958 that she played the role for which she is perhaps best known, playing Frank Sinatra's reckless niece in Some Came Running.

Afterwards Keim's career unfolded completely on television. She guest starred on Yancy Derringer, General Electric Theatre, and Riverboat. Her last acting job was as a regular on The Deputy. It was in 1959 that she married actor Warren Berlinger and retired from acting. They would have four children together.

I must confess I have seen very little of  Betty Lou Keim's performances. I was born long after she left Broadway and the anthology shows on which she appeared were long off the air by the time I was born. All I have seen of her acting are a movies and her stint on The Deputy. That having been said, I have been impressed by what I have seen of Betty Lou Keim's acting. Indeed, there are very few actresses who could have been as convincing as rebellious teenage girls as she was. Her performances in both Teenage Rebel and Some Came Running were impressive.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Godspeed Soprano and Actress Kathryn Grayson

Kathryn Grayson, the beautiful soprano who starred in classic MGM musicals, passed yesterday at the age of 88.

Kathryn Grayson was born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on February 9, 1922. Her family moved often when she was a child, until at last they settled in St. Louis. Realising that she could have talent as a singer, her parents set up an audition before opera singer Frances Marshal. Marshal saw promise in young Kathryn, and encouraged her family to continue her voice lessons. The family later moved to Los Angeles so that Kathryn could receive more training.

It was after the family moved to Los Angeles that Kathryn Grayson came to the attention of Louis B. Mayer of MGM. Mayer had been looking for a pretty soprano who could match Universal's own Deannna Durbin. Grayson herself had doubts about a movie career, as her ambition had always been to perform in opera. When she told Mayer that she thought they were wasting their time, he gave her an ultimatum: they would make a screen test and if MGM liked it she would stay, if not she would go. As things turned out, the studio did like the rather lengthy screen test they gave her. Grayson did not and told Mayer so. He then went home and had a heart attack, which convinced Grayson to remain (a decision which forced her to turn down the chance to sing "Lucia" at the Metropolitan Opera). She later learned feigning a heart attack was often a ploy Mayer used to keep actors to stay at MGM.

Like many of MGM's starlets, Kathryn Grayson was given a try out in an Andy Hardy movie opposite Mickey Rooney. Her first part in a film was the title role in Andy Hardy's Private Secretary in 1941. She then played in three minor movies: a comedy  (The Vanishing Virginian),  a musical opposite Abbot and Costello (Rio Rita), and another musical (Seven Sweethearts) before starring in a major motion picture. Grayson was cast as Gene Kelly's girlfriend in the MGM extravaganza Thousands Cheer, released in 1942.

Following Thousands Cheer Kathryn Grayson played opposite Gene Kelly once more in Anchors Aweigh in 1943. The next several years she starred or appeared in several major motion pictures, including It Happened in Brooklyn (1947), The Kissing Bandit (1948), Show Boat (1951), and So This is Love (1953). What may have been her best role was also one of her last, playing Lilli in Kiss Me, Kate. Her next film, The Vagabond King, released in 1956, would be her last. Having a bad experience on the film, which she thought should not have been made, convinced her to leave motion pictures.

Kathryn Grayson made a few appearance on television. She appeared in two episodes of General Electric Theatre and on Playhouse 90 and Lux Playhouse. She later appeared in an episode of Baretta and in the recurring role of Ideal Molloy on Murder She Wrote. Grayson remained very active on the stage. In 1960 she finally achieved her goal of performing opera when she performed Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, and La Boheme. She appeared on Broadway in Camelot in 1962, playing Guinevere. She would go onto star in the touring version  of the musical for sixteen months. In 1982 Grayson played her first stage role with no singing in Night Watch. The following year she appeared in Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera New England. From 1988 to 1997 she toured in her own show, An Evening with Kathryn Grayson. In 1996 and 1997 she appeared with Van Johnson in Love Letters. She spent her remaining years giving voice lessons.

Howard Keel, her co-star in three movies (including Kiss Me, Kate) once referred to her as the most beautiful woman in the history of movies. And while Kathryn Grayson was obviously pretty, one must suspect that Keel was referring to more than her physical appearance. She was perhaps the most congenial actress in the history of Hollywood, with the only harsh words she ever spoke being directed towards co-star Mario Lanza. No on had harsh words to speak of her. What really made Kathryn Grayson stand out, however, was her voice. One could not help but take notice of Kathryn Grayson when she was acting, but when she started to sing she consumed one's entire attention. Quite simply, Kathryn Grayson had one of the most beautiful voices in the history of the film. This is not to say that she was not a great actress, as she was. She was equally convincing as the rather sweet natured, naive Magnolia in Show Boat as she was the "shrew" Lilli in Kiss Me, Kate. Quite simply, Kathryn Grayson was a remarkable performer, a great actress, and an incredible singer. She will be missed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rockabilly Pioneer Dale Hawkins Passe On

Rockabilly pioneer Dale Hawkins, best known for his hit "Suzie Q," passed on February 13 at the age of 73. The cause was colon cancer.

Dale Hawkins was born on his grandfather's cotton farm near Goldmine, Louisiana on August 22, 1936. Although they worked independently of each other, his first cousin was fellow rock 'n' roll ledge Ronnie Hawkins. Dale Hawkins' parent divorced when he was only three years old. His father toured as a musician for a short time, even working with the Sons of the Pioneers. Hawkins took an interest in music early, shining shoes and delivering newspapers when he was only nine years old in order to buy a guitar. At the age of fifteen Hawkins enlisted in the United States Navy. He served aboard a destroyer during the Korean War. Following his service, Hawkins lived with his mother in Shreveport, Louisiana. There he worked in a record store, spending his nights playing in clubs.

Dale Hawkins made his first record as the direct result of someone else's hit. Taking notice of the 1956 Bobby Charles hit "See You Later, Alligator," Hawkins wrote a response entitled "See You Soon, Baboon." Hawkins' boss at the record store, Stan Lewis, was impressed enough with the song to recommend Hawkins to his friend, :Leonard Chess, the owner of the legendary Chess Records. Dale Hawkins became the first European American artist signed to the label. While "See You Soon, Baboon" did little business, his next song would be a smash hit. "Susie Q" featured one of the most distinctive guitar riffs ever written. In 1957 the song reached #27 on the Billboard singles chart. It would be covered by Gene Vincent, The Rolling Stones, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and, most notably, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Sadly, Dale Hawkins was never quite able to match the success he head with "Suzy Q." He has respectable success with such songs as "La-Do-Dada," "My Babe," "Superman," "A House, a Car, and a Wedding Ring," and "Class Cutter (Yeah, Yeah)." Unfortunately, rockabilly's days were numbered and Dale Hawkins stopped recording with Chess in 1961. In 1960 he became the host of a teen dance party show, The Dale Hawkins Show, which aired locally on WCAU in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It lasted a year and a half.

By the mid Sixties Dale Hawkins became a record producer. He produced “Not Too Long Ago”  and “All These Things” for The Uniques, "Do It Again - A Little Bit Slower" for Jon and Robin, and "Western Union" for The Five Americans. He was executive vice president of Abnak Records and later Vice President, Southwest Division, Bell Records, where he produced James Bell, Bruce Channel, Ronnie Self, The Dolls, and The Gentrys, among others). He later served as  A&R director, RCA West Coast Rock Division, where he worked with such notables as Mike Nesmith and Harry Nilsson.

It was in 1999 that he released his first album of new material in over thirty years, Wildcat Tamer. In 2007 he released his last album, Back Down to Louisiana.

While Dale Hawkins' success was brief, he would leave an indelible  mark on rock 'n' roll. With its distinctive riff, "Suzy Q" was the forerunner of nearly every guitar driven subgenre of rock, including garage rock, power pop, and heavy metal. Indeed, its heavy, bluesy guitar would provide the gist for the evolution of heavy metal nearly ten years later. Of course, while Dale Hawkins' career might have begun with "Suzy Q," it did not end with it. Over the years, Dale Hawkins would produce a large number of quality songs, even when those songs were not necessarily hits. He was a true rock 'n' roll pioneer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Late, Great Doug Fieger of The Knack

On 14 February, 2010 Doug Fieger, leader and founding member of The Knack, passed at the age of 57. The cause was lung cancer. The Knack were best known for their 1979 mega-hit, "My Sharona."

Doug Fieger was born on 20 August, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. He was raised in nearby Oak Park, Michigan. His father was a civil rights lawyer, while his mother was a teacher. His older brother is the famous lawyer Geoffrey Fieger. They have a younger sister, Beth.

Mr. Fieger took an interest in music from a very young age, becoming swept up by Beatlemania  in 1964. He was not even a teenager when he formed his first band, The Royal Jammers, drawing upon the British Invasion bands for inspiration.  He was still attending Oak Park High School when he joined the band Sky as their bassist. John Loury, and Rick Stawinski formed the band Sky. Playing an early form of American power pop, Sky played gigs with MC5, The Stooges, Bob Seger, and The Who. It was Doug Fieger, then only 17 who wrote producer Jimmy Miller (perhaps best known for his work with The Rolling Stones) in London. Miller went to Detroit to listen to the band. They were signed to RCA and put out two albums,  Don't Hold Back in 1970 and Sailor's Delight in 1971. Power pop being somewhat out of fashion at the time, neither album met with success. Sky broke up in 1971.

After the break up of Sky, Doug Fieger moved to Los Angeles. It was there that he became part of the Sunset Strip proto-punk scene. He became bassist of The Sunset Bombers, a group which included Brandon Matheson (later of  The Rubber City Rebels) on drums, Rick Armand on guitar,and Nick Armand on vocals. The Sunset Bombers were signed to Ariola Records America and put out one, self titled album in 1978.

It was in 1978 that Doug Fieger, guitarist Berton Averre, bassist Prescott Niles, and drummer Bruce Gary formed The Knack in Los Angeles, taking their name from the 1964 Richard Lester film The Knack...and How to Get It. The Knack soon became a huge draw in the Los Angeles club scene, playing clubs throughout California even before they were signed. Rolling Stone began following the band even before they had received a recording contract. By November 1978, no less than thirteen different record companies  were competing to sign The Knack. Eventually The Knack was signed to Capitol Records. Mike Chapman, who had produced both Sweet and Blondie, was signed to produce the first album.

The first album, Get The Knack, was recorded in only eleven days for $17,000. It was also recorded with an absolute minimum of post-production. Capitol Records gave Get The Knack an amount of promotion nearly equal to the British Invasion bands of the Sixties. The album was certified gold in only thirteen days. It was certified platinum in less than seven weeks. As to the most famous song from that album, "My Sharona" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on June 23, 1979. By August 25, 1979 it was number one, a position it held for six weeks. At the time only "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles had stayed at number one longer. Since then only "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry has stayed longer at number one than "My Sharona."

Sadly for The Knack, success brought a backlash against the band from the nation's critics. Fixating on the band's British Invasion image (complete with black suits and skinny ties), critics accused the band of aping The Beatles. Many critics even claimed that The Knack's music was derivative of The Beatles, even though the band sounded much more like the early Kinks. Not a few critics focused on what they saw as misogyny in The Knack's lyrics, even though they were less worse than that found in many Rolling Stones lyrics. Despite the backlash, The Knack pressed on. They recorded their second album, ...But the Little Girls Understand, which was released a mere eight months after Get The Knack. ...But the Little Girls Understand would not be nearly as successful as the first album, only reaching #15 on the Billboard chart. It would not go platinum.

The Knack took a break for a year before they recorded their third album, Round Trip, during which time Doug Fieger produced The Rubber City Rebels' debut album. Released in 1981 when the critics still viewed The Knack as anathema, Round Trip only went to #93 on the albums chart. It became the first Knack album to produce no hit singles, "Pay the Devil" reaching only #67 on the Billboard chart. It was only two weeks into the tour supporting Round Trip that The Knack broke up.

Following the breakup of The Knack, Doug Fieger worked with Detroit based funk rock band Was Not Was, The Manhattan Transfer (for whom he wrote the Grammy wining song "Soul Food to Go"), and The A.G.'s. The Knack reunited for a tour that lasted from 1986 into 1987. Although the tour was a success, a new Knack album was not forthcoming. It would not be until 1991 that The Knack would release a new album, Serious Fun. The album produced an FM radio hit in the form of the song "Rocket of Love."

In the meantime, Doug Fieger appeared in the semi-regular role of Nick on the TV show Roseanne. He also appeared on Roy Orbison's final studio album, King of Hearts and Ringo Starr's album Time Takes Time, both in 1992. The band regrouped again in 1997 to provide their rendition of "No Matter What" to Come And Get It: A Tribute To Badfinger. In 1998 the band released the album Zoom. In 1999 Doug Fieger released a solo album, First Things First. In 2001 The Knack released their final album, Normal as the Next Guy. Mr. Fieger's last work would be vocals on one song on Bruce Kublick's solo album B3K.

With the exception of The Monkees, perhaps no other rock band was as hated by critics as The Knack. And like The Monkees before them, The Knack did not deserve such hatred at all. It is true that their songs did not have the complexity of such contemporaries as Elvis Costello or The Talking Heads, but then they did not have to. What such critics failed to see is that there something to be said for clean, pure power pop. It was the genre of music performed by The Beatles, The Who, and The Kinks in their early days, and by Cheap Trick to this day. And The Knack performed power pop with an energy and zeal that few bands ever had before or since. True, The Knack's lyrics could be perceived by some as sexist, but then the same could be said for artists ranging from The Rolling Stones to The Beatles themselves. The Knack was no better, nor any worse than other bands of their time, nor any before them or since them either. Whether the critics wish to admit it or not, the "crime" for which they were vilified by rock reviewers was simply patterning themselves after the British Invasion bands of old and being successful at it, which is really no crime at all.

While the other members of The Knack made their contributions, there can be no doubt that it was Doug Fieger who was the band's heart and soul. It was Doug Fieger's song writing talent that propelled Get The Knack to the top of the charts and his showmanship that made the band a hit in clubs and later on tour. And it was his talent as both a song writer and showman that gave The Knack a legion of fans, even after their albums and singles no longer topped the charts. The conventional wisdom is that The Knack produced one good album, and afterwards several mediocre ones. This is the judgement of those who have never listened to The Knack's entire discography. While none of those albums could match the quality of Get The Knack, all of them are good albums. And that is largely due to Doug Fieger, one of the most talented front men in rock music of all time. It is perhaps time for critics to stop gnashing their teeth at the retro, British Invasion inspired image and sound of The Knack and start recognising the obvious quality of their music. And in doing so, perhaps they will finally recognise the power pop genius that was Doug Fieger.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Doug Fieger, Leader of The Knack, is Dead

Right now I am too upset to do a complete blog post. Yesterday, 14  February, 2010, Doug Fieger lost his long battle with cancer at the age of 57. I grew up loving the British Invasion bands of the Sixties, particularly The Beatles and, The Who. Then in the late Seventies their American counterparts arose in large numbers, led by Cheap Trick and The Knack. As the leader of The Knack, Doug Fieger produced what may be the single most successful American power pop song of all time, "My Sharona." I fell in love with The Knack the first time I heard the song on the radio. In fact, after The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, and Cheap Trick, they would become my favourite rock group of all time. It is for that reason right now that I am very, very sad.

Tomorrow I will eulogise Doug Fieger, who was leader and a founding member of The Knack. For now I will leave you with a live performance of their greatest hit, "My Sharona."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Contrary to popular belief, St. Valentine's Day was not invented by Hallmark Cards. The feast of St. Valentine (of which there is more than one) was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 CE. It was in the 14th Century that St. Valentine's Day became linked to love and romance, at a time when the distinctions between the various Saints Valentine became cloudy. The first valentine sent through the post was in 1806, over one hundred years before Hallmark was founded.

Of course, while St. Valentine's Day is now firmly linked to love and romance today, it must be pointed out that it was first established to commemorate either the death or burial of one of the Saints Valentine. According to the Nuremberg Chronicle from 1493, the first substantial account of any of the Valentines, St. Valentine was a priest who was arrested during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II for marrying Christian couples, then stoned and later beheaded. While Valentine's Day traditionally has a link to love and romance, it would also seem to have a strong link to violence. Indeed, February 14 is also remembered for another act of violence besides the martyrdom of any of the Valentines: the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

 In 1929 the city of Chicago was at the centre of two powerful gangs. The South Side of Chicago was dominated by the largely Italian, Chicago Outfit headed by Al Capone. The Northside was dominated by the largely Irish, Northside Mob, headed by Bugs Moran. The struggle between the two gangs began during Prohibition, when the Genna brothers, partners of the Outfit headed by Johnny Torrio and Al Capone, began selling their bootleg liquor on the Northside for half the price that the Northside Mob, then headed by Dean O'Banion, had been selling their own alcohol. While Torrio talked the Gennas out of selling alcohol in the North, O'Banion was still unhappy. O'Banion began to use racial slurs to refer to the Italians, and it would be both O'Banion and Bugs Moran who would first refer to Al Capone with the insult "Scarface."

Things would escalate from there. In 1924 Dean O'Banion was assassinated by members of the Outfit, leaving Earl "Hymie" Weiss in charge or the Northside Mob. It also sparked a war between the two gangs It was on January 25, 1925 that Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran ambushed Torrio outside his home with the intention of killing him. The two men shot Torrio several times, but left him alive when either a gun malfunctioned or they ran out of ammunition. Regardless, Torrio retired and appointed Al Capone the head of the Outfit. Bugs Moran would make attempts on Capone's life. It was after Moran and his men performed a drive by shooting (which he is said to have invented) on Capone's car that Capone started using armoured cars. Moran himself tortured and killed Capone's most trusted bodyguard. On September 20, 1926, Moran and his men launched a full scale attack on Capone's hotel in Cicero, Illinois in an attempt to kill himself.  A few weeks later, on October 11, 1926, Hymie Weiss would be murdered by the Outfit, leaving Bugs Moran in charge of the Northside Mob.

It was following the attack on Capone's hotel and the murder of Weiss that the Outfit and the Northside Mob declared a truce at the  Morrison Hotel on November 21, 1926. The truce effectively divided Chicago between the various gangs, and for a time there would be peace of a sort. Of course, while the Northside Mob and the Outfit were not shooting each other, they did do things to harass each other. Moran would hijack Capone's  liquor shipments, then sell them. Capone burned down Moran's dog track, while Moran burned down one of Capone's clubs. It was not long before Moran began to kill both Capone's gang members and friends. It was not long after an attempt on the life of his friend Jack McGurn by Frank and  Peter Gusenberg and the murders of  Antonio Lombardo and Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo by the Northside Gang that the Valentine's Day Massacre took place.

The details of the Valentine's Day Massacre are not known to this day. Indeed, it is not entirely clear that it was Al Capone who ordered the massacre. The only thing that is known for certain is that on February 14, 1929, six men associated with the Northside Mob and Dr. Reinhardt H. Schwimmer (an optometrist who idolised mobsters) were gunned down, facing a wall, inside the S.M.C Cartage Co. garage. As to why six mobsters would willingly stand lined up against a wall to be gunned down, that may have been answered by an eyewitness who lived across the street. She said that she had seen two men dressed as police officers escort two men with their hands in the air, as if they had been arrested, leave the garage. The Chicago Police Department knew nothing of any such arrest. It seems likely that the "police officers" were actually gangsters wearing police uniforms. This would explain why Moran's men and Dr. Schwimmer offered no resistance whatsoever; they thought they were dealing with the police.

As to who was ultimately responsible for the crime, that is not known to any degree of certainty to this day. That having been said, Al Capone was the prime suspect at the time and still thought to be the man most likely to have been responsible for the massacre. Moran and Capone had been rivals for years. And it may not be coincidence that the massacre took place not long after the attempt on the life of Capone's friend Jack McGurn and the murders of Antonio Lombardo and Pasqualino "Patsy" Lolordo.

Because of the paucity of evidence, no one was ever arrested for St. Valentine's Day Massacre. That is not to say that it did not have repercussions. News of the massacre, complete with pictures of  the murdered men, would cause outrage throughout the United States. The Federal government finally took notice of Al Capone's activities, which resulted in Capone's arrest for income tax evasion in 1931. As to Bugs Moran, he would maintain power over his territory until the repeal of the Volstead Act.

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre would become the most notorious gangland killing in history. Naturally, it would figure prominently in pop culture. Indeed, it would first be featured in movies only a few years after it took place, in 1932's Scarface. Following the lead in Scarface, the majority of films based around Capone's career have included the massacre in some way. The massacre figured in the 1959 film Al Capone  starring Rod Steiger, as well as the 1975 film Capone. The St. Valentine Day's Massacre was a pivotal part of the plot of the 1969 comedy  Some Like It Hot. It was at the centre of Roger Corman's 1967 movie St. Valentine's Day Massacre. In Brian DePalma's soon to be released prequel to The Untouchables, The Untouchables: Capone Rising, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre will be featured in the plot. The massacre was also the subject of  a TV movie from 1997. It has been the subject of numerous documentaries.

While Valentine's Day is linked with romance and love in the minds of many, it is also known as the date of the most notorious gangland killing of all time. Indeed, one has to wonder that the perpetrator of the massacre did not choose that date for the fact that it would be particularly notable. It shocked the nation at the time and continues to shock to this day. It remains one of the most infamous and despicable criminal acts in the history of the United States and will probably never be forgotten.