Dillinger at the Biograph

Jun 05, 2016, 10:11 AM

THE GANGSTER CHRONICLES A special edition of Yesterday’s News focusing on the notorious scoundrels of the Prohibition and Depression eras.

The Final Chapter of the Dillinger Saga

The first volume of this this series has been devoted to the exploration of newspaper accounts of the trail of terror blazed by one of America’s most famous, dare I say most beloved, gangsters, John Dillinger.

From the time he was paroled from the Michigan City prison in May, 1933, to the time he was gunned down by police on a Chicago sidewalk 14 months later, John Herbert Dillinger was one of America’s most notorious scoundrels.

In previous chapters, we read the newspaper accounts of the escape of ten convicts from the Indiana penitentiary at Michigan City and the bloody delivery of Dillinger from the Lima, Ohio, jail; how Dillinger and his new gang blazed a trail of terror across the Midwest until he was captured in Tuscon, his second daring escape using a gun he made from broomstick, and his continuing reign of terror. Last month, we heard about one more narrow escape from the clutches of the law and one final bank robbery.

The narration for this episode was recorded on the main stage of the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, where Dillinger saw his last film just minutes before meeting his fate on the sidewalks of the Windy City. It was a movie theater then, and Dillinger, his hair dyed black, came here with two women to see Clark Gable in “Manhattan Melodrama,” and on the way out… Well, listen to this episode to see how it all shakes out.

Music by Chuck Wiggins