Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Guest Blogger: TOM FOLSOM

The Mad Ones, Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld (Weinstein Books) tells the story of Crazy Joe Gallo, a charismatic beatnik gangster who was celebrated in the Bob Dylan ballad “Joey.” Dylan hailed Joey as “King of the Streets.” Like Dylan, Joey lived in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. After becoming immersed in the counterculture, reading cigarette-burned copies of Camus and Sartre in Village cafes, Joey was inspired to revolt against the Mafia. The stories of his revolution inspired the most infamous scenes in The Godfather—“sleeps with the fishes,” “going to the mattresses”—as the Gallo brothers holed up in a tenement on the Red Hook, Brooklyn waterfront with shotguns and grenades in an all-out street war.

The epitome of gangster chic, Joey modeled himself after B-movie gangsters in film noir classics, Jimmy Cagney and his favorite, Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death. The Gallo brothers invited Life magazine into headquarters for a photo shoot and were regularly featured on the covers of the New York City tabloids, dressed nattily in cheap black suits, skinny black ties and dark Raybans, a “gangster chic” look that agn├Ęs b. dressed Harvey Keitel accordingly for in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.


Crazy Joe Gallo Takes The Fifth (AP Images)


During the heyday of The Godfather, Crazy Joe befriended actor Jerry Orbach, of Law and Order fame, who played Joey in The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. With Jerry in tow, Joey made the rounds of high society before being gunned down midbite at Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. Coinciding with this year’s 40th anniversary of the publication of The Godfather, The Mad Ones: tells the true stories that inspired Puzo's masterpiece. Watch the book trailer (make sure your volume is on) at http://www.tomfolsom.com








Tom Folsom author photo credit (Mark Seliger)

1 comment:

Vickie said...

Adding to the Wanton Book List...Thanks for the cranium's up!

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