Saturday, February 25, 2017

Scandal Mickey Cohen Gangster

Mickey Cohen
King Mobster of Sunset Strip

          Meyer "Mickey" Cohen was born either 1911, 1912, or 1913, his birth records seem to have disappeared. When he was six years old his family moved from Brooklyn, New York to Boyle Heights, California. At an early age Mickey was delivering booze for his older brother, a gin mill operator. He never had a formal education and was illiterate all of his life.
          He became passionate about boxing and started competing in illegal prize fights in Los Angeles. After consistent losses, Cohen hung up his gloves in 1933.

          Cohen moved to Chicago and became an enforcer in Al Capone's gang. He also began running card games and other illegal activities. While there he survived arrests, and prison. After an assassination attempt on his life he moved back to Los Angeles.
          In Los Angeles, Cohen partnered with Bugsy Siegel acting as the extension of the East Coast syndicate for Capone. Here they controlled narcotics, gambling and union operations. Cohen also helped Siegel run the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

          After Siegel's murder in 1947, Cohen became the top West Coast mobster. Challenged by rival Jack Dragna, a war soon broke out between Cohen and Dragna. Cohen survived numerous attempts on his life and a bombing of his Brentwood home. In the end, Cohen won.
          Soon after the infamous mobster Johnny Stompanato became his bodyguard. Cohen was known to have affairs with several Hollywood actresses including Ava Gardner.

          It was important for Cohen to be liked. He did everything he could to be thought of as a gentleman throughout his life. If you were his friend, he did anything he could for you. Though he was ruthless with enemies, he took pride in never hurting an innocent person.
          In the early 1950s after being investigated by the Kefauver Commission, Cohen was sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion. After his release he became a media celebrity, appearing on the Mike Wallace Show and befriending big name actors, like  Redd Foxx, Sammy Davis Dr., George Raft, Sarah Vaughn, and others. In 1961 he was again convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 15 years. While in Alcatraz, he was attacked with a lead pipe by another inmate resulting in Cohen's partial paralysis.

          After his final release from prison in 1972, Cohan became a "gentleman mobster". Though best known as a cold blooded gangster, documents show that he had a big heart. He pulled strings and donated money to help people in need. Even if they were friends of a friend, he was there to help.

          Cohen passed away peacefully in his home on July 29, 1976 from cancer.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lady and the Tramp-movie

Lady and the Tramp

          Lady and the Tramp, the animated romantic musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney was released June 22, 1955. It was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen format. Based on Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog (Cosmopolitan Magazine) by Ward Greene, Lady and the Tramp tells the story of Lady, a Cocker Spaniel who lives with an upper-middle-class family and Tramp, a male stray mutt. When the two dogs meet, they embark on romantic adventures.

          The idea for the story originated in 1937, and the rights to “Happy Dan” were purchased in the early 1940s. It took until 1955 to get the movie out. Disney Studios switched its focus during WWII, working on propaganda films. When Disney went back to the film, he felt his animators had lost their feel for the characters. He removed them from Lady and the Tramp and had them switch to Sleeping Beauty for about six months. The change worked; Disney believed that when the artists returned to the dogs, they “tackled the project with new enthusiasm.”

          The film score was composed and conducted by Oliver Wallace. Sonny Burke, a composer and Peggy Lee, a singer and songwriter, wrote some of the songs to the movie. In the film, Lee sang: "He's a Tramp", "La La Lu", "The Siamese Cat Song" and "What Is a Baby?". 

          My all time favorite part in the movie is Bella Notte, the famous spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp. Here is the YouTube address. Click on the link below and be transported down memory lane.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

1950s Ladies gloves

Ladies gloves
          Ladies Gloves saw a resurgence during the ‘50s, when clothing became ultra-feminine and formal after the war. Accessories were very important, and a matching hat, bag and gloves had to perfectly finish off an outfit.
          Most women wore gloves when out in public during the day, especially in the first half of the decade. Daytime gloves were wrist-length in leather or suede in neutral colors or plain white.  Jackie Kennedy wore wrist length white gloves for most of her public appearances. She was a model for the decade as to how women should dress.     
          Gloves came in a number of other lengths, cuts and colors. The scalloped gauntlet remained common as well as long plain gloves. Button details, bows, embroidery, and ruffles adorned many day styles. Peach, pink, and baby blue were all great colors for spring.

          Evening gloves were usually worn, elbow-length, and came in satin or nylon, matching the dress. Big sparkly bracelets were often worn over the top.  Evening gloves dyed to match a formal dress were ideal for long gloves. Alternatives were sheer net or short lace gloves in a harmonizing color.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Food and Drink

Las Vegas made Shrimp Cocktail popular in the western states in the 1950s. People would visit Sin City and return home with wanting more of that tasty shrimp. The Flamingo Hotel and Casino is featured in one of the scenes in DESERT ICE, a hard boiled murder mystery.


for the shrimp:
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
3 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds (21/25-count) shrimp, peeled except for the tails and deveined

for the cocktail sauce:
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

for the shrimp:
Combine everything except the shrimp in a 4-quart saucepan or pot over high heat and bring it to a boil.

Add the shrimp, stir, and remove the pan from the heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let sit until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set it aside.

When the shrimp are ready, drain them in a strainer set in the sink. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, removing and discarding any solids from the poaching liquid that have stuck to the shrimp (discard the contents in the strainer as well). Let sit until cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes

Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Meanwhile, make the cocktail sauce.

for the cocktail sauce:

Stir all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Taste and season with more pepper as needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Serve the shrimp with the sauce for dipping.