On September 20, 1939 two women chanced to pass each other at the famed corner of Hollywood and Vine. They recognized each other at once: Fanny Rapport and Ida Schachter were sisters. The two hadn’t seen each other in 26 years, not since Rapport left New York and came to California in 1913. In 1938 Schachter came out to Hollywood, where she and her husband lived at 1804 Vista Del Mar Avenue.
Gambling ships began operating off the Southern California coast regularly in the late 1920s. Local, county, state, and federal authorities tried various means to get them shut down, even dredging up 18th century piracy laws, without any real lasting effect. Earl Warren, as California A.G., successfully raided and closed the last four ships in 1939 and World War II put a damper on any new such ventures starting up. But there was still no state or federal statute outlawing them. Everyone may have thought the era of gambling ships had passed. Everyone except Tony Cornero.
Los Angeles papers had been reporting the antics of Edward “Spike” O’Donnell for years. Noted for his many brushes with death at the hands of his rivals, the nattily-dressed O’Donnell was always good for a pithy quote or too.
The year that Bugsy Siegel arrived in Los Angeles to be the New York mob’s man on the West Coast varies from source to source. Siegel himself claimed in a legal document that he had been a resident since 1935. It’s known a that he visited at least twice before that, starting in 1932.
The Clover Club Continue reading