E. L. “Zeke” Caress is perhaps best remembered today as the victim of a bungled kidnapping in 1930 but he was also a master odds-maker with close ties to the Spring Street Gang. Continue reading
For all the energy expelled in expunging from Los Angeles that most dreaded of species, the gangsterous easternicus, one of the biggest fish of all of them was a hometown boy. Milton Bernard Page, known as “Farmer,” was born in the city in 1887. Though the gambling den was his natural habitat, he was also said to have dealt in liquor during the early Prohibition years. Continue reading
It was “Tutor” Scherer who launched the first known floating casino off the Southern California coast. He also had a large bookmaking operation and was affiliated with gambling clubs in Palm Springs as well as Hollywood’s Clover Club and the Airport Gardens in Glendale. Like fellow Spring Street Gang gamblers Guy McAfee and “Farmer” Page, he ended up in Las Vegas, where late in life he blossomed into a poet. Continue reading
“This is just another attempt to blame everything on me that ever went on in the Los Angeles underworld” Guy McAfee would grouse in 1940 after his name was linked once again to yet another vice racket. One of his enemies would call him the “Capone of Los Angeles,” an overstatement perhaps, but one not without foundation.
In his 1975 memoir Mickey Cohen: In My Own Words: The Underworld Biography of Michael Mickey Cohen as Told to Peter Nugent (1), Mickey Cohen brags of holding up a gambling club operated by Edward G. “Eddie” Nealis as a “favor” to Bugsy Siegel.
The Clover Club Continue reading