Val Ferrar is said to have had one million dollars in a money belt around his waist at the time he died. One million dollars, even in the largest bills available at the time, would not fit into a waist-worn money belt.
Goof: Rafael Torrez makes a call and tells the operator to get COurtland 0-7868...that's CO0-7868, or 250-7868, which is a 7-digit number. But phone numbers were only 6 digits long in the 1930s. Later, Jim Martinson phones LItton-4116...LI-4116, which is a 6-digit number.
Goof: Capone is seen talking to the doctor fixing his stitches and says he thought about being a doctor when he was a boy in Italy. The real Capone was not from Italy. He was born in Brooklyn.
Goof: Albert Miris is seen going into a theatre on September 8, 1931, with a poster reading "Escapades of 1933."
There is a scene where at the theater, a sign reads: "Dish Night." During the Depression, on designated nights (usually a slow night like Tuesday or Wednesday, never on a Friday when they start showing the new weekly movies) the ushers would give a china dish to all adult ticket holders, with a different dish being given each week. It turned out to be a clever way to get people to go to the movies, and for the people to stock their cupboard with a set of new dishes.
Goof: The projectionist is heard saying "...talkies are just a fad." The first all talking film, Lights of New York, had been released in 1928, so by 1931, talking films were well established and the thought of returning to silent movies would not be a valid statement for that date.
Continuity: Walter Winchell, in the narration, refers to Carl Arnold as John Arnold.
Nitpick: Youngfellow dumps a bag of zinc sulfide powder onto the dirt road. It gets on the wheels of the getaway car. Ness and his men follow the car -- which leaves a glowing trail on the road for miles and miles. Just how much zinc sulfide got on the tires, about a hundred pounds of the stuff?
Nitpick: Radio reporter Loren Hall is giving this news story: The Italian embassy in Washington has held up the release of Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms," the picture starring Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, and Adolphe Menjou -- until Benito Mussolini is satisfied it contains no scenes detrimental to the Italian Army. I guess Benito wasn't pleased-- this is late Summer, but the movie wasn't released until December 8, 1932.
Joe and Frank Genna are both fictional characters. None of the real life blood-stained Genna brothers bore those names.
Waxey Gordon suffered through a real life personal tragedy during his trial for income tax evasion. Waxey's son was an honor student at the University of North Carolina who was killed in a car wreck while driving from Chapel Hill NC to New York in order to attend his father's trial.
Waxey Gordon would later file bankruptcy to avoid paying the back taxes he owed to the government. Contrast this to another notorious tax cheat--Al Capone. Capone paid the government every cent he owed them in back taxes, fines, and penalties.
Waxey Gordon's real name was Irving Wexler. He served six years in prison for income tax evasion which was detailed in this episode. Several years later Gordon was arrested and convicted of narcotics trafficking. In 1952 he agreed to testify against several other members of the nationwide drug syndicate and was taken to the West Coast where he was housed at the Alcatraz prison hospital due to his declining health. Gordon died there of a heart attack.
The character of Big Bill Swinney appears to be based on Big Bill Dwyer, a New York based bootlegger during the Prohibition Era.
The character of Benny Benjamin is based upon Arnold Rothstein the notorious New York mobster alleged to have been the mastermind behind the fix of the 1919 World Series. The real Legs Diamond was once one of Rothstein's bodyguards.
The real life Jack "Legs" Diamond was killed by three bullets on December 18, 1931 near Albany, NY shortly after being acquitted of assault charges. Diamond had survived three previous attempts on his life earning the nickname "Clay Pigeon." His mistress, showgirl Kiki Roberts, was present when he was gunned down.
The character of Dawn Dolan is based on a woman named Marion "Kiki" Roberts, a nightclub dancer who was the real Legs Diamond's mistress. Kiki was present when Diamond was gunned down in an Albany hotel room in 1931 just hours after being acquitted of an assault charge.
The portrayal of Alice Diamond by Norma Crane in this episode is pretty accurate. The real Alice was a slatternly, hard-drinking ex-carnival worker who could reportedly outcuss any man alive. Left penniless by her husband's death, she committed suicide in a cheap New York hotel room in 1933.
The murder of Ellie Morley in this episode is based upon a real life incident relating to the real Frank Nitti's Hollywood extortion scheme. A man named Nick Circella was functioning as the go-between for Nitti's union thugs in Hollywood and the boys back home in Chicago. When the roof caved in, Circella was arrested and started to talk. His mistress, one Estelle Carey, was murdered and most believe this represented a warning to Circella to keep his mouth shut. He got the message and soon clammed up. Unfortunately for Nitti and the boys, the wives and families of other witnesses were placed in protective custody and they couldn't be intimidated by this method.
The characters of Sidney Rogers and Ramsey Lennox are based upon Willie Bioff and Harry Browne, real-life Nitti stooges who were the front men in his extortion scheme against the Hollywood studios.