Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rick Mattix (1953-2010), author, researcher

    Rick “Mad Dog” Mattix, 57, of Bussey, Iowa, died Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. He was born on September 21, 1953, at Oskaloosa, Iowa, the son of Virgil and Aletha McKim Mattix. He graduated from Twin Cedars High School with the class of 1971. Following high school Rick went to work for a local factory. He retired from there in 1998, after an accident.
    Rick’s passion in life was researching gangster history; he was a world renowned author, researcher and historian on the subject. He was known by the gangster community as the “Godfather” of gangster history. He had appeared on the History Channel and on an A&E Biography program, speaking on gangster history. He has written several books on the subject - including The Complete Public Enemy Almanac coauthored with his friend William Helmer - and his knowledge will be greatly missed. In July 2010, Rick announced that he and Thomas Hunt would partner in the operation of quarterly journal Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement.
    On April 28, 2000, he was united in marriage to Linda Steele at Bussey. He took Linda all over the country doing research. He will be remembered as a one of a kind person that never had a harsh word for anyone. He was an avid dog lover. He was a strong supporter of Indian rights and the National Rifle Association. He enjoyed listening to the Beatles and enjoyed a laid-back life.
    He is survived by his wife Linda Mattix of Bussey; two stepsons: Adam Steele of Bussey and Eli Steele of Des Moines; a very close grandson: Ridge Steele; a sister and her husband: Pamela and Terry Bonnett of Bussey; and two brothers: Duane and Barbara Mattix in Georgia, and Leland Mattix of Chicago, Illinois; his father in law: Kenny Hunt of Lacey; and many nieces and nephews.
    Rick was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers: Delmar and Darrel Mattix and Frank Wignal; and three sisters: Beverly McDaniels, Delores DeVore, and Patty Wilson; and his mother in law: Darlene Hunt.
    Funeral services for Rick Mattix, will be held Sunday, October 31, 2010, at 3 p.m. in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with Pastor Alvern Boetsma officiating. As was Rick’s wish his body will be cremated following the funeral. The Bates Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Visitation will begin Saturday after 12 noon in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa and then continue until 6 p.m. on Saturday. Visitation will begin again on Sunday morning after 10 a.m. and the family will be at the funeral chapel on Sunday afternoon from 1:30 - 3 to greet friends and relatives. Memorials may be made to the Rick Mattix Memorial Fund.
    To send condolences to the Rick Mattix family, send e-mails to:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October 2010 issue of Informer

October 2010 contents

Following the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the murders of John Scalise, Albert Anselmi and Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, Chicago gang boss Alphonse Capone found himself targeted by law enforcement as well as underworld rivals. His summer 1929 jailing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, following a brief visit to Atlantic City, New Jersey, is viewed by many historians as more than a coincidence. 

It is often referred to as a Capone-orchestrated plot to shield the crime boss. While the possibility of Capone’s involvement in setting up his own arrest remains a mystery, in this issue, Thomas Hunt shows that Capone did not act like a willing prisoner and worked continuously to regain his liberty (preview).

In “Eastern State Penitentiary: A Bastion of Solitude,” Gregory Peduto examines the history of the famous penal institution that served as Capone’s home for most of his long stay in Philadelphia (preview). Additional coverage related to the Capone incarceration includes a collection of Capone’s comments to Philadelphia Director of Public Safety Lemuel Schofield, the text of English novelist Charles Dickens’ harsh criticism of Eastern State Penitentiary, a discussion of the famous photo of Capone and Atlantic City underworld leader Enoch “Nucky” Johnson strolling the Boardwalk together (preview), and Bill Feather’s chart of the Philadelphia Mafia Family membership (preview).

In addition, this issue features “A Room for Two” by Chriss Lyon, which explains the presence of gangsters Gus Winkeler and John Moran in Berrien County, Michigan (preview); an interview of freelance archivist Arthur Nash; and a review of Ron Chepesiuk’s new book, Sergeant Smack (preview).

Sixty pages
including cover and advertisements
Published October 7, 2010.

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Capone's long stay in Philly

October 2010 contents
Feature article

Never before imprisoned, Chicago’s underworld boss
may have underestimated a weapons charge in 1929.
80 years later, crime historians still argue about

Al Capone’s long
stay in Philadelphia

By Thomas Hunt

"On May 16, 1929, Chicago gang leader Al Capone and his bodyguard Frankie Rio were arrested as they exited a Philadelphia movie theater. The two men pleaded guilty to possession of concealed deadly weapons the following day and were sentenced to serve a year in prison. It was Capone’s first prison term. His treatment in Philadelphia was a dramatic change from the customary question-and-release law enforcement pattern in Chicago."

"Through the more than eighty years since the event, gangland historians have speculated that Capone deliberately set up the arrest and imprisonment to escape the wrath of rival gangsters, to appease underworld
higher-ups or to plan in guarded security the complete takeover of Chicago’s rackets."

Eighteen Pages including three pages of notes, two sidebar stories, twelve images.

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Eastern State: Bastion of solitude

October 2010 contents
Feature article

Alcatraz may rank as the world’s most fabled house of correction
but another institution spawned hundreds of imitators and
forever changed the history of penology

Eastern State Penitentiary:
A bastion of solitude

By Gregory Peduto

"Through much of recorded history, prisons were little more than dungeons constructed to inflict the maximum amount of punishment upon wrongdoers. With fetid conditions and severe corporal punishment, a person sentenced to an early “gaol” was unlikely to emerge alive." Six pages with four images.

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Room for Two: Winkeler and Moran

October 2010 Contents
Feature Article

Located along the busy route from Chicago to Detroit,
Berrien County was a popular stop for Prohibition Era gangsters

Room for two:
Winkeler and Moran

By Chriss Lyon

"Chicago became synonymous with the Gangster Era, but Chicago gangsters often strayed beyond the city limits. When Windy City racketeers felt in need of a change in scenery, the plentiful resorts and beaches of Berrien County in nearby southwest Michigan beckoned." Seven pages including notes and five images.

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Capone and Nucky Johnson, arm-in-arm

October 2010 contents

After eighty years, controversy still
surrounds Capone-Johnson photo

The photograph shows Chicago gang boss Al Capone walking down Atlantic City’s Boardwalk arm-in-arm with city political boss and underworld czar Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. It establishes the two men as friends and illustrates the bond between organized criminals of different regions of the country. There’s only one problem: Many believe the photo to be a fake.

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Criminal syndicates in Pennsylvania

October 2010 contents
Feature article
Agency document

Criminal syndicates
in Pennsylvania

By the Pennsylvania Crime Commission, 1970.

Excerpt from the Report on Organized Crime, Pennsylvania Crime Commission, 1970, examines the composition, history, leadership and enterprises of the five U.S. Mafia families involved in rackets within Pennsylvania - Philadelphia/Bruno, Scranton/Bufalino, Pittsburgh/LaRocca, New Jersey/DeCavalcante, Buffalo NY/Magaddino. Eight pages including notes.

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Books and Television

October 2010 Contents
Books, Television

Books and Television coverage in the October issue of Informer includes:
- Preview of HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
- Review of Ron Chepesiuk's Sergeant Smack.
- Announcement of Deep Water second edition.
- Notes on new releases - "Into the Heart of the Mafia," "Lucky Luciano: The Real and the Fake Gangster," "Gangsters of Virtue," "Jersey Boy," "Unsolved Crimes."

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Philadelphia Mafia Chart

October 2010 Contents
Membership Charts
by Bill Feather

The October issue includes a 1910-1960s Philadelphia Mafia Membership Chart by Bill Feather. The four-page chart includes dozens of documented and suspected Mafiosi along with birth, death, immigration, relationship, rank and other information.

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