Untouchable Vegas!

February 12th, 2019 by Max Allan Collins

My co-author, Brad Schwartz, and I are making two personal appearances at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, next week.

First, we’ll be doing a talk about Scarface and the Untouchable with an emphasis on St. Valentine’s Day. Not surprisingly, that appearance will be February 14 at 7 pm. Here are the details:

Wiseguy Speaker Series and Book Signing: “Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness and the Battle for Chicago.”

TIME: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a book signing to follow.
LOCATION: Courtroom on the second floor. Seating is on a first come, first served basis with a maximum occupancy of 120 guests.
DESCRIPTION: Over the decades, the stories of mobster Al Capone and lawman Eliot Ness have been subjected to literacy license and Hollywood exaggeration. This new book from authors Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz peels back the layers of these myths to reveal a deeper narrative of these iconic figures. The event will conclude with a book signing.

Second, on Saturday, Feb. 16, I will be presenting a look at the Road to Perdition in particular as well as at my Nathan Heller novels, in particular Neon Mirage, with its Vegas basis. Interviewing me will be none other than distinguished historian…A. Brad Schwartz! How did we land him? Anyway, here’s the details.

The Road to Perdition
DATE: Saturday, Feb. 16
TIME: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a book signing to follow.
LOCATION: Courtroom on the second floor.
COST: Free
DESCRIPTION: In this special discussion, “Road to Perdition” author Max Allan Collins will be interviewed by fellow author A. Brad Schwartz (“Scarface and the Untouchable”) about the fascinating story behind his acclaimed novel. Set in Chicago during the Great Depression, the graphic novel, “Road to Perdition” tells the story of Michael Sullivan, a Mob enforcer on the hunt for revenge after a failed hit.
Attend and learn about:
The real-life Mob inspiration behind the character of Michael Sullivan.
The Academy Award-winning film adaptation starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law.
Collins’ other novel, “Neon Mirage,” which delves into early Las Vegas and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.

The Mob Museum will have other events related to their own seventh anniversary. Here’s a cool article about that and about the Massacre.

Hope to see you folks from the Vegas area there, and any vacationers, too!

* * *

An excellent crime film, Cold Pursuit, is in theaters now. It’s not the typical Liam Neeson revenge thriller that it might seem to be. Reviews are mixed, but the bad ones seem obsessed with Neeson discussing his own irrational rage as a young man and how destructive that was. More about that later.

The film is a black comedy based on another good film, In Order of Disappearance (2014), starring Stellan Skarsgaard, who played the Broker in the never-aired Quarry pilot (how I wish he’d been retained, though his replacement wasn’t bad). Though some nice, mostly American-related touches are added, this is one of the most faithful remakes I’ve ever seen, probably because the same director did both: Hans Petter Moland. New screenwriter Frank Baldwin, however, made some interesting adjustments to the new setting, in particular substituting Native American drug-dealing ring for Serbian gangsters.

As for the Neeson controversy, it’s a fine example of how the left is going to screw up their anti-Trump efforts. I am a liberal, as you probably know, a somewhat left of center one who is probably more an independent but who so often votes Democrat, it’s a moot point. My son thinks I am not nearly progressive enough, but then he’s 35 and I’m 70, and that means I’ve suffered through more reality than he has.

So Neeson, discussing revenge, tells an interviewer that after a friend was raped by an African American, he was filled with rage and wanted to go out and thrash the first “black bastard” that gave him trouble. He spoke of this as a bad thing, something that demonstrated how stupid revenge can be, particularly racially oriented revenge, and how dumb he had been as a troubled young man before he grew older and wiser and came to his senses.

Of course the far left has seized upon his racial comments out of context and made Neeson into a racist. No question in this climate that many really shitty things are going down – I mean, is there any politician in Virginia who didn’t think blackface was funny and okay back in the 1980s? Uh, I was there for the ‘80s, and it wasn’t.

But must we work so hard to ruin people’s careers? Is it really surprising Al Franken put his arm around women who wanted their pictures taken with him while he shared his goofy grin with the camera?

Republicans don’t apologize. That’s not an attribute, but it works better than attacking each other when somebody makes a slip or just says something you don’t agree with. Nuance, people.

Just wait. The Democrats will find a way to blow this. The left will somehow manage to keep Trump in the White House. What the hell – every Liam Neeson movie needs a bad guy.


Tags: , , ,

3 Responses to “Untouchable Vegas!”

  1. Gary Bush says:

    I agree, nuance indeed. Neeson realized how wrong he was.

  2. Mike Doran says:

    Some time back, I came to the belief that before anyone becomes well-known, they should get a Miranda warning:

    Anything you have ever said or done in your life CAN and WILL be used against you in the Court of Public Opinion.

    And a codicil: There is NO Statute of Limitations on the Above.

    I was going to tell a story here, about something my third grade class did in our Catholic school, back in the early ’60s.

    I was going to, but I’ve chickened out.

    The thing is, I didn’t actually take part in the thing myself – I was chicken even then.

    Just thinking about this was – and is – embarrassing enough.

    And I’m running the risk that anyone who reads this will likely extrapolate it into something even worse …

    Ah Well/Oh Hell …

    On an unrelated topic:

    Noting the passing of Frank Busseri, the short member of the Four Lads (remember them?)

    Remember their Big Hit from the ’50s – you know, that Frank Loesser show tune that can’t be performed nowadays?

    Maybe you can ‘go to jail for what you’re thinkin’ … ‘

    I don’t want to think about it anymore …

  3. Thomas Zappe says:

    I’m prompted to make several comments:

    1. I am reminded of the insights Debbie Reynolds offered when being interviewed about the old days in Las Vegas. She said that everything ran smoothly and, she emphasized, “Nobody got killed who wasn’t supposed to”.

    2. I feel I have a better grasp of human events after having read SCARFACE AND THE UNTOUCHABLE. I used to feel obligated to look at history in terms of good guys and bad guys, but this, I feel, causes an immediate and unwanted bias. Instead, I look at relations among groups through the framework of Mobs and their Rackets.

    Any group has what it feels are it’s vested interests and a way to promote and support itself. This can be applied to Organized Crime and/or Religion, Political Parties, Law Enforcement and any other clan.

    I don’t think this is being cynical, just analytical.

    3. It is looking extremely difficult for anyone who has ever lead an interesting life to serve in the public sector.

    People value good judgement,
    Good judgement comes from experience,
    Much valuable experience comes from bad judgement.

    When somebody finally has this all figured out, please let me know.