Dillinger’s Ohio Crime Spree Left Out of New Movie
Before becoming Public Enemy No. 1, gangster John Dillinger pulled off his first bank robbery in a sleepy Ohio town.
Police captured him months later when they swarmed his girlfriend’s apartment, but within weeks he brazenly strolled out of jail after his gang killed a rural sheriff.
His Ohio escapades aren’t part of the new movie ”Public Enemies,” which tells of his life on the run after an escape from an Indiana prison and of his death in Chicago. But his rise from small-town bank robber to America’s most wanted man can be traced to a string of holdups during the summer of 1933 and the daring escape that left the Ohio lawman dead.
Even though Dillinger didn’t kill the sheriff, it was the first murder in which he was involved, said John Carnes, curator of collections at the Allen County Museum in Lima.
”After the sheriff was killed,” Carnes said, ”everybody knew about him.”
Dillinger, born in Indianapolis, is better remembered for his gang’s crime spree through Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana and for his death outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater, where FBI agents shot him.
The Universal Pictures movie, starring Johnny Depp as Dillinger, focuses on those final months. Dillinger’s time in Ohio often is overlooked because it wasn’t until months later that he became the FBI’s top priority, Carnes said.
”I wasn’t really surprised the movie left it out,” Carnes said. ”But it is an important part of the story.”
Universal spokeswoman Jennifer Chamberlain said the film takes place during a specific time in Dillinger’s life and was not intended to be a biopic.
Dillinger had served nearly nine years in a Michigan City, Ind., prison for robbing a grocery when he and his prison buddies, including a few with Ohio roots, hatched a plan that would set in motion his infamy.
They decided that Dillinger, who was to be released first, would begin knocking off banks so he could buy guns and break his friends out of prison. They targeted banks in small towns where Dillinger could easily get away, and his first bank robbery was in New Carlisle, near Dayton, in June 1933.
In the next few months, he robbed banks in Indiana and then in Bluffton, Ohio. The money helped him smuggle guns to his Indiana prison buddies, who overpowered guards and broke out in September 1933.
But just days before the prison break, Dillinger was captured while visiting his girlfriend in Dayton. He was moved 100 miles north to Lima, where he faced a bank robbery charge in the Bluffton holdup.
Dillinger was playing cards with a few other inmates in Lima on Oct. 12, 1933, when three men claiming to be officers from Indiana walked into the jail.
They were Dillinger’s old prison buddies from Indiana.
The three men told Allen County Sheriff Jess Sarber that they wanted to speak to Dillinger. When Sarber asked for their credentials, one of them shot him and then began beating him.
Dillinger heard the gunfire, got up from the card game and grabbed his coat. He knew he was free again.
Sarber died in the escape, and the three men who killed him later were captured and convicted.
Dillinger and the rest of his gang continued robbing banks in the Midwest before they were caught in Tucson, Ariz. Dillinger was taken back to Indiana, where he escaped while awaiting trial on charges that he killed a police officer during a Chicago bank robbery.
By that time, he was the FBI’s Public Enemy No. 1.
The movie, which opened July 1 and features Christian Bale as FBI man Melvin Purvis, renews the debate about whether Dillinger was a Robin Hood-type hero for those who were angry with banks and had lost their savings during the Great Depression.
”He was, as far as I’m concerned, a criminal and a murderer,” said Sgt. Tim Garlock, of the Allen County sheriff’s office, who began studying Dillinger’s escape in Lima after he started working in the former sheriff’s residence.
Visitors still stop by about once a month asking to see the old jail, which still looks the same on the outside, Garlock said.
”People,” he said, ”still have the fascination for it.”
The Lost Boy in Neverland
The sad tale of Michael Jackson will be retold a few thousand times more as autopsy reports and estate details emerge.
Meanwhile, the presumed verdict is that Jackson died of prescription drugs. On CNN’s “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer” on Thursday, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, said that Jackson’s death was a wake-up call to the country about prescription drugs.
Maybe. Maybe not. We all know that abusing prescription drugs — taking them for purposes other than prescribed — is bad for our health. Potentially deadly, in fact.
Regardless, people choose to abuse drugs (or smoke cigarettes or drink booze) for a variety of reasons. But drugs aren’t really what killed Jackson, are they? They may have led to the stopping of his heart, but Jackson’s death spiral began decades ago.
You could see it in his face.
Michael Jackson’s identity crisis wasn’t subtle. There could hardly be a more vivid physical manifestation of a human being’s chaotic psyche than Jackson’s ever-changing visage. Imagine trying so hard to become whole — however one imagines one’s complete self — that you subjected your face to multiple transfigurations until you are hardly recognizable as the person you once were.
Fame and the spiritual poverty of lost childhood are what killed Michael Jackson.
It seemed inappropriate to air these thoughts before the memorial service. It’s still too soon — and probably irrelevant — to focus on Jackson’s attraction to other people’s children. New York Rep. Peter King’s declaration following Jackson’s death that the pop star was a “lowlife” and a “pervert” not only offended many Americans, it served no useful purpose. An online poll conducted by HCD Research, using the MediaCurves.com Web site, found that 60 percent of participants felt that King went too far and that 57 percent didn’t agree with his statements.
Otherwise, King’s blunt-instrument analysis fell far short of insight into the truly tragic dimension of Jackson’s life. Like the face Jackson tried to fashion around some ideal image, his search for that lost part of himself found expression in his Neverland Ranch.
For a man whose musical genius was unconstrained by gravity, Jackson’s personal search bordered on the banal. Peter Pan?
The lost boy in Jackson seemed to grow younger with age. And though interviews through the years suggested that he understood what ailed him, he wasn’t able to approach a grown-up remedy. Perhaps having all the money you could ever dream of — and the worship of millions — meant not ever having to grow up. But a man who isn’t an adult is doomed to pain — and Jackson’s was excruciating to witness.
Rather than receive the therapy he so desperately needed, he projected his needs onto real children and apparently sought to repair himself through them. His sometimes odd relationships with children — including his defense of sleeping with little boys — will always be a postscript on any appraisals of his immense talent.
Whether Jackson’s good works — not just his artistry but his charity — outweighed his peculiarities will be measured elsewhere. Meanwhile, his life — more than his death – is a wake-up call, but not about prescription drug abuse.
Whatever killed Michael Jackson was merely an instrument of self-destruction. The real disease was his own racked soul that pivoted between a drive to push himself to preternatural levels and an almost fetal recoil from the demands of adoration.
The message I suspect even Jackson would hope we get is that children need a childhood, not fame. They need two loving parents, not material things.
Jackson’s life is a testament to genius, yes, but also to a culture best characterized by misplaced priorities. The loss of innocence and our obsession with fame and celebrity are the real plagues, for which drug abuse and other pathologies are but symptoms.
By all accounts, Jackson was painfully empathic toward children’s suffering and, apparently, sought his own relief in their company. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of peers. Millions of lost boys and girls are wandering in the neverland of instant gratification unbuffered by responsible adults. Most won’t meet such dramatic ends. Few can afford to indulge their inner child for long or to subsidize the extreme expressions that Jackson underwrote.
But the afflictions of loneliness and delayed maturity born of inadequate nurturing are the same for many. Until we cure those, prescription drug abuse is the least of our problems.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post
Mary Louise Parker: Prude or Pin-up?
Mary-Louise Parker in a “Weeds” promo pic.
Whoa — can one get celebrity news-induced whiplash? If so, Mary-Louise Parker, who stars as a pot-peddling suburban mom on the Showtime series “Weeds,” may force me to strap on a neck brace.
Back in May, Parker told MORE magazine she regretted filming a nude scene for her Showtime series “Weeds”:
“I didn’t think I needed to be naked. I fought with the director about it, and now I am bitter. I knew it was going to be on the Internet: ‘Mary Louise shows off her big nipples.’ I wish I hadn’t done that. I was goaded into it.”
Yet Parker seems to have had no compunction about posing as a near-naked baker (NSFW pix) in the latest issue of Esquire and, in fact, showing off her big nipples.
Parker has a long history of posing, and writing, for the magazine, too. She’s just launched a video series in which she reads bedtime stories clad in bra and panties and, in March, she shared her enthusiasm for having sex in public:
Public and even semipublic sex will get you a burst of cortisol and a particular delicious anxiety. If you can’t stomach the thought of a light felony charge or possible public stoning, consider the hallway…
Listen, I’m all for going starkers, but make up your mind, Mary-Louise. Either you’re a prim prude or an exhibitionist (and if I have that bod at 44, I might consider some naked baking myself), but you can’t be both.
Liz Kelly, Washington Post
Full article and photo: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/celebritology/2009/07/mary_louise_parker_prude_or_pi.html
Obama artist admits to 3 Boston vandalism charges
Artist Shepard Fairey stands at Boston Municipal Court Friday, July 10, 2009, during a status hearing in connection with 13 vandalism charges around Boston. Fairey, 38, who created the “Hope” poster of President Barack Obama was arrested by Boston police in February when he was in the city for an event kicking off his exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
The artist who created the “Hope” poster of President Barack Obama was sentenced to two years of probation Friday after pleading guilty to three vandalism charges. Prosecutors dropped 11 other charges.
Shepard Fairey pleaded guilty in Boston Municipal Court to one charge of defacing property and two charges of wanton destruction of property under $250, all misdemeanors.
The 39-year-old Los Angeles street artist, who became famous for plastering his posters and stickers throughout cities, must pay $2,000 to a graffiti removal organization and cannot possess tagging materials – such as stickers or paste – in Boston except for authorized art installations. He also must tell officials when he plans to visit Suffolk County, where Boston is located.
“I think that people should be responsible about sharing their art, and that’s not a transition or an evolution of my philosophy,” Fairey said outside court. “Fortunately, I’m at a place in my career where I can get sanctioned spaces, so it’s not an issue that I’ll ever have to worry about again.”
Fairey was arrested in February when he was in Boston for an event kicking off a solo exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The arrest came three days after he failed to appear in court on a charge of placing a poster on a Boston electrical box in September 2000.
In the plea deal, Fairey admitted to the 2000 incident and two others this past January: placing a sticker on the back of a traffic sign and affixing a poster to a private condominium building.
He faces no further vandalism charges in Suffolk County. Prosecutors dropped 14 charges last month, saying they could not prove Fairey had placed stickers on properties in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.
“I share my art and it works virally. People make printouts from the Internet and people buy my stickers online,” he said. “There was absolutely no way for the city of Boston to assert that Obama posters put up when I wasn’t even in town were done by me, which is ridiculous.”
Assistant District Attorney Josh Wall said prosecutors aren’t responsible for judging the artistic merits of street artists when they break the law to display their work.
Fairey intends to return to Boston on July 31 to attend a party at the museum for his exhibit, which ends next month.
In a separate case, Fairey and The Associated Press have sued each other over the “Hope” poster, which Fairey’s lawyers acknowledge was derived from a photo taken for the AP.
The AP has said his uncredited and uncompensated use of the image violates copyright laws. Fairey says he didn’t violate copyright law because he dramatically changed the image.
Full article and photo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/10/AR2009071001737.html