Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I don't often bring it up with the "Two For Tuesday" edition of the "As Seen On TV" showcase, but usually one of those portrayals has to be from an alternate TV dimension... sometimes even both.

But this week, both televersions in the showcase can be considered for the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time.


'Boardwalk Empire'

Frank Crudele


"Young Indiana Jones And The Mystery Of The Blues"

Ray Serra

From Wikipedia & BlogPost:
The kingpin of Chicago's flesh trade, Big Jim Colosimo owned one of the most popular nightclubs in Chicago and most of the brothels with his partner and wife Victoria Moresco. He fell victim to the same vice he pedaled: lust. He fell for a young dancer, divorced his wife and made his empire suddenly vulnerable to take over.

Prohibition came into effect, making all manufacture, purchase, or sale of alcoholic beverages illegal. Johnny Torrio immediately realized the immense profits bootlegging could bring and urged Colosimo to enter the business. Colosimo refused; he was happy being just a pimp. In addition, Colosimo felt that expansion into other rackets would only draw more attention from the police and rival gangs. During this same period, Colosimo divorced Victoria, Torrio's aunt, and married Dale Winter, a pretty young actress and singer. Winter convinced Colosimo to settle down, dress more conservatively, and stay out of the news.

At this point, Torrio realized that Colosimo was a serious impediment to the mob's potential fortunes. With the approval of Colosimo's allies, the Genna brothers and Aiello, Torrio invited Yale to come to Chicago and kill Colosimo.

In May 1920, Colosimo went out of town to marry his second wife, Dale Winter (he had deserted his first wife). After Colosimo returned to Chicago a week later, Torrio called him and let him know about a shipment arriving at his cafe. When Colosimo appeared at the cafe to wait for its delivery, he was shot and killed.

The murder took place on May 11, 1920, in the main foyer of Colosimo's Cafe. No one was ever prosecuted. Torrio took over the deceased Colosimo's vast criminal kingdom and started to venture into bootlegging.

The initial murder suspect was his new wife Dale, but no one was ever arrested for the murder. It was widely believed that Torrio ordered Colosimo's killing so that the gang could enter the lucrative bootlegging business.

At first, it doesn't look like these two versions of Big Jim Colosimo can be reconciled. The actors look somewhat alike, so that helps. But Colosimo is dressed differently and his murder is played out under different circumstances: according to 'Boardwalk Empire', Big Jim opens up the restaurant and is apparently alone in the place (which looks more ornate and authentic as a restaurant in 'Boardwalk Empire' than in the Indiana Jones tele-flick). But apparently the restaurant is bustling and young Indy Jones is there as a witness.

Normally this would be irreconcilable, but the first version broadcast, from the 'Young Indiana Jones Chronicles', gives us an out - it's a flashback. What we're seeing is a memory of Indiana Jones from thirty years later. After three decades, he was pretty hazy on the details.

(This splainin would then work for all of the episodes of 'YIJC'. And those splainins would be even stronger as they would be the memories of a man in his 90s!)

Dr. Jones could be excused for not remembering hwo Colosimo was dressed or how his body lay after the hit. As for being present when the actual murder looked to take place in an empty restaurant, we can assume that Indiana Jones was present in that 'Boardwalk Empire' episode; it's just that he and the rest of the wait staff were with the kitchen help back in the kitchen. As to him thinking the place was already open for business, the general sense of panic probably influenced his memories.

So even with all of the discrepancies between the two versions, both portrayals of Big Jim Colosimo can exist in the same Toobworld.



Sean V Cleary said...

Very cool!!! Frankly, I'm just happy to see Young Indiana Jones being mentioned. An under appreciated series....

Well done, Sir Tube.

Thom Holbrook said...

Actually had less of a problem with the differences between the shows than you did. In terms of the restaurant, given what we were shown of it in Boardwalk Empire I actually just took it for granted this was an additional hall for the place, likely upstairs. Given that in the next episode when Al Capone is shown tending bar at what I assume to be the same place stairs are shown, I assume in the murder scene Colosimo is in a large upstairs hall not generally used for the day traffic of the restaurant but usually rented out for special occassions or called into service on busy nights.

Coming off of that, you mention there being more people there in Indy Jones. Yes, but just staff. In both cases the restaurant was closed. If Colissimo was in fact upstairs relaxing in the big hall and the kitchen and such is all on the first floor, that would account for the lack of people in obvious view.

The main differences to me would possibly be in time and, yes, in where the murder took place in the restaurant. In Indy Jones the time is clearly early morning just before opening. Given the cross cutting in Boardwalk Empire to a middle of the night hijacking and it, I think, being shown to be dark outside the windows, it would seem the murder on that show was set a bit more late night closer to after closing than just before opening. But I'd even give them that. Say it happened just around dawn, Indy favoring post dawn, Empire the pre. The crosscutting just cheating the time. Heck they do that on The Amazing Race and that's real.

Leaves the location of the killing. Indy has it at the front door, Empire in a secluded dining area. You dismiss the difference as Indy mis-remembering. Only thing is... he's right. Real world, Colissimo was shot in the back of the head (both got that right) at the front door to his restaurant. So, really, Boardwalk Empire is the one that needs some splainin'. The show does place fast and loose with the facts. Knucky in real life looked more like James Gandolfini than Steve Buscemi but as they already DID a Tony Soprano looking Jersy gangster, they wanted a different look and take.

Also, Indy thought Al Capone did the killing but, clearly, he was in the Atlantic City area that night killing a whole different bunch of guys."