"If you have a lot of what people want and can't get, then y
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 05/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"LUCKY LUCIANO: Chairman of the Mob" is an A&E "Mobsters" episode that combines vintage photos and film clips with modern reenactments to tell the story of this most ambitious and violent criminal.
Salvatore Lucania (aka Lucky Luciano) was born in Sicily in Nov. 1897. His family emgrated to NYC when Sal was still a child. The small-time hood came of age during Prohibition.
After an association with Arnold Rothstein (fixer of the 1919 World Series), Lucky, who got the name from surviving a near-fatal attack, branched out on his own. His vision for the future and careful networking with other gang leaders led to the partitioning of New York into five mob families and the ultimate organization of the first Mafia Commission. Luciano was thus instrumental in the birth of organized crime in Amerca.
His downfall was a racket Lucky wasn't overly involved in: prostitution. NY special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey relentlessly pursued the elusive Luciano until a convicting witness was found. Dewey then had Luciano arrested at an Arkansas spa and extradited back to New York; his trial resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.
This term was cut short after Lucky's willing assistance against German dock infiltration in WWII. Now-Governor Dewey signed release papers but also made certain that Luciano was deported to Italy, a place he hadn't seen since early childhood.
In later years, Lucky ran a hugely profitable heroin importing operation that was based in both Italy and a Cuban location. He was never allowed to enter the U.S. again, and died at age 64 of a massive coronary while waiting for someone at the Naples airport. Only after death could Sal Lucania touch American soil, and then just to be buried in it.
BIOGRAPHY: BUGSY SIEGEL - Gambling on the Mob tells a story that intertwines with Charlie Luciano's."