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Red Fortunato’s Starlight Club in Queens is back, still teeming with mobsters and their “business” each night. Trenchie, Tarzan and Moose have returned. The Genovese family and others hang out amidst the grandeur of Red’s renovated baby – the Grand Ballroom.
Columbia Pictures studio head, Larry Bernstein, is being blackmailed. “He knew that once any money had been exchanged, that this would not prevent any future demands. These people were nuts and nuts meant dangerous. There was no one in Hollywood he could trust. This was a gossip columnist’s dream scoop” that could ruin the studio. Big Red eagerly offers assistance, on his terms, with a caveat – a piece of Hollywood, and Swifty, the son he never had, is his ticket in the boxing ring and in glamour city.
“Red was what some in the neighborhood called a ‘benevolent dictator.’ His neighbors loved him and his enemies knew he was the boss of a crime family that numbered a thousand men or more. It was just a given that no crime would take place in Red’s territory. The outcome was a reprisal called ‘the wrath of the Red Head’.” Too bad no one told the power hungry Detroit capo. He violated the “rules.”
The phone was reminiscent of the red phone that led right to the White House. The council’s decision would stand. “The chief tapped the fingers of both hands twice. That was the signal” to Red that it was okay to proceed with justice – mob style. “The car moved slowly ahead until it reached a huge yellow machine. It was the car crusher. Reilly and his men instantly knew their fate. There were whimpers from inside the car, grown men pleading, pleading for their lives, begging for mercy.”