THE GANGSTER CHRONICLES (TV series)

2/21-5/8/1981. 3 hour opener, 1 hour episodes. 10 episodes.
NBC. Universal.
Docu-drama.
Code: GC 2/1981

EPISODES

PHOTO (coming soon)

SERIES PLOT

Drama of the Mafia from the inside, showing the gangsters' relationships with each other and their families in New York during Prohibition. Fact-based docu-drama about Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegal, Al Capone.

REGULAR CAST

Michael Nouri as Charlie Luciano
Joe Penny as Benny Siegel
Brian Benben as Michael Lasker
Madeleine Stowe as Ruth Lasker
Chad Redding as Joy Osler
Kathleen Lloyd as Stella Siegel
Markie Post as Chris Brennan
Richard Castellano as Joe Masseria
Louis Giambalvo as Al Capone
Jonathan Banks as Dutch Schultz, Bronx beer baron. Listed 13th of 13 regulars.
Robert Davi as Vito Genovese

BAD GUY

Gangster.

CHARACTER

Dutch is amoral, aggressive, egocentric, and power-hungry. Smart but unsophisicated. Drinks, yells a lot, crazy, dangerous, unpredictable. Has regular doctor to fix scars. He frequents whorehouses, and accuses one woman of stealing his wallet, manhandles her, and pushes her head into a fish tank. Dutch’s relationship with Chris Brennan is highlighted in the series. Initially she rejects him, later she returns to make a deal with him. He pays for plastic surgery to fix her scars from a beating, and they eventually live together. There are two romantic scenes with Chris; first, she kisses him as a thank-you, later, a mutual kiss in their apartment. At their apartment he proposes starting a family. Good bits of business include as scene where he is licking and sucking a cigar in the Cotton Club, and a scene where he pulls his shirt off shoulder to show a recent scar.

COMMENTS

Information based on parts of the series only, so information is incomplete.

COSTUME

Period look including one scene where his hair is greased back with a center part. Mostly he’s in suits, or shirts and slacks, often with tie loosened. There is one outfit with a spotted bow tie and straw boater, and another with a fedora and long trench coat. He also wears a big gaudy ring, and of course, a shoulder holster.

CRITICS

"A ripoff of The Godfather... character development sacrificed almost completely for flashy incidents, especially shoot-outs." John J. O’Connor, NewYork Times, 2/22/1981, p.29.

"It isn’t The Godfather. One could even make a fair argument that it isn’t even The Untouchables. But The Gangster Chronicles will hold your interest and, based on tonight’s entry, appears to have the capacity to get better." James Brown, Los Angeles Times, 2/21/1981, sec.II, p.3

Also reviewed in Variety, 2/18/1981.

LINES

"Eat the fish!"

"You been sleeping with a lot of fancy guys. How'd you like to try a real man?"

"What's all this talk--shooting, killing? Who needs it?"

"I'm no fink. I may be a lot of things, drunk, a little crazy, but I'm no fink."

"And then to have had it (getting killed) come from a woman. I'd've died laughing."

"Thanks for everything, Doc, except the bill."

"Nobody does it to Dutch Schultz."

(About starting a family) "I done everything else natural there is to do."

WORKED WITH

Robert Davi (RAG 9/1980; WG 9/1987, episodes 42-46)
Kathleen Lloyd (HSBS 4/1983)