While Washington continues to focus on gun control this week, Gangster Squad, the Warner Bros. crime film over the weekend attracted flocks of (mostly young) moviegoers glued to their seats as the screen showed explosions, machine guns, smashed cars and general violence --- as a screenwriter viewed things in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, notes Grumpy Editor.
Despite the screen notice that the film was “inspired by a true story,” that’s not the way it was in the City of the Angels at that time.
The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce must be grumbling over the extraordinary amount of mayhem depicted in the story, fictionalized by Will Beal’s screenplay from the book by Paul Lieberman.
The cast includes Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Sean Penn in a script that focuses on six Los Angeles Police Department officers recruited to be as ruthless as mobster Mickey Cohen (played by Penn).
A veteran newsman, who worked in the LAPD press room in City Hall, recalls no such continuous violent action at that time.
Police reporters from the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Mirror, Herald-Express, Los Angeles Examiner and Los Angeles Daily News were busy feeding tips to city desks regarding traffic accidents, robberies, burglaries and such --- when they weren’t playing cards. Certainly a machine gun-riddled LAPD patrol car and shootouts around the city, as seen in the film, would have made front pages.
Those were the days when newspaper competition was keen, with up to six deadlines a day.
Cohen, who mingled with Hollywood stars, died peacefully in his Los Angeles home on July 29, 1976.
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Gun control reports continue with front page coverage this week boosted by Vice President Joe Biden’s recommendations to President Barack Obama tomorrow.
Focus will be on background checks of gun buyers, restrictions on high-capacity clips and other measures.
A popular phrase with news anchors last week on NBC, ABC and CBS television networks was “gun violence.”
What none covered, however, was what to do about criminals possessing illegal weapons and not obeying laws.
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