Almost before the gunsmoke from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre cleared, Chicago police had a suspect: Jack McGurn. They just couldn't find him. McGurn, whose real name was Vincent Gebardi, was Al Capone's chief assassin, a baby-faced Sicilian immigrant and professional killer of professional killers. But two weeks after the murders, police found McGurn and his paramour, Louise May Rolfe, holed up downtown at the Stevens Hotel. Both claimed they were in bed on the morning of the famous shootings, a titillating alibi that grabbed the public's attention and never let go.
Jeffrey Gusfield, a native Chicagoan, has researched the history of Jack McGurn, Louise Rolfe, and the Capone years for more than four decades. Meet Jeffrey Gusfield and hear stories from his new book, Deadly Valentines: The Story of Capone’s Henchman “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn and Louise Rolfe, His Blonde Alibi on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 pm at Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street. The Book Table will have copies of Deadly Valentines available for sale and signing. The event is free and open to the public.
Deadly Valentines tells one of the most outrageous stories of the Capone era, a twin biography of a couple who defined the extremes and excesses of the Prohibition era in America. McGurn was a prizefighter, a professional-level golfer, and the ultimate urban predator and hit man who put the iron in Al Capone’s muscle. Rolfe, a beautiful blonde dancer and libertine, was the epitome of fashion, rebellion, and wild abandon in the new jazz subculture. They were the prototypes for 80 years of gangster literature and cinema, representing a time that has never lost its allure. Every newspaper in the country followed their ongoing story; Hollywood copied their hipster speech. They were an unforgettable duo who grabbed headlines and defined the exciting gangland world of 1920s Chicago.
Find more events happening at Oak Park Public Library at http://oppl.org/events/calendar .