Las Vegas

Bugsy Siegel (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 16) by Karina Longworth

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Jewish gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is frequently credited with corrupting Hollywood’s unions and “inventing” Las Vegas. Siegel did have moviestar friends, but the true story of his involvement with the Flamingo casino is also the story of a much bigger movieland player: Hollywood Reporter founder/publisher/columnist Billy Wilkerson.

Bugsy Siegel mugshot, 1928

Bugsy Siegel mugshot, 1928

Virginia Hill, 1940's

Virginia Hill, 1940's


The music used in this episode, with the exception of the intro and outro, was sourced from royalty-free music libraries and licensed music collections. The intro includes a clip from the film Casablanca. The outro song this week is “More” by Madonna.

Excerpts from the following songs were used throughout the episode:

Yellow Leaves 5 - Peter Sandberg
Club Noir 2  - John Allen
One Two Three 5 - Peter Sandberg
Goofy Moments 3 - Magnus Ringblom
The Piano And Me 3 - Peter Sandberg
Kansas City Flashback 2 - Magnus Ringblom
In The Lounge 02 - Lars Olvmyr
City Fashion 3 - Björn Skogsberg 
Eventually Maybe - Oakwood Station

Billy Wilkerson and his Hollywood Reporter staff

Billy Wilkerson and his Hollywood Reporter staff


This episode was written, narrated and produced by Karina Longworth.

Editor: Cameron Drews.

Research and production assistant: Lindsey D. Schoenholtz.

Social media assistant: Brendan Whalen.

Logo design: Teddy Blanks.

The Flamingo, Las Vegas, 1947

The Flamingo, Las Vegas, 1947

Frank Sinatra and Albert Maltz (Breaking the Blacklist, Part 1) by Karina Longworth

Download, listen or find on iTunes.

In the first of two episodes about major stars attempting to end the Blacklist, we’ll look at Frank Sinatra’s efforts to hire Hollywood Ten member Albert Maltz. Timing got in the way of Sinatra’s good intentions: this was the exact moment when Sinatra had become the coolest middle-aged man in America as “chairman of the board” of the newly-formed Vegas act now known as the Rat Pack. It was also the moment when Sinatra thought he was on the verge of acquiring real political power through his proximity to presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

Show notes:

Here is a list of published sources that the entire season draws from:

The Red and the Blacklist: An Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate by Norma Barzman

Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo

Trumbo: A biography of the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist by Bruce Cook

When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics by Donald T. Critchlow

Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten by Edward Dmytryk

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

Hollywood Radical, Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist by Bernard Gordon

I Said Yes to Everything by Lee Grant

Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky

West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60 by Larry Ceplair

Sources specific to this episode:

Sinatra: The Chairman by James Kaplan

Sinatra, From Kennedy Man to Reaganite” by Asawin Seubsaeng, The Daily Beast

FBI Files on Sinatra Detail Links to JFK, Mob Figures” by RONALD J. OSTROW and LISA GETTER, Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1988

Nikita Khrushchev Goes to Hollywood” by Peter Carlson, Smithsonian Magazine, July 2009


This episode was narrated, written and produced by Karina Longworth. Our production and research assistant is Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our editor is Henry Molofsky. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.