Costume Inspiration: Gangsters and Their Vixens
Volney Davis & Edna “rabbits” Murray were the Bonnie & Clyde of the 1930’s. Davis’s career began in the 1920’s by robbing a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Davis killed a nightwatchman and was eventually caught. He served 7 years and applied for 20 month leave of absence which was granted. How crazy the penitentiary system granted such a stupid thing. Davis never returned to prison and instead lived on the run. The dou met in the early 1930’s and went on rampage for 5 years. They did it all but kidnapping would be would send them both to prison. Davis would spend a large amount of prison years at Alcatraz. Edna became an informant for the government and was able to knock her sentence down to less than 6 years.
Lester Joseph Gillis started his crime career at the age of 13. Gilis would gain his nickname Baby Face Nelson from his first gang in his teens. He was 14 at the time but the members said he looked more like he was 6. In his early years his offenses were non-violent offenses such as car theft, armed robbery and bootlegging. By the age of 20 he gained his thirst for blood, killing his first FBI agent. Nelson was a family man who married his wife Helen when he was 20 and had two children. Nelson was on the run with his family for many years, exposing his children to several hideout raids.
Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow career as a gun totting couple was extremely short. Barely two years. Which on could describe their lives as well. The duo were both barely 25 when their reign of terror came to an end. Parker was an “A” student growing up but she met the wrong boy at the age of 16 and entered into her first marriage with crime. Clyde also began his crime career at the age of 16. By the age of 20 he killed his first human being, a fellow inmate while being incarcerated attacked him and Barrow killed him. Parker and Barrow began their 2 year spree in 1932 and would meet their end in the Louisiana woods driving down the road. Yes, the movie is pretty accurate with a shower of bullets raining on their car.
What do all these bandits have in common, his name is John Dillinger. he is one of the prolific gangsters of the 20’s and 30’s for his ability to discovering and grooming the new modern gangster. At young age he was known to be the school bully and found a life of crime in his late teens. John’s father attempted to steer him away from a life of crime by moving the family away from the big city and into the country. That attempt failed and Dillinger found his first gang and brush with the law. He enlisted in the Navy to avoid incarceration. He became a deserter just a few months into his tour. Dillinger craft his ability to mentor gangsters while in jail from 1924-1930. His father was his champion for freedom many times over, he was paroled in 1930 thanks to his father’s petition which was signed by 188 people. After his release his he would create several gang’s most notably his namesake and the Terror Gang. All of the above were at one time affiliated with Dillinger. Ultimately Dillinger was caught and gunned down by FBI agents while watching a movie.
Of coarse there are many more gangster from these two decades like Capone, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein & Meyer Lansky. All of these greats are listed in the costume idea list that I have posted online. Be sure to snatch your gangster or doll today!