Mafia on the Waterfront: "So Foul It is Hard to Believe"

Following is an episode of a1950s radio news program called "The Nation's Nightmare," which spotlights the Mafia's then-growing infiltration of the New York and New Jersey waterfronts.

Narrated by veteran correspondent Bill Downs, one of the so-called (Edward R.) Morrow's Boys, he sounds the alarm about "the greatest concentration of Mafia power in the world."

And he does it using that tinny, clipped 1950s tone called Transatlantic speech, a specific speaking style taught to broadcasters in the mass media's early days in an attempt to offset America's thousands of rich regional dialects.

Albert Anastasia, "Socks" Lanza, and just about every mobster of notoriety in the 1950s is mentioned in the broadcast, which also describes everything from the dockworker "shakeup" in the mornings to how various mobsters came to dominate certain sections of the ports, as well as related unions.

This particular episode aired when the media first intensified coverage of the colorful but murderous criminals that controlled the New York-New Jersey waterfront.

Included are sound bites from Joseph P. Ryan, onetime corrupt leader of the International Longshoremen's Association, as well as Edward Florio, Hoboken bootlegger-turned-union organizer, and even the widow of a murdered hiring boss.

 From the website of Neil G. Clark, author of Dock Boss: Eddie McGrath and the West Side Waterfront, now available for preorder.


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