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Casino - Real Life as a Movie Script

Casino - Real Life as a Movie Script

“Casino” is another blockbuster movie about gangsters directed by Martin Scorsese and based on real life events. The screenplay is based on the book with same name written by Nicholas Pileggi. This movie is very similar in many senses to the “Good Fellas” movie made by Martin Scorsese few years before, and again the story of this movie is nearly 100% true. Movie says that story is “adapted from a true story”, however, the amount of real life details is outstanding.

The movie tells us about Tangiers casino in Las Vegas and mafia skimming operations around it. In real life everything happened in Stardust casino in Las Vegas. As a matter of fact, it was happening in 4 casinos: Stardust, Fremont, Marina and Hacienda.

The Chicago Outfit had control over the Stardust through the Recrion Corporation before 1976. They had experienced many problems by this time due to numerous investigations about skimming operations in casinos, Recrion Corporation stock manipulations and who knows what else. Basically, The Outfit had got too much attention from state and government officials. They were at risk of losing license to operate Stardust casino.

Allen R. Glick

(Movie character Philip Green performed by actor Kevin Pollak)

Allan R. Glick (left) and Kevin Pollak (right)

Allan R. Glick (left) and Kevin Pollak (right)

Allen R. Glick was the President and Chairman of the Board of Argent Corporation which owned Hacienda hotel. The name Argent came from the three initials of his name, combined with the first three letters of the word “Enterprises”).

Allen R. Glick graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and the Western Reserve University Law School with a Juris Doctorate Degree. He was a member of the California and Pennsylvania State Bar Associations. Allen R. Glick spent 11 months in Vietnam where he was an advisor to the Vietnamese Combat Command. He was awarded The Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Medal of Honor, and the Vietnamese Service Medal and was honorably discharged as Captain.

Allen R. Glick (just turned 32 at that time) knew that the owners of the Stardust have being told to get out or lose their license. He didn’t have the money to buy it, so he just spread the word all over Las Vegas that he wanted to buy the Stardust casino.

One day, Allen got a phone call from Del Coleman, the largest stockholder in the Recrion Corporation and was introduced to the many wise guys. Soon Allen R. Glick had enough money to buy the Recrion Corporation along with all of its assets including the giant Stardust Hotel. Nearly $140 million was raised to allow him to purchase the Recrion Corp (Tangiers Corporation in the movie).

Very soon Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal was appointed as casino manager to the Stardust The Stardust Resort & Casino.

Frank Lawrence “Lefty” Rosenthal

(Movie character Sam “Ace” Rothstein performed by actor Robert De Niro)
(June 12, 1929 – October 13, 2008)

Frank Rosenthal (left) and Robert De Niro (right)

Frank Rosenthal (left) and Robert De Niro (right)

Frank Lawrence “Lefty” Rosenthal was a professional sports bettor. By 1961 (32 years old) Rosenthal had acquired a national reputation as a sports bettor, oddsmaker and handicapper and was frequently seen in the company of Chicago Outfit members Jackie Cerone and Fiore Buccieri.

Despite his frequent arrests for illegal gambling and bookmaking, Rosenthal was convicted only once, pleading no contest in 1963, for allegedly bribing New York University player Ray Paprocky to shave points for a college basketball game in North Carolina.

Frank Rosenthal at a witness table

Frank Rosenthal at a witness table before the Senate Investigations Subcommittee, in Washington during a 1961 probe of organized gambling.

Franks role in Las Vegas was to manage day-to-day casinos operations and ensure steady skimming operations for Chicago Outfit members and he accomplished this role with great success. The Stardust was a gold mine to the Chicago Outfit, the skim being absolutely fabulous. When it was taken over by the reputable Boyd family, they were surprised by its huge profits, with every penny of income recorded. When exposed by the FBI, this skimming operation was the largest ever exposed. A number of organized crime figures were convicted as a result of the skimming.

Rosenthal is also credited with creating the first Race & Sportsbook (Parlor) in Las Vegas. Despite resistance from the traditional casino bosses, who believed exclusively in terms of table games, Rosenthal had spent decades in and around the sports world to know that it could be the motherlode of casino betting. He created a space-age theater-like Race and Sportsbook at the Stardust Hotel & Casino that was copied by every casino on the strip.

Another Rosenthal innovation was to allow female blackjack dealers, which in one year doubled the Stardust’s income.

The Frank Rosenthal Show

The Frank Rosenthal Show

In the 1970’s, Frank Rosenthal hosted a top-rated television variety show direct from the world famous Stardust Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every show was nothing short of spectacular as Frank was joined by a galaxy of Las Vegas brightest stars, TV and Hollywood celebrities, sports champions and handicappers.

The Frank Rosenthal Show

On October 4, 1982, an attempt was made on his life by placing a bomb underneath his car. While the bombing attempt failed to kill him, it did bring government and media attention to Frank’s activities. The government quickly gathered sufficient evidence on him to tie him to organized crime, and with that information, the Nevada Gaming Commission ordered Rosenthal to remain out of casinos for the rest of his life.

Frank Rosenthal Car After Explosion

Frank Rosenthal Car After Explosion

After his eviction from Las Vegas Frank Rosenthal was running a website where he shared his life experiences and betting tricks. This site is still available at frankrosenthal.com.

Once, Rosenthal explained to the Miami Herald what it takes to be a better gambler: “No secrets to a winning formula,” he said. “It takes years, perhaps more to establish a rigid form of self discipline. You must also be prepared to accept a lifestyle that requires an aspect of personal sacrifice, and bumpy roads along the way.”

While Lefty Rosenthal was running the Stardust Hotel, Anthony Spilotro (Joe Pesci) was taking care of any other problems that might arise.

Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro

(Movie character Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro performed by actor Joe Pesci)
(May 19, 1938 – June 14, 1986)

Anthony Spilotro (left) and Joe Pesci (right)

Anthony Spilotro (left) and Joe Pesci (right)

Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro was an Italian-American mobster and enforcer for the Chicago Outfit in Las Vegas during the 1970s and 1980s. His job was to protect and oversee the Outfit’s illegal casino profits (the “skim”). He was nicknamed “Tony the Ant” or “Tough Tony”.

Anthony Spilotro Mug Shot

Anthony Spilotro Mug Shot

By the time of his death in 1986, the FBI suspected Spilotro responsible of at least 22 murders. Spilotro was indicted for his role in the murders of Bill McCarthy and James Miraglia, popularized in the press as the “M&M Murders.” McCarthy and Miraglia were two young robbers who had robbed and shot two businessmen and a woman in the mobster-populated neighborhood of Elmwood Park, near Chicago. Both had been beaten badly and had their throats slit. From McCarthy’s injuries, it seems his head was placed in a vise, popping out his eye, presumably to persuade him to disclose the whereabouts of Miraglia. After this Spilotro became a “made man” in 1963 and was assigned to a large bookmaking operation.

Tony Spilotro Street Walk in Chicago after Court

Bookmaker Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal was first linked to Spilotro in 1962, when Spilotro pleaded guilty to attempted bribery of a New York University basketball player in a game against West Virginia University. Since than, Spilotro had became a marked man to local law enforcement.

In 1971, Spilotro succeeded Marshall Caifano as the Mob’s representative in Las Vegas and Spilotro reunited with his boyhood friend Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, who ran four Outfit-backed casinos.

On his own, Spilotro (under the alias Tony Stuart) took over the gift shop at the Circus-Circus Hotel, a “family” hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel offered first-class entertainment for children, while their parents gambled in the casino. In 1976, Spilotro opened The Gold Rush, Ltd. which located one block from the Las Vegas Strip. It was a combination of jewelry store and electronics factory, where Spilotro, brother John and Blitzstein gained expertise in fencing stolen goods.

When Rosenthal was responsible for the actual management of the casinos, Spilotro’s primary task was to control casino employees and other personnel involved in the skim/embezzlement scheme. Spilotro’s role as enforcer, however, was severely implicated after the Nevada Gaming Commission blacklisted him, in December 1979. That legally prevented Spilotro from being physically present in any Nevada casino.

Eventually, Spilotro’s relationship with Rosenthal had collapsed, as Tony had had an affair with Rosenthal’s wife, Geraldine McGee Rosenthal.

The murders of the Spilotro brothers are now thought to have taken place in DuPage County, Illinois — in Joseph Aiuppa’s hunting lodge, where they were beaten and strangled before being buried in a cornfield alongside Highway 41 in northwest Indiana. Spilotros believed that Michael would be inducted into The Outfit during that meeting.

The Hole in the Wall Gang

(1976-1981)

The Hole in the Wall Gang

The Hole in the Wall Gang

Spilotro, in 1976, formed a burglary ring with his brother Michael and Blitzstein, utilizing about eight associates as burglars. The crew became known as the Hole in the Wall Gang because of its penchant for gaining entry by drilling through the exterior walls and ceilings of the buildings they burglarized.

Following the botched burglary at Bertha’s Household Products on July 4, 1981, Cullotta, Blasko, Guardino, Davino, Neumann, and Matecki were arrested and each charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, attempted grand larceny and possession of burglary tools. They were locked into the Las Vegas police department’s holding cell in downtown Las Vegas.

Frank Cullotta

(Movie character Frankie Marino performed by actor Frank Vincent)
(January 22, 1927)

Frank Cullotta (left) and Frank Vincent (right)

Frank Cullotta (left) and Frank Vincent (right)

Frank Cullotta had turned state’s witness, testifying against Spilotro after unsuccessful assassination on him. However, the testimony was insufficient as it was Frank’s word against Tony’s, and Tony was acquitted.

Spilotro’s boyhood friend, Frank Cullotta, admitted that for many years he’d done “muscle work” on Spilotro’s behalf, including setting up the 1962 “M&M Murders” of James Miraglia and Billy McCarthy.

Cullotta testified before the President’s Commission on Organized Crime, the Florida Governor’s Commission on Organized Crime and appeared at a sentencing hearing for the Chicago mobster Joseph Lombardo.

Cullotta later served as a technical advisor for the movie Casino.

Geraldine “Geri” McGee Rosenthal

(Movie character Ginger McKenna Rothstein performed by actress Sharon Stone)
(May 16, 1936 November 9, 1982)

Geraldine "Geri" Rosenthal (left) and Sharon Stone (right)

Geraldine "Geri" Rosenthal (left) and Sharon Stone (right)

Geraldine “Geri” McGee Rosenthal was Franks Rosenthal wife. Born Geraldine “Geri” McGee, she met Anthony Spilotro, the best friend of Frank Rosenthal, at a gambling convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where she began an affair with him. She made her living as a “chip girl” (a good looking woman who hustled gamblers for a chip or two in exchange for temporary companionship) and as a part time topless dancer and occasional prostitute, hanging around the high rolling gamblers in the casinos, where she would move from gambler to gambler.

Frank and Geri Rosenthal

Frank and Geri Rosenthal

Frank had married Geri and they had two children. To compound Frank’s problems, Geri had become an alcoholic and drug abuser, and was engaging in numerous affairs, including resuming the one with Frank’s best friend Tony Spilotro.

Shortly after Geri’s death, rumors spoke of Frank having her murdered, and he spent up to $50,000 to have an autopsy performed, in which the coroner ruled that she died from an accidental drug overdose of cocaine, valium and whiskey.

Stardust Casino

(July 2, 1958 – March 13, 2007)

Stardust Casino

Stardust Casino

The Stardust Resort & Casino was a casino resort located on 63 acres (25 ha) along the Las Vegas Strip in Winchester, Nevada. The Stardust opened at 12:00 noon on July 2, 1958. The attendees of the opening included governors, senators, city and county officials and Hollywood celebrities. At its March 13, 2007 demolition it was the youngest undamaged high-rise building to ever be demolished.

Stardust Sign has Become a Symbol of Las Vegas

Stardust Sign has Become a Symbol of Las Vegas

At its peak size, the Stardust contained 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) of gambling casino including 73 gaming tables, and 1,950 slot, keno and video poker machines. The conference center was 25,000 sq ft (2,300 m2) and could accommodate meetings and banquets for groups of 25 to 2,000.

Casino Attractions:

  • 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) Convention Center
  • Car rental—onsite
  • Dining — 9 places to choose from
  • Fitness Center
  • Pavilion/Exhibit Center—40,500 square feet (3,760 m2)
  • Race and sports book
  • Shopping
  • Spa
  • Swimming pools
  • Wedding chapel
Stardust Demolition

Stardust Demolition

Documentary

YouTube video about Las Vegas mafia skimming operations

Here is a documentary about Tony Spilotro, which includes many details on Tony and Frank including videos.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

References

“Casino” movie on Wiki
“Casino” movie on IMDB
Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal website
Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal on Wiki
Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro on Wiki
Stardust Resort & Casino on Wiki

1 Comment

One Response

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