Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Me and My Shadow, Bugsy




Allen Smiley aka "Smiley The Russian"
1947

.First of all, and last of all, Allen Smiley was Bugsy Siegel’s friend. In a sense, he was Bugsy’s shadow. When you saw one, you usually saw the other The hitman that shot Bugsy Siegel saw them together too…
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Bugsy and Smiley were both seated on the same couch when the Slugger blasted Bugsy to smithereens..Smiley dove down on the floor, and he ended up with three bullet holes in his jacket sleeve
but none of them in him.

Bugsy had died , but his legend was alive and well in the person of Allen Smiley.

Fast Forward 30 years
I walked into the La Cierniga Bridge Club on Pico blvd with my shylock partner Puggy Zeichick..The place was a haven for big time Jewish bookies and gamblers. Even a few hoodlums were allowed in the joint. That would be us.

But on this particular day we are meeting Danny Wilson aka James Iannone. Danny was a made guy back when Pikes Peak was just a pebble. He was sitting at a table with a guy playing gin.


Like a goo-goo-eyed-groupie, Puggy says to me, ” Anthony , look, look, do you see the guy with Danny Wilson? That’s Al Smiley, Al was there with Bugsy Siegel when he got whacked” .

I already knew that about Al. I had heard it many times before Like the time I was in Schwab’s drug store on Sunset boulevard with my cousin Mario the actor. Smiley was sitting in a booth talking to the owner Leon Schwab

After Smiley left, Leon Schwab sees us and rushes over to the counter where we are sitting and says, ” Mario , did you see that guy I was talking to.”?. I stop Leon, I say, “ I bet you one of your famous coffee shakes that I know what you’re about to say.” Bingo, the boy won a shake.


Al Smiley wasn’t a gangster, or mobster, those labels are stamped on tough guys. His persona was more polished than rough. It made him a fabulous front man for the Mob. So “Organized Crime Figure” fits him better.



Al knew many of the Mob’s General’s . He was well connected with Mafia , maven, Frank Costello. He steered suckers with big bankrolls to Costello’s illegal gambling parlors for a percentage of their losses.

He was a first class felon.. On his rap sheet his repertoire of rackets included Ponzie schemes and trafficking in narcotics.

I knew Al, but not that well . He was old when I met him. His star had long since fallen, and mine was on the rise. He was always a big gambler and sometimes he went bust.


Although one day I ran into Al at the track when he was flush with cash . I knew he had just made a score with a scam artist associate of mine named Jack Fine.

Jack could sell holy water to a Vampire. They both probably sold some sucker the Brooklyn Bridge. That was the last time I saw Al .




Al Smiley died broke,but he ended his criminal career on a high note when he beat a racketeering beef with Mob boss, Dominic Brooklier and Capo, Pete Milano… .


Smiley lived in Bugsy’s shadow, but the shadow belonged to Al’s best friend.




By Anthony Fiato