In 1910, Dan Blanco and his Rathskellerians made headlines with a pastiche of Italian opera called “King of the Mafia.” This musical treat gained popularity at White City amusement park. The sketch opened with these bold lines:
I am the king of the Mafia,
When I get mad I get daffia;
I sink a stiletto right into your back,
If I don’t I’m a son of a gun.
For decades, Club Alabam founder Dan Blanco would maintain friendly relations with Chicago’s gangsters, skirting Chicago’s vice laws before, during, and after Prohibition. Rubbing shoulders with the criminal element went with the territory and gunplay (if not stilettos) sometimes ended in violent death.
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The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.