The Gilead Sciences legal department took the tour on September 25th.
We were very delighted with Crooks Tour SF. They provided us with tours of Chinatown and the Barbary Coast for our Legal Department's event, which consisted of over 100 employees. The tours were well organized and fit our schedule perfectly. The tour guides were very entertaining and provided an enjoyable experience for all involved.
During our planning stage, Paul Drexler provided us with helpful suggestions and details on possible meeting places and lunch options. During our lunch, Paul also provided us with a more detailed talk on the “crooks” of San Francisco.
We strongly recommend Crooks Tour SF for other corporate meetings and events.
Gilead Sciences, Inc
Since it is playoff season I’d like to talk about Blackie Schwamb, the greatest pitcher in prison history. Born in LA in 1926 Blackie grew up tall (6’5”), hard drinking, and volatile. He joined the navy during WW2 but spent most of his time in the brig for being AWOL.
After the war he worked as an enforcer for mobster Micky Cohen and pitched semipro ball on the side. At scout noticed his raw talent and he was acquired by the St.Louis Browns. In his short major league stint his occasional brilliance was overshadowed by his constant drinking and the Browns let him go.
He drifted back to LA, to small time stick ups and other minor league mayhem until he helped beat a man to death in a holdup gone bad. Sentenced to life in San Quentin he quickly became the ace of the San Quentin Pirates pitching staff. With a 100 mph fastball and a wicked curve he was an overpowering pitcher.
In a 10-year career he compiled a 131-35 record, often against top professional competition. He once pitched a perfect game against a team with 5 major leaguers. He was paroled in 1960 and had a stint with the Hawaiian Islanders, the LA Angels top farm team, but the smoke had left his fastball and his baseball career was over.
Question of the Week
February 14, 2014
Unlike Los Angeles , which has many celebrity murder cases, San Francisco’s cases seem to involve only the relatives of celebrities. Two of the most famous dancers of the early 20th century came from San Francisco. They both had close relatives who committed major crimes in the late 19th Century.
Question 1. Who were these dancers
Question 2. Who were their relatives, and what crimes did they commit?
May 6, 2014
The dancers were Isadora Duncan and Maud Allan.
Isadora Duncan, considered by many to be the mother of modern dance, was an innovative modern dancer, choreographer, and avant grade icon. She was openly bisexual, a communist and the focus of conventional outrage. Even her death was original. As she rode in a convertible her long silk scarf became entangled in the car’s open spoked rear wheel and her neck was broken
Isadora Duncan's banker father, Joseph Duncan embezzled over $100,000 from the Pioneer Land and Loan Bank and other financial institutions. He then went into hiding, hoping to sneak onto a ship bound for Nicaragua. He was captured by legendary detective Isaiah Lees and indicted. After four trials the jury could not agree on a verdict and Duncan was freed. He disappeared later at sea
Born Buleah Maude Durrant in San Francisco, Maud moved to Germany in 1895 to study piano. She changed her name to Maud Allan after her brother Theodore was convicted of murder. She became both famous and notorious for her Dance of the Seven Veils in Salome. She appeared in over 30 films, including San Francisco and Showboat
She was once involved in a famous and bizarre British libel suit in which she was accused of having lesbian affairs with German spies and the wife of former Prime Minister Aquith.
Maud Allan's brother was Theodore Durrant , also known as "The Demon in the Belfry." Durrant, a medical student murdered two young women and hid their bodies in the Emanual Baptist Church on Bartlett Street, where he was a Sunday School supervisor.
This sensational case made headlines worldwide was often called the "Crime of the Century" .
Baby Face FriscoI was excited to discover another famous criminal who can be added to our San Francisco lineup, Baby Face Nelson. Nelson, whose real name was Lester Gilllis, was a famous bank robber and cop killer in the 1930s. He became a member of John Dillinger's gang and became Public Enemy #1 upon Dillenger's death . Nelson died in Barrington, Illinois on November 27, 1934, from wounds suffered in a shoot out in which he killed two FBI agents.
Baby Face and wife lived in San Francisco during the early 1930s. Nelson was a part of Joe Parente’s bootlegging gang in San Francisco where he met his last partner, John Paul Chase (also part of the Barrington shoot out.) While in San Francisco Nelson hung out at the Andrometer, a bar at 155 Columbus Ave (now the Comstock Saloon).
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#1 on the FBI Hit LIst!
Micky Rooney as Baby Face Nelson
Baby Face Nelson as a Baby
At least he was good to his mother