Saturday, February 20, 2010

John Dillinger escaped Lima, and so did I


Discounts Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all other sites selling books.
Retailers may order at INGRAM Book Distributors
ISBN  978-0-615-37758-2 (use this number at any bookstore to purchase)
Published by Studio "D" Publishing company

The Lima News will not review my book?

The Cinema 1 theater was in the Town Square shown in the left end.
It was formerly the Sigma. (1972).

My mother and sister live in Lima, Ohio where I was paroled from Michigan. I had been transferred to Marquette Prison in the Upper Peninsula because of all my legal complaints to the court in Jackson. This also halted my appeal pleadings. When you file legal papers in Marquette, they go into the waste basket. I was paroled to Ohio and I had to take a bus through Illinois and not go through Michigan because they didn't want me to "harass the prosecutor!"

I worked at the R.G. Dunn Cigar factory, and later at a sheet metal company, where the metal cut through my gloves and cut my hands every night on the sheets of steel. I later worked at the Ford plant but was laid off before I got in the ninety day period to join the union. Then I got a job in Ottawa at the Sylvania Picture Tube Company. I was a material handler, lifting picture tubes and putting them on the inspection line. One day I was working in the salvage department and a 25" tube imploded. They are a vacuum tubes and explode from the inside out. I had a large gash cut in my hand.

I had been told I couldn't own a business while on parole. Well, I am an entrepreneur, (always have been, always will be). I opened and operated two adult bookstores. The Playboy Magazine Shop on Elm Street and the Satan Bookstore, two blocks away in the city square. The Reverend Cannon said it had a proper name. Although I used fictitious business names for the businesses, I was soon found out by my parole officer. I was arrested and held in the County Jail, while they tried to prove I had violated my parole. The Lima County Jail is where gangster, John Dillinger broke out of, after carving a look-alike gun from a bar of soap. The parole officers wanted me to go back to prison. The city didn't like the "adult" bookstores, even though at that time, they were just nudist magazines and girlie books. Pornography hadn't started hitting the stores at that time.

I started filing legal papers from the jail too, because of the dirty mattresses, no pillows and a host of other health violations. One day I was leaving the regular cell block to go to the day room, another enclosed area, and I had forgotten my eye glasses and went back into the cell to get them. The guard closed the cell door, locking me inside. I thought, what the hell, I will just stay in and sleep all day. But, when the guards had a shift change, new guards came in. And when they noticed I wasn't in the day room cell, they were yelling out my name. I told then I had been locked in the back cell all day. Then a guard took me out and downstairs to a padded cell. He threw me into the wall and slapped me around and kept asking me how I got back into the other cell? The dumb ass. I guess he thought I could walk through bars and walls. So, I included him in my Federal lawsuit complaint too. He was a big bruiser, over six feet tall and around 260 pounds. A real jerk.

I wanted to file in the Federal District court in Toledo, but the Sheriff wouldn't allow me to have the papers notarized. I wrote to the court, through another inmate, and he "ordered" the Sheriff to have my complaints notarized. Well, he did and then told the parole officers that he didn't care where I went, just to get me out of his jail! So, I ended up being paroled to Michigan. Jackson didn't want me anymore because of the litigation I had filed against them. And my brother-in-law supervised the two bookstores, that were doing quite well. I was told, a few months later by another inmate, Eddy the hat, (yes that was what they called him), who had been incarcerated there, said that after I left, new mattresses were put in the cells, pillows and everything else that I had complained about to the Federal Court.

I was given a couple of weeks to get things together for the transfer and I called a local sign company and had the Satan Bookstore sign made up and was able to see it lit up, during a snow storm, before I left for Michigan.

I stayed with my Grandfather, Grover Spivey, and kept in touch with the bookstores. I had inventory sheets printed up before I left and the employees had to do a weekly inventory and send it to me. Then I learned that the snitch in Flint, who had wormed his way into studio D, was still working for the Prosecutor and was bragging that he was going to get me sent back to prison. I advised my parole officer and he got the message to Lansing, Michigan, to the Parole Board headquarters and they "immediately took me off parole," knowing I would return to Lima and to my businesses there. They didn't see any reason why I couldn't own a business, even adult bookstores. So, I was off parole and returned to Lima.

Right away the Lima police wanted to arrest me. They thought I was still on parole. Then I made plans to open a theater, located in the town square, that had been closed for over ten years. It had been a Warner Bros. theater and when they closed it, they stripped it. There was no equipment, no seats, screen, projectors, doors, carpeting, just two restrooms, as good as new. It all had to be built up from scratch. I contacted Earl Berry in Flint, who was then general manager of the Flint Butterfield Theaters. He said there were some seats left in the Regent theater in Flint, that I could have for $1 each. There was around 235 seats. The theater had been closed for a couple of years and there had been severe water damage and the walls were collapsing. So, I had Uncle Charles rent three U-haul trucks and hired some help to truck them to Lima. The seats were self rising seats and after painting the iron bases and cleaning the leather, they looked good enough for use.

I opened the theater under duress. I had run out of money. I had bought two 35mm projectors from a person who had them in their basement running 35mm film. I think I bought them both for a ridiculously low $1,000. New, those would have been over $40,000 each. The largest expense was the marquee. It looked great. Before I opened the theater, there were hardly any cars parked in the square at night. After I opened, all the spaces were taken as well as the side streets being filled. I also rented the Ritz theater in Tiffin, Ohio. It too had been closed and it was a nice little theatre. Not too little, it had a balcony. And all the equipment was there, projectors, screen concession stand, everything.

In addition, I opened another bookstore in Flint, called Danny's Newsstand across the street from General Motor's Fisher Body Plant. I named it after Danny Mullins, another guy who was in jail in Lima, who was A.W.O.L. from the Army, and whom I liked. I had been out of prison just a few months and had more now than I had before I went in.

I soon moved to Flint and lived at the Voyager Inn, later to become a Holiday Inn. I closed Danny's newsstand and I opened the Playboy Shoppe next to the College Inn Bar on Detroit Street. It was a stripper bar. I learned from Danny's, that factory workers seldom took money with them to work. Most carried lunch boxes with sandwiches, so they couldn't afford to buy adult magazines. I had thought it would be a gold mine. The College Inn, being a strip bar, made my bookstore profitable too. Guys would stop in and buy magazines after they left the bar.

I also met a few celebrities while living at the Holiday Inn. A lot of actors do Summer Theater when their television shows are on hiatus. I met Ed Asner, when everyone was calling him Ed Asher. He was starring on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I was into horse back riding and would go a couple of times a week. When Ed was there in a play, "BORN YESTERDAY," (in the Broderick Crawford role), I took those actors along with me to the riding stables. Ed's daughter wanted to go too. She said she had ridden before, but she was a little runt and we had to put her on a pony. At that time, I was also spinning records at the College Inn for the strippers. They had been dancing to the Juke-box and I put in a turntable and played music for them to dance to. It was the biggest season, Sye, the owner, ever had. They had to hire extra help. When the girls danced o the Juke-box, a lot of the customers would leave after the music stopped. But, when I played the records, it kept them there. The place was packed night after night.

Karen Valentine was playing the Judy Holliday role, with Ed Asner. I invited them to stop by after their show. Ed came to the side door, peeked in and waved at me, but didn't come inside.

When Lucy Arnaz (Lucille Ball's daughter), was doing "CABARET," and when she came back to the hotel after the show, the hotel kitchen was closed. And she started making a scene and said, "I don't care if it is closed, I'm hungry." So, the manager of the hotel went into the kitchen and fixed her something to eat. One of her male co-stars stopped by the bookstore the next day and said she was a real spoiled brat. And I agreed.

There was a beautiful girl doing "ARSENIC AND OLD LACE," with William Shatner and Peter Lupas (Mission Impossible). Joy Garrett was the beautiful girl who was also in the play. She later had a role on a TV soap opera. Her boy friend was Gary Sandy from "WKRP in Cincinnati." He told me his favorite actor, was Elvis Presley! (Gary is much more handsome in person, than on TV). Gary went to the Capitol theater to see "Dillinger." I went there later and sat with him and as we left the theater I introduced him to Earl Berry. Earl wasn't too impressed with the Summer theater because it was mainly television actors and no real movie actors in the plays.

I told Gary I had some stag films with Linda Lovelace and he said he would like to borrow them, along with my projector. He wanted to watch them with Joy, in her room. I hit on him and that was a mistake. I thought that by him asking for the films, that it was a hint he was horny. He said he never fooled around. I went to see Joy later and was outside the hotel room when I heard them arguing, mostly about me and with her not telling him I was gay. It seems Gary had a TV role that he gave up to play in "FORTUNE AND MEN'S EYES," which Sal Mineo had produced off Broadway. The show flopped and Gary lost a good TV job. Sal was gay and I guess Gary hated all gays from there on.

The next day when Joy checked out of the hotel, she was wearing sunglasses. Gary had hit her and blackened her eye. I felt like killing him. I had also loaned him a paperback of a James Dean biography written by Bill Bast, who had been a roommate of Jimmy Dean. Gary took the book with him when he left and said he would mail it back. He didn't.

Sylvia Sidney played one of the old maids in the play. Sylvia had been a big star in the forties and she had a passion for bulldogs. She had all kinds of jewelry with bulldogs dangling on them. She told me she had to wear contact lenses with regular prescription glasses because her eyesight was so bad. She was charming but she didn't like the music the actors from the previous show, were playing on the restaurant's Juke-box and kept yelling for them to turn it down. They told her to shut up and continued to play it.

Peter Lupas was so bad in the role that Boris Karloff had played on the screen and on the New York stage, that they had wanted to replace him. He was a vitamin pill addict and took over 70 vitamin pills a day. Peter was never a very good actor and that is why he had so few lines to say on "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE." They finally gave him a pair of shoes, that were built-up, to make him walk with a limp, and it seemed to improve his performance. I had even rented a 16mm film of ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, to run for the cast in the basement of the hotel. But, Lupas didn't want to watch it. Joy Garrett died a few years ago, at a very early age. She was on a soap opera and I had phoned her when I was living in Hollywood. We had planned to get together one day for lunch. And the last I heard of Gary Sandy, he was touring with ARSENIC AND OLD LACE. Naturally he had seen the play and was able to duplicate the roles.

FOLLIES was also a good show with a large cast. One of Hollywood's sexiest woman was in it, Lynn Bari. She had been married three times and once to Sid Luft, who later married Judy Garland. But, now she had a lesbian lover with her and they looked very happy together. Lynn died a few years ago in California. Her and Bobbie Gentry, were two of Hollywood's sexiest women.

Selma Diamond was also in the show. I made her a fruit basket and had so much fruit left over, that I made a second one. She was thrilled to death. She said she was on a diet and would be eating in her room. But, one night I ordered eight pizzas for the cast and when they were delivered to the hotel Selma said. "Well, there goes my diet," and we split a pizza. Selma had been a regular on the JACK PAAR TONIGHT SHOW and I really liked her. She kept saying, "You know I don't have much money." She thought I was friendly with her because she was rich. And when I returned to Hollywood, a few years later, she had a part in a television series called "Night Court." But, she was soon hospitalized with lung cancer and passed away. I had always wanted to see her again and knew of a restaurant she often frequented in Westwood, called SHIPS. But I never got around to going there to see if I could see her.

Gene Barry (Bat Masterson) and his wife were also in a play, but I've forgotten the name of it. They had dinner at Cromer's restaurant and I picked up their check.

They were very friendly and I took them into the bookstore, after hours, so they could see the porno magazines. Porn had become legal by that time. Gene watched the quarter movie machines where Linda Lovelace was doing it with a dog. I opened the machine and showed him how to flip the switch without having to put quarters in. He watched the whole film twice, while his wife perused the magazines.
(Gene died 2009)

( Meeting Dennis Hopper


At 12:34 PM , Blogger Dan B (no, not Bennett, think harder) said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:12 AM , Blogger Bill Dakota said...

The Lima News will not review my book? The book has many Lima stories. But, that is their choice, I guess. Unless people see this blog, they won't know the book exists. The small blurb they posted is good for one day then people forget it. Brunner News Agency sells the book as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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