Aaaaaaaaahh!….the good old days!
How many times have you heard that statement mentioned?
About how many decades ago all the Families were so much better off. How the Families were more secure, more cohesive and united, and how positions were more stable: Boss, Underboss, Captains, Soldiers…. even Associates!
That they had solid positions and established rackets that provided great incomes!…… literally making millionaires out of legions of street toughs.
So many young street guys thought to themselves…..
Yeah, it may be a bit dangerous, but if I play it smart and savvy, with my balls and brains …….. I’ll be fine!
How the crews worked liked well-oiled machines, not like today where there’s so much havoc. Skippers and button guys getting pinched and “rolling over” every two minutes.
How there was more “structure”, organization, and how everything in general just worked better!
How Omertà was sacred and adhered to! Crews bosses kept positions for decades! Guys all got along or sat-down and worked it out!
Rarely did a guy get hit if he followed the rules! There was a lot more rackets and money to be made! Nobody got out of line for fear of getting “clipped”!
…… and so on, and so on!
How you’d move up into solid position and be “buffered” from danger and protected because now you were a made “button guy”!…. and “insider”!
Lol…..not quite!…………. I’m calling bullshit!
Because if we take a bit closer look and really evaluate things, and not blatantly except mob history at face value, and not just gloss over the status quo, maybe reading about one or two mob guys lives, but step back and look at the whole mosaic, we begin to see that “mob life”, at any time in history that we choose to review, reveals to us that generally speaking, it sucked!
And “rarely” was “The Life” actually cracked up to be what people (mob guys and lay persons alike) portrayed or imagined it to be!
Lots of guys drank the “Kool-aid”….. believing all those tall-tales “hook, line and sinker”!
Many a generation went down the tubes that way!
Below is a quick chart I put together of the hierarchy for the Five Families and their basic chronology from 1931 through the present day. The stability (or more like the instability) of various top “positions” – the three man hierarchies!
Side Note: I did not feel it important to list every single acting boss, interim leader, underboss, captain, acting capo, etc…. that would have been an impossible task, and not needed to make my point. But if you think about some of the other guys over the decades not listed, it becomes even more apparent and obvious.
At any point in mob history, there were/are very few “happy endings”. Most mob “careers” in any era, ended quite badly!
• Giuseppe Masseria – killed 1931.
• Charlie Luciano – ruled 1931-1936, jailed 1936 to 1946, then deported.
• Frank Costello – ruled 1946 to 1957. Shot in 1957, retired, died in bed – 83 years old.*
• Vito Genovese – underboss for 30 years, on the lam in Italy for years, ruled 1957 to 1959, jailed 1959 to 1969. Died in jail in 1969.
• Antonio Strollo – disappeared in 1962/ presumed killed.
• Thomas Eboli – interim leader for several years, machine-gunned and killed in 1972.
• Frank Tieri – convicted and sentenced to 10 years, died before being sent away to die.
• Vincent Gigante – served 7 years on narcotics in 1959. Lived like a hermit for the rest of his life, and died in jail serving an additional 14-year sentence.
• Anthony Salerno – sentenced to 100 yrs in jail in 1985, died in prison.
• Barney Bellomo – did a lot of time, and he’s not done.
• James Ida – sentenced to life in prison during the 1980s.
• Artie Nigro – life in prison.
• Matty Ianniello – did a lot of time (approximately 25 years of his life in jail).
• Bobby Manna – life in prison.
• Gaetano Reina – killed 1930-31.
• Gaetano Gagliano – ruled 1931 to 1953 – died in bed.*
• Gaetano Lucchese – ruled 1953 to 1967 – died in bed.*
• Carmine Tramunti – served several jail sentences earlier in his career, died in jail while serving a 15-year sentence.
• Andimo Pappadio – ruled as an interim leader for several years – killed in 1974.
• Anthony Corallo – served several small jail terms early in his career – ruled 1974 to 1985 – 100 years – died in jail.
• Salvatore Santora – served 20 years in 1959, then sentenced to 100 years in 1985 – died in jail.
• Christopher Furnari – served 35 years in jail earlier – then 100 years – released to die.
• Paul Vario – served approximately 35 yrs in his life – died in jail.
• Buddy Luongo – killed.
• Vic Amuso- served several years early in his career – ruled 4 to 5 years – life in jail.
• Anthony Casso – ruled for several years – rat – serving life in jail.
• Alphonse D’Arco – served two 6-year jail terms early in his career, turned rat after hierarchy wanted to kill him.
• Joseph Defede – turned rat after arrest.
• Anthony Accetturo – served several small jail sentences early in his career – later turned rat.
• Louie Daidone – served several small jail terms early in his career – currently serving life in prison.
• Steve Crea – in big trouble, recently convicted, facing mandatory life in jail.
• Matty Madonna – in big trouble, recently convicted, facing mandatory life in jail.
• Joey Di Napoli – in big trouble, recently convicted, facing mandatory life in jail.
• Joe Profaci – ruled for 30 years – died in bed.*
• Joe Magliocco – ruled as underboss for 30 years – deposed – died in bed.*
• Joe Colombo – 7-year run – shot (crippled and incapacitated) – died after living years in a coma.
• Thomas DiBella – served as an interim boss for several years – jail – retired.
• Carmine Persico – has served a total of 50 years in prison – died in jail.
• John Franzese – has served a total of 40 years in prison- currently out on parole.
• Alphonse Persico – served 25 years for murder early in his career – life imprisonment – died in jail.
• Alphonse Persico, Jr. (Little Allie Boy) – served 12 years early in his career – then five years – currently serving life in prison.
• Victor Orena – life in prison.
• Pasquale Amato – died while serving life in prison.
• Billy Cutolo, Sr. – killed.
• Joe Scopo – killed.
• Carmine Sessa – rat.
Note: certain guys are interim leaders of the two war factions.
• Salvatore Maranzano – 6-month run at the top – killed in 1931.
• Joe Bonanno – 30+ year run – deposed.*
• Gaspare DiGregorio – 1-year run (?) – retired.
• Paul Sciacca – 1-year run – retired.
• Frank Mari – 1-year run – killed.
• Natale Evola – served 10 years in 1959, 2-year run – dead.
• Philip Rastelli – served over approximately 30 years of his life in jail, 10-year run at the top – died in jail.
• Carmine Galante – served several short prison terms early in his career, then 20 years in jail in 1959 – 4 to 5 year-run at the top – killed.
• Joe Massino – 10-year run – life in prison – turned rat.
• Salvatore Vitale – rat.
• Lou Tartaglione – rat.
• Anthony Urso – Long bit!….. will probably die in jail.
• Vincent Mangano – 20-year run – killed 1951.
• Frank Scalice – short run – killed.
• Albert Anastasia – 6-year run – killed 1957.
• Carlo Gambino – 18-year run – died in bed.*
• Paul Castellano – 10-year run – killed.
• John Gotti – 5 year-run – life in prison – died in jail.
• Sam Gravano – Rat – still did 20 plus years in jail.
• Peter Gotti – short run – currently serving life in prison.
• John Gotti, Jr. – short run – served several prison sentences – (suspected informant)? – retired.
And remember, these are the “BOSSES”, and their top guys! The “creme de la creme”!
……. the picture doesn’t get any rosier at the lower rungs on the ladder.
In fact, it becomes worse because the “rank and file” had to take orders and follow them blindly, regardless if they were logical orders or stupid and nonsensical, subjecting the soldier or associate (or captain for that matter), to life and death situations off the whim of some asshole boss who maybe didn’t like the soldier for some reason and wanted to put him through the ringer!
Or wanted to sweat a guy over a personal gripe or jealousy! …… or was just, basically, an “ignorant” uneducated guy with very poor judgement who thought he was a genius! Lol,
It happened more than many realize and often made for bad blood and very poor “working conditions”, so to speak, for life in the Mafia!
* For my money, Gagliano, Lucchese, Costello and Gambino (especially), and Profaci fared the best….. all died in bed with their shoes off! Multi-millionaires!
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