By Matt Goldstein
In HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, season 2 certainly didn’t disappoint in the air of drama, but how do we know the real characters are being portrayed on the screen accurately. From murder and corruption, bootlegging and drug dealing, the historical characters driving the backdrop of the series such as Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, Al Capone, Meyer Lansky and Waxey Gordon certainly leave a lot of speculation with business deals and gangland politics.
Did Meyer Lansky & Lucky Luciano Break Mafia Rules and Deal Heroin?
Absolutely. In fact, it was so profitable that Lansky and Luciano began shying away from alcohol towards the end of prohibition. Because of heroin, Lansky and Luciano went on to become the richest gangsters in the history of the world and most of that money was because of heroin. Drugs’ being against mob rules is merely a myth. Most mafia families shied away from drugs simply because it brought to much heat and marginalized political connections.
No. The real life Jimmy Boyd was just a small time political operative for Nucky Johnson and Boyd never went to Princeton, never served in WWI and never had anything to do with bootlegging. The name Jimmy seems to be the only thing they had in common. Jimmy Boyd lived and worked in politics until 1974 while Boardwalk Empire’s Jimmy Darmody only lived until what seems to be about 1922.
Was Nucky Thompson a cold blooded killer?
Although Boardwalk Empire portrays Nucky Thompson a murderer, executioner and conspirator, there are no actual links to the real life Nucky Johnson killing anyone. While Nucky did business with Capone, Lansky, Rothstein, Luciano and an array of other mobsters, Nucky Johnson might have actually controlled his criminal power in a political fashion.
Who knows, but they certainly should have. You can’t ever go wrong with a Jew lawyer, they’re very effective.
Did the Commodore Really Conspire against Nucky Thompson?
No. Commodore actually embraced Nucky as the boss of the city when he returned from prison rather than conspire against him. The real life Commodore Khuenle didn’t father any children and died of natural causes in 1934.
Did Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano operate under the protection of Arnold Rothstein?
Absolutely. Not only did Rothstein protect the two prodigies, Arnold Rothstein gave Lansky and Luciano the gangland connections they needed to take over the entire country, including a business relationship with Nucky.