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Messages - SimRob

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Once Upon A Time In America / New book on Once Upon a Time in America
« on: October 07, 2017, 03:26:56 AM »
A new book is being sold on Amazon called 'Classic Series: Once Upon a Time in America' by Chris Wade.

It was published just last month, September 2017. It's 98 pages long. The summary says that the author did cast and crew interviews. It's a self-published work, which is usually not a good sign. I also noticed that the author has been incredibly prolific in the past few years, producing dozens of books on music and films. According to his website, he published 18 books in 2017 and 12 in 2016!

I haven't read it. Has anyone here? I will order it and read when I get a chance..

I've listed some of the references in Once to classic gangster films on my site. Max's psychopathic character obsessed with a glamorous blonde is based on Scarface. Noodles as a small time gangster who doesn't feel comfortable with the big time echoes the main character in Little Caesar. From Public Enemy there is the theme of boyhood friends growing up to become gangsters and also as comments above say, max calling Noodles away from Deborah. More here:

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: January 31, 2015, 05:11:50 AM »
So, is this new cut worth buying?

OUATIA is my favourite film of all time, so on that level I feel obliged to

It is worth getting. The new scenes are great. Their quality is not good, and it's jarring to suddenly see scenes of lower picture quality. I hope in the future the scenes are restored seamlessly, and last I heard, they are trying to do that. But that might take a while and you should see those scenes, particularly as it's your favourite film.

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: August 20, 2012, 06:46:02 AM »
I got the same information from the Palm Springs Walk of Stars people that Chris has already posted here. I think our next step should be to try to find Harry's son Simeon and see what else we can find. I haven't sent a letter to the Palm Springs PO Box. I'll leave that to you Chris since I've just moved to a new country and haven't got much time at the moment! Is it also possible for you to use your expert census-searching abilities to see if you can track him down in case the PO Box is no longer valid? With the info we have on dates, relatives, etc, shouldn't be too hard to find hopefully.

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: August 05, 2012, 01:17:50 AM »
Here's a summary of what I've found out in my fairly random and unsystematic search for the real Harry Grey/Goldberg. I go back to work in a week's time but will try to do a bit more before then.

1. I contacted the Jewish Home in Hawthorn, NY (where Noodles in The Hoods says he was sent after being caught for robbery) to ask if anyone by the name of Harry Goldberg was there in the early 1900s. Unfortuntely they say that their records for that time have been destroyed "in line with our policy."
How stupid is that? Those records would be useful for historians and researchers!
The annual reports of the Jewish Protectory and Aid Society, which is the group who ran the home, are actually available online but they don't list the names of children who were there.

2. A database of crime cases in NY from 1850-1950 ( ) comes up with two trials for a Harry Goldberg, both in 1920. Both are for larceny and the co-accuseds names are Moe Cohen, Louis Meisel, William Goldberg, and Jack Liebensart. This might not be the same Harry Goldberg as wrote the book but it's interesting that these names might be the real names of Noodles, Max, Patsy, and Cockeye! I think details of these cases are available at the CUNY library. Anyone in NY want to check them out? I'm on the other side of the world.

3.  I got in touch with an Arthur Goldvarg who is the husband of Meryl, the grand-daughter of the Harry Goldberg whose obituary appeared in the NY Times in 1982. Their names are listed in the obituary. This is the Harry Goldberg who Chris has done a lot of searching on, finding census forms, and who was born in 1894/5 and who lived at 2531 Beverly Rd in 1940. Arthur tells me that he's checked with the whole family and that Harry did not write any novels. I guess it is still possible that this is the guy - maybe the family just don't know he wrote books, or maybe they are not too pleased to admit that he did. But I think this is pretty clear evidence that this is not the guy we're looking for. Sorry Chris! You did a lot of research on him.

4. Here's perhaps the most important find. The article on Wikipedia for Harry Grey states that he has a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. This is pretty weird in itself - why would Harry Grey be put alongside people like Bob Hope and Elvis? His star was placed on 31 December 1999 (also odd - you'd think people had other things to do on that night). There is no info on the website for the Palm Springs walk but I contacted them and they sent me the blurb that accompanies Grey's star in their book. And interesting reading it makes. It gives his lifespan as 1901-1973 which would make Leone's claim that Grey died just before filming false. It also calls him 'Author/ Producer/ Altruist' and says the following:
"[real name was] Herschel Goldberg, born in Kiev, Russia, who came to the United States at age four with his parents, grew up in New York and spent many years operating a wholesale grocery business at dockside storage facilities where he dealt with unions, longshoremen, food importers and the real folks who ran New York's waterfront in the 1920's and 30's... the mob. Years later, recuperating in Palm Springs from an accident, he began writing about those gangster days and (for his own and his family's protection), used the name Harry Grey. He proved to be a great writer and among the many books he wrote was Portrait of a Mobster, which became a feature film starring Vic Morrow and The Hoods for which he made a deal to produce with the famous director Sergio Leone. Unfortunately, Harry died before completing the screenplay, which eventually turned into the hit movie Once Upon a Time in America..."
I'm going to try to get more info from the Palm Springs people, especially to see if they can put me in touch with whoever sponsored the star.

I think we should look into finding more about of a Harry Goldberg who died in 1973 and was born in or around 1901.
Records for Ellis Island migrants are available online and I found only one entry for a young Herschel Goldberg who was aged 4 when he arrived there in December 1906. He arrived from Russia, along with his parents Joseph and Rachel and siblings Eidel, Aron, and Chona. This sound like it could be the right guy (though it might not be - maybe his family didn't come through Ellis Island).

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: August 01, 2012, 02:43:53 AM »
Great work! That's a whole load of info about Harry Goldberg and if he's the only one who died just before filming then it sounds like he's the right one. There's an obituary for his son Bernard in the Baltimore Sun in August 29 2004. It's definitely the right Bernard since the relatives all connect with those in Harry's obit.

Now we've got to confirm that this Harry is the one who wrote The Hoods. I've managed to find a contact for one of Bernard's children and have asked whether they can confirm if Harry wrote novels. Let's wait and see if I get a reply!.....

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: July 31, 2012, 10:52:09 PM »
I just thought of something. In searching for Harry Goldberg in records of births, deaths, etc we should probably check for HAROLD as well as Harry since it's possible that he could've had that name. In this register ( for example there are 65 Harry Goldbergs born in New York between 1880 and 1909 but there are also 12 Harolds (and also one 'Harri'!)

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: July 31, 2012, 10:43:03 PM »
I did a search on H Goldberg 2531 Beverly Rd and something came up. He placed an advertisement in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in June 1936 looking for a housekeeper ("Girl, white..."):

I don't think this helps in any way in our search but it might be part of the jigsaw. And it's kind of interesting anyway.

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: July 31, 2012, 10:35:52 PM »
There are only 3 recorded deaths of a Harry Goldberg within the boroughs in 1982; 1 in Kings, 1 in New York and 1 in Nassau.

Just wondering, which is the one you've found an obituary and census records for (ie the one married to Rose and with sons Edwin and Bernard)? Is it the one who died in Kings? Maybe one of the other two is our man.

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: The Hoods
« on: July 27, 2012, 07:19:09 PM »
Another way of trying to find out something about the real Harry Grey/ Goldberg is this sentence from 'The Hoods' after the gang of kids have been caught for robbery:
'I was sent to the Jewish Home, Cedar Knolls, up in Hawthorne, New York.'
Grey may have just made this up for the novel but I think it's worth investigating whether it might actually have happened to him.

According to a report in the New York times in 1907, the home was opened that year by the Jewish Protectory and Aid Society.

There's a home for troubled children that is still running in Hawthorne and it's owned and operated by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS):

I'm going to contact the JBFCS and ask if they have records for the home and if so, whether a Harry Goldberg attended there.

In 'The Hoods' it happens around 1917 (it comes just after the chapter when he says that 'President Wilson declared war on Germany'). But not sure if this can be true for Goldberg. If the Harry Goldberg who was born in 1895/6 is our man (the one that Chris has posted census records about), he would be about 22 in 1917 - too old for the home. Maybe he went earlier?

Just want to add my thanks to HG for translating and posting this great interview.
HG, would you mind if I copy and paste it and make a PDF document to put on the Once Upon a Time in America website ( I'll acknowledge you of course - but I only know you as 'HG'! Get in touch to give me your real name if you like.

Once Upon A Time In America / Screenings of the new extended version
« on: July 01, 2012, 11:29:24 PM »
I know there's already a thread on the new version of the film but since that already goes to 30 pages I thought it'd be useful to separate out some of the elements of it. So this is just for information about actual screenings of the new version. As far as I can tell there have been just three screenings of the film:
May 18 and 19 at the Cannes Film Festival
June 22 in Bologna (a public screening in the Piazza Maggiore. according to a posting on Facebook there were 7000 people there!)

It is to be shown at:
Locarno Film Festival in August 2012
France in September 2012

If anyone has any further info on screenings, or corrections to the above dates, please post! (which evidence to support)


Once Upon A Time In America / Allusions
« on: April 04, 2012, 01:40:07 AM »
An allusion is an element in a work that alludes to another piece of art, whether it be a book, painting, music, etc. Once Upon a Time in America contains many such allusions and I've tried to catalogue them on a webpage. Most obviously there are references to Hollywood gangster movies but I also discuss the Song of Songs, Martin Eden by Jack London, and Degas's paintings of dancers. I've had this page going for a while but I've recently greatly expanded the section on gangster movies. The page is here:

Hope you enjoy! If anyone has any other suggestions for the page please discuss here.


She looks great. That photo of her sitting in a chair outdoors is from House of Mirth I'm pretty sure.
I'm currently watching Downton Abbey and whenever she appears I still think 'Deborah'


Once Upon A Time In America / Poster gallery
« on: April 03, 2012, 10:58:54 PM »
I've added some new posters to my gallery of them for 'Once... America'. The new ones include Hungary, Turkey, Yugoslavia, and East Germany.

See here:

Hope you enjoy!

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