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Author Topic: The Hoods  (Read 79741 times)
chris
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« Reply #75 on: August 01, 2012, 10:21:05 AM »

Great find SimRob  Afro

As you say the names match up and I hope you get a reply so that some progress can be made. 


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SimRob
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« Reply #76 on: August 05, 2012, 02:17:50 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 ( http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/ ) 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 http://www.ellisisland.org/ 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).

« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 02:21:28 AM by SimRob » Logged

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« Reply #77 on: August 05, 2012, 04:55:33 AM »



2. A database of crime cases in NY from 1850-1950 ( http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/ ) 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.



Nice work!


Patsy is actually Irish in The Hoods. So his real name wouldn't be any one of those you mention above; though of course, Patsy wouldn't have necessarily been among his co-defendants.

 (I guess that Leone changed it for the movie, and made Patsy a Jew, because he needed to have them all buried in a Jewish cemetery; if Patsy was Irish, he'd have been buried in a Catholic cemetery).

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« Reply #78 on: August 05, 2012, 09:27:47 AM »

Quote
2. A database of crime cases in NY from 1850-1950 ( http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/ ) 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.

here ya go drink, do sometin' useful.

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« Reply #79 on: August 05, 2012, 09:40:34 AM »

here ya go drink, do sometin' useful.

Sorry pal, I don't give much of a damn about who this Harry Grey was. And I'm sure that if he was alive, he wouldn't give a damn about me either. I'm not nearly as fascinated by gangsters as some other people seem to be  Tongue

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chris
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« Reply #80 on: August 07, 2012, 02:58:21 AM »

Great work SimRob.   Afro  


Jack Liebensart is an unusual name and this guy was born in 1899, lived in Brooklyn and applied for U.S. Naturalization in 1945.

It's a pity we can't see more about the cases.  They may reveal addresses and ages.

I've got details of a couple of the Harry Goldbergs who were in Sing Sing between 1910 and 1930, basically just to see what information is available.  Details include ages, addresses, physical description and term of sentence.  Regrettably neither of the ones I have seen were our guy - date of births approx 1880.  There are several Harry Goldbergs for whom I've not obtained details, it's quite expensive, I'm not sure how comprehensive Ron Aron's database is and it's possible that Harry Grey was incarcerated under a different name.

The star on the Palm Spring Walk is at 285 S. Palm Canyon Drive outside Don Vincent's mens store.  The star was dedicated on New Year's Eve 31 Dec 1999 at the end of the millenium.

Possibly the owners of the store have more information. They may get customers who call at the store and ask them about the star and the unusual name Noodles.

http://www.visitpalmsprings.com/overview/play/don-vincent-store-for-men/10338

The passenger list from 1906 has some interesting details.

Joseph stated that his father is David Goldberg from Canal Street which is the right area. There are many Joseph and Rachel Goldbergs living in Manhattan in the 1910 census but none of them have children with names similar to those on the passenger list. The only Herschel is a patient in a hospital in Massachusetts in 1930. There are many Harry Goldbergs with birth and death dates similar to those of the Palm Spring's star.

 

« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 07:13:48 AM by chris » Logged
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« Reply #81 on: August 10, 2012, 02:51:51 AM »

Re surname Goldvarg:
The granddaughter of Harry Goldberg (b.1895), Meryl Goldberg married Arthur L. Goldvarg, a dentist in Owings Mills, Maryland:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Goldvarg-Arthur-L-DDS/167496666595938

Some researchers and authors find that when they interview descendants, they have no idea of the notoriety of their ancestor.  Possibly a photo or description may show something.

It's probable that Herschel and his siblings anglicized their names.  Hershel Danielovitch became Harry Demsky when he immigrated to the US; his son became Kirk Douglas.  I can't find a record of a Herschel Goldberg born about 1901 living in or near to New York during subsequent years.

There are other Herschels in passenger lists and immigration records, e.g.

If someone has gone to the trouble of sponsoring a star on the Palm Springs walk, they are probably happy to share information with others.

 

« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 07:12:35 AM by chris » Logged
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« Reply #82 on: August 10, 2012, 10:43:34 AM »

Are you sure that Herschel Goldberg (born.1895) is Noodles?

No, not at all.  The date of birth and death tie in with Leone's statements but I'd be a bit disappointed if it was him.

Although there are some things which don't ring true with Herschel on the Palm Springs star walk,  the sponsor is well worth pursuing.  He or she may be misguided regarding some of the facts but may hold the key which would unlock this 60 year old mystery.

In the meantime I've been looking at censuses for Sing Sing prison and the Jewish home in Hawthorne.  I have censuses for Sing Sing for 1910, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930 & 1940 and censuses for the Jewish home for 1910, 1915 & 1920.

There is a Harry Goldberg born 1901 in the 1910 census for the Jewish home which looks interesting.

Although on this census the Institution is called Hawthorne school, subsequent censuses show it as the Jewish Protectory and Aid Society, Hawthorne, Mount Pleasant, Westchester.  Ages of inmates range from 9 to 15 years.

 

 

 

« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 07:12:21 AM by chris » Logged
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« Reply #83 on: August 10, 2012, 10:49:56 AM »

Once you've done a lot of research -- and y'all certainly have -- perhaps you should contact Ron Arons http://www.ronarons.com/contact.php with your findings, maybe he can cross-reference your findings with his own records of Sing Sing inmates

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« Reply #84 on: August 10, 2012, 11:17:28 AM »

...grant me this doubt: i think it's strange he entered in Hawthrone in 1910, considering he spent there 18 months and when he came out Prohibion was already begun, no?

Just curious, but: you live in New York to have access to all that rare stuff?

The censuses are not that rare.  Ancestry.com has all these but to access them, a free 14 day subscription or a paid subscription is required.  I live in the U.K. but I'm researching some distant relatives who live in New Jersey so I'm fairly familiar with Ancestry.com and Ancestry.co.uk.  They are quite active with the 'Who do you think you are?' TV series.

Harry Grey made it clear in 'The Hoods' that whilst a lot of the book is based on real life events, he would need to change some details to protect himself and his family from the law and other criminals.  Where there is a discrepancy between 'The Hoods' and Leone's statements, I'll go with Sergio Leone.

 

« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 11:29:57 AM by chris » Logged
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« Reply #85 on: August 11, 2012, 01:52:57 AM »

So Harry Goldberg or his family (under his outspoken request, if he was already dead) lied about his death date (about 10 years)?
We're not talking about a little discrepancy, man! Smiley

I'm not saying that.  During the 1970s, Sergio Leone had several meetings with Harry Grey and he had kept in touch with him sufficiently so that a few weeks before filming began, he was able to phone his home.  At this stage it's very much guesswork but if the sponsorship on the Palm Springs star walk is genuine and was not done tongue in cheek, my guess is that the sponsor is mistaken regarding some of the facts.  I'll have another look at Harry Goldbergs born about 1901 and death dates 1981 to 1982.

 
 

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« Reply #86 on: August 12, 2012, 05:31:00 AM »

It's not about the genuinity of the sponsorship, here we're talking about 10 years of life difference, it's a little more, no? If, as you say, this star results from a serious work and not "tongue in cheek", their man is the right one and yours is not, obviously: we can't have two different men who are the same one, this is clear.

Anyway, i really appreciate your elaborate research, really, but in my opinion we should adhere preferably to what an official source says, instead of Sergio (all my respect).

Some of this discrepancy can be the result of mis-quotes, mis-translations, or even deliberate deception to protect the identity of the author at the time. Instead of him dying right before the filming, he may have died right before the process of developing the screenplay would that coincide with the length of time
Leone had the project in the pipeline?  Just a thought. 

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« Reply #87 on: August 12, 2012, 12:46:58 PM »

...in my opinion we should adhere preferably to what an official source says, instead of Sergio (all my respect).

It's yet to be proven just how 'official' or reliable the information from the star sponsor is.  It's also not about being right or wrong, 'their' man or 'my' man or favoring one person over another.

I have about 40 Harry Goldbergs who may be our guy, including the Palm Springs Herschel, the Harry in the Jewish home and sons of Israel Goldbergs but to progress things further I need more definite information.

 

« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 07:48:11 AM by chris » Logged
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« Reply #88 on: August 15, 2012, 01:52:18 AM »

I've done further searches and there are no records for a Herschel Goldberg, Harry Goldberg or Harry Grey born about 1901 and death 1973.

 
Meanwhile however I think I've found our guy.   Looks very promising.   Further details to follow...


 

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« Reply #89 on: August 16, 2012, 04:02:55 AM »

Did Palm Springs lie?

No. I've received a lot of biographical information from Palm Springs including children and wife details and a date of death which is later than SimRob reported and is closer to the start of filming.


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