This month marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece, The Godfather
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Saddle River NJ, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece, The Godfather.
One-time NJ con artist and Genovese associate, Thomas Giacomaro, will never forget seeing the film for the first time as a teen and being spellbound.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen,” he recalls. “The Cadillacs, the suitcases filled with money, the guys beaten up by the docks, the guns, the corrupt union bosses…”
He’d already seen it all in real life.
Author of the memoir, The King of Con: How a Smooth-Talking Jersey Boy Made and Lost Billions, Baffled the FBI, Eluded the Mob, and Lived to Tell the Crooked Tale, Giacomaro delivered suitcases of cash to the “Irish Godfather” Whitey Bulger and union leader Jimmy Hoffa as a gopher for the mob-laden trucking company, Maislin Transport.
“But I still didn’t have a full understanding of organized crime until I saw the movie. I was thrilled by the danger and riveted by the power.”
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Twenty-five years later, Giacomaro had a rare, riveting meeting with one of mafia’s last real Capo di Tutti Capi—“the boss of all bosses”–Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, boss of the Genovese crime family and head of all five New York crime families. It was a few months before the mob boss was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy.
He needed The Chin’s approval before diving into the garbage business, so the two met where mob guys gather. “I made my way down a dark staircase to the basement of Angelo’s of Mulberry Street in Little Italy,” he recalls, “we met in the bathroom, we did the mob-guy hug, then we stepped into a little office down the hall.”
The meeting only lasted a few minutes, they didn’t even sit down for the sit-down. “You go ahead and do this thing and good luck,” Gigante told him, in his famous whisper. “You got my blessing to go forward with the garbage deal.” Which Giacomaro did…taking the garbage industry by storm. The rest is scandalous history.
In honor of The Godfather’s anniversary, the film’s been restored and re-released worldwide. If you go, Giacomaro has classic cinematic advice: Leave the gun, take the cannoli.