The Showgirl and the Con Man


A reading from America’s historic newspapers in the golden age of yellow journalism.

The Complicated Romance of Fannie Brice and Notorious Nicky Arnstein

In this episode, we’ll take a little break from murder and mayhem for a love story with a different kind of mayhem. The world of Broadway was quite aghast when Fannie Brice, a star of the Ziegfield Follies, took up with New York gambler Julius Wilford Arnstein, better known as Nicky. Their story was adapted into the musical “Funny Girl.”

The first act is a Sunday magazine article that was published while Nicky was serving time in the Leavenworth prison, and act two is a telling of the conclusion of the romance by Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s star reporter Alice Cogan.

Musical direction by Dave Sams


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The Lincoln Tomb Raiders


A reading from the pioneers of True Crime

Captain Tyrrell’s Stories of the Secret Service

In this episode, we turn again to the writing of Captain Patrick D. Tyrrell, a former investigator for the Secret Service who set down many of his adventures in a syndicated newspaper feature that ran in 1905. This is an exciting story about two related investigations. After Tyrrell and his men track down some of the Midwest’s most notorious counterfeiters, they stumble onto a plot to steal the corpse of Abraham Lincoln by some of the scoundrels in an attempt to have one of their star engravers released from prison. In the first act, we’ll hear about how Captain Tyrrell broke the counterfeiting ring, and in the second act, how a pair of Pinkerton detectives botched the sting at the Lincoln Memorial in Springfield, Illinois.

Musical direction by Dave Sams


A Lover in the Attic


A reading from historic newspapers in the golden age of yellow journalism.

The Murder of Fred Oesterreich

This episode is probably one of the most bizarre murder cases on record, about a woman who kept a secret lover for 18 years — in her attic. You know that’s not going to end well.

Not too much more to say about it as the story speaks for itself.

Musical direction by Dave Sams


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The White Slavery Suicide Pact


A reading of America’s historic newspapers from the golden age of yellow journalism.

Murder in the Marberry Resort

In this episode, we get an unusual glimpse into the world inside a bordello at the turn of the previous century, when a young prostitute reneges on a suicide pact with another, and allegedly kills a third girl to keep her secret safe.

One of the things I like about this story is the outrage and indignation expressed by the newspaper editors that seems both quaint and relative to many of today’s social issues.

Musical direction by Dave Sams


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Revenge of the Anarchists


A special edition of Yesterday’s News with stories of the criminal justice system at its most extreme: Inflicting the death penalty.

The Chicago Haymarket Riot of 1886

I scheduled this episode over two months ago, and when I started recording it earlier this week, reading about the escalation of tension and the tragic consequences, I couldn’t help but think of the awful tragedy in Dallas recently and the assassination of five police officers there.

How history repeats itself.

Only the details change.

There’s a lot of crime in this story, so I’ve broken it into two episodes, Crime and Punishment.

In Crime, we’ll hear about the mounting labor troubles and the shooting of two strikers by Chicago police, and the judgement exacted on the seven anarchists who sought their revenge by setting off a bomb that killed seven police officers the following day.

Part Two: Punishment, we’ll hear reports on the resolution of the case, which includes four executions, but not before the anarchists manage to set off another bomb.

In the jail.

For real.

Musical direction by Dave Sams


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