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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Sunday Magazine: A Trilogy of True Crime Adventures

“Turned into a Tigress by Her Borgia Blood”
“How a Criminal Acrobat Makes a Living Out of His Genuine Broken Neck”
“How a Little Dog Avenged the Murder of His Master”

Back when newspapers were still a big deal, the Sunday paper was really something special. A good metropolitan Sunday newspaper was huge, with plenty of special sections and thick with advertising.  One popular feature was the Sunday Magazine, where readers would discover feature length human interest articles, and true crime was a staple of those pages.

So today, I’m giving you three stories. The first is about an opera singer whose genetic past gave her a strange predilection for torture. Following that, you’ll hear about a former circus performer who became a grifter when a near-fatal injury gave him the ability to fake a broken neck. And finally, the tale of a whip-smart mongrel dog who helped solve a murder.

Music by Chuck Wiggins





little dog