Mysteries at the Museum, Part II

It was great to see the show. Lou has been written about many, many times over the years in non-fiction books on confidence games, famous criminals, criminal psychology and the like. He’s even made an appearance in several works of fiction, always the slimy, obese mobster. But never on the screen, big or small. So, cool.

In a nutshell, the 10-minute segment describes how Lou and his gang made lots of money bilking Denver tourists with a fake stock exchange (just as they did with fake betting parlors, as seen in The Sting), and how District Attorney Van Cise bugged Lou’s office as part of his investigation. This was 1922, making it one of the earlier examples of electronic bugging. Cutting edge stuff.

And now, by my right as one of the world’s two living experts on the Blongers, I will pick some nits. This is the fun part.

1) Pronunciation. Come on, folks. The proper pronunciation of the name Blonger is spelled out phonetically on our homepage, and we even have a page dedicated to the subject. In short, it rhymes with “conjure”. Not “longer”. Not “wronger”. It’s French; that “g” sounds like a “j” (or “zh”, if you want to get picky)

2) No way in hell would the fastidious Philip Van Cise show up for work with several days stubble on his face.

3) At one point, Van Cise is shown with a tape recorder, apparently reviewing the recordings. Sorry. Magnetic tape recorders didn’t exist in 1922, and wouldn’t see widespread use for at least a couple more decades.

4) The show seems to suggest that Lou and his crew created the Big Store con in the 1920s, when in fact the concept was in widespread use by that time. That said, the Blonger gang may have made better use of it than anyone before or since.

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