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Alias Soapy Smith

The Sting.

Lou's gang serves as one inspiration for this 1973 film


Scott found an interesting article, 1982, about the con depicted in The Sting. It seems that once the movie was a hit, David Ward, who wrote the screenplay, was sued by David Maurer, author of the book The Big Con. It seems Mr. Maurer believed the movie was based on his description of the wire con, and that he should be entitled to his fair share of the movie's profits.

Ward countered that the claim was absurd. He had, in fact done his homework, reading several books on the subject, including Fighting the Underworld, Philip Van Cise's book on the Blonger gang and the arrest thereof.

(In the movie, one can barely hear Kid Twist ask, as he banters with another con man waiting to volunteer for the upcoming con, if he remembers the day back in Denver...)

For our part, we've found a few newspaper articles on the subject of long cons as well, some pre-dating any of the books.

While Ward's point was hard to argue, the studio hedged its bet and settled the suit for $350,000.

Here's Harold Gould as Kid Twist

Kid Twist

And here's the Blonger gang's Painter Kid, William Sturns.

The Painter Kid

I'm just sayin'. The Kid was widely suspected of being disgruntled over his cut, and subsequently ratting out the gang to DA Van Cise.



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