Lucky Luciano - Early Life

This video clip combines rare historic film footage and vintage photos, together with reenactments and dramatizations, to tell the story of a gangster so dominant that he made TIME magazine's top-100 list of the 20th century's most influential people.

Lucky Luciano was born in Sicily where his father worked in a sulfur mine.  When Lucky - whose real name was Salvatore Lucania - came to America with his family, he was nine years old.  Before long, he - like other young boys who lived on the Lower East Side of New York City - spent time on the streets. 

Salvatore changed his name to Charlie and began to hang out with people like Meyer Lansky (born Maier Suchowljansky in Grodno, Poland).  Both boys were "mentored" by Arnold Rothstein.

When Charlie was 18, he was arrested for delivering heroin.  His parents were mortified at their son's behavior and, thereafter, his father had little to do with him.

Prohibition, a time in America when activities like bootlegging flourished despite the law, turned out to be a gift for gangsters.  Charlie Luciano - whose exploits are dramatized in the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" - reportedly made his "first million" as a direct result of bootlegging illegal alcohol.  He followed his own philosophy:

If you have a lot of what people want and can't get, then you can supply the demand and shovel in the dough.

Luciano began to envision a criminal organization which functioned like a corporation - with himself at the top.  His Sicilian ancestry, coupled with his connections to other ethnic-based gangs, soon positioned him to make his move. 

To actualize his dream, however, Charlie Luciano would have to betray some of the men who had previously helped him.

See, also:

Lucky Luciano - Gang Member

Media Credits

Clip from "Lucky Luciano:  Chairman of the Mob," a 1987 production from A&E Home Video.  Online, courtesy A&E and YouTube.  Copyright, A&E, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes.


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"Lucky Luciano - Early Life" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 10, 2019.
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