"TWO GUN" CROWLEY
This is a True Story
Aug. 2, 1987
Copyright © 1987
Crowley is eighteen years old and hauls boxes at a warehouse. It is
the autumn of 1930 and the country is in deep depression. Francis is
lucky to have a job, but that's not how he feels about it. He's sick
and tired of working all day and he's been doing it since he was nine
is the product of a broken home. As an infant his father abandoned his
mother. His mother then abandoned him to his grandfather who was a New
York City policeman. His grandfather was never happy to have him and
soon abandoned Francis to foster parents. His foster father died when
he was nine years old. That's when Francis was taken out of school and
put to work.
fun is going to the movies and hanging around at dance halls.
particularly likes gangster pictures, the recent rage. He's seen "Little
Caesar" with Edward G. Robinson a half a dozen times.
friend is a big dopey kid named "Fats" Duringer who works
at the warehouse with him. Fats hates working as much as Francis.
likes a girl from his block named Helen Walsh. She is a cute sixteen
year old. Helen really likes Francis, but she won't let him go all the
got it even worse. He's wild about a dance hall hostess named Virginia
Banner who works at the Hotsy Totsy Club. Virginia doesn't like Fats
as Francis' nineteenth birthday nears, he becomes overwhelmed with boredom.
at the Hotsy Totsy Club, Francis and Fats see the famous gangster "Legs"
Diamond. Legs gets into an argument with two men, suddenly pulls out
a pistol and shoots them both. Everyone in the club hits the floor -
except Francis, who sits there staring at the gangster. With the smoking
pistol in his hand, legs looks right at Francis.
matter, kid? Ain't you scared?"
shakes his head. "No."
"Good for you."
in a hurry. Afterward, everyone congratulates Francis on his bold move.
On the day
of his nineteenth birthday Francis skips work. He goes straight to a
pawn shop and looks at the pistols. He purchases a .38 and a shoulder
holster. As he is leaving he suddenly turns back and buys another .38
and another holster.
over to Fats', takes him outside and opens his coat revealing the two
guns. Fats is really impressed. The next day Fats buys a .45. They both
wear their guns out that night. All of a sudden, Francis adopts a tough
guy attitude. Fats follows suit.
and Fats steal a car. Francis drops Fats off and picks Helen up. She
is unduly impressed by the car. He parks at a nearby lover's lane and
shows her his pistols. Helen is stunned.
making out and before he knows it he's got his hands up her shirt and
she's not stopping him. He ventures a hand to her thigh and slides it
slowly up her skirt. Before long she stops him.
looks down at his holstered pistols, then roughly pulls her hand away.
He puts his hand all the way up her skirt.
try to stop him again.
sitting in the car, Francis lights a cigar.
did you start smoking cigars?" asks Helen.
a flashlight beam hits Francis in the face. It's a cop. Francis opens
the door right into him, knocking him down. The cop goes for his gun
and Francis beats him to the draw. He shoots the cop twice. Francis
drives away quickly and is chased by the cop's partner. After a high
speed chase Francis loses him.
drops Helen off that night she tells him that she loves him.
finds out what Francis has done he can't believe it. The newspaper comes
out and confirms it. Fats believes.
and Fats drive out of town and rob a gas station. They get two hundred
they go to the Hotsy Totsy and have a swell time - however, the dance
hostess, Virginia, still can't stand Fats. Francis looks at Fats and
give her to you."
club closes, Francis and Fats wait for Virginia in the alley. Francis
puts a gun to her head and Fats grabs her. They take her to their hide-out
- a shabby tenement apartment - and tie Virginia to the bed, gag her
and strip her naked. Francis leaves Fats to it.
returns several hours later he finds Fats sitting in the living room
in his underwear. He is dazed and has his .45 in his lap.
said she'd tell the cops."
looks into the bedroom and sees that Virginia is dead.
did what you had to do," says Francis to Fats.
their hide-out. They rob a bank and a grocery store. Francis shoots
the store owner.
has been identified and the man-hunt is on. The newspapers dub him "Two
a new hide-out on 90th street, Francis and Fats move in. Francis brings
voice rings out.
up and come out with your hands up. We have the building surrounded."
Fats and Helen look out the window. They see that the building is in
fact surrounded by cops.
goes to the closet and takes out four more pistols. He straps two more
to his waist and two to his legs, then goes to the window and starts
Helen hide under the bed in fear as the cops shoot back. Their Tommy
guns blast the apartment to shreds. Plaster and chunks of brick fly
everywhere. Soon there are over seven hundred cops outside. They shoot
tear gas in and Francis picks up the smoking canisters and throws them
is shot four times. Thinking that he will die, Francis writes a note
that says, "
I hadn't anything else to do, that's why I went
around bumping off cops. It's the new sensation of the films
doesn't die of his bullet wounds. He and Fats are tried for murder.
They are convicted and sentenced to death. In court both Helen and Fats
turn on him.
is totally out of control in his cell on death row. He tears everything
to shreds, shoves it into the toilet and causes a flood. Finally he
is stripped of his clothes and put into an empty cell. He is given a
mattress at night and it is taken away in the morning.
electrocuted. An hour later Francis is brought into the room with the
electric chair. A gallery of twenty-five newsmen watches his every move.
Francis disdainfully flicks his cigar butt at the reporters and hits
one in the forehead.
turns to the warden.
have one last request."
says the warden.
points at the electric chair. "I want a rag to wipe off the chair
after that rat sat in it."
takes his seat. "Give my love to my ma."
the switch and fry him.
It is three
days before his twentieth birthday.