7 Major Mafia Murders [Warning: Gruesome Photos]

1. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel

Date: 1947

Murdered: Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (born Benjamin Siegelbaum)

Siegel, in an effort to reinvent and legitimize himself, had moved to Las Vegas to oversee the construction of the Flamingo resort. He failed miserably at the job and then was murdered just months after the casino went nearly bankrupt. While reading the Los Angeles Times, Siegel was shot many times through a window by a .30 caliber military M1 Carbine. The crime is unsolved, but his failure in Las Vegas makes me suspicious. A memorial to Bugsy is still located in the Flamingo Hotel near the wedding chapel.

2. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Date: 1929

Murdered: Peter Gusenberg, Frank Gusenberg, Albert Kachellek, Adam Heyer, Reinhart Schwimmer, Albert Weinshank, John May

Committed for a number of reasons, (including trying to cripple the North Side Gang and in retaliation for Bugs Moran—leader of the North Side Gang—“muscling in” on Al Capone’ dog track in Chicago’s’ suburbs) the St Valentine’s Day Massacre was the worst mob-hit ever seen in the USA. It succeeded in impeding the North Side Gang, but also made life much more difficult for Capone. Bugs Moran escaped the hit because one of the look-outs mistook one of Moran’s men for Moran. Four men carried out the massacre, two dressed in trench coats, two in police uniforms. Some say that Moran fled when he saw the police entering the building, thus sparing his life.

3. “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn

Date: 1936

Murdered: “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn (born Vincenzo Antonio Gibaldi)

McGurn was gunned down, while bowling, by three men with machine guns. The identity of the hit men and motive is not known. However, two theories are widely accepted: 1) Revenge for McGurns’ supposed involvement in the Valentine’s Day massacre. 2) Silencing heavy drinker and braggart McGurn by the South Side gang. Curiously, a poem was found in his right hand and a nickel in his left. (McGurn had been known to press nickels into his victim’s hands)

4. Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia

Date: 1957

Murdered: Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia (born Umberto Anastasio)

The brutal and violent head of the Mangano/Gambino family mob was brought down while in his barber’s chair. His bodyguard had conveniently taken a walk when two masked gunmen burst into the shop and opened fire on Anastasia. They continued to shoot until he collapsed to the floor dead, and then shot him point blank in the back of the head. It is believed that Larry and Joe Gallo carried out the murder under a contract from Don Vito Genovese. Anastasia’s wife maintained his innocence of any mob involvement or violence and wanted him to be remembered as a loving and devoted, churchgoing, husband and father. Yeah, right.

5. Carmine “Cigar/Lilo” Galante

Date: 1979

Murdered: Carmine “Cigar/Lilo” Galante, Leonard Coppola, Guiseppe Turano

Galante was having lunch at Joe and Mary’s Restaurant when three men burst in and began to shoot. Cesare Bonventre, one of Galante’s mafia recruits, did nothing to stop the murder and left the restaurant calmly. “Cigar” had created the modern drug trafficking business and began keeping more and more drug money from his bosses. Galente had recently asked the Mafia’ s governing commission if he could retire. His request was granted but then it was learned that he had 30 “greenies” (new recruits from the old country) working for him. The Mafia commission is said to have met again and decided it was time for Galante to permanently retire. The legacy of drug trafficking and associated crime left Bushwick, Brooklyn in shambles for decades after his murder.

6. Paul “Big Paul” Castellano

Date: 1985

Murdered: Paul “Big Paul” Castellano (born Constantino Paul Castellano), Tommy Bilotti

Big Paul had become jealous of John Gotti’s drug dealing and threatened to kill anyone involved with narcotics. He had also acquired enemies when he did not attend the funeral of Aneillo “Neil” Dellacroce, one of his underbosses, and then named Tommy Bilotti, a body guard, as a new underboss despite Bilotti’s lack of skills for the job. Castellano and Bilottie were shot dead outside a steak house by order of John Gotti. The men had been lured there with the promise of having a talk with Gotti to “iron things out.”

7. Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno

Date: 1980

Murdered: Angelo “The Gentle Don” Bruno (born Angelo Annaloro)

Angelo Bruno was killed by a single gun shot blast in the back of his head while sitting in his car. He had developed many enemies by cashing in on the heroin market in Philadelphia while other families were barred from narcotic distribution. Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas) ordered the killing but was himself killed just a few weeks later in retaliation. Dollar bills were found stuffed in his mouth and (cover your eyes) anus—to symbolize greed. The Philadelphia Family went into decline after Bruno’s death.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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10 Facts About Real Genius On Its 35th Anniversary

Val Kilmer stars in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985).
Val Kilmer stars in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In an era where nerd is a nickname given by and to people who have pretty much any passing interest in popular culture, it’s hard to imagine the way old-school nerds—people with serious and socially-debilitating obsessions—were once ostracized. Computers, progressive rock, and role-playing games (among a handful of other 1970s- early '80s developments) created a path from which far too many of the lonely, awkward, and conventionally undateable would never return. But in the 1980s, movies transformed these oddballs into underdogs and antiheroes, pitting them against attractive, moneyed, successful adversaries for the fate of handsome boys and pretty girls, cushy jobs, and first-place trophies.

The 1985 film Real Genius ranked first among equals from that decade for its stellar cast, sensitive direction, and genuine nerd bona fides. Perhaps fittingly, it sometimes feels overshadowed, and even forgotten, next to broader, bawdier (and certainly now, more problematic) films from the era like Revenge of the Nerds and Weird Science. But director Martha Coolidge delivered a classic slobs-versus-snobs adventure that manages to view the academically gifted and socially maladjusted with a greater degree of understanding and compassion while still delivering plenty of good-natured humor.

As the movie commemorates its 35th anniversary, we're looking back at the little details and painstaking efforts that make it such an enduring portrait not just of ‘80s comedy, but of nerdom itself.

1. Producer Brian Grazer wanted Valley Girl director Martha Coolidge to direct Real Genius. She wasn’t sure she wanted to.

Following the commercial success of 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds, there was an influx of bawdy scripts that played upon the same idea, and Real Genius was one of them. In 2011, Coolidge told Kickin’ It Old School that the original script for Real Genius "had a lot of penis and scatological jokes," and she wasn't interested in directing a raunchy Nerds knock-off. So producer Brian Grazer enlisted PJ Torokvei (SCTV) and writing partners Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz (Splash, City Slickers) to refine the original screenplay, and then gave Coolidge herself an opportunity to polish it before production started. “Brian's original goal, and mine, was to make a film that focused on nerds as heroes," Coolidge said. "It was ahead of its time."

2. Martha Coolidge’s priority was getting the science in Real Genius right—or at least as right as possible.

In the film, ambitious professor Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton) recruits high-achieving students at the fictional Pacific Technical University (inspired by Caltech) to design and build a laser capable of hitting a human-sized target from space. Coolidge researched the subject thoroughly, working with academic, scientific, and military technicians to ensure that as many of the script and story's elements were correct. Moreover, she ensured that the dialogue would hold up to some scrutiny, even if building a laser of the film’s dimensions wasn’t realistic (and still isn’t today).

3. One element of Real Genius that Martha Coolidge didn’t base on real events turned out to be truer than expected.

From the beginning, the idea that students were actively being exploited by their teacher to develop government technology was always fictional. But Coolidge learned that art and life share more in common than she knew at the time. “I have had so many letters since I made Real Genius from people who said, 'Yes, I was involved in a program and I didn’t realize I was developing weapons,'" she told Uproxx in 2015. “So it was a good guess and turned out to be quite accurate.”

4. Val Kilmer walked into his Real Genius audition already in character—and it nearly cost him the role.

After playing the lead in Top Secret!, Val Kilmer was firmly on Hollywood’s radar. But when he met Grazer at his audition for Real Genius, Kilmer decided to have some fun at the expense of the guy who would decide whether or not he’d get the part. "The character wasn't polite," Kilmer recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 1995. "So when I shook Grazer's hand and he said, 'Hi, I'm the producer,' I said, 'I'm sorry. You look like you're 12 years old. I like to work with men.'"

5. The filmmakers briefly considered using an actual “real genius” to star in Real Genius.

Among the performers considered to play Mitch, the wunderkind student who sets the movie’s story in motion, was a true genius who graduated college at 14 and was starting law school. Late in the casting process, they found their Mitch in Gabriel Jarrett, who becomes the third generation of overachievers (after Kilmer’s Chris and Jon Gries’s Lazlo Hollyfeld) whose talent Hathaway uses to further his own professional goals.

6. Real Genius's female lead inadvertently created a legacy for her character that would continue in animated form.

Michelle Meyrink, Gabriel Jarret, Val Kilmer, and Mark Kamiyama in Real Genius (1985).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Michelle Meyrink was a staple of a number of ‘80s comedies, including Revenge of the Nerds. Playing Jordan in Real Genius, she claims to “never sleep” and offers a delightful portrait of high-functioning attention-deficit disorder with a chipper, erratic personality. Disney’s Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers co-creator Tad Stones has confirmed that her character went on to inspire the character of Gadget Hackwrench.

7. A Real Genius subplot, where a computer programmer is gaming a Frito-Lay contest, was based on real events.

In the film, Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite) plays Lazlo Hollyfeld, a reclusive genius from before Chris and Mitch’s time who lives in a bunker beneath their dorm creating entries to a contest with no restrictions where he eventually wins more than 30 percent of the prizes. In 1969, students from Caltech tried a similar tactic with Frito-Lay to game the odds. But in 1975, three computer programmers used an IBM to generate 1.2 million entries in a contest for McDonald’s, where they received 20 percent of the prizes (and a lot of complaints from customers) for their effort.

8. One of Real Genius's cast members went on to write another tribute to nerds a decade later.

Dean Devlin, who co-wrote Stargate and Independence Day with Roland Emmerich, plays Milton, another student at Pacific Tech who experiences a memorable meltdown in the rush up to finals.

9. The popcorn gag that ends Real Genius isn’t really possible, but they used real popcorn to simulate it.

At the end of the film, Chris and Mitch build a giant Jiffy Pop pack that the laser unleashes after they redirect its targeting system. The resulting popcorn fills Professor Hathaway’s house as an act of revenge. MythBusters took pains to recreate this gag in a number of ways, but quickly discovered that it wouldn’t work; even at scale, the popcorn just burns in the heat of a laser.

To pull off the scene in the film, Coolidge said that the production had people popping corn for six weeks of filming in order to get enough for the finale. After that, they had to build a house that they could manipulate with hydraulics so that the popcorn would “explode” out of every doorway and window.

10. Real Genius was the first movie to be promoted on the internet.

A week before Real Genius opened, promoters set up a press conference at a computer store in Westwood, California. Coolidge and members of the cast appeared to field questions from press from across the country—connected via CompuServe. Though the experience was evidently marred by technical problems (this was the mid-1980s, after all), the event marked the debut of what became the online roundtable junket.