On December 1, 1935,Donated by SergeiK
Mrs. Williams Starkwell, a wife of a New Jersey handyman
gives birth to her first and only child.
It is a boy, and they name it Virgil.
He is an exceptionally cute baby, with a sweet disposition.
Before he is 25 years old,
he will be wanted by police in six states,
for assault, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a wart.
Growing up in a slum neighborhood...
where the crime rate is amongst the highest in the nation is not easy.
Particularly for Virgil, who is a small and frail compared to the other children.
Virgil Starkwell attends this school, where he scores well on an IQ test,
although his behavior disturbs the teachers.
We interviewed Mrs. Dorthy Lowry, a school teacher who remembers Virgil.
I remember one time, he stole a fountain pen.
I didn't want to embarrass him.
So, you know teachers have a way of doing things.
And so I said to the class.
We will all close our eyes,
and will the one who took the pen, please return it.
Well, while our eyes were closed, he returned the pen.
But he took the opportunity of feeling all the girls!
Can I say feel?
Spending most of his time on the streets,
Virgil takes to crime at an early age.
He is an immediate failure.
Barely manages to escape with a gumball machine stuck on his hand.
With both parents working to make ends meet,
Virgil becomes closest to his grandfather.
A 60-year-old German immigrant
who takes the boy to movies and baseball games.
Then tragedy strikes.
At a Washington Senator's game,
Virgil's grandfather is struck in the head by a foul ball.
The blow causes permanent injury to his mind.
And he becomes convinced he is Kyzer Willhelm.
Here are rare photos of him with other patients on the sanitarium grounds.
When he is 15 years old, amidst the violence and poverty of the slums,
Virgil receives a cello as a gift.
He is fascinated by the instrument.
And for the first time in the Starkwell house, music is heard.
We spoke to Mr. Torgman, his first and only cello teacher.
Well, there isn't really much tell, because...
uh... because his cello playing is just terrible.
He would a... He had no idea about tone production.
He would just saw it back and forth.
Just scratch the instrument, to such a point
that it would drive everyone who listening to it an absolutely insane.
He had no conception of the instrument.
He was blowing into it.
He loved his cello.
And I think he stole to pay for his lessons.
But he would not apply himself one iota.
Virgil steals to pay for cello lessons.
And although he does not achieve greatness on the instrument,
he is soon good enough to play in a local band.
A jungle however is no place for a cellist.
And Virgil soon learns the facts of life.
At 18, Virgil is lonely and confused.
Unable to concentrate in school, he has long since dropped out.
He wants nothing more than to belong, if only to a street gang.
It is here he thinks he will prove his manhood.
Under constant economic pressure,
Virgil turns to the local pool hall as a means of making a living.
I'm going to be a pool hustler, he tells his friends.
Virgil tries to join the navy, but is psychologically unfit.
That looks to me like two elephants making love to a man's glee club.
Mr. T. S. Foster, Virgil's first probation officer remembers him vividly.
He was a trustworthy kind of person.
I mean, you had to remember certain idiosyncrasies that he had.
Well, uh... like not always telling the truth.
He didn't always tell the truth.
Sometimes, uh, he'd exaggerate at the truth.
Sometimes, he, uh... you know, just plain lies.
He does have a criminal record.
Yes, but that doesn't mean the boy was all bad.
Unable to fit in with any aspect of his environment,
Virgil strikes out on his own.
In an effort to shed some light on this period of his life,
we spoke with his father and mother.
They are ashamed of their son's criminal record and so wear disguises.
He was a good boy.
Oh, come on.
If he was a good boy, why are we wearing these?
He's rotten! He's a gangster, that's what he is.
Oh! How can you say that! He was so bright.
- And he loved music. - And he was an atheist.
I tried to beat God into him. But he was too tough.
He was trying to get away from us and be independent
and make his own life and be a human being on his own.
You are a very dominating person.
- What?! - You are!
And he was trying to find himself.
Ok, look, I'll talk to you later about the whole thing.
Vowing he will never serve his full term.
Virgil plans an elaborate escape using a bar of soap and some shoe polish.
You've got to take me to the infirmary!
- What's the matter? - Don't ask!
Virgil's attempt to escape is dealt with harshly.
His sentence is extended in an additional two years.
1956 is a happy, go-lucky year for most people.
Virgil sees none of it from his tiny cell.
He marks time by reading.
Until one day, a new opportunity arises.
We need volunteers for an experiment.
The doctors want someone to be inoculated with a new vaccine.
It has never been tried on humans before,
so we do not know what the side effects may be.
To be honest, you'll be taking a chance.
As a reward, there's a parole.
I'm sure there are some among you brave enough to take the risk.
With parole as inducement, Virgil submits to the vaccine test.
It is a success, except for one temporary side effect.
For several hours, he is turned into a rabbi.
And so the reason we celebrate the Passover holidays is by eating Matzo,
is to commemorate the time that Moses
led the children of Israel from Egypt.
He has so many good points.
Yeah, yeah... name.
He had all sorts of mechanical abilities.
He was artistic.
You remember the painting he did for you on your birthday?
He's a no good atheist, that's what he is.
I tried to teach him about God. Would he listen? No!
Virgil leaves prison apprehensive.
But with some hope that he can began a new life.
Instead he finds the world difficult to cope with.
Ashamed to go home, he rents a cheap room in a strange city.
Desperate and broke, Virgil tries to support himself with small crimes.
Here he attempts to rob a local pet shop.
I hope you haven't been watching me, I'm not very good.
Uh, I was strolling down here just now and noticed that
you were drawing something and I'd a...
- You can look at it, if you want. - Can I?
Though it's not very good.
Oh, I wouldn't say that. I think that's... that's wonderful.
- I uh... uh... - It's not very good.
Well, I think that's very good, actually. I think you can probably make cash.
- Are you an artist? - No, of course not. I'm not an artist.
No? Well, what do you do?
- I'm a laundress. - Laundress?
- Laundry? - Yeah. I wash clothes, in Maryland.
No it isn't. I like it, but it's not particularly interesting.
- What's your name? - Louise. What's yours?
Virgil. Starkwell, Virgil Starkwell.
- What do you do? - What I do? What I do?
Um... I play the cello.
- Oh! That's fantastic. - I'm a cellist.
- It's a wonderful job. - Are you with the Philharmonic?
- Yes I am actually. - Oh, that's fantastic!
Yes, I'm looking for my group. Quite a good group, yeah.
I dress like this 'cuz I'm just walking.
- Do you kind of want to go for a walk? - O.K.
I, uh... I knew I was in love, but... first of all I was nauseous.
You know, I've never met such a pretty girl.
I guess I'm sensitive.
Because, you know real beauty makes me want to gag.
Plus, I don't know how to act with girls. I'm nervous, shy with woman.
I have a tendency to dribble.
Uh, you know the only girl I've ever known was a girl in my neighborhood.
But she wasn't an attractive girl.
I used to make obscene phone calls to her collect.
She'd accept charges all the time, but nothing ever happened.
But here I'm lying through my teeth and I can't tell Louise
that I was in jail and I rob and steal
and never did an honest day's work in my life.
You know a lot of people hold those things against you.
But she was so sweet. We just walked in the park.
I was so touched by her. I don't know, after 15 minutes I wanted to marry her.
After half an hour, I completely gave up the idea of snatching her purse.
I wanted to actually tell her I wasn't with the Philharmonic,
but she was so impressed by it.
When she asked me some questions about Mozart,
she got suspicious because for a minute I couldn't place the name.
I, uh, I don't know... when it comes to woman.
In prison I remember this psychologist asked by if I had a girl, I said no.
Then he asked me, do I think sex is dirty.
And he said it is, if you were doing it right.
All I know is my heart was really pounding
and I felt a funny tingling all over.
I don't know, I was either in love or I had small pox.
- Hey, you want to have dinner tonight? - Sure!
You're very beautiful. I really mean that.
- Is it embarrassing, when I say that? - Uh huh, it does.
That's a pretty hat.
- Yeah, I see it all over town. - Really?
I haven't seen it around town.
Yeah, they have it on sale.
I passed them, while I was walking around the streets.
I passed a million of them in one of those bins.
I can watch to eat for nice.
After dinner, we went for a walk.
I uh, asked her for a lock of her hair you know.
And we didn't have any scissors so I tried pulling it out.
And she was a good sport I tell you know.
I'm telling you when she gets excited she stuttered.
She was so cute that way. I like a girl who stutters.
They turn red, always gasping for breathe you know it's sweet.
And she, um, she was an expert on laundry.
She was fantastic.
I offered her to let her do my shorts
and she was very moved by that I think.
She just knows everything about underwear.
I never saw anyone who knew so much about socks and T-shirts.
She was some kind of genius that way.
G... g... good night Virgil.
Continuing his deception, Virgil sees Louise more frequently.
When she questions him about his cello playing, he avoids the subject.
In order to better understand Louise, let us examine her background briefly.
Adopted at age two, from a cruel
and impoverished orphanage by a cruel military man and his wife,
she was subjected to an upbringing of extreme discipline.
Which left her shy and withdrawn.
Never having a real home, she lived on army bases
while her father pursued a brilliant military career.
But after 30 years the cadet his rank to corporal.
Her mother, an alcoholic turns to religion for comfort
and quickly becomes a fanatic.
She responds to Louise's need for love by beating the child
and claims to have conversations with God
in which they discuss salvation and interior decorating.
Destitute and in love Virgil attempts to change his life with one bold stroke.
And if you just take this to window number 9.
What does this say?
Uh, can't you read that?
I can't read this. What is this? "Abt natural"?
No it just reads, "Please put $50 thousand into this bag. Act natural."
Does it say, "Act natural"?
I, uh, am pointing a gut at you.
That looks like "gub", it doesn't look like "gun".
No, it's "gub". That's a B.
No you see, it's an N... G-U-N.
George, would you step over here a moment please.
What does this say?
"Please put $50 thousand into this bag and... abt"
- What's "abt"? - "Act"
Does this look like "gub" or "gun"?
"Gun". You see. But what's "abt", mean?
It's "act"...A- C-T, act.
Please put $50 thousand into this bag. Act natural.
- Oh, I see, this is a hold up. - Yes.
May I see your gun?
Well, you'll have to have this note initialized by one of our vice-presidents
before I can give you any money.
I'm in a rush.
- What?! - You see I'm in a rush.
I'm sorry, but that's our policy.
The gentleman in the gray suit.
That's gun... l'm pointing...
That's "gub"... I'm pointing a gun at you.
- No, it's N. - Miss Frank!
"I'm pointing a gun at you. Abt natural".
- What is "abt"? - No, it's "act".
No, it couldn't be. It's a plain B.
No, no, I'm afraid not.
That's "act naturally. I'm pointing a gun at you."
"I'm pointing a gub"
No, that's gun, G-U-N. It's "I'm pointing a gun at you."
It looks like a B, but it's a N.
Listen, I can't make our date today.
I've got to go to Boston and give a concert.
Well, look, why don't I give you a call in about a...
In about 10 years.
Virgil Starkwell is apprehended in the act of bank robbery.
He is given 10 years in the State's strictest maximum-security prison.
It is here that he mingles with harden criminals for the first time.
The prison has not been built that can hold me, Virgil tells another inmate.
I'll get out of this one, if it means spending my entire life here.
After all, what a child becomes... Let's face it, it's our fault.
Would you let a man say a word or two...
I knew there would be a day when I said this kid is rotten.
You know the expression, a rotten kid? That's what this kid is.
- It has to do with the genes. - What?!? Genes??
Don't talk fancy in front of the man.
Because you know, you might make an impression and you know...
The time passes slowly for Virgil.
He works hard and tries to adjust to prison life.
He becomes a model prisoner and is put to work in the laundry.
I'm not with the Philharmonic.
It's O.K. Virgil. You don't mind I came to see you, do you?
No, I'm more than happy to see you.
But how did you find out I was here?
I called your landlady. She told me where you were.
She said that...
Virgil, did you rob a bank?
I did not rob a bank. If I robbed a bank, everything would be great.
Well, what did you do?
I tried to rob a bank, I think is what happened.
And uh, they got me. I misspelled a note.
Can you bake?
I need a cake, a big cake. A chocolate cake.
Virgil, you're allergic to chocolate.
I need a cake with a gun in it.
I'll bake you a cake and put a gun in it.
I need a dozen chocolate chip cookies with bullets in each of them.
How long are you going to be here?
Oh, well, uh, I estimate a neighborhood of...
What's today, Monday?
Tuesday... Wednesday... 10 years.
Is it possible you can wait for me?
Yes, if you want me to.
With Louise to inspire him, Virgil works hard
and becomes more optimistic.
She comes frequently for the next few months.
He complains about the food, and she brings home-cooked meals.
Louise's impact on Virgil is discussed here by Dr. Julius Epstein,
a one time prisoner psychiatrist, who recalls Virgil.
Louise meant a great deal to Virgil from a psychiatric point of view.
His love for her was the healthiest thing in his life.
It was genuine and clean. Not like some patients I know.
She ain't gonna wait Virgil.
They think they can, but they never do.
You know I become eligible for parole in a year and a half.
Yeah, well that's nice.
With any luck, maybe two or three years you'll get out of here, yeah.
Could be a lot shorter.
What do you mean?
Means we got this proposition we want to talk over with you.
What kind of proposition?
Like next week five of us are going to make it out of here.
Now we need another man.
It's all set. By next week, we can be miles away from this zoo.
You guys gotta be kidding. We'll never get out of here.
They'd kill us.
We've got out of rougher places than this.
Why don't you just think about it, alright?
Ain't no broad gonna wait around for years for you.
No matter what she tells you in prison and all.
Well, I think the conflict in this personality,
uh, sorta started from his formative years.
I think it gives evidence in his choice of the cello.
For instance, studying the cello at the age of six.
Is just coming out of the formative years,
but the conflict is there in his choice.
Because it is generally assumed the cello is a phallic symbol,
I mean with the grasp
and the lowest structural forms certainly a feminine,
if anything motherly.
In fact, the utilization of the bow,
I would imagine is the sublimation of the stroking the torso.
So between the grasping, the phallic and the stroking of the torso,
would create, I would imagine great conflict.
Even at the age of six.
Virgil Starkwell becomes part of an escape plot.
His every move becomes tense and strained.
Think our guard on our floor is with us. So be ready just in case there's trouble.
I still don't understand how we are going to get past the main tower.
We are going to dress as guards.
That's why Friday at noon because you work in the laundry,
you're going to steal the guards underwear.
We've already got some uniforms stashed in the dark room.
I don't understand
If you got the guard's uniforms, why do you need their underwear?
We want to do this as realistically as possible.
I'm known for my detail work.
- Sir, we can't find our underwear! - I think something's up.
Um, we'd better keep our eyes open.
The warden knows something. We'd better call off the break.
I said, the warden knows something is up. Call off the break.
- Everything is up for tonight. - We can't take a chance.
Hey Charles, the warden knows something is up.
We'll try again next week.
The warden wants to see you.
- What for? - Come on!
Michael Sullivan, an ex-convict and one of the leaders
of the ground break describes the faithful day.
I told all the other guys, that the break was off.
But I forgot to tell Virgil.
I don't know why I forgot. Nobody ever told him.
There's a break in the north cell block. Notify the warden immediately.
Hey where is everybody?
They called the break off!
- They called the break off? - Yeah!
- Why didn't somebody tell me? - Virgil tried to escape by himself!
Could somebody possible sneak downstairs and let be back in?
Look I got your daughter!
Hold you fire men!
Let me go or she gets it!
What is she doing down there?
She was kissing Kowalsky.
- Is Kowalsky a midget? - No!
He is not a midget.
- Can I have a taxi, please. - Try someone lines next.
On July 11, Virgil and Louise marry.
It is a simple ceremony
following what he later describes as a deeply moving blood test.
This was the happiest moment of my life.
I just wish my parents could have been there.
We weren't aware...
Am I right!! Be honest!! Say it!! He turned out to be a punk.
They took up residence in another State.
And living on Louise's small savings,
they moved into a cheaply furnished flat.
They are poor, but for the moment at least they were save from the law.
When these innocent pictures were taken,
they were both unaware of the series of events that were to come.
What's the matter Virgil?
- I got a cramp in the arch of my... - What?
I got another hardball in the arch of my foot.
How come that always happens when we try to make love?
As a wanted criminal, Virgil finds it harder than ever to find employment.
He secures a little work selling encyclopedias door to door.
But the job proves too much for him.
He is forced to take into the streets
and for a while he earns a meager living selling meagres.
We're going to have a baby!
Get out of here!
No, no, we're going to have a baby.
I went to the doctor and we are going to have a baby.
That's my present for Christmas.
All I needed was a tie.
- Aren't you happy? - I don't believe it.
- No, Virgil, really. - But how did it happen?
What do you mean, how did it happen?
You mean because we, at night,
when the two of us...
and that's what happened?
Then that spring Virgil and Louise are blessed with a son.
They name the baby Jonathan Ralph Starkwell, after Virgil's mother.
Virgil and Louise move to a new State and try to start over.
Virgil has the usual trouble finding work.
Finally he hears of an opening in an insurance office
and is back against the wall.
He attempts to lie his way into the job.
Please sit down.
John Q. Public. P-U-B-L-l-C.
Mr. Public, have you any experience working in an office before?
Yes, I have.
What kind of office was it?
Have you any experience
in running a high-speed digital electronic computer?
Yes, I have.
My aunt has one.
And what does your aunt do?
I can't recall.
You said before you worked in an office.
Did you deal in products or services?
Is this something found in the home?
No, it's not. One down and nine to go.
Is this product edible?
No, it wasn't.
I think our time is running out
and I'm sorry you haven't guessed my occupation.
So I'm going to flip all the cards and tell you what I have used to do.
I used to manufacture escalator shoes,
for people who were nauseous.
I'm sorry, you didn't actually get my occupation,
but you did win $10
and I want to thank you very much. Better luck next time.
You are good sport.
Hiding his past from his fellow employees,
Virgil does well on his first decent job, in the mailroom.
His past catches up with him however,
as a fellow employee learns of his criminal record.
What are you doing for dinner, Mr. Public?
Oh, Miss Blair, I'm having dinner with my wife. Why?
Where are you having dinner, Mr. Public?
No, I said I'm having dinner with my wife.
I found this picture in a magazine.
A word from me and you're back in prison, O.K.?
What do you feel like eating?
Virgil Starkwell becomes the victim of a blackmail plot.
Miss Blair confident of her power makes small demands for money.
These increase as time goes on.
Everything that he owns dear to him is in jeopardy.
His life and family hang on the whim of an unstable woman.
He is driven to desperation.
With the responsibility of a wife and child to protect,
Virgil Starkwell contemplates murder.
What would u like to drink?
Oh, what do you have?
How about some Sherry, I have some very fine Sherry?
What's the matter?
Did you hurt your hand?
Clumsy! I'll be right here.
Disguising two sticks of dynamite as candles,
he sends Miss Blair an anonymous gift.
The plot fails however, as he manages to make the dynamite
too think to fit into the candlesticks.
Determined to rid himself of the blackmailer,
he rents a car and attempts to run her over.
You know, I think somebody's trying to kill me.
Oh! Don't be silly.
When I came home from work last night,
there was a car in my living room trying to run me over.
- A car? It must be your imagination. - No.
- Who would try to kill you? - I don't know. I have no enemy.
- You didn't tell anybody did you? - No.
You can do the carving.
Can't you wait? I mean you eat like an animal.
It's delicious, really.
I'll get the salad dressing, we'll make a toast,
then you start on the turkey leg.
What are you doing in there?
Oh, just creating the proper atmosphere dear.
I'm a sucker for atmosphere.
- Why don't you carve the turkey. - Yes, of course my darling.
Someone sent these as a gift.
They were too big to use, so I shaved them off at the bottom.
With law enforcement agencies on his trail,
Virgil takes his family and heads south.
Here they manage to secure cheap lodging temporarily.
This is really a desperate time of my life, you know.
I... we had no money.
I tried mugging old ladies but I get hit in the groin with crutches.
I didn't know what to do. I tried counterfeiting for a while.
You know, I just got the plates fouled up and everything.
Once Lincoln came out smoking a cigarette.
I robbed a butcher shop. That was the best I could do.
I got away with 116 veal cutlets.
Then I had to go out and rob a tremendous about of breading.
Their money gone and with food scarce,
the Starkwells live like hunted animals.
We weren't very happy then.
Oh no, this was the low point of my existence.
I was thinking about getting out of crime
altogether and maybe becoming a singer or something.
Must have been a very tough decision for you to make.
Oh, yeah. It was really tough, but my family was starving
and I'd already filed for bankruptcy, you know.
I see. What prompted you to go on?
Well, I came up with an idea for robbery that was so fantastic.
It was so brilliant that when it was over
it was considered the real work of art, by all the guys in my cellblock.
- They must of looked up to you. - Well, you know those guys are mugs.
- I, uh, I'm gonna rob a bank. - Oh no, Virgil, not again!
I think that's our only way out of this mess,
is for me to... There's a dinky bank in Ross County.
And I think if I can get two or three good men,
I can get in there and get it.
We can go down to Mexico or up to Canada and...
- Virgil, what if you got killed? - No, don't worry.
Nothing to worry about. I know how to use a gub.
- No, it's gun, Virgil. - Gun, I'm sorry.
Don't turn around.
I want to speak to you about a business proposition.
It's a bank job.
Couple of guys and myself are going to
get together and four weeks from now...
quart of a million dollars. We walk in and take it like that!
It's an easy job. Think we just pull up and take it.
How long have you, uh... because I said part about the bank... the bank.
You guys are dressing alike again.
See, I just broke it myself.
All the boys in the neighborhood were...
Wasn't his fault, we just didn't have time for him.
We were working so hard.
Would you like to see my stamp collection.
What do you mean stamp collection?
I have a stamp collection...
First, he selects an appropriate bank.
Next he cases the bank by cleverly concealing a camera
in an unsuspected place.
That night, a meeting takes place.
Among the one's chosen are some of the sinister names
in the underworld.
William Amerz, wanted by the police for bank robbery,
assault with a deadly weapon,
murder, and getting naked in front of his in-laws.
Frankie Wolf, wanted by Federal authorities for dancing with a mailman,
A.D. Armstrong, wanted all over the country for arson, robbery,
assault with an attempt to kill, and marrying a horse.
Alright boys. Had to talk about the Union Fidelity Bank.
June 16th, 10 a.m.
What you are about to see is a film of the Union Fidelity Bank.
We are going to see it just once.
And to destroy the evidence we are going to eat the film.
It will be buffet style, you can just help yourselves.
Take plates of potato salad over there and my wife made coffee.
This film might just save your lives.
The film was a boring short.
He'd have the gang over for a meeting
and I'd put out a little tray of pretzels and bullets...
I had to, he's my husband.
We got this film camera, we have lights, and a truck.
The idea is we pull up in front of the bank
and we look like we are making a movie.
We play the actors. We need somebody to be the director.
Gertch! I got the perfect guy!
An ex-con I did some time with, by the name of a Fritz.
I will be the director. I once was a film director,
a many years ago, before movies had sound.
I worked with Johnny Gilbert and Antonio Valentino, Lois Garret.
Lois Garret was a baseball player.
I was also that ball... For the Yankees...
The fools in Hollywood didn't look up nice geniuses.
But now, I shall wear a new uniform, like I did, once again.
And you will be my actor.
You shall enter in the back and say, "Up with your hands, this is a stickup."
Thereby announcing our theme.
- Now say it. Let me hear the lines. - Up with your hands, this is a stick up.
No! More feeling. Begin now.
Uh, Fritz, this is a bank robbery not a movie.
Oh, yes, of course.
Oh, forgive me. I will be fine, when the time comes.
Thank you all. Everybody, take five.
Ohhh, don't tell me you are going to use the shower now.
Virgil, why do you do this to me every morning?
I just got in here.
Well, I'm going to be late for the robbery.
So you'll be five minutes late. They can start without you.
They can't start without me, I'm the leader.
- I made you some coffee. - Oh! Jesus!
Oh, Jesus! Every day I have trouble getting into the bathroom.
For crying out loud!
Honey, what shirt do you wanna wear?
What did you say?
- I said, what shirt do you wanna wear? - I'm gonna wear my light blue.
No you're not. It was dirty, I washed it last night.
Why did you wash it? I was gonna wear it today.
I washed it because it was dirty.
- So what, I'm just gonna rob a bank. - I have happened to
have ironed your beige shirt. Do you wanna wear that?
No, I can't wear a beige shirt
- to a bank robbery. - Why not?
Because it's light. I'll be an easy target.
I think it is a perfectly good shirt to wear.
No, it isn't a good shirt, it's beige. Who wears beige to a bank robbery?
What are the other guys wearing?
I don't know... For crying out loud.
Why don't you call them up and ask them?
Oh, no body is going to be wearing beige to a bank robbery.
It's in poor taste.
June 16, 9 a.m. The days of planning are over.
Virgil and his accomplices depart from his hideout and proceed
toward their destination.
Everybody put your hands up, this is a stickup!
Hey, what are you doing here?
- We're holding up the bank. - We are holding up the bank.
Oh no, I'm sorry, we are holding up the bank.
We're holding up the bank.
Oh no, we were here first.
Look could you come back tomorrow, we'll be finished by then.
We've been planning this for months.
We're not going to have it ruined by a jackass.
Alright, we'll take a vote.
How many people here would like to be held up by this group?
Now how many people would like to be held up by our group?
Now, beat it!
You call this a bank robbery? I yelled action, five minutes ago.
Is that the way to pick up all it?
What's going on in here? There's a million cops outside.
Let's get out of here!
Each member of the gang gets five years for his part in the crime.
Virgil gets ten.
He is not taken to prison this time but to a road gang
where his criminal behavior will cost him dearly.
You men come here because you committed crimes
rendering you unfit to live in decent society.
That's too bad.
I think you gonna find you made a mistake you're gonna regret.
Our job of mine and the boys is to see that you get some civilization
so that when you leave here
you're gonna think twice before you perform anti-social acts.
And my advice to you is obey the rules and do your job.
If you have complaints, you come to me.
Don't think anybody outside is gonna help you.
Now we don't like complainers and we don't like troublemakers.
If things get a little too rough for you in here,
you just feel free to take off for Florida.
Show 'em in which direction Florida is, boys.
Do you think a girl should pet on the first date?
I... I mean if both parties involved are mature and liberal.
Gonna see Ms Eliza... gonna go to Mississippi...
Hey, do you think you gotta
good enough aim for that hammer to knock these bracelets off me?
Look man, I don't want to get into any trouble.
Nothing is going to happen. You think you can do it?
I've never missed yet.
Alright, go ahead.
Sorry man, first time.
Food on a chain gang is scarce and not very nourishing.
The men get one hot meal a day. A bowl of steam.
Alright boys, who didn't give me a good days of work?
Come with us Wilson.
What's the matter Starkwell, can't you take it?
Come on, I want you to see this, so you can know what to look forward to.
Just what in the hell do you think your doing?
What do you mean?
Don't beat the shit out of your damn fool, beat him.
The time drags by an endless grind of backbreaking labor.
Brutal discipline is common under the hot sun.
The men aren't even permitted to faint without written permission.
Virgil complains and he is severely tortured.
For several days he is locked inside a sweatbox
with an insurance salesman.
Hi, I'm Joe Green, I represent Ajax and Widget Insurance Company.
I'd like to talk to you about a little insurance... You're about 30, right?
I think the best thing to do is get straight life then a little term... and...
How about dental and medical?
We got a great deal on dental and medical deal.
At the end of each work day,
the men are chained to each other by the ankle, by a group of six.
Making movement slow and painful. And escape almost impossible.
Then one day, the impossible is attempted.
See that field?
If we make it across that field, we'd be out of here.
We can take him by surprise and we all make a sudden break for it.
That's right, I'm a paranoid schizophrenic but I say we try it.
Ain't that right boys?
I'm not with them, I wanted to stay.
Alright, everyone split up!
My car broke down, can I use your telephone?
Of course, come in.
O.K. Now, we're going to get out of here.
I know a guy in town, he's got enough tools to get us out of these chains.
Alright, now you act natural and answer it or you're finished.
Who is it?
Patrol man Lynch, can I come in?
Well, not now.
It's an emergency. I'm afraid I have to.
We'd better untie her.
Tell him we're your cousins. We are visiting you from out of town.
Alright, one false move and you're finished.
What is it?
I hear there's been some trouble, up at the prison.
I'm checking area for anything suspicious.
These are my cousins. They're visiting me for the holiday.
Have you ever heard of St. Dabbernappy's Day?
That's what we're here for.
Come here you. Come here!
Do you think your cousin is safe here living all alone?
Look how close we are to the prison.
Look out here, just a few miles off down the road.
I don't know... you sure can't be secure if you live so close to a prison.
Hey, wait a minute! Did I see something move out there
I'm sure I saw something move.
Quick! Everyone take one window and check it.
If there's somebody out there, we gotta have a chance to see him.
Guess it must have been my imagination.
- They're escaped convicts. - Really?
They've broken in...
didn't you notice how they all moved together closely?
They're chained together at the ankles.
I thought they were just a close family.
O.k. Boys, the games up.
The old lady must of told him.
You're going back to that prison.
And this time, you're going to stay there.
If we're gonna go, we need tools.
Let's get my wife she'll help us out of this.
Oh Virgil. If you'd only listen to me you'd of gone straight.
Honey, we needed the money and I robbed a bank.
Virgil, when are you going to stop doing that?
Don't you realize you're a father? You have responsibilities.
Well, if she's my wife, I'd build her one.
Do you mind keeping out of this please?!
I don't want to discuss it unless we're alone.
Well, I want to discuss it now!
Alright, you don't want to discuss it alone...
O.k. I'm going to the next room and if you want to talk about it
I can't come in alone I'm chained.
We can't be alone unless we go some place
where they have tools or something. These guys are with me for good now.
How do you think I feel?
I'm a young woman sleeping alone here every night.
Don't you think that mean something to me?
How do you think I feel?
I look back to the days when you were in the Philharmonic.
I was never in the Philharmonic.
- You used to lie in bed... - Shut up!
You used to make love to me... you used to recite poetry and...
- Poetry? - And play with that doll you got me...
Darling look... you guys look away for a minute...
Sweet heart, don't you know, no matter what happens
you're going to mean the same to me.
You... would you stop giggling?
You'd always mean the sun and the earth and the moon to me.
With Louise's help, the chains are removed from Virgil's ankle.
Once more the family takes flight.
Feeling guilty about their son's education, Louise tries tutoring him.
He's been very depressed.
I think... I think if he'd been a successful criminal
he would of felt better.
You know he never made the "Ten Most Wanted" list.
It's very unfair voting. It's who you know.
Virgil Starkwell embarks on a series of crimes
that make him a wanted desperado.
Here he attempts to rob the vault of a bank.
But, finds a family of gypsies are living there.
By the end of six months the FBI regard Virgil as a menace.
Although he doesn't make the "Ten Most Wanted" list,
he does win "gangster of the year" award
and is asked to speak at many luncheons and universities.
While the end of the story, We spoke to Mr. Daniel Miller
an FBI agent and the author of the book "Mother was a Red".
The FBI actually wanted Virgil very badly.
Mr. Hoover was quite upset by Mr. Starkwell and his activities.
In fact, he confided to me on several occasions... uh...
I can remember one very well.
After a bowling match, on a Thursday night,
he said he couldn't sleep nights and was smoking a little too much.
And um, he thought that this, uh... this criminal as he put it,
might very well be part of a subversive plot.
Obviously, uh, an atheist and uh, a pinto,
and a time general to disturb our society.
We finally traced him to a cheap neighborhood down
in the lower east side of New York.
Where he was living at the time at a sleazy run down tenement house.
Virg, I remember him. I used to live with him a matter of fact,
in the same rooming house that is.
One day he told me he was a gynecologist.
He couldn't speak no foreign languages... who is he kidding?
I thought I saw his picture on the post office.
I don't remember if it was on a wall or on a stamp.
- Do you remember Virgil? - Oh, yeah.
What was he like?
Well, now I think he's brilliant. I mean absolutely brilliant.
When I just found out that he was a criminal,
I just couldn't believe it... I just thought I was gonna die.
Because he's a he just did the best cover up job
I have ever seen in my life.
I mean unbelievable acting job. I actually believed he was an idiot.
I mean I really believed... and I wasn't the only one... like
everybody thought so... everyone just thought he was a shemeal
and it turns out that he's a criminal.
Just to think that... that idiot was a criminal I just can't believe it.
I mean you never met anyone like this ...you'd never meet such a nothing.
I can't believe it, there was a mind working in there.
That could rob banks. It's phenomenal.
You know, once... once I said to him what do you do
he said, uh, I rob banks.
Go no, right!
But we finally caught up to him.
Oh I think it was April 11 when we finally captured Virgil.
It sorta was a very odd circumstances, uh, an amateur photography
happened to be there at the time.
And, um, took the only known films of his capture.
I was coming down here. This is the spot where it actually happened.
You see, as a matter of fact, I just brought my pants
into the cleaners and I was sorta angry with him.
Because last time I brought 'em in I asked him to sew a button
on it and they hadn't.
Could you get to the point?
Oh yes, well... I'll tell you exactly what happened this morning,
uh, with me... and about the camera.
Well, back to this thing with which I became known,
mainly because of what had happened and I happened to have the camera.
I was having breakfast in the morning. I think it was two fried eggs, a toas
I don't know if it was orange juice or grape fruit...
but I remember I had a juice... I don't remember what it was.
But at that time...
- it was orange juice... that's right! - Can you get to the point!
In fact, I got 'em right here. I'd like to show them to you.
The very last films of Virgil Starkwell being captured by the FBI.
Now get your hands up, it's a stickup!
Hey, I know you... Virgil Starkwell...
Oh, Eddie... Haynes?
That's right! We were in the marching band together.
You played the cello... you were always...
I was the trombone... first trombone.
That's funny, my God!
- What are you doing? - I'm with the Philharmonic.
No kidding, that's grand! I was just talking to someone... Oscar Sunken
about the great visory we had together.
That was hilarious!
You remember when we got caught taking a shower together?
I do... I never saw anything so embarrassed.
I'll never forget your face.
- My face? You dropped the towel. - You dropped the towel too!
- Can I have your watch? - Sure, sure, sure.
Remember we painted the car, uh, yellow?
Yeah, it was Halloween.
Yeah that's right, it was Halloween. It was really funny.
- It was yellow stripes. - That's right, like a popcorn.
Keep your hands up or I'd have to shoot you.
You remember the football game?
- You fumbled the last play. - And you picked up the ball.
And then I ran the wrong way,
and everyone was yelling go back, go back.
And I thought they were cheering.
You can't beat the good old days.
There were good old nights... Shirley Shivrotze.
Oh I didn't hear you.
Look it's been great speaking to you, really.
It's been nice to see you too Virgil.
Yeah, take it easy. Maybe we'll see each other someday.
Good luck to you!
Oh Virgil I just realized I'm a cop.
- Oh Virgil I just realized I'm a cop. - No kidding, how's it going?
It's a great job. I gotta pension and I...
Do you remember when...?
Virgil Starkwell is tried on 52 accounts of robbery
and is sentenced to 800 years in federal prison.
At the trial, he tells his lawyer confidently,
that with good behavior he can cut the sentence in half.
Virgil, now that you are caught and you are facing a very long prison,
sentence, do you have any regrets choosing a life of crime?
I think that crime definitely pays that uh,
it's a great job, the hours are good and you're your own boss
and you travel a lot and you get to meet interesting people.
I just think it's a good job in general.
What about your co-hosts, what has ever happened to them?
All of the men, many of the guys you associated with in various gangs.
A great many of them have become a homosexuals
and some of them have entered in politics and sports.
How do you manage to spend your time in prison...
do you have any hobbies?
I do, I've been working on...
I've been doing a lot of stuff in shop lately.
I'm very skilled with my hands. Do you know if it's raining out?