October 4, 2011

Boardwalk Empire and Soapy Smith

Have you had the pleasure of seeing the HBO show Boardwalk Empire?

Just watched the 2nd episode of season 2. I love the show. I suggest that fans of Soapy Smith might enjoy watching it as well. Although the show takes place in 1920 during prohibition there is a striking similarity in method and operation that mirror those of Soapy's empire in Denver, Colorado during the 1890s. The show is actually helping me imagine the how's and why's of Soapy's political and underworld methods. In fact, certain instances in Soapy's life that were just mere facts have now become alive for me.

The shows town boss is Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (played by actor Steve Buscemi), an underworld boss and fixer much like Soapy. It doesn't do the imagination any harm that his love interest is an Irish lass, much like Mary Eva Noonan, Soapy's wife.

Currently, the show is dealing with Nucky's involvement in election fraud, voter intimidation, theft of ballot boxes and bribery. This episode gave me a new outlook and respect for the history of Soapy's election fraud involvement of 1889. Nucky is arrested by a new state prosecutor wishing to make a name for himself. This is where the differences between the show and Soapy's history differ. When Soapy and his men were arrested in Denver they often were reported in the newspapers as having the run of the jail, coming and going from their cell as they pleased, much as if they were not prisoners at all. Soapy's associates who were found guilty of crimes and sent to the State prison in Canon, Colorado found themselves quickly and mysteriously released with a pardon.

There are sites on the net where you can watch Boardwalk Empire from the very beginning. The show, in my opinion, is well worth the effort. Check out the trailer below.

Jeff Smith


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