The following treatment for a screenplay is based on the book, Crazy Joe Gallo, written by Joe Bruno and edited by Lawrence Venturato. This popular book was ranked #1 in several Amazon nonfiction categories including “Legal History” and “True Crime – Hoaxes & Deceptions.”
Sequence of Scenes:
1) As gunshots ring out inside the restaurant, Joe Gallo staggers out of the front door of Umberto’s Clam House, bumps into his bodyguard’s parked Cadillac, and then falls, mortally wounded, to the ground at the intersection of Mulberry and Hester Streets. His sister, Carmella, follows Joey out of the restaurant, screaming. She drops to her knees beside her brother and cradles his head in her arms. Joey stares blankly into the night sky above her shoulder as his life flashes before him.
2) It’s the 1930s and the young Gallo family is gathered together in the kitchen of their humble tenement apartment on President Street in Brooklyn. At the table are Mrs. Mary Gallo; Joey’s elder brother, Larry; his younger brother, Albert; and his younger sister, Carmella. Mrs. Gallo wants to know where their brother Joey is. Carmella says he went to the bathroom. Impatient, with the dinner growing cold, Mrs. Gallo, a strong-willed Italian immigrant, walks to the bathroom and sees the door ajar. She pushes the door open and sees little Joey on the bathroom floor with a straight razor in his hand, and his curly blond hair shorn and scattered all over the floor. She demands to know why Joey had cut off his beautiful hair. Joey explains that his hair made him look like a girl, and he doesn’t want the other kids thinking he is a sissy. His mother tells Joey that he is right to be upset about something like that, but she disapproves of what he had done. She tells Joey that she loves him very much and is proud of him because he would grow up to become a great man.
3) Instead of taking the subway to elementary school as he usually does, young Joey decides instead to hop into a stolen car with some of his friends. The driver crashes the car and Joey is seriously injured. The other occupants of the car run off, leaving Joey injured and alone in the car. He is rushed to the hospital, where he shows signs of a restless disorder. This is the first indication that Joey is mentally unstable.
4) After being honorably discharged from military service because of a nervous condition, Joey and his brothers, along with their hoodlum pals, regularly commit burglaries and truck hijackings. A seminal moment occurs in Joey’s life, when the18-year-old sees the 1947 movie “Kiss of Death” at the Brooklyn Paramount. “Kiss of Death” stars Richard Widmark in a supporting role as the crazed gangster, Tommy Udo, who was the epitome of evil. Udo wears black suits, and black shirts with white ties. He has a snarling mouth and an eerily squeaky voice, which issued threats of violence to whomever pisses him off. Joey worships the character, Tommy Udo, who loves to kill with aplomb and relish. Joey takes to impersonating Udo, by dressing, sneering, laughing, growling, and acting like him. He practices imitating Udo as he looks at his reflection in the mirror.
5) In 1950, Joey is arrested and charged with burglary. In front of police officers and prosecutors, Joey does his best Tommy Udo act and convinces them that he is a certified nutjob. The judge also observes that Joey could be mentally deranged when he shows up in court wearing a black zoot suit, a black shirt, white tie, and a wide-rimmed black fedora with a gray band. The judge sends him for a psychiatric evaluation, which confirms what everyone already believes – Joey is certifiably unhinged. Nonetheless, the judge inexplicably allows Joey to plead to a simple count of illegal entry and lets him loose on the streets with a suspended sentence. When the psychiatrist’s report leaks out, Joey officially earns his nickname, Crazy Joe, but no one in his right mind ever calls him that to his face.
6) It’s the early-1950s and Joey, Larry, and Albert (see note below) are together with a bunch of their buddies in the Gallos’ private club at 51 President Street. The Gallos’ ruffian friends have names like Punchy, Joe Jelly, Sammy the Syrian, Ali Baba – The Egyptian knife-thrower, Tarzan, Big Lollypop and Little Lollypop, Louie Cadillac, Vinny the Sicilian, Roy Roy, and a midget named Mondo, who cares for Joey’s pet ocelot cub, Cleo. Mondo feeds the ocelot huge chunks of meat, walks him on a leash along the mean streets of Red Hook Brooklyn, and houses the vicious animal in the cellar beneath the club. The Gallo crew engages in comradely banter, busting each other’s chops and bragging about their exploits. This scene should be handled in a manner similar to that of the wise guys in the bar scene in the movie, Goodfellas. It’s analogous to a Star Wars bar scene, featuring mobsters instead of intergalactic creatures at their leisure. The cops are outside the club monitoring the activities of the Gallo crew every day. The wise guys inside the club are fully aware of the surveillance and make fun of cops because they are so obvious.
Note: Through the 1950s, Joe Gallo, along with his brothers, Larry and Albert (nicknamed “Kid Blast”) controlled the streets of South Brooklyn. Larry Gallo is considered the brains of the gang, Joey is the muscle, and Kid Blast is neither.
7) The Gallos are running a gambling operation and expect to be paid on time. One debtor shows up in Joey’s office on President Street, where Joey demands that he immediately pay the late vigorish (the minimum weekly interest payment on the principle of the loan) on a one thousand dollar shylock loan. The debtor complains he doesn’t have the money, but says he will pay Joey next week. Joey reaches into the guy’s pockets and pulls out wads of cash.
“What’s this?” Joey asks him.
“It’s my rent money,” the man says. “My wife just gave me money to pay the rent.”
After Joey tells the man he’s full of shit, Joey twists the guy’s arm and breaks it in two places across his desk. The debtor immediately pays the late vig with his one good hand. It is in this manner that Joey sends a powerful message to everyone in his debt that he is not to be trifled with.
8) The Gallos move their headquarters to their parents’ luncheonette called Jackie’s Charcolette on Church Avenue so they can be near Brooklyn’s biggest gambling and bookie operation run by a Mafia bigwig named Frankie “Shots” Abbatemarco.
Joey and Larry Gallo get arrested along with Frankie Shots’s son, Tony Shots, in Jackie’s Charcolette for allegedly running numbers.
During the arrest, the detectives find stolen men’s suits instead of numbers policy slips. Joey had stolen the suits from a warehouse guarded by a cooperative watchman. Mary Gallo intervenes and tells the cops she bought the suits from some guy who said he got them after they fell off the back of a truck. But the detectives aren’t buying her bullshit story.
Larry Gallo decides to take the rap for his brother, Joey, and Tony Shots and serves a one-year sentence for the heist. To reward Larry for being a stand-up guy, Frankie Shots gives Larry a lucrative bookie assignment on the Brooklyn waterfront. As a result, Larry Gallo becomes an esteemed associate of the Profaci crime family.
9) Joe Gallo enters the jukebox racket and forces bar owners in Brooklyn to accept his machines in their establishments. Big Lollipop cruises the bars to make sure the jukebox operation is running smoothly and that the Gallos are receiving their proper share of jukebox cash receipts. While sitting at a local bar and talking to the owner, Big Lollipop notices the owner’s son-in-law enter the bar and start doing some work on the jukebox. He asks the owner what’s going on. Only Gallos’ authorized maintenance men are permitted to work their machines. When the owner tells Lollipop that it costs him nothing for his son-in-law to maintain the machine instead of the Gallos, who charge him an arm and a leg, Big Lollipop gets up off his stool, picks up the son-in-law, and throws him face-first through the window. When Big Lollipop reports this incident to Joey later in the day, Joey is delighted that Lollipop put the guy in the hospital.
10) The Gallo brothers meet in the backroom of Jackie’s Charcolette. Joey complains bitterly to Larry and Albert that they aren’t getting enough respect from the Profaci crime family, which controls most of the organized crime activities in the Brooklyn area. Larry counsels him to be patient. He says that it is just a matter of time before they and their crew are rewarded with a greater piece of the action. Larry thinks that they will be assigned more responsibility and will be accepted as made men into the Profaci family in due time. Joey remains skeptical, but says he is willing to wait a little longer. But if he sees no progress soon, he swears that he will take matters into his own hands.
11) In 1957, an opportunity presents itself to the Gallos in the person of Albert “The High Executioner” Anastasia, who heads one of New York City’s five crime families. Anastasia’s fellow crime family leaders decide that they have had enough of his reckless behavior and give their approval for Anastasia to be whacked (see note below). The Profaci family is selected to carry out the order. Joe Profaci decides to entrust this sensitive assignment to his associates, Larry and Joe Gallo. In return for their service, Profaci promises to give Larry and Joe Gallo their buttons and assign them key sections of his territory so they can make serious money in the future. The Gallos accept the offer and put together their plan to assassinate Anastasia.
Note: In the 1930s, Anastasia and his partner Louie “Lepke” Buchalter were the masterminds of the notorious Murder Incorporated. Anastasia was later promoted to head one of New York City’s five crime families, but he became more and more of a liability by ordering unjust hits that drew unwanted public attention and consternation among his colleagues. Anastasia finally crossed the line by selling buttons; i.e., memberships in the Italian-American crime syndicate.
12) On October 25, 1957, Albert Anastasia, who is dressed in a brown suit, white shirt, and brown shoes, takes a seat in chair No. 4 in the nine-chair Park Sheridan Hotel barbershop. As barber, Joseph Bocchino, covers Anastasia’s face with a hot wet towel, Anastasia lays back and closes his eyes.
Suddenly, Larry and Joe Gallo, their faces covered with scarves, burst through the back door of the barbershop. One is wielding a .38 caliber pistol; the other a .32 caliber pistol. One of the men barks at the barbershop owner, Arthur Grasso, “Keep your mouth shut if you don’t want your head blown off!”
The two men then commence firing at the back of Anastasia, who is still sitting calmly in the pink barber chair, a slight snore emitting from the side of his mouth. One bullet lodges in the back of Anastasia’s head, and two hit him in his left hand. Another bullet hits Anastasia in the back, and one round rips through the right side of his hip.
Like an enraged wounded bull, Anastasia staggers to his feet. The wet towel flies off his face, and he stands looking into the barbershop mirror. Confusion sets in, and Anastasia lurches at the reflections of his assassins in the mirror. The killers keep firing away; the last shot fired goes directly into the back of Anastasia’s head. Dead on his feet, Anastasia collapses onto his left side between two barber chairs. His pudgy left hand is outstretched; his diamond pinky ring glows in the bright lights of the barbershop.
13) After waiting none too patiently for their promised reward, Larry tells Joey that he received news that they will finally become made men in the Profaci crime family. Larry tells Joey there is one hitch. Joey must submit to a test to assure the Profacis that he is not a drug addict before he can get his button. Joey is insulted and protests, but Larry calms him down telling his brother to go along with it. The test requires Joey to stay in a hotel room for three days guarded by Profaci enforcers. The Profacis want to see if Joey can spend that much time without taking any drugs, like heroin, before they consent to induct him into their crime family. Joey reluctantly submits to the terms, and he passes the humiliating test, but not before he runs up an enormous 3-day tab at the hotel for the best food and liquor available on the room service menu.
14) In 1959, Joe Profaci, a notorious cheapskate, orders everyone in his organization to kick up an additional $25 per week to him, whether or not they earned money that week. As a result, there is dissension in the ranks. On principle, Frankie Shots, a longtime Profaci operative, refuses to pay the extra $25. Incensed at the insubordination, Profaci orders the Gallos to whack Frankie Shots. As a reward for their service, Profaci promises the Gallos they can take over the numbers rackets that Frankie Shots currently controls. Joey is reluctant to do the hit because he agrees with Frankie, but Larry reasons with his brother by telling him: if we don’t follow Profaci’s direct order, then both of us will get whacked along with Frankie Shots. Consequently, two members of the Gallo crew, one of whom is Joe “Jelly” Gioielli, carry out the hit, shooting Frankie Shots to death in a downtown Brooklyn bar.
15) After Frankie Shots is whacked, Profaci reneges on his promise and gives Frankie Shots’s gambling businesses to his relatives instead of the Gallos. To make matters worse, Profaci sends an emissary to the Gallos to warn them in no uncertain terms to accept his decision. This, of course, infuriates the Gallos. Joey and Larry resolve to take their revenge.
16) After biding their time, the Gallos make their move against Profaci in early 1961. The Gallos kidnap four of Profaci’s top lieutenants, including Joe Profaci’s brother, Frank. The Gallos hold the four hostages captive in four separate hotels and began negotiating terms for their release with Joe Profaci.
Among the Gallos’ demands are that Profaci deliver to them all of Frankie Shots’s gambling territory that he had promised them, along with $150,000 in cash to compensate the Gallos for revenues that they had lost in the interim. Profaci agrees to the terms, but insists that all four hostages be released first. Larry Gallo accepts Profaci’s word and releases the hostages. As soon as the hostages are released, Profaci reneges on the deal and refuses to talk to the Gallos. The Gallos, feeling the sting of Profaci’s betrayal, take to the mattresses and encamp themselves in their President Street stronghold. Street warfare breaks out between the Gallo and Profaci factions.
17) The Gallos are holed up in their President Street headquarters and they are getting cabin fever. Joe Jelly gets a call from his close friend, Sally D’Ambrosio, who invites him to go fishing with him and few other friends. Joe Jelly loves to fish and asks Larry Gallo if he thinks it is O.K. to go. Larry encourages Jelly to take a break and enjoy himself since he would be among friends.
Joe Jelly leaves President Street and meets up with his friends in Sheepshead Bay, where he boards Sally D’s yacht. A few days later, a suspicious car moves slowly down Avenue U in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn. The car stops in front of a candy store that Joe Jelly often uses to conduct business. As witnesses watch, the back door of the car swings open and someone throws a bundle onto the street in front of the store. The car then cruises away. When the bundle is inspected, Joe Jelly’s clothes are found wrapped around a dead fish. The underworld message is unmistakable: “Joe Jelly now sleeps with the fishes.”
18) Unaware that Joe Jelly is dead, Larry Gallo gets a phone call from John Scimone, a former Profaci associate who is now working with the Gallos to overthrow Joe Profaci. Scimone tells Larry he just won a bundle at the racetrack and wants to split the payout with Larry. Scimone also tells Larry that he has some good news to share concerning Profaci. Larry agrees to meet Scimone at the Sahara Lounge in Brooklyn later that day.
When Larry arrives, he meets Scimone and three of his friends at the bar, one of whom is Carmine Ricci. Scimone excuses himself to go to the restroom. While he’s away, his friends get into an argument with Larry. Ricci sneaks up behind Larry and puts a rope around his neck and starts to tighten it. He yanks Larry up and pulls him over the bar, as Larry gasps for air.
At that very moment, two cops pull up in a squad car outside the Sahara Lounge. They are puzzled when they see the front door ajar because the bar isn’t supposed to be open for business yet. One of the officers goes into the lounge and sees the owner, Charles Clemenza, calmly cleaning whiskey glasses behind the bar, but he also spots, out of the corner of his eye, a couple of legs stretched out on floor at the end of the bar.
Suddenly, three men rush out of the darkness, push the cop to ground, and run outside, where they encounter the other cop. As they flee, they shoot the cop in the face. By sheer happenstance, Larry Gallo survives his harrowing ordeal with an angry welt around his neck. The authorities question him but Larry claims he doesn’t know the identity of the perpetrators. Later that day, at the President Street hangout, Larry Gallo tells his gang what had transpired. After that incident, the Gallo crew doesn’t venture very far from their stronghold, which law enforcement authorities keep under 24-hour surveillance.
19) Crazy Joe refuses to stay within the safe confines of President Street. Instead, he moves into a Greenwich Village apartment with his wife, Jeffie. Joey fancies himself an artist of sorts, and he frequents the art galleries, bookstores, and cafes in the Village.
Joe Profaci dies on June 6, 1962. After a brief 18-month reign, his successor, Joe Magliocco, gets caught trying to eliminate two of his co-commissioners on the five-man Mafia Commission and is forced to resign. At this point, Joe Colombo assumes control of the family, which is renamed the Colombo crime family.
20) In 1961, one of his associates tells Joey about a lowly Manhattan check casher/ loan shark/ businessman, named Teddy Moss, who thought he could operate independently with no pressure from the mob. Joey sees an opportunity to muscle in on Moss’s enterprises. Slowly, he insinuates himself into Moss’s businesses by extorting him and threatening Moss with dire consequences, if he doesn’t cooperate. In desperation, Moss turns to the authorities and explains his dilemma.
Moss agrees to meet Joey at Luna’s Restaurant on Mulberry Street. Unbeknownst to Joey, there are four plainclothes detectives sitting at two nearby tables – one male and one female cop at each table.
After dinner is done and the waiter has delivered the deserts, the slightly inebriated Joe Gallo indiscreetly begins pressuring Moss to cooperate and make him his new business partner.
“I need time to think about it,” Moss says.
“You want time?” Joey says, raising his voice. “I’ll give you time. You can think in over for about six months after I put you in the hospital.”
Hearing Joey’s threats loud and clear, the detectives jump into action with their guns drawn, and they arrest Joey on the spot for extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. As Joey is led away by the detectives, he turns to the waiter and says, “Don’t worry. I’ll be back before my spumoni melts.”
21) At his trial, Joey refuses to accept any legal representation other than his uncle, Joe Iovine, who is a lawyer. The judge declines Joey’s request because Iovine already represents several members of the Gallo gang and also because Iovine may be called as a witness himself. It would therefore be a conflict of interest, if he represents his nephew in this case.
Instead, the judge appoints a top-notch attorney to represent Joey, but Joey refuses to speak with him, or cooperate in his defense in any way.
The trial becomes a circus, and Joey is found guilty on both counts of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. At sentencing, the judge decrees that Joey’s jail terms are to run consecutively, which means his sentence is 7 ½ to 14 ½ years in the can.
22) After being convicted of the extortion charges, Crazy Joe is sitting in his jail cell at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. He is disheveled and gaunt. He knows his enemies have a price on his head and want to have him killed in the joint. He hangs out in the exercise yard exclusively with black and Hispanic prisoners, preferring their company over that of the white inmates. He also dines with the blacks in the prison mess hall.
One day, Joey is waiting on line to get a haircut. The white prisoners have traditionally refused to have their hair cut by black barbers. But Joey insists that only a black barber cut his hair. This act endears him to the minority prisoners, but drives a wedge between him and the white prisoners.
Whenever he learns that a black prisoner is about to be released from prison, Joey refers the man to his brother, Larry, so that Larry can help the ex-con find work and at the same time become an able associate the Gallo gang can count on in the future. Not only will the recruitment of blacks fill the decimated ranks of the Gallo crew, but Joey figures the blacks will also help the Gallos in their war against the Colombos.
Because of Joey’s close friendship with blacks and minorities in the can, a prison inmate, who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan, tries to kill Joey with a shiv after a corrupt guard allows him to gain entrance into Joey’s private cell. But Joey is too fast for the Klansman. Joey quickly beats the racist’s face to a pulp. Then, he bites off his ear and spits it down the toilet. But all of Joey’s apparent fondness for black and minority inmates turns out to be just an elaborate ploy. After a thorough examination, a prison psychiatrist writes in his report that Joey is a world-class con artist and a “knee-jerk nigger hater.”
23) Meanwhile, open warfare between the Gallos and the Colombos continues on the streets of Brooklyn. On May 19, 1963, Larry Gallo sends of two his gunmen to ambush Carmine Ricci, a high-ranking captain of the Colombo family. When Ricci leaves his hideout on Bond Street and enters his parked Cadillac, the two gunmen open fire on him. Ricci suffers gunshot wounds to his right shoulder and his left arm. One bullet slices through his cheek and lodges in his mouth, causing him to choke on it. When the police and an ambulance arrive on the scene a few minutes later, Ricci hands a detective the bullet he was choking on and tells him to use it as a paperweight. When a detective asks Ricci to tell him who shot him, Ricci motions the detective to come closer to his face so he can hear him. As the detective bends over to get near, Ricci spits a wad of blood into his face and tells him to go fuck himself.
24) Two months later, the Colombos retaliate. They target key Gallo crew member, Ali Baba (Ali Hassan Waffa). Because of the prolonged war with the Colombos, the Gallo crew can’t earn much money from their usual criminal activities. To raise some needed cash, Ali Baba decides to work as a cook on the cruise ship, Exeter, during a 42-day sail across the Atlantic. When the ship returns to port, Ali Baba skips down the gangplank with the $600 in cash that he earned in his pocket. When he gets to River Street, two Colombo gunmen, Joe Black and “Sonny” DeMarco drive by in a stolen Chevy and open fire. At the hospital, before he dies, Ali Baba tells Carmella Gallo who shot him. Ali Baba is given a grand funeral in Brooklyn, befitting someone of his stature.
25) On May 18, 1968, Larry Gallo, dies of lung cancer, just weeks after doctors detected the illness. He is given a funeral in Brooklyn that is reminiscent of the one given to legendary Brooklyn crime figure, Frankie Yale, in 1928. Joe Gallo is not allowed to attend his brother’s funeral.
Because his kid brother, Albert, is considered too inexperienced at the time to assume a leadership role, the imprisoned Crazy Joe Gallo becomes the boss of the Gallo gang, the little that’s left of it.
26) In 1970, Joey is transferred to the Auburn Correctional Facility. Because he is friendly with militant black inmates, they select Joey to be their intermediary with prison officials concerning numerous grievances they have. The white cons share many of the same grievances as the blacks, but they are not as vocal and hostile as the blacks.
On November 2, 1970, without Joey’s approval, the black inmates declare Black Solidarity Day and go on strike. They stay in the yard, playing ball, smoking cigarettes, and giving the finger to the guards, who tell them they have to go back to work. The white prisoners refuse to join in solidarity with the minority inmates. Instead, they report to work as usual. When things escalate, Joey takes to a podium, flanked by prison officials, and encourages the white prisoners to stay in their cells, if the blacks start a riot.
Minutes after Joey’s speech, minority inmates, armed with clubs and pipes, take thirty-six guards as hostages, threatening to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. Joey, along with another white inmate, runs to the rescue of one of the prison guards, who is under assault by the blacks. After the insurrection is quelled, prison authorities rally to Joey’s aid and ask that he be released early due to his valor and courage. Because of his betrayal, Joey incurs the wrath of black prisoners who want to kill him. This threat bolsters the prison officials’ request to release Joey early. Joey is released from jail on March 10, 1971, and he returns triumphantly to President Street, where a block party is held in his honor. But the Columbo family does not share in the jubilation.
27) Joe Colombo’s son, Joe Jr., is charged by the Feds for melting down and converting U.S. dimes with high silver content into silver ingots, which are worth fourteen times the value of the dime coins. Joe Colombo, who had been feuding with law enforcement officials for years, is irate when his son is arrested. Colombo alleges that the police and prosecutors are bigoted against Italian-Americans. He begins organizing rallies to foster Italian-American solidarity and protest their mistreatment at the hands of prejudiced police officers. Colombo organizes the Italian-American Civil Rights League and holds a huge Unity Day rally at Columbus Circle in Manhattan on June 2, 1970. However, the Mafia dons of the four other New York City crime families do not share in the enthusiasm and attention one their own is bringing to their criminal enterprises.
28) As soon as Joe Gallo hits the streets in March 1971, he puts the arm on Joe Colombo for what Joey thinks is owed to him after spending almost 10 years in prison. He sends word to Colombo that as soon as Colombo makes a peace offering of $100,000, the two men can then sit down and talk about how they will divvy up the proceeds of all the illegal activities in Brooklyn. Joe Colombo answers by sending two of his top goons, Joe Black and Sonny DeMarco, to meet with Joey.
At this meeting, the two henchmen hand Joey an envelope containing a measly one thousand bucks. After doing a quick count of the envelope’s meager contents, Joey snaps, “What the fuck is this? Some kind of fuckin’ joke?”
“No joke, Joe,” Joe Black answers. “And Mr. Colombo sent you this message. He said if you don’t like it, you can either burn the cash, eat it, or shove it up your ass.”
Stinging from the rebuke, Joey can do nothing but bide his time.
29) Three months later, Joe Columbo is preparing for his second Unity Day rally at Columbus Circle. He expects a crowd of 250,000 to attend the event, but only 50,000 show up. As Columbo approaches the podium to speak, a black man named Jerome Johnson fires three shots at Columbo at close range. Colombo’s bodyguards attack Johnson and kill him on the spot. Johnson’s black woman companion escapes in the pandemonium that ensues. The gunshot wounds place Colombo in a coma from which he never recovers. He dies seven years later. If Jerome Johnson had an accomplice, he or she was never identified. But the prime suspect, especially in the minds of Colombo crime family, is Joe Gallo, although no hard evidence is ever found to connect him directly to Joe Columbo’s shooting.
30) With Joe Colombo out of the way, the Commission appoints Joe Black to be the acting street boss of the Colombos. He immediately places an open contract on Joe Gallo, meaning any associate in the five crime families is authorized to whack Gallo, if he gets a chance. When Joey shows up unexpectedly at Luna’s Restaurant on Mulberry Street, Joe Black orders that an ambush and surveillance be set up around the restaurant so Joey can be taken out the next time he shows up. He stations men daily on both sides of the restaurant. Colombo sharpshooters rent an apartment nearby with a clear view of Luna’s entrance, and the men take shifts looking out the window with a high power rifle close at hand. To their dismay, Joey doesn’t show. Joey may have been tipped off, and he is nowhere to be found.
Then, out of the blue, in early March 1972, Joey enters a social club on Mulberry Street. With him are his brother, Albert; his bodyguard, Pete “the Greek” Diapoulas; and several thugs from his crew. Joey loudly orders drinks for all of the stunned wise guys in the place. He then tells everyone in the joint that he doesn’t give a shit about any Colombos and that he will kill anyone who tries to stand in his way. His threat is answered with deafening silence. Needless to say, Joe Black isn’t thrilled when he hears about the incident; it only makes him more eager to kill Joe Gallo.
31) On March 19, 1972, Joey, whose wife divorced him while he was in prison, marries Sina Essary, an aspiring actress. Joey had met Sina a few months earlier and began a whirlwind courtship. Comedian David Steinberg is Joey’s best man, and Sina’s ten-year-old daughter, Lisa, is the maid of honor. The wedding ceremony takes place in actor Jerry Orbach’s apartment on 22nd Street in Manhattan.
32) It’s the eve of Joey’s 43rd birthday, and he decides to celebrate the occasion at the trendy and mobbed-up Copacabana. Joey piles into Pete the Greek’s Cadillac Fleetwood with his wife, Sina; her daughter, Lisa; his sister, Carmella, and Pete’s girlfriend, Edith Russo. They arrive at the Copa about 10:30 pm, where they meet up with friends. Joey’s old pal, the comedian Don Rickles, entertains the audience that night and into the wee hours of the morning. During their stay at the Copa, Joey and his entourage consume several bottles of champagne. When it approaches the Copa’s 4 am closing time, Joey picks up the check and says he is hungry for Chinese food. The same group that traveled to the Copa now leave together in Pete’s Caddy and head to Chinatown on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
33) When the partiers arrive in Chinatown, Joey’s preferred Chinese restaurant is closed. Joey doesn’t want to go to any other Chinese restaurant, so he asks Pete to drive over to Luna’s on Mulberry Street. When they get there, they find that Luna’s is also closed.
Pete keeps driving along Mulberry Street until they reach Hester Street, where they see that the recently-opened Umberto’s Clam House is open for business. Umberto’s silent owner, Sally Cavallo, a made Mafia member, is standing outside shooting the breeze with a couple of local hoodlums. One of the hoods is Joe “Fish” Luparelli, a close associate of Joe Black’s. Joe Fish spots Joe Gallo in the back seat of the Cadillac. Because he has brass balls and little common sense, Joe Gallo decides to eat at Umberto’s. So, he saunters into the place with his entourage. Meanwhile, Joe Fish makes a beeline to a local restaurant.
34) Even though it is close to 5 am, there are several customers seated in Umberto’s. A college-aged girl is sitting alone at the bar, and four men in working clothes occupy a table near the front door. Next to them sits a Chinese couple. The Gallos walk past the long bar, and they take six seats at two tables pushed together at the right side of the restaurant near the rear side door, which opens onto Mulberry Street. Joey sits facing the front door, but his back is to the rear side door, which is behind him to his left. Pete the Greek sits to Joey’s right, and Joey’s sister, Carmella, sits to his left. The rest of the party fills the remaining seats, with Sina, Lisa, and Edith facing Joey on the other side of the table.
Sally Cavallo enters the restaurant and sits at the bar, just as the waiter comes to the Gallo table to take their orders. Jerking his thumb in Sally’s direction, Joey tells the waiter, “Let him order for us. He knows what’s good. Right, Sally?”
Sally tells the waiter to start with the shrimp and scungilli salad, four plates of each.
35) Joe Fish reaches his destination, where he is delighted to find Colombo henchmen, Sonny DeMarco and Chubby Caputo, sitting at the bar with two brothers Joe Fish knows only as Benny and Cisco. All four are slightly in the bag, as Joe Fish informs them that Crazy Joe Gallo and his entourage are at Umberto’s Clam House. Sonny immediately sends Benny and Cisco to get guns, and then he phones Joe Black with the news. Joe Black tells Sonny to get going and kill the motherfucker.
Minutes later, Bennie and Cisco return with four guns. The five men quickly exit the restaurant and jump into two cars. Joe Fish drives his car, which is to be used as the crash car, with Chubby sitting alongside him in the passenger seat. Sonny doesn’t want Chubby shooting because he is out on parole. Sonny drives the other car with the two brothers as passengers. Both cars pull up in front of Umberto’s. Sonny parks his car near Umberto’s rear side door on Mulberry Street, while Joe Fish turns his car to block the intersection of Mulberry and Hester Streets.
36) Meanwhile, inside Umberto’s, Joey decides to visit the restroom located downstairs in the dingy basement of the restaurant. When he returns to his table, Joey tells Pete the Greek. “Man, it’s spooky in that hole. I wonder how many dead bodies are buried down there.”
Joey orders another round of shrimp and scungilli salad.
Suddenly, before the food arrives, Sonny bursts through the rear side door and stands right behind Joey. “Die, motherfucker!” Sonny yells, as he begins firing at Gallo. Benny and Cisco rush into the restaurant right behind Sonny, also firing their weapons.
While Lisa is screaming, “Don’t kill my daddy! Please don’t kill my daddy!” Joey is hit five times. Sina reacts immediately to save her daughter. She pushes Lisa under the table and covers Lisa with her fur coat.
Sina pauses to look at her husband’s face before she herself dives under the table. As Joey rises to his feet, his mouth is agape, and his eyes are staring straight ahead. The first bullet hits Joey in the upper back, just to the left of his spine. It pierces his left lung and severs his right carotid artery. The second bullet hits his lower back on the left side, and a third bullet pierces his left arm, bounces off his chest, and falls into the lining of his jacket.
As Joey stumbles toward the front door, two more bullets slice through his jacket, but do little more than superficial damage. A dead-man-walking, Joey staggers toward the front door of Umberto’s, knocking over several tables in the process. He stumbles out the front entrance, bumps into Pete the Greek’s parked Caddy, and then lurches forward into the street and collapses onto his side at the intersection of Mulberry and Hester.
While Joey is being blasted by bullets, Pete the Greek frantically tries to pull his gun out of his pants pocket. Before he is able to draw his gun, one of the shooters pumps a round into Pete’s buttocks. Sonny and the two brothers run out of the restaurant after Joey. When they see him drop to the ground in the middle of the street, they run to Sonny’s car. Pete fires at them as they speed away. Then, Joey’s sister, Carmella, comes out of the restaurant, screaming.
Carmella drops to her knees beside her brother and cradles his head in her arms. Joey stares blankly into the night sky above her shoulder as he lies dying in the street. A police car arrives at the scene. The two police officers take one look at Joey and realize there is no time to wait for an ambulance. They place Joey onto the backseat of their patrol car and rush him to Beekman Downtown Hospital. But Crazy Joe doesn’t make it. He is declared dead on arrival. Joe Gallo dies on his birthday, exactly forty-three years after he was born. It is a miracle he lived as long as he did.
These closing statements on the aftermath of Gallo’s death appear on the screen as follows:
• Only one hundred or so mourners attended Joe Gallo’s extravagant wake in Brooklyn. Members of the Colombo crime family were conspicuous by their absence.
• The Gallo-Colombo war continued on and off for two more years until a truce was ordered by the Commission of the five New York City crime families.
• No one was ever arrested, much less indicted, for the murder of Joe Gallo. It remains an open case.
Note: The screenplay for Crazy Joe Gallo is currently under development.
Note: This treatment has been registered with the Writers Guild of America, West.