Noir Factory Podcast

The Noir Factory Podcast is created for the mystery reader, noir movie goer, or true crime buff who wants a closer look into the genre. Mystery writer Steven Gomez looks at crime history, pulp stories, noir films, and the men and woman who made them. Every other week we will examine an event or figure in crime history, a pulp or noir writer, or a piece of detective work, both fictional and in real life. If you have an interest in crime of any kind, THIS is the podcast for you!
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Apr 27, 2018

The Noir Factory Podcast

Case #37

Huey Long-The King Fish


“One of these days the people of Louisiana are going to get good government. And they aren’t going to like it.”

-Huey Long


Huey Pierce Long Jr. was born to Huey Pierce Long Senior and Caledonia Tison Long on August 30th, 1893 in Winnfield, Louisiana. Winnfield was a dirt-poor parish and the wealthy Long family stood out. They were the wealth and class of Winn Parish and lead the community for generations.

Huey’s grandfather had purchased 640 acres of woods and carved out a farm for his family. Huey’s father continued that tradition by buying up 320 acres near Winnfield.

Huey himself was the seventh of nine surviving children and from the day of his birth expectations were high. His father insisted that the kids should strive “to be someone,” and the lesson took. Of Huey Long’s siblings, two became Louisiana governors, one later a senator, a U.S. congressman, a district attorney, and five became school teachers, one at the university level.

In such a household it was hard to stand out, so Huey Long Jr. adopted a strategy that would serve him well for the rest of his life. He was very loud, and he was very proud.

Known to be fearless and exuberant, Huey learned to walk at eight months and would wander out of the house to play with livestock. He was hard to keep track of and according to his father, he was forced to build a cover for the family well just in case Huey had decided to jump in.

Feb 11, 2018

Noir Factory Podcast

Episode #36

Leopold and Loeb


My deepest apologies! The previous version of this episode was released “in progress” and by mistake . Please enjoy this updated version and again, my sincerest apologies!

-Steve Gomez


“To be an effective criminal defense counsel, an attorney must be prepared to be demanding, outrageous, irreverent, blasphemous, a rogue, a renegade, and a hated, isolated, and lonely person - few love a spokesman for the despised and the damned.”

― Clarence Darrow


Nathan F. Leopold Jr. was born on November 19th, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois to Nathan and Florence Leopold. The elder Nathan was the son of Samuel and Babette, Jewish immigrants from Germany who had brought their family to Michigan. He worked in shipping and had made a fortune. Their son Nathan had moved to Chicago and married Florence Foreman in 1892.

Nathan Leopold Sr. was already wealthy but had a gift for making more. He started up many successful enterprises in Illinois, such as Leopold & Austrian, a lending firm, the Manitou Shipping Company, a copper mining company, as well as the Fiber Can Corporation, a paper mill in Morris, Illinois.

Leopold Sr. was an active member of the community. He was president of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association in Chicago, one of the Chicago’s first bankers, and when he married Florence, he married into one of the most prestigious families in Illinois.

Jan 5, 2018

Noir Factory

BEST OF 2017


There’s a tradition in the podcasting world that during the first week of a new year you look back at the episodes you’ve put out in the world.

I know, if it’s a podcasting tradition how old can it be, right?

Still, just like drinking too much on New Year’s Eve and stepping on the scale after the holidays, we look at one episode that seemed to resonate with our listeners more than any other.

Perhaps it’s because the subject of the episode is a self-made man, who showed more grit and determination than most.

Perhaps it’s because he rose to dizzying heights only to fall from a peak, again, of his own making.

Or perhaps its because he was a prohibition guy, and everyone loves a good drink.

Whatever the reason, our listeners fell for the story of George Remus-King of the Bootleggers.  And that makes episode 29 the best of 2017.


“He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


George Remus was born on November 13th 1876 in Germany to Frank and Maria Remus, a working class family. He was the middle child with an older sister and younger brother and while he was still just a toddler, the family immigrated to the US.



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Dec 25, 2017

Hero Obscura

Episode #48

Santa Clause


Today’s hero isn’t obscure. Not in the least. In fact, he’s known by all. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. And how dreary a world it would be if he didn’t.

Old Saint Nick. Father Christmas. Kris Kringle. Santa Clause. Today on Hero Obscura.


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Look for our signal in the sky or simply follow us on Facebook! Also visit our for your FREE list of “The Top Superhero Lairs in Comics!”

Dec 21, 2017

Noir Factory

Interrogation #4

Dmitri Matheny- Noir Jazz


Crime Jazz: “The Femme Fatal. The cop on the beat. The hard-boiled detective. The saxophone under the street lamp in the fog. It’s the music of “Chinatown” and “Taxi Driver.”

-Dmitri Matheny

Find Dmitri’s work at


If you haven’t done so already, please review us on iTunes! It is an important way to help new listeners to discover the show.

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Dec 2, 2017

Noir Factory Podcast

Case #35

Sexton Blake-Pulp Detective

“If there is a wrong to be righted, an evil to be redressed, or a rescue of the weak and suffering from the powerful, our hearty assistance can be readily obtained. We do nothing for hire here; we would cheerfully undertake to perform without a fee or a reward. But when your clients are wealthy, we are not so unjust to ourselves as to make a gratuitous offer of our services.”

-Sexton Blake

As the 19th century came to a close, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was the undisputed heavyweight champ of popular fiction. From London to California, the exploits of the World’s Greatest Detective were the stuff of legend, and the public, more literate now than at any other time in history, were hungry for more.

And while Arthur Conan Doyle was hoping to distance himself from his great creation, one man, Henry Blyth, saw a hole in popular fiction that needed to be filled. And while he was just the man to do that, he saw no reason to re-invent the wheel.


Please stop by Facebook and "like" the Noir Factory. It don't cost nuthin'. 

Sep 21, 2017

We will be back the week of October 16th.

Aug 10, 2017

Noir Factory Podcast

Interrogation #3

Will Viharo: Gonzo Pulp Writer

Will Viharo is the author of the Vic Valentine series as well as the host of Seattle's Noir at the Bar, a seasonal showcase that combines author readings with alcohol, the way God intneded it. He is a writer that defies classification, with his work mixing humor, surrealism, gore, violence, and sex.

His newest work, Vic Valentine, International Man of Misery, is due out this fall and in this interrogation I get a chance to get the skinny from an unconventional writer, society observer, and all-around good guy.

You can connect with Will at

Cover Art provided by Matt Brown. You can find his work here.



Jul 27, 2017


Noir Factory Podcast

Case #34

Joseph Weil: The Yellow Kid


Who's going to believe a con artist? Everyone if she's good.”

-Andy Griffith

Joseph Weil was born in Chicago in 1875 to Mr. and Mrs. Otto Weil. The couple owned a small neighborhood grocery store and made a decent income. Their boy, Joseph, helped out after school by sweeping up and stocking shelves.


And then he discovered racehorses.


Jul 14, 2017

Case #33: The Black Sox


I'm forever blowing ballgames,

pretty ballgames in the air.

I come from Chi, I hardly try,

just go to bat and fade and die.

Fortune's coming my way,

that's why I don't care.

I'm forever blowing ballgames,

and the gamblers treat us fair.


-Ring Lardner



You could say that it started with Charlie Comiskey, because a lot of things started with Charlie Comiskey in Chicago in 1919. Comiskey owned the Chicago White Sox, a serious contender in any year, and he enjoyed the reputation as a tightwad and a fierce negotiator.

I want to go on record by saying that although Comiskey fostered the reputation as a hard-guy and a tightwad, the payroll of the Chicago White Sox was one of the best in the league. The team was filled with solid players and had two bona fide stars on its roster; outfielder Joe Jackson and third baseman Buck Weaver. They each made over $6000 a year in 1919 and a lot of the other name players on the team made around half that. And that was about what they would have made on any other roster in the Bigs, so while money was a factor in the Black Sox Scandal, it wasn't the only factor.



Jun 30, 2017

Noir Factory 

Case #32

Alan Ladd and Box 13

I'm the most insecure guy in Hollywood. If you had it good all your life, you figure it can't ever be bad, but when you've had it bad, you wonder how long a thing like this will last.”

-Alan Ladd

Alan Walbridge Ladd was born on September 3rd, 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was the only child of Ina Raleigh and Alan Ladd. Like most of the characters Ladd went onto play, his upbringing was rough and growing up was a constant struggle.

The family lost Alan's father, a freelance accountant, to a heart attack when Alan was only four. Shortly afterwards the family apartment was lost when Alan accidentally burned it down playing with matches.

After they lost their home Alan and his mother moved to Oklahoma City where she remarried. Afterwards they went to Pasadena, in a Grapes of Wrath-like journey,where his step-father found short-time work painting movie sets. Later in life, Ladd said they existed for long periods of time on nothing but potato soup.



Jun 29, 2017

NFL SuperPro

For a hero to fail, a lot of things has to happen. It has to be poorly thought out, ill conceived, and have little in terms of redeeming quality. Oh, and it should be created with ulterior motives.

Sounds pretty harsh? Then you just haven't met NFL SuperPro.


Jun 28, 2017

Space Cabbie!

Everyone has a hero. For cop's it's probably the Dark Knight and for soldiers I can imagine Captain America, depending on the army your in. But what about the ordinary guys? What about the accountants and pastry chefs or the mail carriers and DMV workers?

Fishermen, okay...we'll give you Aquaman.

But for the Lyft and Uber drivers out there, today's episode is for you!

I give you Space Cabbie!


Jun 27, 2017

The Blue Diamond

Some heroes are with us for ages and other are gone in the blink of an eye. If you are in the business of being a hero, particularly a super one, you never know how long you'll have. You just have to make sure that you use our time wisely.

That and you should punch a lot of Nazis.



Jun 17, 2017

He's clearly a man with a mission, but it's not one of vengeance. Bruce is not after personal revenge ... He's much bigger than that; he's much more noble than that. He wants the world to be a better place, where a young Bruce Wayne would not be a victim ... In a way, he's out to make himself unnecessary. Batman is a hero who wishes he didn't have to exist.”

-Frank Miller


In 1939 detectives and vigilantes rules the popular literary landscape. They were hard men who handed out justice at the end of a gun. Even the heroes that appeared in pulps, the early Super Heroes, such as the Shadow and the Spider, handed out death sentences with regularity, and whenever justice didn't come from them, it usually came in another fatal form, and no one seemed really broken up over it.

But suddenly comics and comic books were picking up steam with the public, serving as moral compasses for the kids of America, and that brand of quick justice would no longer do.

Names like Doctor Occult, the Clock, Superman, and the Crimson Avenger were on the scene, and to tell the truth, the transition from pulp sensibilities to comic books was rough. Heroes still wailed on the bad guys with little regards for health or civil rights, and even Superman was not above sending a guy to the hospital.

You know....if society needed that to happen.

In truth even Batman carried around a gun in the early days, but that went away quickly. Comics had a wider audience than the pulps, and Bob Kane and Bill Finger had a job to do.

That job wasn't to protect children. It was to sell comics to kids and approving parents.


May 31, 2017


Behind me, Billie was on her last song. I picked up the refrain, humming a few bars. Her voice sounded different to me now. Beneath the layers of hurt, beneath the ragged laughter, I heard a willingness to endure. Endure- and make music that wasn't there before.”

-Barack Obama


The woman who would be Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7th, 1915. In her autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, written with William Duffy, Billie said that her parents were “just a couple of kids” when they were married. She said that her father

was eighteen at the time, her mother was sixteen, and that she was three.

In reality her mother and father were never married, never lived under the same roof, and her mother nineteen when she met Billie’s father, who was himself only seventeen.

Lady Sings the Blues is littered with inaccuracies and misquotes. The book was written quickly, from conversations between the two writers, Billie telling William Duffy stories of her life. He was interested in getting her story, what she felt, and was less interested in fact checking.

And in this case, that’s fine. We may slip over a lyric or two, but the melody of the song, the voice, IS clear and true, and it really tells us everything we need to know about Billie Holiday, the immortal Lady Day.



May 15, 2017

"He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


George Remus was born on November 13th 1876 in Germany to Frank and Maria Remus, a working class family. He was the middle child with an older sister and younger brother and while he was still just a toddler, the family immigrated to the US.

The Remus family landed in Baltimore, then Cincinnati, and finally to Chicago, along with an intense wave of German immigrants to the Midwest.

Frank Remus found work as a lumber scorer during a boom time in Chicago and his son George flourished in school. Picking up the language quickly, he was fluent in both German and English at an early age and carried with him only the slightest German accent.

When George was only fourteen his father, Frank, who had suffered from acute rheumatism, was left disabled by the disease and unable to work. That left George to take up the mantle as breadwinner of the family. With fierce determination, he told his father not to worry and dedicated himself not only to supporting his family but to rise up through society as well.

He went to work at his uncle's pharmacy as a clerk and at the age of nineteen passed the state exam for a pharmacist's license. He continued to save and invest and within two years of becoming a pharmacist he purchased his uncle's shop and a few years after that opened a second, all the while dabbling in health insurance the side.

As a young adult Remus grew to be a fastidious man who was meticulous about his clothes and his surroundings. He prided himself as being a connoisseur of good food, fine wine, art, and literature. He also considered himself a “man's man,” and even though he grew into a soft, pudgy adult, he could still count on his iron will to achieve any goal he set for himself.

He was quick with his fists and even though he wasn't the most athletic man he could wear down almost any opponent. He also took up swimming with the same amount of focus and determination that he did everything.

He became a member of the Illinois Athletic Club and joined their water polo team, participating in national events. In 1907 he set the record for endurance swimming in Lake Michigan by swimming for 5 hours and 40 minutes in the dead of winter.

It was a record that held up for decades.

In 1899 he fell in love with one of his customers, Lillian Klauff, and in July of that year, the two were married. The following year, George Remus's daughter, Remola, was born.

When Remola was only eight years old she was cast by L. Frank Baum himself to play Dorothy Gale in the first film adaption of The Wizard of Oz.

Before George Remus was thirty years old he had met every goal society, or more importantly, he himself had ever set. But the arena, that of a pharmacist and a business owner, wasn't the one he had chosen. He had been thrust into it.

Now it was time for George Remus to face bigger challenges.

Apr 28, 2017

Eddie Muller is the founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation. According to their website, the Film Noir Foundation is a non-profit public benefit corporation created as an educational resource regarding the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of film noir as an original American cinematic movement.

Eddie is also the host of Noir City, the coolest non-profit fundraiser known to man. Noir City is a traveling film festival and chief fundraising event for the Film Noir Foundation. The event is a fun, immersive festival that makes its home in San Francisco’s Castro Theater but makes its way around the country.

In addition to Noir CIty, Eddie is also the host of Noir Alley on Turner Classic Movies. Noir Alley runs every Sunday at 10:00AM and showcases the best in noir.

Outside of film and television, Eddie is the senior editor of Noir City, FNF’s monthly e-magazine, as well as a contributing writer to Oakland Noir, a collection of Bay Area noir stories, as well as his studies of films and his work in fiction, which earned him the Best First Novel of 2002 by the Private Eye Writers of America.

Eddie Muller has forgotten more than most of us will ever know about Noir film and has earned the nickname the “Czar of Noir.”

Apr 17, 2017

“Even if they never got anything for it, it was cheap at that price. Without malice aforethought I had given them the best show that was ever staged in their territory since the landing of the Pilgrims! It was easily worth fifteen million bucks to watch me put the thing over."

-Charles Ponzi

Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tobaldo Ponzi was born in Lugo, Italy in 1882 and did the world a favor, one of very few, by changing his name to Charles Ponzi.

He came from a family that was at one time well-to-do but,  by the time of Charles’ birth, had fallen onto hard times. His mother used the title “Dona” before her name, an honorific usually reserved for the upper-tier of Italian society, but the title was a holdover from days long gone.

The Ponzi family had, by all reports, fallen onto hard times.

Charles Ponzi himself was a charming and likeable fellow who was an less-than-average student who was interested in good times a little more than schoolwork. After he graduated primary school he took a job as a postal worker, but left it when he was accepted at the University of Rome La Sapienza.

While he “studied” there, and because this is a podcast I’ll tell you I just used “air quotes,” he fell in with the children of wealth and leisure.

They treated their time at the university like a four-year holiday and Charles was more than happy to do the same. He hung out with the “beautiful people” in bars,cafes, and concerts, and he considered himself to be every bit as privileged as they were.

He ended his career at the university, however, flat broke with very little to show for it.

The one thing he did learn from his time at school was that young men were traveling to the US and returning wealthy.

Mar 30, 2017

Noir Factory Podcast

Episode #27


In 1996 a board game called KILL DR. LUCKY came out. It was a wildly fun game where each person takes turns trying to, well...kill Dr. Lucky.


Don't judge me. It was a simpler time.


The game required each player to take a turn at doing in the Rasputin-like physician, which was sooo much more difficult than it sounded. It took luck and daring to get the good doctor away from all other players and do him in, and more often than not, he escaped no worse for wear.


In short he was one hard SOB to kill. I'll go ahead and put a link in the show notes so you can see what I mean.


What does that have to do with today's case?


Well, a lot of what we do here is based in hard, cold fact and today's case is a little incredible. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that today's file is a little something we overheard at the corner bar.


Everything here, like all of our cases, has been researched and verified to the best of our ability. So sit back and have a pint as you listen to tonight's tale. Hell, have two if you aren't driving.


Case #27: “Durable” Mike Malloy. Today on the Noir Factory.


Join the discussion over at


Mar 9, 2017

Case#01.5: Kate Warne-America's First Female Detective REVISITED


Steve Gomez here.

A lot has happened behind the scenes at the Noir Factory during the last month or so. Our offices in the Sierra Foothills have moved lock, stock, and barrel up to the Pacific Northwest. Way up to the icy clutches of the Pacific Northwest. Past Seattle and into kissing cousin territory with Canada.

That kind of Pacific Northwest.

Now those were the offices we know and love. My home. Our everyday offices. Not to worry about the International Office in Prague. Those are still doing well. In fact, I’m told the less said about them, the better.

I’m actually told not to say anything about them. It’s best for everyone if we never speak of them again.

Please forget you ever heard about any office in Prague. There are no offices in Prague.


In addition to the big move up north, there have been other big life changes. I’ve taken a new day job that is more podcast friendly and should help with the production of more Noir Factory episodes as well as Noir Factory items which will turn up over time.

During all those changes our goal here was to keep our production schedule of two episodes a month up and uninterrupted.

I fell short of that goal. Woefully short.

I missed the entire month of February. I spent what few free hours I had that month doing research on a new case, but those hours were very few and very far between.

So in order to catch up and still bring something worthwhile to the table, I wanted to present something new or at least something beneficial to this “thing of ours.”

So this week, like any good detective, we are going back to our first case.

Case #001- Kate Warne: America’s First Female Detective is our most popular episode. It is also the episode with the worst sound quality. I was a complete rookie when I recorded it, and it shows.

And Kate Warne deserves better.

So as a special offering this week, as well as closing the file on old business, we’re going to revisit and re-record our first episode and in that sense, we’re going to try and give fellow Detective Kate Warne her due.

So be sure to grab your fedora and if you enjoy this episode, share it with a friend and stop by iTunes and give us a review, because a kind word can take you far.

Not as far as a few kind words and a gun, but still…...

Jan 25, 2017

Noir Factory Interrogation #1

Dan Slater-Author

Dan Slater’s novel Wolf Boys had been banned from prison by the Texas State Department of Corrections.

That is a shame because there is much there for the inmates, as well the public, to learn.

Dan Slater is a former legal reporter for The Wall Street Journal and has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, GQ, and Fast Company. He is also the author of Love in the Time of Algorithms.

Today he joins author Steven Gomez to discuss his newest book, Wolf Boys-Two American Teenages and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel.

Jan 14, 2017

Noir Factory Podcast

Case #026: Victor Lustig-Con Man Extraordinaire

“I’ve always loved movies about con men. I think con men are as American as apple pie.”

-Bill Paxton, actor

Victor Lustig was born on January 4th, 1890.  Maybe. He said, more than once, that he came from the Austria-Hungarian town of Hostinné, in what is now the Czech Republic. He said once that he was the son of the town’s burgomaster. He also said that he was the son of the poorest couple in the village. Believe what you like about the childhood of Victor Lustig, just know that there’s not a lot of upside in taking the word of a con man.

As a boy, Victor Lustig was an excellent student. Not of books and notes, not of procedure and equations. He was a student of people. He picked up languages quickly and he saw patterns in people’s behaviors where others didn’t.

He studied at the University of Paris and became fluent in Czech, French, English, German, and Italian. While he never was an imposing person, he learned charm and poise, and he learned to make them work for him.



Dec 30, 2016

“Whether in a white dinner jacket or in a trench coat and a snap-brim fedora, he became a new and timely symbol of the post-Pearl Harbor American: tough but compassionate, skeptical yet idealistic, betrayed yet ready to believe again, and above all, a potentially deadly opponent.”
-Ann M. Sperber, author

A lot of what we do here at the Noir Factory revolves around noir films, crime history, and pulp stories. And like it or not, whenever the subject of noir comes up, it has only one face. And that face has a scar on its upper lip, sleepy eyes, a fedora worn at a roguish angle, and a cigarette dangling from its lips.

And most of us wouldn't have it any other way.

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was a Christmas baby, born on December 25th, 1899 in New York City. And while that sounds like a typical "tough-guy" bio, it was anything but.

Bogart was the son of a prominent New York surgeon with the unfortunate name "Belmont Bogart," and successful commercial illustrator Elizabeth Bogart. Humphrey Bogart was raised in the Upper West Side, in a fairly privileged home, and before we go any further into Humphrey Bogart's childhood, we have to address the elephant in the room regarding his childhood.

Namely “Was Humphrey Bogart the Gerber baby food?”

We were all beautiful babies because every baby is beautiful. But again, none of us were beautiful babies like Humphrey Bogart was a beautiful baby.

Nov 28, 2016

“...My husband pointed out that kids frequently have an instinctive desire to follow the good example rather than the bad, once they find out which is which. We agreed that a good moral background and thorough grounding in the Hardy Boys would always tell in the long run.”

-Shirley Jackson, author

They are still in print today and they are still popular, even though they aren’t really like the stories you remember. Today there are smart phones and text clues, hackers and virtual reality, but don’t let that bother you.

They really weren’t for you in the first place.

They were for the person that you used to be. They were for the ten year old that you were. The one who stayed up late and smuggled a flashlight under the covers because you had to know what The Secret of the Old Clock really was or because you had to learn the true meaning behind the Mystery of the Whale Tattoo.

And if you are unhappy with the changes in the text or because Frank and Joe don’t look the way you remember them as kids, then that’s not on them. After all these years, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew are still just kids. If you can’t stand that modern sensibilities are creeping into your precious stories, then that’s on you.

But before you pass final judgment on some of your best childhood memories, then again let me remind you that they probably weren’t cutting edge entertainment when you read them. Adults probably looked down on them and thought of the stories as simple or cartoonish, or even, God forbid, juvenile.

But then what the hell did the adults know anyway?

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