A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 18, 2004
Murder, Inc.
"Murder, Inc." is the name of the old criminal association of the 1930s and 1940s. The name was coined in a New York World-Telegram headline, from headline writer Asa Bordages (1906-1986).

Wikipedia: Murder, Inc.
Murder, Inc. (or Murder Incorporated) was the name the press gave to organized crime groups in the 1930s through the 1940s that acted as the "enforcement arm" of the American Mafia, the early organized crime groups in New York and elsewhere. Originally headed by Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, and later by Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, Murder, Inc. was believed to be responsible for between 400 and 1,000 contract killings, until the group was exposed in the early 1940s by informer and group member Abe "Kid Twist" Reles. In the trials that followed, many members were convicted and executed, and Abe Reles himself died after mysteriously falling out of a window. Thomas E. Dewey first came to prominence as a prosecutor of Murder, Inc. and other organized crime cases.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Murder, Inc., an organized network of gangsters in the United States founded in the 1930s by Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter to carry out assassinations and assaults for money; (more generally) any group of organized and violent criminals. Murder, Incorporated = Murder, Inc.

18 March 1940, New York (NY) World-Telegram pg. 4, col. 3:
As prominent as Reles and Goldstein were in gang circles, neither of them was the president of Murder, Inc.

12 April 1940, North Adams (MA) Transcript, "On Broadway" by Walter Winchell, pg. 7, col. 3:
"Murder, Inc. was created by Asa Bordages, a World-Telly re-writer, who writes detective fiction after hours. Ironically, he can't use that now famous phrase for his latest mag article because some bloke registered it the day of publication...Boy, they sure take anything that isn't nailed down, don't they?

22 April 1940, New York (NY) Times, pg. 14, col. 5:
The principal speaker..drew a parallel between 'Murder Incorporated', recently uncovered by Brooklyn District Attorney William O'Dwyer's investigations, and 'Moral Murder Incorporated' as represented by the cloak of academic freedom thrown around a man and his pagan theories of sex morality'.

24 April 1940, Variety (New York, NY), pg. 2, col. 1:
Bordages' 'Murder, Inc.'
Claimed By 5 Others

Three major film companies and two freelance writers are battling for ownership of a screen title which none of them originated. Tag in dispute is "Murder, Inc.," created by Asa Bordages, rewrite man on the N.Y. World-Telegram, who first used it in the sheet's stories of the recently-exploded Brooklyn crime syndicate.

Claiming the title are Universal, 20th-Fox, Columbia, and Murray Rosenblatt and Rob Roberts. The three studios have registered their claims with the Hays office, while Rosenblatt and Roberts hitched the title to a crime story they had already written and hurriedly shot it around to the studios. Curiously enough, Rob Roberts is the pseudonym for a fellow writer of Bordages' on the W-T. Rosenblatt is a New York literary agent who writes under the moniker Michael Raymond.

20 October 1940, Lincoln (NE) Sunday Journal and Star, "Theater Topics" by Barney Oldfield, pg. D-6, col. 1:
When Asa Bordages, headline writer for the N. Y. World-Telegram, coined the term, "Murder, Inc." to describe the antics of that Brooklyn sudden death syndicate, he did it because it would fit easier in type. Now, three film companies are bidding for the two words, the money is as high as $5,000, and they hope to use it for a film title.

If Bordages think of a couple more words on which the same value is placed, he'll have to incorporate.

11 December 1986, Daily News (New York, NY), "Obituaries," pg. 54, cols. 3-4:
Asa Bordages, 80, a city newspaperman who was credited with coining the phrase "Murder, Inc." to describe the gangster mob that plagued the city in the 1930s and 1940s, died Monday. He lived in Columbia, N.J.

Bordages' wife, Josephine, said her husband, at the time a rewriteman for the New York World-Telegram, created the Murder, Inc. name to meet the editorial needs of the newspaper. "He was writing about this mob," she said, "and the editor told him they needed a headline to fit one column. He thought up 'Murder Inc.' and it fit."

Bordages wrote a play about Murder Inc., "Brooklyn, U.S.A." that appeared briefly on Broadway in 1941. He also wrote several novels and was a combat correspondent with the Marines in the Second World War.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, September 18, 2004 • Permalink

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