Oct 22, 2015
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Noir Factory Podcast #000: A Tour of the Offices of the Noir Factory

NFEpisode0GraphicThere’s a creak at the door, the smell of burnt coffee in the air and a forty-five buried in a desk drawer somewhere under six months of overdue bills.

A knock on the door reveals a woman in black. She’s high-couture danger wearing a stylish hat at a rebellious angle. She cradles a cigarette holder with two fingers and between the smoke and her chapeau, her eyes are a pair of diamonds in a sea of shadows.

She sits down and tells her story with the smoothness of fourteen year-old scotch. There’s a bit of sincerity in her tale, dancing on the surface, like a buoy over a rough sea of lies.

You start to say that you aren’t interested, that she should peddle her fish elsewhere when the sound of a trigger being pulled back captures your attention.

Welcome to the offices of the Noir Factory!

Follow us on Facebook to suggest episode ideas, comment on our blog, and if you feel up to it, leave a review on iTunes.

Oh, and bribery works really, really well.

Jul 7, 2015
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

State-Issued Striped Pajamas

Why Prison Uniforms Were Striped and Why They Aren’t Now

Prison StripesIf you’ve seen a prison movie either filmed or set before the 1960’s, than you’ve had a pretty easy time figuring out the players. The guards had blue suits while the prisoners wore baggy, ill-fitting (and frankly unflattering) horizontal stripes. Think George Clooney in Oh Brother Where Art Thou or Bugs Bunny in almost anything and you get the idea.

They all sported the state-issue striped pajamas.

The uniform of a convict in the penal system is almost considered a classic, and in some places in the US and abroad, the horizontal stripes are still in use. But, while the prison guards’ uniforms have pretty much remained the same since inception, the prisoners’ uniforms have changed over time.

Why exactly did the uniforms change, and more importantly, why were they such an unflattering horizontal striped abomination in the first place?

The answer lies, in part, with the Quakers.
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Apr 4, 2015
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

A Speakeasy in New York – The Museum of the American Gangster

Museum Of The American GangsterThere are charms aplenty for the millions of tourists that visit Manhattan’s East Village. There is a coffee bar on every block, some of the greatest pizza mankind has ever conceived, and enough gossip about Woody Allen to fill a Mia Farrow three-day holiday weekend.

But in addition to these tasty tidbits there are also secrets. Sure every city has their share, but the East Village has its own breed of secrets. And the best place to hide a secret is right in plain sight.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Museum of the American Gangster.
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Dec 13, 2014
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

The Great Santa Claus Bank Robbery – An A.P.B. On Old Saint Nick

Kringle Noir The Noir Factory http://thenoirfactory.comAs a crispness fills the air and the scent of gingerbread begins to waft from the kitchen, one only has to pull on an ugly sweater and curl up with a tablet to find some old-fashioned, weird Christmas crime.

And as always, Texas is as good a place to start as any.

In 1929 banks in Texas fell victim to robbers almost daily, and it was with an eye to protect what was theirs that the Texas Bankers Association offered a reward of $5,000 to anyone who killed a bank robber in the course of a crime.

To most people, this seemed fair, but to Marshall Ratliff, this seemed a little overly-punitive.

Marshall Ratliff was on his way back to his home in Cisco, Texas after serving a long stint upstate for a previous bank robbery. Not really knowing any other trade, Ratliff intended to pick up where he left off, but in addition to the new bounty on the head of any bank robber, there was the additional factor of his face being relatively well-known in his home town.

He needed a disguise, and it was late December.

Setting out in Wichita Falls, Ratliff met up with former associates Henry Helms and Robert Hill as well as a relative, Louis Davis, to rob the First National Bank in Cisco, Texas. They began their journey by borrowing a Santa suit from the woman who ran the boarding house where the men stayed and stole a car to get them to Cisco.
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Nov 1, 2014
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

A Few Bad Men… Six Book Series With Villains as the Heroes!

A Few Bad Men Six Book Series With Villains As the Heroes The Noir FactoryThere are as many ways to handle a case as there are ways to skin… well, almost anything. If you are on the side of the angels, then there are procedures to be followed and rules to be obeyed. Tasks must be delegated, superiors must be placated, and questions must be answered.

Even the anti-heroes, those darlings of the noir plot lines, aren’t given passes. Although they may not answer to authority and might bend the rules, they do so reluctantly. They have society to answer to and usually keep one side planted on the right even while the other foot dances in the shadows.

The real fun happens when the bad guy enters. Unencumbered by rules and superiors as well as devoid of conscience, they follow a code all their own. Mostly they are the forces to be fought, but occasionally, like any good character, they will be the heroes of their own story, and those stories are treats indeed.

Like Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter, some villains are too big to simply be just a foil for the hero. Below are some of the best of the worst, in no particular order. Thrill to their adventures, chill to their exploits, just be very, very careful not to judge them.
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