Gangland Violence: The Two Tonys Murders (warning: graphic)

August 7, 1951. Hollywood. USC Digital Collections
LAPD lab man dusts for prints. USC Digital Collections
The bodies of Kansas City mobsters Tony Brancato and Anthony Trombino, still in their car. USC Digital Collections
Police officers, news men, and onlookers view the crime scene. USC Digital Collections.
Normally, it was a quiet street. USC Digital Collections.
Police flashlights provide the perfect noir lighting. USC Digital Collections.
The grim aftermath of a mob hit: Anthony Brancato’s career comes to an end. USC Collections.
Bagging the bodies. USC Collections.
The two Tonys, toe-tagged in the morgue. USC Digital Collections.

Anthony Brancato and Tony Trombino were two Kansas City mafioso who decided to make a name for themselves looking for action out west. Their first move was robbing the mob-owned Flamingo Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. They were promptly arrested, made bail, then headed to L.A. where they cheated a mob bookie out of $3000.

According to author Allan May, mob boss Jack Dragna had had enough. “‘You know, Jimmy,” said Dragna (to hitman Jimmy Fratianno), “these guys are no good. We’ve gotten a lot of bad reports on them. The way I see it, we’ve got to clip them. Set something up, will you.’    In the few seconds it took to utter those words, the fates of Anthony Brancato and Anthony Joseph Trombino were sealed. It was that simple.” ( The Two Tonys certainly made a name for themselves; just not the way they expected.

Charles Cushman’s L.A.

Main Street, 1952. Charles Cushman Collection
City Hall, visible from Main Street, circa 1952. Cushman Collection
2nd Avenue Tunnel, from Hill Street. 1952. Cushman Collection
3rd Avenue and Grand Street, Bunker Hill, 1952. Cushman Collection.
Main Street, Los Angeles 1952. Cushman Collection.

Charles Cushman, businessman and talented photographer, meticulously documented his travels, offering us time-capsule glimpses of locations worldwide from the late 1930s up to the mid-1960s. He bequeathed 14,500 Kodachrome negatives to his alma mater Indiana University upon his death in 1972. You can view the entire archive here, courtesy of the Indiana University Digital Libraries Program. His photographs of Los Angeles can be seen here.