Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Legend of Ma Barker


I was watching "Public Enemies" last night, a two fisted portrayal of the Barker gang.
This is Theresa Russell who portrayed Ma Barker:






This is a photo of the real Arizona Clark, aka Kate "Ma" Barker:


























The Barker gang even robbed a train, which would seem anachronistic, except that Ma Barker has been born in 1872 in Missouri, the hey day of the James-Younger gang.

The real story of Ma Barker is less colorful and while she did go on the run to take care of her boys, by some accounts some of the most vicious, ruthless killers who ever lived, while her sons were out robbing and killing, Ma Berker liked to spend her free time at the movies. Kate Barker would've been tickled at the idea of becoming a Hollywood myth.

By the way, Alvin "creepy" Karpis, portrayed in Public Enemies as being near middle age, was actually in his 20s at the time, and in real life would later serve a long stretch in federal prisons, becoming a mentor and guitar teacher to a young, impressionable Charlie Manson. Karpis later was paroled and deported back to Canada, and retired and died in Spain.

3 comments:

Steve said...

Female outlaws should keep in mind their personal appearance. With the public's interest in women criminals as the subject for movies and television documentaries, a woman on the run will one day find herself being portrayed by a young and slim Hollywood actress, and she won't want to hear how Jessica Simpson or Paris Hilton is so much better looking than her. So, lady cons, the next time your in the pen sign up for that beautician course and just say no to that second helping of mash potatoes.

Mitch Kief said...

Wasn't there once an attractive female murderer and fugitive named Bambi? Was life imitating art?

Steve said...

Yes, that I think you're right. I do seem to remember a Bambi in the news. Myabe back in the 80s. However, if you saw 'Monster'( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0340855/ ) my first thought was how did she managed to make any money as a prostitute? Like Ma Baker the story plays better than the reality.