Mike Mazurki

Traffic slows for rubber-necking casualties etched in Mazurki's face. Horns honk in salute or aggravation. Winos in MacArthur Park ripple in their sea of newspaper beds as they dimly sense something is up . Mike suggests we step inside. The hand muraled ceiling is a mile high. Boris Deutsch completed it seconds before the last splash of color in the most colorful decade of the century. Gold gates at the top of the marble staircase were meant to open into Flapper Heaven. But things changed. The tourists take seats in a maroon corner booth, primed by Mazurki's presence, adrenalized by the wail of approaching sirens.

This is the home of the Cauliflower Alley Club, Mike Mazurki's version of the showcase restaurants populated by boxers and wrestlers who hung out with movie stars and mobsters back when Mike wrestled and hung out with movie stars and mobsters. Mike befriends the shady characters who lurk in the dark credits of every black and white gangster film you've ever seen. Today these faces would be created in a special effects lab. In their day they did it with their fists. There would be no film noir without them.