William Kennedy's Prohibition Story

Legs Diamond Shoot Ryans Wake Bar.jpg

A scene from William Kennedy's Prohibition Story -- location: Ryan's Wake

Next week PBS premieres the new Ken Burns documentary, Prohibition.

There's quite a bit of prohibition era history wrapped up here in the Capital Region, and a whole bunch of talented local actors and filmmakers are working on a local companion piece that will air alongside the Burns documentary on PBS stations around New York State.

Here's a preview:

Watch the full episode. See more WMHT Specials.

More on the project, plus some great location photos, after the jump.

1315918407_prohibition-kennedy-header227b.jpgWilliam Kennedy's Prohibition Story is being shot at locations all around the Capital Region, including Ryan's Wake in Troy, the home of local real estate agent Elise Van Allen in Albany's Center Square, and the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Based on an interview with William Kennedy, WMHT producer/director Dan Swinton created a biography of Jack "Legs" Diamond, the bootlegger and gangster who was murdered in frequented the night club at Albany's Kenmore Hotel. The film looks at Diamond's relationship with the Albany "machine," and in particular with Democratic party boss Dan O'Connell. After reading Kennedy's books, Swinton says he knew a lot about Legs Diamond -- but he was a little bit surprised by the size and scope of the empire he built. "He's not mentioned in the same breath as somebody like Al Capone, but William Kennedy portrays him as possibly one of the most powerful gangsters on the East Coast."

There's some great local talent working on this project, including Swinton, So Right, So Smart director Justin Maine and actors like Brenny Rabine and Rich Lounello.

The film will air on WMHT on Sunday, October 2 at 11:30 pm and Monday, October 3 at 7:30 pm, alongside Prohibition. There's also a preview event Friday, September 30 at Revolution Hall at 6 pm that includes a reading by William Kennedy and a screening of the half-hour film. The event is free, but you have to RSVP by September 26.

Here are a few production stills we thought looked pretty cool, and a few behind-the-scenes photos of the shoot:

Legs Diamond shoot Rich Lounello.jpg

Legs Diamond Shoot- Ryans Wake Joe Phillips.jpg

Legs Diamond Shoot -Ryans Wake 1.jpg

Legs Diamond Set - Brenny Rabine.jpg

Legs Diamond shoot - Dan Swinton.jpg

Legs Diamond Set Brenny Rabine 2.jpg

Legs Diamond Shoot Ryans Wake Bar.jpg

Legs Diamond Shoot Ryans wake 3.jpg

Comments

Cool! I'm probably more interested in Kennedy's Prohibition Story than the Ken Burns documentary. Every time I try to watch a Ken Burns production, I end up nodding off -- no matter how interesting the subject matter!

Stop by the University Club of Albany after work on Monday, 10/3 for Speakeasy Night and watch the broadcast premiere of "William Kennedy's Prohibition Story" on the big screen TV. Brian Facquet, co-founder of Prohibition Distillery, will be on hand as we mix up special cocktails with Bootlegger 21 Vodka. This award-winning boutique vodka is made with 100% corn and distilled in small batches in Gardiner, NY. Enter to win a free copy of “America Walks into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops” (Oxford University Press, 2011). There's something for everyone!

Legs actually was killed at 67 Dove Street.

Production quality looks great.

Legs was killed in an apartment on Dove St that William Kennedy owns now, not the Kenmore Hotel.

Legs actually was killed at 67 Dove Street.

Production quality looks great.

And of course we knew that from the original post -- but that's what we get for being in a hurry. My bad. Thanks for catching it!

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