Historian, Dr. J. Michael Niotta, Grandson of Early LA Crime Boss Jack Dragna Gives Talk at Los Angeles Adventurer’s Club

October 2, 2021
Los Angeles, California
On Thursday, September 30th, I attended a public talk at the Los Angeles Adventurer’s Club in downtown LA on North Broadway.
The talk, entitled, “The Crime In Your Backyard: Early Organized Crime Activity In & Around the Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles” was given by historian, Dr. J. Michael Niotta based on his just-published book, Images of America: Los Angeles Underworld. (co-author, Avi Bash)
An excellent and informative talk by Dr. Niotta and I highly recommend his new book.  It is the only pictorial that I am aware of that contains photographs of  “all the main players” in Los Angeles’s early crime history.
Dr. Niotta in addition to being an expert on Los Angeles’ early gangsterism is also the grandson of Jack Dragna, who became boss of the Los Angeles crime family in 1931.
Author Niotta’s grandfather 1946
Jack Dragna

Click HERE for a full video presentation of the talk on YouTube 

Steve Hodel congratulates Historian Dr. J.Michael Niotta on talk and publication of his new book, Images of America: Los Angeles Underworld
Authored by J. Michael Niotta and Avi Bash

Early LA Gangsters known as, “The Spring Street Combination”


  1. J. Michael Niotta on October 2, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Steve, it was a pleasure meeting you. Thanks so much for making it out to the event and for posting about it. Wish we had more time to chat. Please keep in touch.

    • Steve Hodel on October 2, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      J.Michael N:
      Really enjoyed it. Good luck with the book. Great to have all of “them” in one book.
      Real service. Best, Steve

      • Patricia ONeill on October 3, 2021 at 1:31 pm

        Even tho it is an expose’ of the family’s criminal history, bet there is a proud Grandpa Dragna “bustin his buttons” up there over grandson Micharl Niotta’s accomplishments👍! It is amazing how grandchildren interpret your “tales of yore” with slants of wonderful humor and empathy! Hopefully you have found a future home base, Steve, on your recent visit with family in Washington! But I still stick with my favorite Eagles line……”you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”! So true. Hope all going well there!👍

        • Steve Hodel on October 3, 2021 at 2:28 pm

          Patricia O:
          Yes, fortunately, I can take my time to look for the right home up there. No rush.
          But, always be a special place in my heart for my hometown of Los Angeles. The good and the bad of it. So many memories from the Franklin House and the Gypsy Years. All part of the “becoming.” But, the refocus will be good too. *s*

  2. Dennis Effle on October 2, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    I’m sorry I missed this talk. I’m sure it was informative. Thanks for the post so I can get the book. Nice to finally have good pictures of these early LA scoundrels.

    • Steve Hodel on October 2, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Dennis: Yes, nice to be there in person. But, you can see the video of the talk on YouTube at above link. 95% of the talk was recorded and viewable there. Best, Steve

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