“Tonight We Love”
Montiglio: That’s the Four Direction. It was a singing group. We opened up Little Anthony and **. It wasn’t a hitless group. We recorded on Decca Record, we went on thirteen Television shows. We did albums with Mitch Rider. All I needed was a kick from my uncle to get it, and he wouldn’t do it, because he said it was dirty Business. Pornography was a clean Business, but Singing was a dirty Business. I had that argument with him. It’s all right to kill People, but no to sing.
“Uncle Sam needs your help again.”
When I joined the Green Beret, I went over the Uncle Nino’s house. And it was in the evening, and I walked in all proud, figuring I was going to save the World from Communism, and I told him I had joined the Green Beret. It was like the top fighting unit in the Army. And he just sat down and stared. He looked at me, Boy, you are an idiot. I always thought you were an idiot, but you are an idiot. I said, Why? He said, You don’t die for these politicians, and you don’t die for these generals. You die for us, you die for your Family. That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m leaving in two days, and I’ll see you whenever I get back.
Featherstone: Right at that point, 17, I was almost killed by some guys who were trying to mug me and my friends. And they were shooting at us on the Street. They tried to rob us, and they pulled the guns on us. I hit one in the face with a coke bottle.
Narrator: In a few years, Mickey Featherstone would trade a coke bottle for a gun. He’d become a homicidal maniac, a hitman for the Mob. But in 1967, he was just another kid in trouble looking to get out.
Featherstone: I’d been trying to get my mother and my father to let me go to the Army at that time, and they won’t let me do it. That incident there got them to give me the permission to join. [Accurate.]
When I was in Vietnam, at times I thought we were worse than the enemy. Murdering the People, and torturing the prisoners, hooking them up to the field phones and shooting Electricity through their bodies. Tying them to the trees upside down to their feet. Some of them were shot in the head.
Beattie: The War had a big influence on him. When he first got there with the commanding officer, there were two guys pleading for their lives, the Viet Congs, with their hands bound. I guess they were praying or pleading, I don’t know. The guy, he looked at the commander, and the commander said, Shoot him. He said, I just robbed, these guys are asking for their lives. I blew both their heads off. He said after that, it came easy. [Accurate.]
Featherstone: I was ashamed of being in Vietnam. And when I became a street guy when I came home and did the things I did, then got involved with the Westies later. When I think about it now, it’s like a suicide. I wouldn’t kill myself for somebody who would eventually kill me.
Montiglio: My specialty was mainly light Weapons. I was a light Weapons man on the team. So I handled all the sniping. A lot of boobytraps. I think the Military prepared me more for going back than Brooklyn prepared me for going to the Military.
When I came back from Vietnam, I landed in Oakland, at the Army Tunnel. Spent a few days at the Bay Area. [omitted] I rented an apartment building over there. I bought a saxophone, I got back into Music. Bought a little piano.
It was all fine and dandy. Everything was great. Until I went to see The Godfather . Revelation. It just reminded me so much of home and the Family that I really, really got homesick. We walked out of the movie theater, and I said to my wife, It’s time to go back. It was the Corleone, the Michael Corleone character, it was too much that I related to the film. And being naïve and rather stupid, not knowing what it was really like. It’s not like it is in The Godfather. It’s not that easy to walk up and just shoot somebody in the head in the street. It’s a very difficult thing to do. The first thing they had me do was to rig a hand grenade in somebody’s car. And I happened to have gone to School with this kid. And it was something for 12 years earlier, he broke my uncle’s nose in a fight. And my uncle waited 12 years, all that time, We’re going to get him, we’re going to get him, we’re going to get him. He didn’t get killed. He got broken bones or something like that. About eight, nine months later, we saw him again. I figured by this time, Nino had calmed down again, and got it out of his mind. Usually, when you try and you miss, Okay, we tried and we missed. Leave the guy alone. Not so. It was my wife’s birthday party. He got me out of the birthday party, Roy DeMeo, and he said, Guess who’s corner of 86th street. I said, Who? Vinnie Mook. I had to tell my wife, Okay, we’re leaving the birthday party. We all got disguises on. We all went and just shot him in the street. And went over to the Brooklyn Bridge, gave all our clothes away, disguises clothes to the bums, and went back to the party like nothing happened. Had the cake and handed over the presents.
You see, when you get into that life, it’s not like somebody just takes you and say, Okay, go out and do this. It’s a gradual ascent or descent, depending on your opinion of it. It’s gradual. First I ran a car service. Then I made a couple of pick-ups. Then I did a little of this, then I did a little of that, and it just escalates and escalates, and you take on more and more, and you start feeling in here more and more, That’s what I do for a living now, [Accurate.] That’s what I do for my Family. And this was like a rite of passage. I never heard it in the real street vernacular, but in the books and the movies, that’s making your bones.
Marazano: Making the bones means doing the job when you want to go into service. You’ve got to make your bones. You’ve got to show them you’re a stand up person. You’ve got to show them you’re going to perform. You’re not going to back down. You’re not going to start [crying gibberish], or shit like that. It won’t cut. It won’t hold water.
Leonetti: My uncle said, Look, we have to kill Vince. I said, Okay. And around this time, Vincent was starting to get a little suspicious. He felt like maybe my uncle was going to hurt him. And he told me around the hangouts, he says, Look, no matter what happens, I don’t deserve to die. I said, Vince, nobody’s going to hurt you. How could you even talk like that to me, I said, come on. I’m trying to relax some. I said, Vince, get some ice, we’ll have some drinks. Eventually, he walks over to the kitchen. He opens the refrigerator door to get the cie, and that’s when I shoot him. He falls down, and my uncle listens to his heart. He says, Shoot him again in the heart. And I put thee gun in his chest, and I shot him.
Narrator: Phil Leonetti’s hit on Vincent Falcone earns him the nickname Crazy Phil. He’s proven his Loyalty to the Bruno Crime family.
The Gentle Don. [Jimmy Carter. Zbignew Brezinski. Samuel Huntington. Abba Eban. Henry Siegman. George Clooney. Steven Soderbergh.]
Newsreel: Things are a lot quieter tonight on Snider Street on South Philadelphia. The last night at this time, in front of this house, a reputed Mob boss, Angelo Bruno was gunned down. Today’s his friends and relatives of Bruno paid their respects to his Family.
Narrator: The hit on Don Angelo Bruno outside his home in 1980 was the beginning of a War. Before the War ends, two dozen guys get whacked. Stakes are high, Control of the new Casino rackets in Atlantic City. Phil Testa to become boss, Uncle Scarfo to become consigliere, and Phil Leonetti a made man.
Leonetti: I was made a member of the Family. Phil Testa, the boss of the Family at the time, called me the center of the circle. He pointed to a gun and a knife he had on the table, and he says, Would you use this gun or this knife to help anybody here if they had a problem? I said, Yes, I would. He picks my uncle to prick my finger to take blood from it. My uncle takes the blood from my shooting finger, he puts it in the piece of tissuepaper. Phil Testa says, I want you to make-believe this piece of tissuepaper is a picture of saint. And what I’m going to, Philip, I want you to cup your hands, and light this tissuepaper on fire. And as it’s burning in your hands, I want you to juggle it and keep saying, May I burn like this saint if I betray my friends. And I want you to keep saying that and juggling it until it burns out, which I did. And when it burned out, Phil Testa put his hands over mine, and he brought the ashes into my palms, and that I was a part of the circle, I was a made member. [omitted] It’s a moment that makes you feel very powerful, makes you feel very strong. Makes you feel I’m a part of this Family that, We’re all friends, we’re all brothers, we all help each other if somebody has a problem. I felt very Good about it.
Montiglio: But the Family doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a blood line. It’s just the Family. Everybody that’s there is the Family. When you take the oaths, when you get made, that comes ahead of your blood Family. It comes ahead of your kids, it comes ahead of your wife. If your wife’s dying in the kitchen, and you need to perform a tricky Anatomy, and they give a call and say Come, she’s got to find someone else to do the tricky Anatomy, because you’ve got to go, and that’s the Rules. [Bureaucracy.]
They kill you. They retire you.
Narrator: Boss Testa lasts less than a year. The night he gets blown up, a Little Italy restaurant takes the Testa Burger off the menu. Little Nicky Scarfo is now the undisputed boss of the Philadelphia. He hits the jackpot, Atlantic City’s untold millions.