'I'm ready for my Thompson burst, Mr. DeMille.' Faithful readers already know of the success of 'The Tommy Gun'. Our stalwart TCN editor Tracie Hill spearheaded that project. Greystone Communications tapped Mr. Tom Jennings to produce the Thompson episode of the History Channel's highly successful series 'Tales of The Gun'. Curt Collier served as Executive Producer. As viewers of The History Channel know, Greystone Communications does not sleep at the wheel. The success of 'The Tommy Gun' led to Son of Tommy Gun, a.k.a. 'Gangster Guns'. Tales of The Gun grew from 13 episodes to 26. 'Gangster Guns' opens the new 13 additional episodes of The History Channel's Tales of The Gun.
Seeing no need to change horses in mid stream, Greystone again tapped Tom Jennings as Producer. Andrew Nock (a great last name for a firearms show exec) served as Executive Producer. Mr. Jennings enjoyed meeting Thompson people during the filming of 'The Tommy Gun'. He went to school with us. He put what he had learned to use in both 'The Tommy Gun' and 'Gangster Guns'. Before getting to new show's specifics, background that raises the spirits and gladdens the heart must be laid.
'The Tommy Gun' debuted as episode #4 in the original 13 part series 'Tales of The Gun'. After Episode #5, Andrew Nock telephoned this writer. He stated that 'Tales of The Gun' had proved to be very successful. Mr. Nock explained that Greystone Communications wished to propose another 13 episodes to The History Channel. He requested additional material. After Episode #7, he telephoned with the good news. The History Channel had approved another 13 episodes of Tales of The Gun. Andrew stated that Greystone wished to build an episode around this writer's subject matter, namely the law and outlaws of the 1920s and 1930s. I responded that if they were throwing a party in my honor, I was inviting all of my friends. Telephone calls and faxes flew back and forth. Tom Jennings mounted silver wings and flew to Georgia in December and to Denison, Texas in January. As I write this, Greystone Communications cuts, corrects, and adds the sound track to 'Gangster Guns'. We all await the finished product.
As a veteran of three television shows as this is written, I should explain several things. The speed at which these episodes film and run staggers the mind. In Gibsland, Louisiana, I received some sage words from John Neal Phillips, author of Running With Bonnie and Clyde. He stated that ten minutes after your interview you will think of something. You will say, 'Gosh, I should have said that!' John Neal said not to worry about it. It happens every time. For my part, I learned the truth of his words. As Yogi said, 'It's like deja vu all over again.'
William Helmer, veteran of far more television projects than either John Neal or I, once stated that the men and women of Greystone were the best people to work with. I learned that in spades. When it gets to cutting time, the process functions like what in this part of the country we call 'a Chinese fire drill'. Rick Mattix, William Helmer (co-authors of Public Enemies) and this writer fact checked an advanced copy of 'Gangster Guns'. In that arena, it is my first rodeo. Bill Helmer told me that we should just give it our best. Sometimes we catch them all. Sometimes what we catch either falls through the cracks or gets snagged in the layers as it goes up. Mistakes will be made. New historical discoveries sometimes emerge before an episode debuts.
The above being said, viewers will find a lot to like about 'Gangster Guns'. Two firearms never before seen in live fire will debut on 'Gangster Guns'. Clyde Barrow crafted both of the originals. Two talented Class 2 manufacturers crafted the live firing replicas. Steve Hyde, a writer for Small Arms Review, demonstrates a Stan Andrewski crafted whipit gun. Paul Mahoney of KIUNKS in Naples, Florida crafted a replica of Clyde Barrow's 'scattergun'. Pauly brought it north and fired it for 'Gangster Guns'.
As for Colt Thompsons, you will view a number of them. TCN subscribers Forbes Mathews and Doug Hollberg fired '21 and '28 Colts for action shots. Forbes did on air commentary on the '21 Colt. He then shot the 21A as the (continued)