Obviously I don’t know much about gangs, but here are some apocryphal tidbits and what I call “Facebook Facts.” If you have any other memories, please contact me!
THE BALDIES AND THE ANIMALS
The subject of gangs first came up during a discussion of the Dayton’s 8th Floor Teen Shows that were held in the early ’60s. They became so popular that attendees had to be members of a “Top Ten Teen Club.” Even at that, the shows came to an end and one reader wanted to know why.
T.J. Skinner, who was a local roadie and attended all the Dayton’s shows from 1962 to ’64, attributed the demise to gang fights.
My recollection as to why it ended was Dayton’s got tired of the security costs because in 1963 the Baldies and the Animals were fighting all the time and would meet at the dance club to fight. Baldies wore “gant” shirts, high tight pants and polished loafers…Animals were long-haired greasers (biker boys by today’s standards) who supposedly filed their teeth. I admit I never saw filed teeth, we thought that was a rumor. We didn’t let people get close enough to bite us. Fist fights, knife fights were always going on at these things. Different gang fights. A few friends and I started a gang called the King Bees, got jackets and strutted around the Dayton’s 8th floor auditorium Dance Club, got a couple of bloody noses and lips, but mostly avoided dangerous fights. The rivalry was not only Baldies and Animals but also Minneapolis vs. Saint Paul. My recollection is that was why they quit hosting them.
- St. Louis Park City Council minutes provide the following: In October 1962, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard G. Peterson made the charge that St. Louis Park was the home of two teenage gangs: the Baldies, who shaved their heads and wore steel-toed shoes, and the Animals, who had razor blades in their shoes and bit their victims with their filed teeth. The City Council, the Police, and the School Board hotly denied the existence of these gangs – said to number 75-100 each – in the Park.
- Bob Rapp says “I remember them from Northeast Minneapolis in the early ’60s. Wingtips were the favored shoe by the Baldies as I remember. A favorite place for a ‘rumble’ in those days was Perry’s Drive-In on Johnson Street, although I’m not sure if it was these two gangs or others. I think the filing of their teeth by the Animals is just one more urban legend. I never heard anything about anyone ever being bitten.”
- A comment by one of the Underbeats indicated that the Baldies and Animals were based around 23rd and Washington.
- My in-house expert on the ’60s says “The Baldies and Animals were generic names for lifestyle, attitude, and dress.
- Baldies had a specific dress code: Gant, Sero, or Pendleton shirts, carefully ironed. Shoes were wing tips, cap toes or shells.
REAL BAD BALDIES
- The Baldies were a South Minneapolis street gang that existed from 1955 to 1975, organized by Deuce Casper (1936-2003). In Minneapolis, over 1000 gang members engaged in violence, crime, and fear mongering. The Baldies were identified by their closely cropped hair and Ivy League, or preppy style, in contrast to their “Greaser” rivals, the Animals, who wore slicked back hair and leather jackets. (http://mafia.wikia.com/wiki/Minnesota_Mafia)
- Tommy “The Bomber” Ogdahl (1939-) was a Minneapolis politician with a past police record connected with Deuce Casper’s Baldie street gang. Ogdahl helped elect former police chief Charles Stenvig to the office of Mayor, and was appointed Deputy Mayor, eventually serving as an 8th ward Alderman.
- Perry “The Scholar” Millik (1944-2003) was a Minneapolis gangster who graduated from high school with honors while running a commercial burglary ring. Millik graduated from college with two degrees, and worked briefly in the field of corrections, but returned to crime when Deuce Casper was released from Leavenworth prison. He was front man for porn and prostitution kings the “Lebanese Alexander Brothers” who operated under the Old Genovese Crime Family of New York City.
THE DEACONS AND THE BALDIES
- In mid-1964 the Deacons had a huge local hit with the “Baldie Stomp,” which didn’t seem to have anything to do with the Baldies. The refrain was “shake and stomp.” There was a song called “Shake and Stomp” recorded by Dick Dale in 1961, but that was an instrumental except for one time when Dick shouts the title.
- The Deacons also recorded “Baldie Beat.”
- In an interview in Lost and Found Magazine #3, Deacons member Gary Starzecki explained, “At the popular clubs we were playing at (like Mr. Lucky’s on Lake Street) there were two distinct clothing styles in late ’63: Greasers, characterized by jeans and t-shirts, and Baldies, which tended to be better dressed (i.e. suits and ties). The Deacons’ attire, with our matching suits and ties, coincided with the Baldies. After [“Baldie Stomp”] came out we wore skin wigs for a laugh, once, for 15 minutes on stage – but that was the extent of the no-hair thing. Simply put, Baldie was a popular look with kids throughout the country.”
- The Baldies were apparently a nationwide phenomenon – All Hopped Up and Ready to Go, a book about New York City music history, mentions that Dion of Belmonts fame was a member of the Fordham Baldies. On this web site, the Baldies of the ’50s wore DA haircuts, shaved their victims’ heads, and/or they got their name from the bald eagle.
- One St. Louis Park kid says he got beat up by the Suprees, white guys wearing “white and green hero jackets.”
- Another remembers the Suprees as a tough black gang.
- Allegedly the Tarmegons and the Suprees didn’t get along so well when the Rave-Ons played at Mr. Lucky’s.
- In 1966 the Minneapolis-based Suprees mixed it up with the local Excelsior gang the X-Boys at Danceland. Big Reggie lost his license for part of that year because of teenagers mixing it up so often at Danceland. An undated news article states that the Excelsior Council voted to suspend the license for 30 days to determine whether the dance hall was a contributing factor in an incident where a fight injured two people. According to Police Chief Earl Halleck, 1,400 teenagers were at the hall, including 25 to 30 members of the Suprees. “The fight broke out about 9:45 p.m., Halleck said, between ‘a local youth and several of the Suprees.’ The Excelsior youth, he said, used a baseball bat on one of the Suprees, beat him very badly, and received a cut on his neck during the fight.”
- Not sure if this is gang-related or just testosterone: An earlier incident in Excelsior was described in the March 14, 1963, Minnetonka Record. A 16-year-old was stabbed in the arm after kids in one parked car on Excelsior’s main street challenged another group driving through town. One kid from Deephaven had a hunting knife and another had a club. Brave Sam Kanan, owner of the Skipper Cafe, broke up the fight, grabbed three boys, and gave first aid to the victim of the knifing. The kid who did the knifing was taken to juvenile detention for 24 hours and then released to his parents.
- The Primas were remembered to wear gray wool jackets with black leather sleeves. At North High they may have been more of a club, and had an auxiliary called the Sams. 1970 was the last year for the Primas.
- Other mid-’60s gangs at North High were the Malos, Importers, Muffits, and Pagans.
- The Arribas, out of St. Louis Park, would use Sen-Sen after drinking before a dance to cover the evidence. They would also chew Black Jack, Clove, and Beeman’s gum.
THE SOUTH SIDE ASSOCIATES
Another St. Louis Park fellow says that the South Side Associates was a group of about 12 guys from South Minneapolis who thought they were bad. They wore Fedoras and carried canes. Late one night, our man and a friend pulled his mom’s new 1966 Mustang into the Dairy-Mor on Wooddale Ave. near Excelsior Blvd. and were attacked. They managed to get out of there without too much damage, since they were in the car. They recognized one member who was from Park. They rounded up all the tough guys in school and somehow found them all at McDonald’s and chased them down Minnetonka. Blvd. until they lost them somewhere around Calhoun. The South Side Associates were a short lived phenomena.
THE WOULD-BE HELL’S ANGELS
On March 2, 1968, eight bikers ranging in age from 18 to 31 were arrested and charged with breach of the peace after a fight at the Blue Eagle Tavern, 1105 – 26th Ave. No. Later that night a bomb was thrown at the scene of the fight blowing the door off its hinges, breaking the front windows, and blowing an 11-inch hole in the concrete of the building’s basement. One of the men arrested was also charged with possession of narcotics, and one of the two women was charged on a previous warrant. “The eight told police that they planned to form a local chapter of ‘Hell’s Angels,’ a California motorcycle club.”