Obviously I don’t know much about gangs, but here are some apocryphal tidbits and what I call “Facebook Facts,” some of which inevitably don’t agree with each other. If you have any other memories, please contact me!
DAYTON’S TEEN CLUB
The subject of gangs and rock ‘n’ roll 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. …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.
Here’s an alphabetical list of the gangs people have mentioned, along with comments about them. Like I said, some of them are contradictory, but that’s how memories go.
T.J. Skinner: “The 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.”
Jay Mattsson clarifies the teeth filing issue!
In 1971 I was told by a former member of The Animals Minneapolis gang that they didn’t “file” down their teeth on purpose. Gang members with caps on their front teeth (broken from fights) would simply remove the caps before a potential fight so they wouldn’t lose the caps or accidentally swallow the caps. Any Animal who walked around with sharply-filed front teeth every day probably lost the caps.
What people saw were the sharp stumps left when a dentist sands down (using a sandpaper disc attached to a high-speed drill) a broken front tooth in order to fit a cap over it. I once saw a friend glue her cap back onto a narrow stump, so I know what those front teeth probably looked like on some of The Animals.
They also supposedly had razor blades in their shoes, the better to kick you by. But more dangerous were the Animal girls, who filed their fingernails into points and loaded them with some kind of toxic material. Then they would scratch you and the scratch would get infected. 50 years later our correspondent’s scar is just now starting to go away.
These guys, 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.
REAL BAD BALDIES
The Baldies were a South Minneapolis street gang that existed from 1955 to 1975, organized by Deuce Casper (1937-2008). 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.
Tommy “The Bomber” Ogdahl and his brother were both popular Baldies and had reputations for being tough fighters. Tommy 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” Milek (1944-2003) was a Minneapolis gangster who graduated from high school with honors while running a commercial burglary ring. Milek 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.
High School Baldies of the early-to mid-sixties had a specific dress code: “Gant,” Sero, or Pendleton shirts, carefully ironed, and high tight pants. Shoes were wingtips, cap toes, or shells.
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.
Greasers were more of a look than a gang, much like the Baldies of the mid-sixties. They might rumble with the Animals against the Baldies, ride motorcycles, wear slicked-back hair, and (I hate to say this) resemble Fonzie, but were mostly full of attitude.
NORTH SIDE GANGS
Mid-’60s gangs at North High were the Importers, Malos, Muffits, and Pagans.
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.
Ronnie Overby and Lester Van Epps from South High led the Primas. Ronnie is dead now. Spent some time in prison for murder.
THE SOUTH SIDE ASSOCIATES
The Southside Associates may have been the “Junior Suprees” from South Minneapolis. They wore peacoats with “SA” on their collars.
THE SOUTHSIDE ASSOCIATES VS. THE ARRIBAS #1
A 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 Lake Calhoun. The South Side Associates were a short lived phenomena.
THE SOUTHSIDE ASSOCIATES VS. THE ARRIBAS #2
This story came over the transom anonymously, and is another tale of the Minneapolis thugs attacking our St. Louis Park boys at the drive-in.
I have a story for you about gang history with the Southside Associates and the Arribas. It was the end of the summer in 1966. The location was McDonald’s in St Louis Park across from the senior high school. The seniors of the class of 1967 at St. Louis Park High were getting together at McDonald’s prior to starting the school year.
My school mates Jerry and Gerry were all in the car with me. I was driving my father’s 1966 Chevy Impala SS. We arrived at McDonald’s at sundown. I backed into a parking spot at McDonald’s, and we all began to socialize with fellow school mates looking forward to the upcoming senior school year.
After about 30 minutes, five carloads of Southside Associates drove into the McDonald’s parking lot. They proceed to intimidate the St. Louis Park students. They were looking for the President of the Arribas, yelling threats and talking smack about him. Where is Pat? They were out to get him.
I was sitting in my car at the time with Gerry, while Jerry was in the parking lot engaged in a verbal argument with the South Side Associates, who had confronted him. Jerry was a member of the Arribas, which was considered not a gang but more of a high school fraternity. There was back and forth exchange with Jerry and the Associates. Suddenly gang members started to pile out of their cars armed with bats, chains, crow bars, etc.
Jerry made a fast dash to my car, pursued by a group of violent gang member of the South Side Associates. As I started my car, one of the South Side Associates’ cars pulled in front of my car to block a forward exit. They piled out of their car. They first smashed the front windshield of my car, then they jumped on top of the car and start to beat and dent the car with bats and chains, yelling out that they were going to get us.
Since my forward exit was blocked, I put the car in reverse and backed up over the curb to the street. People fell off the car. Two of the South Side Associates cars engaged in a pursuit which quickly became a high-speed chase around and through the streets and alleyways of the City of St. Louis Park. One funny incident was when Jerry, who was yelling smack back at them, threw a malt onto the front windshield of a car and took one of them out of the chase.
My shattered front windshield made it difficult for me to see, and I was having to take direction from Jerry in the passenger’s seat. We could not lose the last car in pursuit.
We decided to drive to the St. Louis Park Police Station on Minnetonka Blvd. We figured that would end pursuit of the Southside Associates. The chase scene was fast and furious. We entered the Police parking lot with tires screeching. To our surprise there was a policeman in the parking lot who observed the chase.
The South Side Associates’ car stopped, reversed direction, and took off down Minnetonka Blvd. toward Lake Street toward Minneapolis.
The policeman made us all exit the car and took us into the Police Station where they contacted our parents.
The Minneapolis Suprees were legendary, but everyone seems to have their own legend. The Suprees were out of Central High, led by Harold Boudreaux.
I was intrigued about Harold Boudreaux, so I did some digging. He was born in 1947 and graduated from Central High in 1965. His yearbook says he was on the Honor Roll, Student Council, Hall Monitor, Spanish Club, Baseball, Basketball, Basketball, Track, Football, and Boys’ “C” Winner. The newspapers were full of his athletic exploits, describing him variously as 6’2″ to 6′ 4″. Sign of trouble came in 1963 when he was suspended from the basketball team for five days for a “scuffle with another student” in December 1963. But he was back, his picture in the paper, a member of the “City Team of the Week,” in February 1964. One reporter noted his “compelling taste for bubble gum.” In his senior year he was Captain of the football team at Central. On September 7, 1965, at a football preview, he was presented with the Most Valuable Player Award by the Minneapolis Conference. By then he was attending the U of M, where he had received a scholarship and was playing football on the freshman football squad. His last mention regarding his football career was in October 1965.
In December 1968, Harold was serving in the Air Force at Robins Air Base in Georgia. He married Charlzetta Irwin in 1969, served in the military, and was an electrician when he died in 2014 at the age of 67.
One St. Louis Park kid says he got beat up by the Suprees, white guys wearing “white and green hero jackets.” Another account says that the Suprees wore green and black jackets.
One remembers the Suprees as a tough black gang, while another says it was a black and white social club.
The Junior Suprees were lead by Richard Boudreaux, Harold’s younger brother. They wore black and brown letter jackets. Or tan and brown jackets.
Allegedly the Tarmegons and the Suprees mixed it up when the Rave-Ons played at Mr. Lucky’s.
Some St. Paul gangs included:
- The Brothers
- The Latin Counts
- The Blue Hippos
- The Apostles
They almost sound more like rock groups!
The X-Boys were out of Excelsior. In 1966 the Suprees had an epic fight with 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. 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.
There are lots of stories about gangs, few that can be verified. But they’re kind of fun to read.
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 Ave.
My in-house expert on the ’60s says “The Baldies and Animals were generic names for lifestyle, attitude, and dress.
Another item of dress was the “tanker jacket” (Green surplus jackets from WWII)
What is a “Moon Belt?”
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. in Minneapolis. 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.”
Hell’s Outcasts were from St. Paul.
Other St. Paul motorcycle gangs were:
- The Los Valentes
- Satan’s Helpers
- Satan’s Slaves