Al Malnik, J. Edgar Hoover, Self Closing Window Concept

“J. Edgar Hoover was around a lot in the 1960s and Jesse Weiss from Joe’s Stone Crab arranged a dinner at the restaurant for me to meet him. Hoover was a natty guy who fiddled with his cuff links and rearranged the silverware. While we were eating, he asked me if I had a mother, and when I said yes, he wanted to know how often I called her. He told me that mothers are the most important thing in life. Clyde Tolson was with us at the dinner. He was the deputy director of the FBI at the time, and he acted very reverential toward Hoover. We all heard the stories that they were gay, but they both acted in a very manly and dignified manner.

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Clyde Tolson and J. Edgar Hoover At Fontainebleau Miami. © Ray Fisher

Shortly after I had dinner with him, Hoover called me up and said, “Al Malnik, I heard about your entrepreneurial abilities, and I have an idea I’d like to discuss with you. We live in a house in Washington, and in the winter we like to keep our bedroom window open. But in the middle of the night, it gets cold and we have to get out of bed to close the window. Clyde invented this device: he had it patented. You set a particular temperature on a dial, and when the weather drops to that temperature, it automatically closes your window for you. I think it’s going to make a fortune, and I want you to help me sell it.”  Nothing ever came of that device, but it certainly sounded to me as though Hoover and Clyde slept in the same room.

Swifty Morgan was still around at that time, too, and he was a client of mine. Swifty’s claim to fame was that Damon Runyon wrote a book called the Lemon Drop Kid with a character that was modeled after him. He looked like a cherubic grandfather, but he had a nasty mouth. One of his routines was selling gold coins for triple the price of their worth. If he tried to sell you some and you said no, he would go around bad-mouthing you, telling everyone you were a cheap bastard. Needless to say, a lot of people in Miami Beach bought Swifty’s coins.”
–Al Malnik, Attorney

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