Archive for December, 2008

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

Monday, December 29th, 2008

“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.


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

Al Malnik and Larry King at it again

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

A younger Larry King. © Ray Fisher

“Yes, I knew Larry King… And I think I still have the NSF–nonsufficient funds–checks to prove it.”
–Al Malnik, Attorney

Al Malnik Sets It Straight

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

“Contrary to popular belief, I (Al Malnik) never worked for Meyer Lansky. I knew him, and he was a good friend who I spent a lot of time with, but I never represented him in legal matters. To me, Meyer was quite the grandfather type. If you knew him and talked to him, you could never imagine that any of the stories you heard about him had any veracity. You could never imagine that he was responsible for doing the things people said he did. He was not a person to give in to rage.”
–Al Malnik, Attorney

Al Malnik Miami Beach Memories – Ben Novack

Monday, December 8th, 2008

“Ben Novack was a wonderful old codger, very innovative. If he liked you, he invited you to sit at his personal table at the Poodle Lounge for happy hour.


Cocktails were $5, and everyone drank Cutty on the Rocks. They sat around and talked about the shows and the broads and what was going down. There was always a surplus of girls, especially girls who ran after the Rat Pack guys.


Ben Novack Owner of the Fontainebleau. © Ray Fisher

Novack was hard of hearing and he refused to wear a hearing aid, so you had to yell in his ear. He wore outlandish clothes, bright green sports jackets and moccasins with no socks. When I was finally invited to join his table, I thought I had arrived–I was now one of the Young Jewish Important People. That was how the social hierarchy of the day worked: Who you were was where you sat at the Fontainebleau.”
Al Malnik, Attorney

Al Malnik Miami Beach Memories – Frank Sinatra

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Al Malnik

“I got to know most of the Rat Pack guys… I saw Dean Martin around, and he was not at all like what he appeared, he was not a drunk. Peter Lawford was around too.  The guys often gave him a hard time because of his connections to the Kennedy’s. Jerry Lewis was on the scene, and I remember him as not a very nice person.


Frank Sinatra. © Ray Fisher

And then there was Sinatra. Frank had enormous personal problems, really strange things happening to him all the time––women trouble, cat fights. Mostly things he brought on himself. Frank could get mean when he drank: he often provoked people. He would call me in the middle of the night all worried that something bad was going to happen to him. He said the wrong thing to the wrong guy who was connected to the Mafia, and he was afraid they were going to knock him off. So I would calm him down and advise him about what to do.

Frank had a good friend name Gillie. Gillie’s wife, Honey, had blue hair and she would walk around Miami Beach wearing a long fur coat. She got into a little trouble for owning one of the largest abortion clinics in New Jersey, but that’s another story. They had a boat called Gillie’s Yen, and we would all have dinner on the boat. Those are some of my fondest memories of Frank.

I once had a bar mitzvah at my house for my son, and Frank was supposed to come. Woody Allen was there, and so were Dyan Cannon and a lot of great people. Gillie called and told me Frank had a problem and couldn’t make it. Apparently Mia Farrow locked herself to his door at the Fontainebleau with handcuffs.  He couldn’t get out of the room and had to call someone to cut Mia free. He showed up at my house at about 2:30 a.m., and the party was over. That was Frank.”
–Al Malnik, Attorney