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The Spectator: Who Killed Molly Zelko
26 minutes | Jan 30, 2020
Episode 8 - "Where Are You?"
The Spectator concludes.
35 minutes | Jan 20, 2020
Episode 7 - "A Business of Favors"
As the 1978 Joliet Herald News series reignited the Molly Zelko story, a newspaper landed on top of a rural Coal City, Illinois bar run by Dennis Enrietta. Enrietta’s immediate fascination with the case led to chance encounter with another alleged eyewitness to Molly’s burial, which established an alternate theory on her whereabouts. Enrietta would go on to spend four decades independently researching the Zelko case, untangling complex webs – “threads” as he calls them – of organized crime, labor, and politics at the local and national levels. These forces appeared to have collided at Molly Zelko’s doorstep, taking our story into its climatic final act.
32 minutes | Jan 11, 2020
Episode 6 - "Come Pleasing to the Eye."
The year is 1978, over two decades since Molly's disappearance. A fateful move brings Lynne Lichtenauer and John Whiteside together, and Molly's story back into the headlines. Joliet Herald-News Reporters Whiteside & Cain venture into unorthodox - even paranormal - means to flush out leads. Their chase for answers climaxes in an intense hypnosis session of a witness to a midnight burial on Joliet's Stryker Avenue the night Molly vanished.
31 minutes | Jan 2, 2020
Episode 5 - "Aunt Molly"
Episode 5: “Aunt Molly.” Though Molly has since become a larger than life folk hero in Joliet, she was a daughter, sister and an aunt to Jim Zelko and Arlene Reivers. Cousins Jim and Arlene share their childhood memories of Molly and the reaction of the Zelko family in the wake of her disappearance. The devastated Zelkos directly appealed directly to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who unbeknownst to them, had taken an interest in the case from its earliest hours.
28 minutes | Dec 18, 2019
Episode 4 - "Prison-wise, Street-wise, and Other-wise."
A bizarre break in the Molly Zelko occurs when it is revealed that Robert F. Kennedy traveled to Joliet to search for her after a confession was made from a syndicate hood named Jimmy Rini, aka “The Green Hornet.” Kennedy was then the chief counsel to the McClellan Committee, which was investigating links between union labor and its leadership under Jimmy Hoffa to organized crime figures in New York and Chicago. Rini recanted his confession, claiming he fabricated the story to gaslight the authorities. Rini was interviewed by Chicago journalist John Conroy years later where he recounted his life of crime and despite openly bragging about a variety of despicable criminal acts, becomes rattled when discussing his role in the Zelko case.
27 minutes | Dec 8, 2019
Episode 3 - "We Knew Them Well"
Francis “The Thin Man” Curry was the syndicate’s manager of gambling operations in Joliet and Will County. His path to leadership was a bloody one, and probably by no coincidence was closely aligned with local political forces in Joliet. Curry was documented as having a particularly close relationship with Paul Ricca, the co-chairman of the Chicago syndicate. Curry’s involvement with the outfit was an open secret in Joliet when Molly disappeared, though he appears to have been remembered as a well-respected member of the community.
30 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
Episode 2 - "Speculation"
Episode 2: “Speculation” Perhaps no one held more influence over Molly Zelko than the Spectator’s owner and her longtime mentor Bill McCabe. Almost a decade before Molly disappeared, McCabe was a powerful political force in Joliet and wielded The Spectator to influence public opinion. He had previously served as an Illinois State Senator, Will County State's Attorney and Mayor of the neighboring Village of Lockport. Giving and taking the hard elbows of Joliet politics, McCabe was not afraid to make enemies - until a fateful night in 1948 in which he was beaten within inches of his life.
28 minutes | Nov 28, 2019
Episode 1 - "Hell A' Poppin"
On the morning of September 26, 1957, Joliet Newspaper Editor Molly Zelko disappears. All that remains are two black, high-heeled shoes tossed carelessly near her 1955 Chrysler Sedan parked outside of her home. Through her newspaper, the weekly Joliet Spectator, Molly had been aggressively investigating gambling rackets in Joliet, chiefly pinball, which were linked closely to the Chicago syndicate. In the 1950s, Joliet’s proximity to Chicago made it a strategic location where the lines between business, politics, and crime were blurred. During this period, the syndicate was undergoing a leadership change from the Capone-era gangsters Paul Ricca and Tony Accardo to a younger faction led by Sam Giancana.
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