What did Henry Hill get up to after Goodfellas?
March 23, 2019 8:16 PM   Subscribe

 
Changed his first name to Harold and start selling musical instruments?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:34 PM on March 23 [12 favorites]


After the fact, Sherry was able to contextualize overheard snippets from Martin’s writing sessions with Pileggi. She realized she had heard where some of the loot from the multimillion dollar Lufthansa heist was hidden. She remains mum on details, but Janet’s dossier on the case showed that Sherry heard the gold was buried under 42nd street in Manhattan. Get your metal detectors out, because that’s the first time that’s been in print.

UH...OK I GUESS...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:52 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Also Re: Hill/Lewis: Christ what an asshole!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:55 PM on March 23 [8 favorites]


H.neanderthalensis, I came here to say exactly that. +1
Loved the film, really interesting to hear this sequel, thank you Transl3y.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:17 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Can't wait to get the email about the new half-assed Netflix series based on this.
posted by bunbury at 9:18 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Don't know why this wasn't mentioned: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Blue_Heaven_(1990_film)
posted by jwest at 9:42 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


Hot take - my favorite Redmond american/mexican place for enchilada plate has some authentic mob history!
posted by temancl at 10:44 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Can't wait to get the email about the new half-assed Netflix series based on this.

The way Hill/Lewis kept being an idiot in public when people were telling him to lay low – for example swindling the governor of Kentucky – it could be called Death Wish.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:19 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Years ago as a young man I used to do IT support for the Supreme Court of Victoria. I was having lunch with a friend who was a psychologist and I mentioned the previous day an incident had occurred in one of the courtrooms in which someone had swiped the judge's laptop during a short recess. Someone. Stole. The Laptop. Of a Supreme Court Judge. In Court. Just reached over his desk and grabbed it when no-one was looking, and then walked out.

"Explain to me the mentality of someone who does that."

"Sure. So, the question I have for you is: what's to stop you from doing it?"

"Because if I were caught, I'd be fired, probably charged as well. I'd be humiliated."

"There you go. The people who do this shit never think of that stuff."
posted by um at 1:53 AM on March 24 [34 favorites]


Changed his first name to Harold and start selling musical instruments?

The Music Man (with Robert Preston) was always one of my favorites, and it still blows my freakin' mind that we never actually know Harold Hill's real name. We know he went by "Gregory" at one point earlier in his career, but that's about it. So yeah, GRIM GRITTY WITNESS PROTECTION PREQUEL TIME, why not?
posted by duffell at 5:03 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


They don’t really explain it, but he went to Godfather’s Pizza in Omaha because he thought it was hilarious that there was an organized crime-themed pizza place in Omaha of all places, where he became drunk and apparently abusuve to the waitress.

He was just ignorant. Omaha had been a center of alcohol production and distribution during Prohibition and had its own machine-style Irish crime boss (Tom Dennison). But, beyond that, Omaha is where the actual Godfather comes from — it’s Marlon Brando’s home town.
posted by maxsparber at 5:20 AM on March 24 [16 favorites]


You mean he didn't move to Texas to sell propane and propane accessories?
posted by ardgedee at 6:09 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


He was just ignorant. Omaha had been a center of alcohol production and distribution during Prohibition and had its own machine-style Irish crime boss (Tom Dennison).

Nah, I think it's just that he's from NYC. Nothing that exists there can possibly exist elsewhere as anything other than a pale imitation of the NY version.
posted by neonrev at 6:21 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


I have never much cared for labelling everyone in sight "co-dependant", but Karen Hill....jeez
posted by thelonius at 7:09 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Nah, I think it's just that he's from NYC. Nothing that exists there can possibly exist elsewhere as anything other than a pale imitation of the NY version.

The only people who ever actually think or say anything like this are people who aren’t from New York, but for some reason they all love to attribute it to New Yorkers.
posted by holborne at 8:11 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


holborne, I have had a New Yorker say basically what neonrev said, to my face. So there's your anecdata of N=1.
posted by cooker girl at 9:48 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


One day, Martin showed up to El Toreador in a t-shirt that read “Witness Protection Program.”

US Marshal #1: You know that t-shirt we gave to Henry as a joke the last time we moved him?

US Marshal #2: Yeah...oh, shit. Don't tell me he -

US Marshal #1: Yeah. He did.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:57 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Honestly, I'd watch a Netflix miniseries of this; My Blue Heaven barely tapped into the craziness of this story. If it hadn't been so long since GoodFellas, I'd even suggest that Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco reprise their parts as Henry and Karen Hill; maybe Scorsese would still be interested in taking part, regardless.

Also, WRT the question whether or not New Yorkers think that nothing is as good as it is in NYC, I think that it's generally people who move to NYC who think that everything there is the best, because that's why they move there. I think that Hill was probably down on Omaha because he had wanted to go to Florida, and because he had to stop swanning around like the mobster big shot that he used to be.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:10 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


The only people who ever actually think or say anything like this are people who aren’t from New York,

When I moved out of the city, no less than ten people gave me some variation of why I would be miserable forever because of the aforementioned.
posted by corb at 12:06 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


The only people who ever actually think or say anything like this are people who aren’t from New York,

The bartender at my Brooklyn hotel was talking about Hurricane Sandy and said to me with a straight face that if Wall Street had to close due to a natural disaster, "half of the world couldn't go to work the next day."


How can you tell that someone you just met is from New York?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:22 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


holy fucking shit.
posted by nikaspark at 1:46 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Well-written Medium article. Any idea of how the two writers sourced it? Interviews? It would have been nice to have a little context about that.
posted by JamesBay at 1:53 PM on March 24


I think that Hill was probably down on Omaha because he had wanted to go to Florida, and because he had to stop swanning around like the mobster big shot that he used to be.

This is probably closest, that anywhere he'd be sent would not be one of America's Great Cities for the simple reason that his former mob buddies still hang out there. One thing I don't get is that why, after so many years of him flaunting the rules and committing crimes, they didn't acquiesce to his wishes. "Oh, so you want to live the high life in Miami? Well, go on down there, we gave you an out." What exactly does WitPro have going for them to protect a guy like that even once? Is part of the pitch 'Also you can freely be a low to mid level scam artist and we'll ignore it.'?

(and not to continue the NY thing too much, but the thing I said was a close paraphrase of something a born and bred New Yorker said to me in college.)
posted by neonrev at 1:57 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


What exactly does WitPro have going for them to protect a guy like that even once?

The problem is if witsec fails even once- even on a guy who is a 100% canoe of douche- no witness will ever trust it ever again. And then the justice system grinds to a halt because no one high up or even medium up on any criminal food chain will testify against anyone because the protection of witsec is laid out as a scam. It wouldn’t matter in more garden variety cases but kiss goodbye any mafia or drug cartel case or gang case or, well you get the idea. That’s why witsec has to work- even for someone like this asshole.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:01 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Hill is a dumbfuck of the first order with a pathological need for attention and respect and was maybe the most hilariously wrong person to have a great movie made about his path to the witness protection program.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:10 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


I mean, that makes obvious sense, but I have inherent doubts about how that actually works. In a situation where the mafia is informed on, and that informant goes into witsec and is later killed or otherwise harmed, who exactly is motivated to report on that? Witsec has zero interest in announcing failures, and to lower level mafia guys I can't see how a lie about 'Oh yeah we got him' is different to actually killing a witness in their eyes, because how would they know? AFAIK, the mafia would not go out of its way to announce that they killed a guy to the news.

I guess the only people who would have the actual info on who was killed is whatever law enforcement finds the body and fingerprints it, assuming that info isn't also obfuscated in some way, or that such info wouldn't be withheld? But why would a mafia informant who gets killed be announced publicly by anyone involved? It's hard to trust people who professionally disappear people when they say they have a 100% success rate over time.
posted by neonrev at 2:16 PM on March 24


My guess is that while the Mafia wouldn't report it to the news or anything, the word would get around. "Oh yeah, you know Johnny Talktothecops?" "Oh yeah, the guy who snitched? Total surprise he'd turn. But didn't he go in Witsec?" "Yeah, but we still whacked him."
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:45 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


The problem is if witsec fails even once- even on a guy who is a 100% canoe of douche- no witness will ever trust it ever again.

I don't agree with your reasoning here. A witness who believes he has zero chance of remaining alive on the street (this was the position that Hill was in), versus some chance of surviving and having a decent life in the program, won't consider ONE failure to protect an informant to mean that he may as well just go it alone.
posted by thelonius at 3:43 PM on March 24


Holy heck, there sure are a lot of people on MeFi who have an intimate understanding of WITSEC from the witness's perspective! I thought I was the only one in the program.

oops
posted by duffell at 4:31 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


I read the memoirs of the Gerald Shur, guy who essentially founded WitSec. Up until his retirement, they had not lost a single witness to whatever they were protecting them from. (A new gang the witness joined afterwards or other illegal stuff, well, that did happen a few times.) That would take them until 1995 if I have the date of his retirement right. So, at least until the mid 90s, the mob had yet to wack someone in witness protection. I don't know about these days.

Shur's memoir is ok, although not really gripping. I guess when the program is well run (at least in terms of keeping people safe), there aren't going to be many exciting situations. It's an interesting subject, he tells a decent story and he does have some room for criticism of the program, especially from a woman who was dragged into it by her husband and had a really rough time of it.
posted by Hactar at 4:57 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I thought I was the only one in the program.

Cool! Can you get me a t-shirt?
posted by TedW at 7:14 PM on March 24


Holy hell, Kaylen levelled up from just pointing a gun in his face and waking him up.
posted by RainyJay at 8:57 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Had I never seen Goodfellas (I have, several times), I wouldn't be able to imagine how Hill/Lewis was able to get away with being an unmitigated jackass for most of his contemptible life. But, Liotta was so damn charming in the film—including when his character was in full evil schmuck mode—that even knowing what I now know about the real man, I can't totally shake my soft spot for him.

Perhaps that will change if/when I get over my celebrity crush on Liotta.

Thanks for posting.
posted by she's not there at 9:42 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


What exactly does WitPro have going for them to protect a guy like that even once?

They needed him to testify in multiple cases. This shit happens all the time -- the protected criminal knows damned well they have a get-out-of-jail free card, and they use it to the hilt. And the prosecutors protect them as much as they can because they've built cases around that witness.
posted by mikeand1 at 7:32 AM on March 25


Regarding Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco, while reading this article I had a hard time not picturing the events described with them as "Martin" and "Kaylen," despite the photos of the real people involved.
posted by carmicha at 9:25 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


I thought I was the only one in the program.

oops


More like witless protection program, right?
posted by e1c at 9:40 AM on March 25


Yeah, Liotta just about made that guy lovable somehow, obviously a far cry from what the real guy was all about.
posted by e1c at 9:43 AM on March 25


Liotta just about made that guy lovable somehow, obviously a far cry from what the real guy was all about.

Yes, but some of that was down to Liotta's character being an unreliable narrator. Per his rendition of events, including his story narration as told to the FBI, the Goodfellas Henry Hill was always merely adjacent to the big crimes shown, including the Luftansia heist. He never killed anyone, tried to calm Tommy down, etc. And the crimes he did participate were almost larks, even the curb-stomping, the nightlife glamorous, etc.

In his later life as an attention hound, the real Henry Hill told Howard Stern that he killed three people on instruction from mob higher-ups.
posted by carmicha at 10:19 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


the Hills bought brand new lumberjack- chic boots and plaids then traded them right in at Goodwill for old lumberjack-chic uniforms, a trick Henry had learned from years of observing unconvincing undercover cops

But... but... I mean, you can just buy the stuff at Goodwill. You don't need to barter.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:47 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Goodwill also doesn't work on the barter system. You can't trade things for things, only donate things. My guess is some confusion about them getting a voucher for clothes and then buying new clothes, buying old ones and donating the new, and then pocketing the difference when the voucher clears, or some other similar scam. The point about new clothes standing out to someone watching for it might be valid though.

My guess is that while the Mafia wouldn't report it to the news or anything, the word would get around. "Oh yeah, you know Johnny Talktothecops?" "Oh yeah, the guy who snitched? Total surprise he'd turn. But didn't he go in Witsec?" "Yeah, but we still whacked him."

My point is that they could just as easily lie and just say they killed him, and no one would know if it was true or not. That doesn't hold any weight I don't think.
posted by neonrev at 12:49 PM on March 25


On the off chance someone is still following this, another good story (albeit a very different one) about a New York mobster in the witness protection program is here.
posted by TedW at 10:12 AM on April 6


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