Jack Boyle on Death Row?

September 6, 2015 at 10:35 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

While it’s no secret that Jack Boyle was incarcerated a number of times during his life (even writing his earliest Boston Blackie stories from a prison cell), no sources suggest that he was ever party to a violent crime.  But, strangely, the following piece from the August 27, 1914 edition of the Iowa newspaper The Malvern Leader would have you believe that Boyle once served time on death row:

Malvern Leader 8-27-14

In reality, the author of this piece managed to confuse Jack Boyle’s history with that of Boston Blackie.  The story “Death Cell Visions” recounts the time Blackie spent under death sentence on a mistaken conviction.  Apparently, since it was widely reported that the story’s author, No. 6606, was “a convict in a western penitentiary,” the person who composed this item for The Leader mistook Boyle’s fiction for a personal memoir.  This isn’t too surprising, since Boyle often drew from his personal experiences in writing his stories of the underworld.  And a handful news reports a few years later made the same mistake in reverse, confusing Boyle’s real life for his fiction.  Some accounts of his arrests in 1915 and ’16 claimed that one of Boyle’s aliases was Boston Blackie.  Strange how a writer can become mistakenly identified with his own creation.

JBF  9/7/15

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