William Helmer Q&A #9

Co-author of DILLINGER: THE UNTOLD STORY

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Liz
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William Helmer Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:21 am

ONBC: On pg. 67, Girardin claims that Piquett “reached California by ‘riding the rods,’ and then somehow managed to enroll in Stanford University at Sonora.” I had never heard of a Stanford campus in Sonora, and proceeded to research it. I have yet to find anything that indicates that Stanford was ever located in Sonora. Do you have any information on this?

WH: No. Either Girardin was mistaken as to the city, or he misunderstood Piquett, or Piquett misled him. He might have been wrong on the name of the university or its other campus, or possibly Piquett was turned down by Stanford and ended up at another school in Sonora. He probably got such information from Piquett conversationally.
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Re: William Helmer Q&A #9

Unread postby gemini » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:10 pm

I found this site for inspiring writers which could be fiction, but a Steven Hawley wrote a Dillinger story which pretty well sticks to the facts we have read. Its worth reading just for the story but I am posting it here because its where I found this paragraph about Piquett.
Whether it is true or not I don't know except that most of the rest of the story tried to be factual.




Louis Piquet came up from behind the defense table as if at the sound of a timekeeper’s bell. A plump, putty-nosed cherub, he stood barely five feet four in his hand-lasted Oxfords, a diminutive figure amongst the surrounding figures in derbies and fedoras. Stetson hats. His hair added another three inches to his height, however, a tightly curled, salt and pepper mass swept up in a Bride of Frankenstein pompadour, a dramatic coiffure that reflected his style in the courtroom and his no less colorful personal history. For those inclined to believe it, that is.
By his own account, Piquet had been a rod-riding hobo who went on to tour Australia as part of the Sanford track team and fought as a welterweight on the West Coast, returning to Chicago only after being wiped out by the San Francisco earthquake. He’d taught himself law whilst working as a barkeep, passing his bar exams on the twelfth attempt, before using his talents as a Democratic ward heeler to land himself the post of city prosecutor. After sending up a Syndicate patsy for the Lingle killing*, he’d gone into private practice and been rewarded by a string of underworld clients whom he’d sprung via a combination of courtroom melodramatics and under the table payoffs.

It doesn't mention his edcucation but its not too far off topic.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:45 pm

gemini wrote: a dramatic coiffure that reflected his style in the courtroom and his no less colorful personal history. For those inclined to believe it, that is.

This quote struck me. It makes me wonder if anyone bothered to check credentials back then before hiring an attorney. He could have talked a good Stanford story as part of its track team and convinced everyone. Those in the Midwest may not have known enough about Stanford to know that there was no Sonora campus. Information was nowhere near as readily available as it is today.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #9

Unread postby Theresa » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:09 pm

Very true, Liz. We're now so used to going to Google to get answers for any questions we might have, that it's easy to forget that back in those days it would have required a lot of research to disprove someone's statement. Especially when that person was in a position like Piquett, a supposedly highly educated man in a professional position.

Maybe, if he studied law while working as a barkeep...maybe Stanford was the name of the bar?
:grin:

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:30 pm

Could be, T. Stanford is also an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County that is adjacent to the city of Palo Alto. It is mostly comprised of the Stanford U campus, but not entirely.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #9

Unread postby gemini » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:23 pm

I just ran across this tibit on IMBD trivia on Pulblic Enemies. I don't know if its true but it matches everyones speculation.


Dillinger's lawyer at Crown Point, Louis Piquett (pronounced "pick it"), never went to law school. He passed the bar on his fourth attempt, receiving his license to practice in 1920.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.


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