Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rollover text informationAmerican Experience Logo
Chicago: City of the Century
The Film and More
Special Features
Do You Know Chicago?
Decades of Immigrants
Made in Chicago
Faces in the Crowd
Eight Anarchists
Then and Now
Your Kind of Town

People and Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Made in Chicago: "There's a sucker born every minute." previous 14 of 18 next

'There's a sucker born every minute.' Irish immigrant Michael ("King Mike") Cassius McDonald, who ran Chicago's first crime syndicate, is said to have coined this phrase. According to legend, it was his explanation for how he planned to get enough customers for his gigantic, four-story gambling house. This casino-like palace, "the Store," was located close to City Hall, and it provided a gathering place for Democratic politicians as well as unsuspecting gamblers. McDonald obtained the cooperation of the police force, politicians, and an army of skilled confidence men to run his rigged games.

McDonald's criminal activities prefigured those of Al Capone and other Chicago gangsters.

King Mike is also credited with saying, "Never give a sucker an even break."

previous | return to introduction | next

Site Navigation

Special Features: Do You Know Chicago? | Decades of Immigrants | Made in Chicago
Faces in the Crowd | Eight Anarchists | Then and Now | Your Kind of Town

Chicago: City of the Century Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Maps | People and Events | Teacher's Guide

American Experience | Feedback | Search & Site Map | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1999-2003 PBS Online / WGBH