Old gangster films always show the bad guys carrying their tommy guns around in violin cases. Did they really do this? I mean, how better to announce, “Hey look! I have a gun!” short of simply carrying it around openly? Would a tommy really fit in a violin case? it seems like the 75-round drum would be too wide.
And people say that violins on film is a new thing.
I’m not an expert on the Roaring '20s or anything like that, but I will make two points:
A Thompson M1928A1 SMG is simply too long to fit in most violin cases. A guitar case (a la Desperado) would be quite plausible, though.
The Drum Magazine on the M1928A1 was 50 or 100 rounds, not 75- the Soviet PPSh-41 had a 75 round mag, though.
I suppose they could have just used the straight mags like the army. But then you still have the length problem.
This Thompson Violin Gun Case http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=322938 seems to be about as short as possible, and it’s 42+ inches. Most of the real violin cases that I found online were 31 inches. E.g., http://store.musicbasics.com/vln-cs400.html
I like how the Violin Gun Case says it ‘looks just like a violin case!’ when it barely resembles one.
I seem to recall a copy used to sell violin cases shaped like a Tommy gun. Almost worth having, don’t ya’ think?
I used to keep one of my AR-15s in a guitar case.
Didn’t gangsters simply do away with the revovable shoulder stock? That surely would make the firearm significantly shorter.
I don’t know anything for sure. But I remembered seeing a movie at my university film club a long time ago where the presenter claimed that this was the first mob movie to show a gun in a violin case. After searching at IMDb I think this is the one:
The Doorway to Hell (1930), directed by Archie Mayo, with Lew Ayres and James Cagney
While searching I found this Wikipedia article:
Buster from Chicago
Buster from Chicago (d. September 1931 ?) was a pseudonym used for an unidentified Chicago mobster and freelance hitman during Prohibition. Little is known of Buster from Chicago, however government informant Joe Valachi described Buster as a “college boy” in appearance and was known to frequently carry a Tommy gun inside a large violin case.
Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3