Dillinger at the Museum

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Dillinger at the Museum

It’s occurred to me that Hollywood might have missed on a lucrative crossover opportunity with two of this year’s big summer movies.

Exhibit A is Public Enemies, Michael Mann’s superb flick about Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger.  According to a decades-old urban myth, Dillinger was the proud owner of an enormous schwanzstucker which ended up as an exhibit in Washington DC’s prestigious Smithsonian Institution.  I discussed this tawdry matter at great length (appropriately enough) in a previous post.

Exhibit B is the family-friendly comedy-caper Night at the Museum 2, where Ben Stiller once again plays the hapless security guard working in a museum where all the exhibits come to life.  The original Night at the Museum was set in New York’s Natural History Museum, where Stiller’s character, Larry, found himself embroiled in a veritable plethora of comedic hi-jinks with reanimated versions of Theodore Roosevelt, Atilla The Hun and the skeletal remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.   For this summer’s sequel, however, the action was relocated to Washington DC’s prestigious Smithsonian Institution.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Of course, Michael Mann saw fit to exclude any reference to the famous urban myth in his otherwise excellent Public Enemies, while Night at the Museum 2‘s imdb profile makes no mention of so much as a fleeting cameo appearance by John Dillinger’s severed shlong.  And that’s a shame, really.  A harrowing, post-credit coda at the end of Public Enemies could have featured Billy Crudup’s sinister J. Edgar Hoover approaching Dillinger’s corpse in Cooke County Morgue, brandishing a scalpel and wearing nothing but a fluffy black dress.  We could have then cut (if you pardon the expression) to Night at the Museum 2, where – seventy-five years’ later – Dillinger’s CG animated, belligerent pickled pecker is now giving Ben Stiller’s hapless security guard a hard time.

If, of course, you pardon that expression, too.




About the Author:

My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.


  1. Jez October 1, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Have you been reading Cosmic Trigger again? RAW would be proud.

  2. Tom Lennon October 3, 2009 at 12:57 am

    That’s high praise indeed, Jez.

  3. Gerry Tomkus February 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Very good article. I’ve found your site via Yahoo and I’m really glad about the information you provide in your articles. Btw your sites layout is really messed up on the Kmelon browser. Would be really great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the good work!

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