Little Caesar

James Caesar Petrillo, swarthy son of a ditchdigger, profane boss of the American Federation of Musicians, has been the Mussolini of Music in the U.S. for 20 years. His 130,000 dues-paying union fledglings pay him an annual salary of $46,000-plus, to be "protected" from the competition of amateurs. (Once, when eight Chinese Boy Scouts wanted to hail the arrival of a giant panda in Chicago with a fanfare of bugle blasts, Tsar Petrillo insisted that eight paid union musicians be hired as well.)

Last week Protector Petrillo—who spent nine years in getting through four grades in a Chicago grammar school—perpetrated...

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