Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Attempting to avoid recognition as the FBI's Most Wanted Criminal, John Dillinger altered his appearance by dyeing his hair, growing a moustache, and removing his fingerprints by acid treatments. It didn't help. He was betrayed by an acquaintance, Anna Sage, who told the FBI she would be wearing a red dress to help identify Dillinger as they exited a movie theater. Sage became famous as "The Lady in Red." An excerpt from The Post of July 23, 1934:
CHICAGO, July 22 (A.P.) -- John Dillinger, arch-criminal of the age, was shot dead tonight by a group of Department of Justice operatives as he walked out of a Chicago movie theater.
He whipped an automatic pistol out of his pocket and had it half raised, when the operatives loosed a withering blast of revolver fire that dropped him mortally wounded. He died a few minutes later.
Fifteen operatives had surrounded the theater, after information had reached Melvin H. Purvis, Chicago agent for the Department of Justice, that Dillinger would attend the theater. Not a word was spoken as the outlaw ran into the cordon of officers.
Dillinger knew what was coming. He gave a hunted look, reached quickly into his pocket, and the guns roared.
The end of the greatest manhunt in contemporary criminal annals came in the swift tempo in which the notorious outlaw had lived.
The Federal men watched him buy his ticket, and then for more than two hours, "the longest two hours I ever spent," Purvis said, kept the theater surrounded.
"It was late yesterday when I received undercover information that Dillinger would attend the movie, `Manhattan Melodrama,' at the Biograph Theater," Purvis said. "I hurriedly made arrangements to surround the theater with picked men from among my investigators. They were armed only with pistols. No shotguns or machine guns were issued, for I wished no general firing that might endanger passers-by.
"I stationed myself in my own automobile, parked two doors south of the theater, on the same side of the street and facing north. My men were stationed in doorways about the theater.
"It was shortly before 9 o'clock when I first noticed Dillinger. He was coatless, but wore a hat and gold-rimmed spectacles. He had passed my car before I saw him, but I have studied every available photograph of him so carefully that I recognized the back of his head immediately.
"As he bought a ticket, I got profile and front views of him, and I knew I was not mistaken. Those two hours that he spent in the theater, two hours and four minutes to be exact, were the longest I ever spent.
"By the time he left the show our plans were complete, and my men were covering the neighborhood about the show so thoroughly that a cat couldn't have gotten through.
"When Dillinger left the show he started south, and again passed my car without noticing me. As soon as he had gotten a step past my car, I thrust my right arm out of the car, dropped my hand and closed it, the prearranged signal for closing in. Instantly my men appeared from all sides.
"Dillinger gave one hunted look about him and attempted to run up an alley, where several of my men were waiting. As he ran he drew an automatic pistol from his pocket, although I have always been told that he carried his weapons in his waistband.
"As his hand came up with the gun in it, several shots were fired by my men before he could fire. He dropped, fatally wounded. I had hoped to take him alive, but I was afraid he would resist to the last.
"I was surprised to notice that the scar on the left side of his face had been removed without a trace, a nice piece of plastic surgery. It was one of the identification marks that I had impressed on my men."
"I'm glad it's over."