Free State of Galveston by Joseph Deegan | Script Revolution

Free State of Galveston

True crime Texas gangster drama set on notorious Galveston Island in the Gulf of Mexico during the 1930s & ‘40s. Circa 2019 Historical Screenplay Competition *Quarterfinalist



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From 1915 to 1962, the Free State of Galveston is the playground of the south, the jewel of the Gulf Coast. With regard to legal and moral restrictions, the Island is an “Open City.”

During the 1920s--1950s, the MACEO brothers: ROSARIO “PAPA ROSE” and SALVATORE “BIG SAM” run wealthy Galveston Island -- economically, politically, spiritually. They migrate from Sicily and, in their early days on the Island, after the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, they work as barbers.

Big Sam is silky smooth and more sophisticated; Papa Rose is mean, tough, and more ambitious. Rose has a barber’s chair on Murdoch’s Pier, which is the hangout for the Beach Gang who, with their rival, the Downtown Gang, dominate the Island’s rackets. The leaders of the Beach Gang, OLLIE QUINN and DUTCH VOIGHT, trust Rose & Sam and take them under their wing.

Papa Rose & Big Sam are a pair of naturals, the Enforcer and the Visionary. By the time Prohibition ends in 1933, they have taken over the Beach Gang, run the Downtown Gang off the Island, and have consolidated their power in a way that even the Island’s ruling families -- the KEMPNERS, SEALYS and MOODYS -- have not been able to do. Islanders accept the Maceos’ criminal activities because everyone makes a lot of money. Hotels are always full, even in the winter. The Maceos’ financial success attracts Mob bosses such as New York's Albert Anastasia, Chicago's Al Capone and Frank Nitti who try to muscle in on the brothers’ rackets. Rose tells them impolitely, to get the fuck off his Island. 

Submitted: July 29, 2019
Last Updated: September 30, 2020

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The Writer: Joseph Deegan

Joseph grew up in Chicago with a large group of friends who relentlessly pursued a hedonistic lifestyle; then he graduated from high school. After the structured monotony of his college years he spent time living and writing in Tucson, southern Florida and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Upon returning to the U.S., he moved to California where he ran record labels and managed bands in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. He now lives in Austin, Texas where he writes for film and television. Go to bio
Lawyer: Eric Elias

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