Newspaper reporter-turned-playwright Bartlett Cormack stunned Broadwayites in 1927 with his ultra-realistic play The Racket. Essentially a tale of gangsterism run rampant, The Racket was also an exposé of political corruption in the 1920s, going so far as to suggest that there was many a Prohibition agent and police commissioner "on the take." The play was so inflammatory that it was denied a presentation in Chicago, allegedly at the orders of Al Capone; the ban remained in effect for nearly two decades. Journeying to Hollywood in 1928, Cormack (who also billed himself as Bartlett McCormick) wrote screenplays for personalities as diverse as Cecil B. DeMille and Will Rogers. In 1935, he stirred up another storm of controversy when he collaborated with Norman Krasna on the powerful anti-lynching piece Fury (1935). Briefly relocating to England in 1938, Cormack made his directorial debut with the Charles Laughton picture Vessel of Wrath (aka The Beachcomber). One of Bartlett Cormack's final screenwriting assignments was 1941's Unholy Partners, which starred Edward G. Robinson--who back in 1927 essayed his first gangster role in the original Broadway staging of The Racket.