The Dog (2013) Movie Script

MAN: If anybody gets up,
they're dead.
Anybody moves, they're dead.
Anybody makes a sound
before I leave this movie,
they're fucking dead.
My name is John S. Wojtowicz.
You can call me The Dog
because that's my nickname.
Hi. I'm Jeanne Parr,
and this is John Wojtowicz.
Right now, he's in jail.
It was 5 1/2 years ago
when he attempted
to rob a Brooklyn bank
to get money
for his lover's
sex change operation.
They made a movie about John.
It's called "Dog Day Afternoon,"
and Al Pacino
played the part of John.
This is John's lover Liz Eden,
who wanted
that sex change operation.
Well, she got it, and today
she's living happily as a woman.
John is still in jail,
and we'll reveal
for the first time in
my exclusive interview with him,
his side of this very dramatic
love story.
So stay with us. We're live.
That's the abbreviated version.
OK. The reason I call myself
a pervert
is that I'm sexually oriented.
It's very easy because you
got to look at it this way.
Most people drink.
Most people smoke.
A lot of people do drugs,
and they have sex.
So they have all
these outlets, OK?
I don't smoke. I don't drink.
I don't do drugs.
I don't gamble.
So I'm an angel... ha ha!...
but I got horns,
OK, and the trouble is,
when you got horns,
you only can do one thing, OK.
And that's fuck.
I consider myself a romantic.
There's sex, and there's love.
I'm a lover.
When I met Ernie
for the first time,
it was love at first sight,
and because I loved him,
on August 22, 1972,
I had to do something.
ANNOUNCER: All in all,
August 22, 1972,
was a summer day just like
any other summer day...
hot, humid, with everyone
trying to get a bit of relief
from the oppressive
heat and humidity,
and then it happened.
At 2:58 P.M. that afternoon,
two men entered a bank
in Brooklyn
and began what turned out to be
the most sensational,
most bizarre,
most unbelievable bank robbery
in the history of crime,
and before they were through,
what should have been
an ordinary bank robbery
turned into a 3-ring circus.
[People shouting]
WOJTOWICZ: Nobody would ever did
what I did.
Nobody would ever rob a bank
to cutoff a guy's dick to give
him a sex change operation.
That's why they made
a movie about it.
You know something, people?
You're gonna be remembered
the rest of your
lives for the day
you got held up and kidnapped.
We made history here.
We did it.
A true story.
What you got to understand
is that in my lifetime,
I have had 4 wives.
I also have 23 girlfriends
because, remember,
I'm a pervert.
They all know each other
because I'm like Prudential.
I'm the rock, OK,
and I give a piece of myself
to everybody,
and you go,
"How can you do that?"
I says, because, idiot...
it's very simple...
you can love
more than one person.
the strangest hijack attempts
to date began when two gunmen
held up a bank
in Brooklyn, New York.
The gunmen got $29,000,
but before they could leave,
police moved in,
and the bank robbers
seized 8 hostages.
BURKE: With his partner inside
pointing a shotgun
at 8 employees, the other robber
spent much of his time
pacing outside the bank,
either negotiating with police
or screaming at them
to back off.
Police, in turn,
tried to keep the pressure down
by ordering the hundreds
of spectators to move.
All right, fellas.
You got to move back.
BURKE: The more visible
bank robber
is 27-year old John Wojtowicz,
an out-of-work
New York City resident
and an admitted homosexual
who left his wife
and two children 3 years ago.
WOMAN: That day,
I was with my girlfriend
and my two kids
on the beach in Rockaway.
It was a hot, hot day... oh, God...
and I'm listening to the radio,
and I hear,
"an admitted homosexual
has just robbed a bank
in Brooklyn, Avenue P,"
and they said his name
and everything,
and I'm listening to it.
I'm listening to it
at the beach.
I listened to it on the train.
I went home
and watched it on TV.
I'm listening and listening.
I didn't hear Wojtowicz.
I heard John something.
So I says to my girlfriend,
"That sounds like my name,
doesn't it?"
She starts laughing.
We went in the back yard.
We had a barbeque, not realizing
it's Johnny all the time.
[Camera flash pops]
[Hal David and John Cacavas "We May
Never Pass This Way Again" playing]
WOJTOWICZ: After I graduated
high school,
I met my female wife
called Carmen Ann. Bifulco.
MAN: We may never pass
this way again...
She worked for Chase Manhattan,
as I did.
So we're your friends
at Chase Manhattan.
I was a teller, and it's what
I call love at first sight.
MAN: If we never chance
to meet again...
BIFULCO: He called me up
to go on a date.
He picked me up with
two other girls, and he says,
"One of you is going to be
my lucky bride in the future."
I thought the guy
was crazy already.
WOJTOWICZ: Then we started
talking to each other
and dating, and then,
boom, I got drafted.
I'm a Goldwater Republican,
which means I'm conservative,
which means I'm also
a warmonger,
So I was willing to go
to the war and fight in the war.
[Crowd cheering]
remind you that extremism
in the defense of liberty
is no vice.
[Crowd cheering]
WOJTOWICZ: When then I went
to basic training,
that's when I had my first
gay experience.
I met a hillbilly
by the name of Wilbur.
One night, I was dreaming
that I was getting a blow job,
and instead,
it was the real thing,
and Wilbur was blowing me,
and just before I came,
I woke up, and I go,
"What are you doing?"
and he said,
"Well, doesn't it feel good?"
and I go, "Yeah. It feels good."
He said, "Well?"
I said, "Well, keep on going,"
and then we kept having
this relationship
because he blew great.
He was like a summer breeze.
Ha ha!
I went to Vietnam
in October of 1966.
I first went to Saigon,
and a few months later,
they shipped me up to Da Nang,
OK, up by the DMZ,
and that's where
we got into action...
and then in February of 1967,
there was the first
rocket attack
on the Da Nang Air Force Base,
and 90% of my fellow soldiers
were killed.
So what happened is,
I went from being a Goldwater
conservative in 1964
to a McCarthy peacenik in 1968
because if we're not
gonna win the war,
why should all these young kids
get killed and die for nothing?
We lost 50,000 people over there
because they wouldn't
let us win it.
So if you're not
going to win it,
let's get out and end it.
I married Carmen
in 1967 in October.
We wanted to get married
before I went to Vietnam,
but my in-laws said no
because they were hoping
I didn't make it back.
Soto disappoint my in-laws,
I lived through the Vietnam War
and came back and married her.
BIFULCO: My father didn't
want me to get married at all.
My relatives despised him,
but I got married.
These are the pictures
from my wedding...
October 21, 1967.
Got married at St. Rita's Church
in Brooklyn.
The whole neighborhood
was there.
MAN: Forever and ever
Want to let you know
There was a big thing
at the end.
It was terrible.
My priest wanted to annul
the wedding that night.
Annul it.
The night of the wedding,
we almost broke up
because we had a fight
over the wedding money.
The father wanted me to pay
for part of the wedding.
So we got into a big fight,
me and Carmen, that night.
So I took the money
and just threw it at him
and walked the fuck out.
Ha ha ha!
BIFULCO: I went home one night.
Everything was gone.
My kitchen set was gone.
My engagement gifts were gone.
"I left. Go to your mother."
That was it. Ha!
WOJTOWICZ: Carmen and I broke up
June 20,1969.
That's when the first man walked
on the moon, Neil Armstrong,
and then they had the Stonewall
riots on June 26, 1969,
and that's what they call the
birth of the gay movement, OK?
So the gay movement happened
at the same time
that the guy walked on the moon
and I walked on Carmen.
So it logically follows that
that's where I would wind up.
EDWIN NEWMAN: Homosexuals who
acknowledge their homosexuality
and pattern their lives
accordingly are known as gay,
and the gay liberation movement
is challenging
a society that abhors
The Gay Activist Alliance
is the largest
and most vocal
of several homosexual groups.
WOJTOWICZ: I got interested
in the gay movement
after the Stonewall riots.
So what happened is, I joined
the Gay Activist Alliance.
We used to meet
in different locations.
Then finally, they got
their own headquarters,
which was called the Firehouse,
and it was on Wooster Street
over in the Village.
[Music playing]
The Gay Activist Alliance
holds dances
every Saturday night
at its headquarters,
an old firehouse
in Greenwich Village.
Upwards of 1,000 attend.
Many would not appear
in this film.
Freedom of sexual expression
is as much an issue
of the gay movement
as civil and legal rights are.
Gay people
want to be themselves,
flirt, hold hands, kiss,
and talk openly about sex
just as heterosexuals do.
WOJTOWICZ: I was a member
of the entertainment committee.
So I would meet and greet
new gay people
coming into the scene.
I could have sex with them
quicker than anybody else
because they were just
coming out,
and in those days,
we did a lot of getting down.
You got to understand that
the thing about the gay movement
is that it was more
sexually driven than anything
because anybody can be straight,
but it takes somebody special
to be gay.
OK. Now, you're now entering
Christopher Street Park,
where gays from
all over the world come
to see the famous statues
that are supposed to represent
the gay movement.
OK. These two statues right here
represent gay males, OK?
The only problem is that
a lot of black gays
and a lot of Spanish gays
hate these two statues
because, as you notice,
they're all white, OK?
What this statue should be,
there should be a black face
on this statue
and find some kind
of colored clothes,
and this statue, the face
should be more olive
so he can be like
an Italian gay, right,
or a gay with a suntan
or a Latino gay,
not to mention Chinese
and all the rest.
I come here all the time.
I would say once or twice
a month.
Usually, I come into the city
for two things... money or body.
Usually, it's body, OK,
and usually, you would come
to the park and sit down
and a lot of the people
I know in the park
I have sexual
relations with, OK,
and they enjoy it,
and they have a good time, OK?
Also, if they need a meal
or if they need a place to sleep
or they're just horny like I am,
this is where you come.
I hope you enjoyed your tour.
Have a nice day.
Enjoy yourselves.
[Edwin Starr's "Easin' In"
STARR: Easin' in
Slick as he can, mm-hmm
MAN: Well, basically,
I relate emotionally to men.
I like men emotionally.
I'm totally gay.
WOJTOWICZ: When I joined
the movement, I met people.
I liked the people,
and we had sex,
and then, like, around '71,
I became more active.
I went to more meetings, OK,
because I would meet
a lot of people,
but they were more politically
oriented than sexually oriented.
RICK WANDEL: The Gay Activists
Alliance, what we wanted to do
was to tell people
that ultimately,
the key to our getting
equal rights was to come out
so that everybody knew
they knew gay people.
MEN: Justice! Justice! Justice!
WANDEL: It was a political,
militant organization.
Give me an "O"!
Give me a "W"!
RANDY WICKER: I was actually
one of the very early members.
They used to have
a demonstration
once or twice a week...
Gay power!
Gay power!
WICKER: and I was one
of the few people
that had a video camera,
and I caught all
this fabulous stuff.
Hi. I'm Randy Wicker.
Today we're talking
to Father Robert Clement
of the Church
of the Beloved Disciple.
Father Clement,
what type of church
is the Church
of the Beloved Disciple?
Like all churches,
it's basically, first,
a church for everyone,
but our congregation
is primarily gay...
I'd say 90%, approximately...
and we exist for the needs
of the gay community,
and I am gay myself.
I see.
in the gay activist community,
gay marriage wasn't even
on the agenda,
but the city clerk of New York
came out and said,
"You know, there's this guy
in this gay church,
"and he's performing blessings
of holy unions or something,
"but weddings are what they are,
and if he doesn't stop it,
we're going to take action
against him."
Well, at this point,
on the one hand,
gay activists didn't want
to do anything
with the issue of gay marriage
because they would argue
among themselves about that,
but they couldn't sit back
and have a city official
attacking the gay community
and threatening a gay church.
that we should never
understand their point of view.
Any point of view
which is opposed to gay rights
is a wrong point of view
by fiat and word of God.
MAN: Ooh, ooh, ooh.
So they decided,
"Well, we'll go into
the Wedding Bureau,
"and we'll take
a big wedding cake.
"We'll take over
the Wedding Bureau.
"We'll throw
an engagement party.
We'll have made our statement,"
and that's exactly
what they preceded to do.
We have two leaflets.
One is an invitation.
It says, "The Honorable
Herman Katz, City Clerk,
"invites you
to an engagement reception
"for Messrs. John Basso
and John C. Bond
"and Messrs. Steve Krotz
and Vito Russo.
All are welcome.
Dress optional."
Spokesman for this should be
myself and Jim and John Basso.
in the gay movement,
I didn't use the name Wojtowicz.
I coined the phrase
Little John Basso, OK?
Little is because
my prick is little, right?
So that's where I got
the nickname Little John,
and them-being my mother
was a Basso, B-A-S-S-O...
I used the name Basso so people
would know I was Italian.
RUBIN: Are any people going
to try to get marriage licenses?
RUBIN: John? Fine.
Now, a lot of what we do
is playing to press.
This is supposedly,
aside from my terror,
a very up action.
We're happy...
MAN: Everybody
take some ups.
MAN: Give me a "G"!
Give me an "A"!
Give me a "Y"!
WOJTOWICZ: Weddings, to me,
is a holy institution.
Love is a holy institution, OK?
If I love somebody,
I want to marry that person.
I want to make a commitment
to that person,
and in straight society,
the way you do that
is getting married,
and I don't see why gays
can't do that.
Oh, this is definitely
the Marriage Bureau.
Your mother and dad
want to get married?
Are they gay?
Oh, I'm sorry.
We can't help you.
CROWD: Gay power!
[The Zombies
"Time of the Season" playing]
What's your name?
What's your name?
Who's your daddy?
Who's your daddy?
Is he rich?
Is he rich like me?
WOJTOWICZ: I met Ernie
June 6, 1971.
It was St. Anthony's Feast,
and he was in what we call
He had pants on,
but he had makeup on, OK,
and he was with two gay priests.
So I went over,
and he caught my eye
because, like I told you,
I'm one of those guys
when you first meet somebody,
you become infatuated with them,
and the first time I saw Ernie,
I knew I had to have him.
So we went
to 250 West 10th Street,
and this is the first time
that we had sex together,
which means I fucked Ernie, OK,
and then after that,
our relationship started, OK?
I would bring him roses
every week,
and I would come here every week
and take him out.
LIZ EDEN: I met John
at St. Anthony's Feast,
and we sort of hit it off
right away.
He was very, very romantic,
never forgot a date,
never forgot a birthday,
anniversary, or anything.
In the beginning,
it was a dozen roses
almost every time
we saw each other.
I first met Liz Eden in 1966.
Liz sort of dressed like a guy,
but like a girl
because in those days,
there were strict laws
about dressing like women.
She always had a loud,
loud, loud mouth.
The wallpaper would curl off the
walls when she started cursing.
Liz was the center
of every scene,
and she had a lot of energy.
She was a great dancer.
He had a portable record player,
and he would play records
over and over...
Judy Garland or Carmen Miranda
and all of that.
He loved that,
and then I remember
at the gay firehouse
on Wooster Street,
Liz saying this Vietnam veteran
was in love with him,
and I saw this guy,
and he was short.
I said, "He's tiny next to you.
"What are you going to do
with him? He's tiny."
"Oh, but he loves me,"
and blah, blah, blah.
He was sort of a troll,
and he loved her.
There's a troll that loved her.
WOJTOWICZ: OK. After I first met
Ernie, I started to court him.
I knew that he sold his body
because he told me about that
to support himself.
We had a relationship.
We got closer
and closer together.
I fell in love with him
more and more,
and that's why I wanted
to get married,
and he was against us
getting married,
but, like I said, I convinced
him into getting married.
[Telephone rings]
BIFULCO: I got a phone call
from my priest,
the guy who married me.
He says to me,
"Carmen, there's going to be
"a wedding coming in December.
You're going to get
an invitation for this wedding."
I go, "Who's getting married?"
He says, "Are you ready
for this? You ready?"
and he told me,
"John is going to get married
to someone in the Village."
I said, "What do you mean,
getting married to someone?
What kind of marriage?"
and he told me,
"He's marrying a guy,"
who was Ernie.
OK. You ready?
Testing 1,2,3,4,5, right?
OK. Now, in the old days,
this bar was called
What's In A Name Caf, OK?
We had the wedding reception
here and the wedding.
A gay priest came in, right?
He did the ceremony.
We were married.
GAA filmed it
for the archives, OK?
The cops from the 6th precinct
over here came out and say,
"What the fuck is going on
out there?"
EDEN: And the cops came out,
congratulated us,
thinking we were all girls.
The whole wedding party
was all guys,
and when we came out for
the reception, they found out.
They said, "Hey, we didn't know
this was all happening."
I said, "Neither
did the priest."
know John, but I heard
there was going to be
this wedding, and I said,
"I have to videotape this,"
because, first of all,
I don't think I'd ever heard
of a gay wedding at that point,
and not only was it
a gay wedding,
but the mother was going
to be there,
which was also sort of like,
"Oh, wow, what would
the mother be like?"
WICKER: You are
the groom's mother?
And how do you feel today?
Is John your only son, or...
How about the rest
of your family?
Will they be attending?
Any reason for that, or...
OK. Well, I hope
everything goes well,
and thank you very much.
John was the apple of her eye.
You could just see this woman
just loved her son so much
that almost anything he did
would not cause her
to reject him.
[Organ playing Wagner's
"Bridal Chorus"]
WOJTOWICZ: Ernie bought
the most expensive dress
he could find on Grand Street.
Cost like almost $1,000,
so he could look regal
and drive what we call
all the butch numbers crazy.
So I said, "Well,
he'll get over that bullshit."
So I put on my army uniform
with all my medals
to drive all the girls crazy.
So it's always that rivalry,
and that's how it is
in the gay life.
Everyone tries to one-up
the other one,
and each one wants to be
the star,
but there's only one star,
and that's me.
WANDEL: Mother did get
a little looped
by the end of the evening here.
The other thing I remember
about the wedding is,
John was kissing everybody,
I mean, when I say kiss,
I don't mean peeks.
I don't mean like
you kiss the bride
on the way out of the church.
I mean, he was kissing
WOJTOWICZ: OK. After the
wedding ceremony on December 4,
we lasted to April,
and then we broke up, OK?
The reason we broke up is
because we kept having arguments
and fights because he wanted
the sex change operation,
and what a lot of people
don't understand
is that I didn't want Ernie
to have the sex operation.
Now, I, at the time,
was interested
in a guy with big tits
and a little dick,
but Ernie wanted to be a woman,
and in the beginning,
I didn't realize how badly
he wanted to be this woman.
NEWTON: There were a lot
of people back then
who had had sex changes,
and Liz was always talking
about having a change
and how enjoyable it would be
and how wonderful it would be
to be a woman.
They both tried very hard
to have a life,
but I don't think
she was happy that much.
I really don't.
She showed me her wrists once,
come to think of it,
and I could see scars
on her wrists,
and I said,
"Why did you do that?"
and she kind of downplayed it,
made it into a joke.
OK. Now, as I explained
to you earlier,
after we got married around
the corner, what we did is,
we moved out of the apartment
where I got down
with the two gay priests and
my first relations with Ernie,
OK, and then we moved
into this fancy place, OK?
This is where our apartment was,
and about a month or two after
we got married in December,
this is where Ernie first tried
to commit suicide, OK,
because he still wanted
the sex change,
which we agreed he wasn't
going to have
because I was against it, OK,
and he said,
"I can't take it anymore.
I want to have a sex change,
or I want to die."
So he took a butcher knife out
this long
and tried to stick it in him.
I grabbed the butcher knife
from him,
and as we struggled,
I got out in my hand, OK?
So we wind up getting into a
fight because he wouldn't stop.
Somebody called the cops, right?
They came and arrested us,
right, and they brought us
to St. Vincent's,
to the nuthouse.
When we got there,
Ernie turned the story around
and said that I had tried
to kill him with the knife
because he didn't want to go
in the nuthouse.
So then they tried to put me
in the nuthouse,
but after the cops
stopped and left,
I knocked down two
of the security guards
and one restraining guy and
ran the fuck out of the place
because I ain't going
in no nuthouse, right,
but this was the apartment
we lived in.
Ernie kept becoming violent.
He would take an overdose.
He would put his hand
through a plate glass window.
He would cut his wrists, and he
kept getting worse and worse,
and then his birthday came
on August 19, 1972.
The doctor told me, "You know
he's never getting out of here,
"right, and we're going to give
him electronic shock therapy,
"and he's sick.
He wants to chop off his dick."
Then I got in to see him,
and that's when I made
the decision right then
because they're never
letting him out.
So I'm going to take him out
by force.
OK. This was Ernie and I's
neighborhood bar.
It was called Old Jimmy's,
and it was owned
by a guy named Buddha,
who was a fat guy, OK?
In this bar, Ernie and I used
to socialize and meet everybody.
This is where
I met Bobby Westenberg,
and he's the second guy
that went with us
for the bank robbery.
He had a bad lung,
and I offered him $50,000
to help get Ernie
out of the nuthouse, OK?
That's why we robbed the bank,
to get the money.
Also, in here is where I met
the third partner
that robbed the bank with me.
His name was Sal Naturale.
His real name was Masterson.
He was an escaped fugitive
from New Jersey,
and he never wanted
to go back to jail then, OK?
He had just turned 18,
the way I understand it,
and Bobby Westenberg was
about 20, and that's the story.
So we went and got the guns,
the rifles,
everything we needed.
Then we went to
the Golden Nugget Motel
the night before the robbery.
OK. While we were in there,
I grabbed a hold
of Bobby Westenberg,
and I wanted to fuck him
because he used to dress up
as a girl with a dress, right,
and he goes,
"What are you talking about?"
I said, "I want to fuck you."
"Well, I don't want you
fucking me."
I said, "I'm giving you
$50,000, right?
"You're going to tell me I'm
not getting a fuck out of it?
"You're out
of your fucking mind.
Because I'm getting
a fuck out of this."
So then I fucked him,
and then Sal came over,
and he wanted to fuck Bobby.
Bobby tells him no.
So they start getting
into a fight.
So I come out of the shower.
I says, "Hey, what are you
two bitches arguing about?"
"Well, he won't let me..."
"Hey, what is it
with you Bobby?"
I said, "We could all die
tomorrow, so let's die happy,"
but Sal was pissed off at him
because Sal didn't
get the booty.
Next morning, we get up.
We leave the Golden Nugget,
and then we started going
to different banks.
We went down to one bank
on Delancey and Essex Street.
So we park the car.
Bobby and Sal
get out of the car to go,
and all of a sudden,
I hear this boom.
I go, "What's this boom?"
I look out the side
of the car window,
and the assholes
dropped the shotgun.
It fell out of the back
of the box.
They were carrying it in a
Wrigley's Spearmint gum package.
It's about this big, and it
says, "Wrigley's Spearmint gum."
It's pop art, like Andy Warhol,
all right,
because, you know, if you walk
into a bank with a package,
they're going to be suspicious,
but if you walk into the bank
with a Wrigley's Spearmint
gum package,
they just think it's pop art
and you're bringing it home
to put on your wall
or something, right?
At least it made sense to me,
So I get out.
I pick up the shotgun.
I said, "You two assholes
get in the car,"
and we drive away,
and all these people
are standing there
looking at us,
but, you know, who's
going to say anything?
"Oh, you dropped your shotgun,"
and we were gone in the wind,
and I said, "You dumb fucks,
what's the matter with you?"
"Well, I told you the box
was too heavy."
I said, "Oh, you fucking wimp,
Bobby, be butch, will you?"
and then Sal gave him
the, "Oh, he can't be butch.
He's a girl that don't
get fucked."
I said, "Well, you can fuck him
after the robbery.
Don't worry about it."
We went to this first bank...
it was on Delancey and Essex...
The Manufacturers Hanover Trust.
Then we out down here
on Howard Beach.
It looked like an easy hit.
There's a lot of money
in that bank,
being that it's
the only one around.
We walked in there, and
my mother's friend,
her best friend, is,
"How you doing, Bobby?"
while Sal is ready to take
his gun out on the guard.
So we foiled that one.
Then we get into this other
Chase Manhattan Bank
down in Manhattan.
Now we're driving all over,
a series of banks,
and we get in front
of this one bank,
and we're just doing
a practice run.
Goes in for a silver dollar,
comes back out.
"OK. "Lets try to get away."
Try to get away,
we smack into a car,
and they're threatening to call
the police and have the police.
They'll want to search the car,
see the guns, the note, which...
The note was weird.
At the end of the note, it says,
"This is an offer you can't
refuse," from "The Godfather."
Before we went to the bank,
we decided to go to 42nd Street
to watch "The Godfather"
for inspiration, and it was
the first time it was playing.
So I said, "Come on.
Let's go get turned on."
It's just like a coach.
You get your team ready.
You get them all fired up,
and they go gung ho, right?
So we go and watch
"The Godfather" for inspiration,
right, and then I write out
the note.
I go to the bank manager,
"This is an offer you can't
refuse," signed, the boys.
Ha ha ha!
WESTENBERG: After a while,
we foiled
all these bank robberies.
So John says, "I know a bank."
I says, "OK.
Let's not mess this one up."
[Telephone rings]
MAN: My shift began
at 5:00 in the evening.
I walked into the newsroom,
and this was already under way.
They had walked into the bank
at 2:50 that afternoon
and taken over,
and the editor said,
"Start working the story
by phone, see what you can get."
So I said, "I'll call the bank."
So I called the bank,
and, lo and behold,
this guy picks up the phone
and says he's one
of the bandits.
So I started interviewing him.
He's giving me
these great quotes.
I said, "Are you afraid
of dying?
Could you really kill
these people?"
and I'm sitting there
listening to this, taking notes,
typing like crazy and my mind
is going, "Wow! What a story."
They said, "All right.
Why don't you go down there?"
So I went down to the bank.
It was a circus.
I mean, obviously you had
all the cops and the FBI,
emergency vehicles, ambulances,
even a fire truck in case
they set the bank on fire.
You had snipers on rooftops,
and then you had this crowd.
It was just a big mob.
There was about 2,000 people.
They would cheer.
I mean, that was
a Brooklyn crowd that night.
"YO!" Ha!
I didn't see any hot dog wagons
or t-shirt guys,
but it had that same kind
of atmosphere, TV cameras.
It was a full-blown show.
WOMAN: We heard sirens, so
we knew something was happening,
and we all went.
Everybody was there...
children, parents, everybody.
You know, one person
told the other,
and before you knew it,
it was a mob scene,
and the more they heard
what was going on on the news,
the more people came
from even further away.
You know people come.
They're curious. We all are.
Oh, there was a mob.
There was a mob here.
You couldn't get
down the street here.
You couldn't get down.
The street was
completely blocked off.
On both sides, you couldn't go.
Of course, my
neighbor Gino's...
They had all those news people.
It was loaded with news people.
But I had to go to the city,
Sloan Kettering, with
my mother to see her uncle.
Everybody came from all over
to try to get over
here, everybody.
When I came home, I said,
"So you don't know
what's going on?
They even saw on television.
But the people that were
outside, forget about it.
They were having a party.
It was funny, you know?
Not for the people in the bank.
WOJTOWICZ: What happened is,
when we went inside the bank,
Bobby walks over to me and says,
"I can't do it."
I go, "What?"
He says, "I can't."
I said, "What the fuck
do you mean, you can't do it?
We're in here."
"No, no. I got to go."
So Bobby says, "I'm leaving."
So then I got to make
a decision.
Am I going to walk out the door,
or do I still rob the bank?
I go, "Fuck it."
So being I'm a Roman Catholic,
I go, "In the name
of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
I pull the shotgun
out of the package.
I says, "OK. Nobody move.
Back up.
Nobody touch any alarms."
I said, "We're going
to take the money,
"We're gone.
We don't want no problems.
Everybody does what I tell them,
"and everything will be
all right,
and we'll be out of here
in 5 minutes."
So we go, and we start
taking the money.
I think after 10 minutes,
you knew they were amateurs.
They were not
professional bank robbers.
They kind of let us know this.
Actually, this is when the ball
started rolling.
WOJTOWICZ: I'm going,
"What the fuck is going on?"
and I'm looking in the window.
Then I see them.
In the windows,
on the fire escape,
there are cops.
On the roof, the cops
are standing up,
coming around the corner.
I don't know what went wrong,
but that's why
whenever you see
bank robbery movies,
they go, "We only got a minute."
Now you know why.
[Crowd cheering]
So we're sitting there
in the bank.
Then Sal comes over,
and we're looking at each other,
and he says "I don't know
what we're going to do."
I says, "I know
what I'm going to do.
"I'm going to get Ernie.
"I'm going to tell the cops
to go to the nuthouse
"and bring Ernie down here.
"We're going to get
on the plane.
"We're going
to fly him to Denmark
and get him the sex change
"You're crazy."
MALE REPORTER: A bank holdup
is under way at this time
in the Chase Manhattan Bank
at Avenue P
and East 3rd Street in Brooklyn.
What's going on now?
WOJTOWICZ: We're waiting
to negotiate the release
of the people so we
can get out of here.
What are your terms
for release?
Well, I want them
to deliver my wife here
from Kings County Hospital.
His name is Ernest Aron.
It's a guy. I'm gay-
BIFULCO: I put the news on.
I was watching it, and I hear,
"There's another
bulletin out now.
He wants to see his wife,
and this is his wife,"
and they put the picture
on the television
of Ernie in the bride outfit,
which I never saw before,
and my relatives never knew
Johnny was gay.
Don't forget now,
this was broadcast
like the World Trade Center.
This is on
all day and all night.
They took Nixon off the TV
to put Johnny on.
So tonight,
my fellow Americans, I say...
BIFULCO: So they all saw it,
and then I get the phone calls.
"We told you not to marry him.
You see? You see what you did?"
I was getting the blame
for the robbery.
And just last morning...
Hoo hoo!
NEWTON: He told everyone in the
world why he robbed the bank.
He was being honest, you know,
and I think it was a big
explosion in people's eyes.
"What, a guy robbing a bank
for his...
"Is that a guy he's
robbing the...
I don't understand."
I mean, it was a big shocker.
It was like gay liberation
right down your throat.
KAPPSTATTER: We blinked.
We said, "What?"
and, "Sex change? My goodness."
This had never really happened
before, to our knowledge,
anything like this.
WOJTOWICZ: This asshole
is standing out there
with a bullhorn.
He said, "All right,
you faggots.
We're coming in there,
and we're going to get you."
I said, "What did he say?"
I said, "You call me a faggot
one more time,
"I'll kick your fucking ass,
and if you think
"you're so fucking bad,
why don't you put down that gun
"and come over here
and call me a faggot?
"Because I'll fuck you up.
"Come on. Put down the gun
and come on over.
"You see me with a gun?
I don't got no weapons.
Come on over. Let's go."
Then you hear the cops
cracking up and laughing
because they know he ain't
going to call me a faggot
because they done seen
the artillery I got,
and then I knew I'm the man.
WICKER: I think that
there was a whole mantra
that he played very nicely into.
This was a guy who was wacko.
He's robbing a bank,
supposedly to finance
a sex change operation.
Well, that's not robbing a bank
to take a vacation
in the Bahamas.
You know what I mean?
That's not a selfish, but
supposedly altruistic motive.
Then you have
all these theatrics.
They had pizzas delivered.
He threw money out the door.
Anybody would love.
This is Robin Hood.
KAPPSTATTER: It's the little man
against the system,
the little man trying
to do something good.
Banks. Who loves banks?
Anybody love a bank here?
But I don't think
he was playing to the crowd.
He was too involved in getting
him and Sal out of there alive.
We didn't know how this thing
was going to end.
Was he going to start shooting?
Were they going to work
their way
into that bank building somehow?
That was what made those hours
We did not know how this
was going to resolve itself.
WOMAN: As the day wore on,
we were becoming very depressed.
We were tired. We were hot.
We were hungry.
We were frightened.
You name it, that's how we were,
and by a couple of the things
that he said,
I realized that he was friendly,
he wanted to be friendly.
I mean, there was a purpose
why he was robbing the bank.
He really didn't think that
it would take that long.
He thought that he would be
in and out,
but the way things happened,
he didn't get out.
MAN: We spoke to him.
He is making demands
for an escape route.
The problems with the demands
of the escape route
is that he wants to take the
hostages with him at this time.
All of them?
All of them.
And what does he want
in exchange?
Does he want his lover?
He did, and he does.
We have his wife here.
MAN: That was the reason
for the releasing the guard.
That was the way
we got one guard out
on that bargain to let him talk
on the telephone.
The wife is right
across the street
but refuses to go near him.
She believes John
to be unstable
and will kill him.
That's his current wife,
is it not?
Well, I believe so,
unless he has 3 or 4.
[Telephone rings]
WOJTOWICZ: All of a sudden,
the cop gets on the phone.
"Somebody's here to see you."
So I think it's Ernie.
So I go outside.
It ain't Ernie.
I said, "What are you
doing here?"
It's Patsy.
[Wolf whistle]
Before I met Ernie, one of
my relationships was Patsy.
So Patsy comes down
because Patsy really loves me.
[Crowd cheering]
So I go outside,
and I walk over to him,
and I tongue him.
MAN: Oh!
[Wolf whistle]
What people forget is,
in those days in a gay bar,
you were not allowed
to touch each other.
You couldn't walk down
the Village holding hands
because the straights would
beat you up, or the cops would.
The phone rings.
I says, "Hello?"
He says, "This is the mayor."
I said, "The mayor who?"
He said, "The Mayor of New York.
This is Mayor Lindsay."
I says, "Yeah?
What do you want?"
He said, "We will kill
all the hostages to stop you
"because you're not making
New York City look ridiculous.
"You're not letting the
New York City Police Department
"look ridiculous.
The whole nation
is watching us."
TERRY: When he see me,
he turned his head.
He felt more likely embarrassed
because he's very close to me,
very attached.
He's not that rugged.
He's timid.
He might've been or try to be,
but he's not.
He's very harmless,
no meanness in him.
He's always been good-hearted.
You know what I mean?
He's never been gambling or
drinking or anything like that.
MAN: Very interesting quote
made by the other man...
whatever his name is.
He said, "The Supreme Court
will let me get away with this.
"There's no death penalty.
It's ridiculous.
"I can shoot everyone here,
and they can't put me
in the electric chair."
I wonder what your response
to that would be?
I have no response
to that, really.
the two bank robbers demanded
a plane at Kennedy Airport
and a car to get them there.
Finally around 3:30
this morning,
an airport limousine
pulled up at the bank
with an FBI agent at the wheel.
Only then did the second gunman
come out of the bank,
a rifle slung over his shoulder.
26-year old Salvatore Naturale
then joined Wojtowicz
and their hostages
in their limousine
and headed for Kennedy Airport.
Along the way, they had
plenty of company.
Perhaps 40 cars followed
carrying police
and relatives of the hostages.
The caravan would pass
through an airport gate
leading to a secluded runway.
The bank robbers had hoped
to make their escape
in a small jet plane.
They failed.
The aircraft was rolling up,
and as we were making plans
to depart from the limousine,
we had a driver
in the limousine, an agent,
and Mr. Baker and Mr. Feld
charged the men
and diverted the shotgun
and the machine gun,
and in the meantime, the agent
had a chance to shoot him
and when one was shot,
the other immediately gave up.
[Police radio chatter]
Naturale was killed by the FBI.
Wojtowicz is in jail.
[Police radio chatter]
in Brooklyn, New York.
This is my brother Tony.
He's been away since
he was 5 years old
because he has epilepsy and he has
seizures and he forgets things.
And when he forgets things,
he has to start all over from the
beginning like he was just born.
So if he has a seizure,
it's like going back to zero
and then they got to
re-teach him everything.
So once a year, he comes
down to New York to visit us
and we take him out sightseeing
and to different places.
Today we took him
to Western Beef,
a couple of blocks
from my mother's house.
Then we're going to be going to Coney
Island to put him on the rides
and show him some of the sights in
New York while he's here visiting.
Yeah, well, we know that.
brothers, one older and one younger,
so I'm the middle one.
My older brother, Tony... the court
took him away from my mother
and put him in a state institution
that he's still in now.
WOMAN: Have you two been to
Coney Island a lot together?
Nope, never. First time.
For him.
No, I don't know what
you're talking about.
You're out of your dick.
We never went to Coney island...
stay in the middle lane.
Always in the middle.
'Cause these assholes don't know
where they're gonna get off.
See what it says here?
Home of the Dog Eating Contest.
All the way down, right?
You see, that's
the ocean out there?
And you see the Wonder Wheel?
the way they play the game.
I'm telling you.
That's what they do.
It's called the system, and the
system doesn't give a fuck.
I can't believe we can't get a fucking
ride and they got no ice cream.
My mother says I'm crazy.
I say,
"Well we know that."
I said, "You got to remember,
"they only put the nuts that are
pretending in the nuthouse.
The real ones,
they don't want."
Yeah. Yeah.
I've been in a couple of them.
Yeah, they're not too bad.
The cops for robbing.
No, I did.
Yep. We're gonna
pass it.
Yeah, we should drive by it.
Avenue P and East 3rd.
Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, we got almost a quarter
of a million dollars.
Quarter of a million dollars.
From the bank.
No, no, no. A quarter
of a million dollars.
That's $250,000.
You know, being we're down
here, we'll take a peek.
OK. Let's see
what they did.
Where, down here?
OK, that...
let's see.
That red awning that's
across the street,
that should've been
where the bank is.
Do you believe they
changed my bank into a...
The bank I robbed right here.
They changed it into
a Brooklyn Medical.
MAN: I'm here since 1929.
I had a ladies fashion store.
Well, anyway, when I had my store
there, I was having a check certified.
And I went into the bank
not realizing these...
So I understood, they were waiting for the
last one to leave the bank, which was me.
The guy who did it,
I think he's still alive.
Where he is,
the detective may know.
You know where he is, this guy?
WOMAN: Yeah.
Oh, you can tell me.
I'm not gonna...
Well, he's actually across the
street right now, with us.
I don't know if you'd
want to meet him.
Oh, I don't care.
STAN: How do you do?
Good, Good. And you?
How do you do, Tony?
Big John, how are you?
How's everything?
OK. how are you?
I give two.
I'm Italian.
OK. Now, wait a minute, were
you Al Pacino in the movie,
or was the other guy?
Who was Al Pacino?
WOJTOWICZ: I'm the bank robber.
Fuck Al Pacino.
Ruth, but I'm the gay Babe Ruth, right?
I hit a home run.
Know why I hit a home run?
Because I beat
the fucking system.
I won.
I didn't lose. I won.
Ernie got the sex change.
Ernie lived.
Ernie was happy.
Ernie survived,
and I'm happy for that.
Am I rattling too much?
WOMAN: No, no.
Oh, you want detail.
OK. hold on a minute.
I have to clarify one thing.
I have skin cancer of this ear,
which is my right ear.
I have breast cancer.
I ain't gonna go
through that crap.
I'm waiting for them to
tell me how many days,
so I can go party.
OK. Let's go.
Quiet on the set.
Scene 5.
OK, they took me to the
Port Authority Headquarters
at Kennedy Airport.
Then the Port Authority police
accompanied me to FBI headquarters
on 69th Street in Manhattan,
and that's where
they grilled me further.
They wouldn't believe
the true story...
that I was robbing the bank to get
my lover a sex change operation...
so I had to invent a story,
and then I signed the confession
that it was the Vice President
of Chase Manhattan Bank
that told us everything
and how to do it.
From there, they took me
to the Federal Holding Pen
in Lower Manhattan
on West 11th Street.
WOMAN: There was someone else
that had walked in with them,
and he ran out,
he chickened out.
So, there's a third man?
MAN: This individual,
the third arrested,
is Robert Arthur Westenberg.
He was arrested
by FBI agents today.
We're charging that Westenberg
fled from the scene
before the police
actually moved in.
WICKER: This was
the story of the hour,
but the reaction of
the Gay Activist Alliance
was one of horror.
They would simply say, we don't
want to be involved with him
in any way 'cause he's
a mentally ill person.
I mean, that was generally the
consensus of the gay community.
He was nuts.
WANDEL: At the time, we thought it
was a terrible thing, you know?
The fact is, he terrorized however
many people were in the bank,
and he was the direct cause
of somebody being blown away
and witnessed by some
of these hostages, also,
whatever that did to
their heads, you know.
That's not a Robin Hood to me.
That's a very sick person.
WICKER: So I was the only voice
in the gay activist community.
I mean, I felt that John was
being railroaded to some degree
because he was homosexual
and no one seemed to care.
As a gay reporter,
I wanted to go out and
find out what I could.
So I met Bobby Westenberg and I talked
to friends of Sal's in the Village,
who said he wasn't the nasty person
everyone portrayed him to be.
He just hated jail, because I guess he
had been raped in jail or whatever,
said he'd rather die
than go back to jail,
and I wrote these long,
detailed articles about this.
So I had a whole different take.
Today, I'm Randy Wicker and
I'm talking with Ernest Aron,
the boy who John Wojtowicz demanded be
brought to the scene of the robbery.
Now, do you consider yourself a
homosexual or a transsexual or what?
No, I'm a transsexual.
I'm attempting to pay for a
sex change which is in the...
right now, it seems impossible
but I'm attempting to do it.
I have to raise somewhere in
the neighborhood of $2,500,
and, uh... l just hope
I can do it.
I know John wants it now.
He never did want it before, but now
he wants it more than anything.
WICKER: Liz Eden, suddenly
she has this national fame
as a pre-operative
So now, if you're gonna live that moment of
fame out, you've got to have the operation.
I understand that John was
very opposed to this operation
when you first told him that you
wanted it a few months ago.
Yes, he was.
He didn't want me to have it
because he didn't know
what his reactions would be
to me after the sex change,
but now he feels that he
could love me either way,
as a man or as a woman.
I understand that John is
still married to Carmen,
his wife, and they
have two children
and in my conversations
with his wife Carmen,
she feels that John isn't
really a homosexual.
Well, I don't even
consider him a homosexual
as long as he goes
to bed with women.
I think he's bisexual.
I think he leans
heavily towards women,
otherwise he wouldn't want me to make
such a drastic change in my life.
He continued going
to bed with women
even after he was
married to you?
He saw his wife at least
once or twice a week.
Oh, yeah, sexually.
I believe that John sometimes uses
his friends to fight his battles.
He sort of makes sure that each person
knows that he's in love with him only,
and then, of course,
when they get together,
they fight over him.
I think it's a wrong
thing he's doing,
but unfortunately,
there are a lot of people
that do care for John and
if we have to fight over him,
we have to fight over him, and
that's all there is to it.
WOJTOWICZ: My lawyer came to me,
I think in October and said
people have been talking about making
a movie and if I was interested.
And I told him, "Hell no,
I don't want no movie." Right?
Then Liz came and said, "Hey, hey, hey,
they want to make a movie," you know.
"We're gonna get money, you know. I
gotta get the sex change," you know.
"You make the movie, you get the money,
I get the sex change," you know.
And then I says,
"Yeah, all right,"
and then I signed the paper.
And the last time I saw him was
after he had the sex change.
OK, he had it on March 27, 1973.
He came to see me and he said, "I talked
to my doctors and my psychiatrist."
And he said, "I will never see
you again. It's not good for me.
"It won't help me. I have to leave,
start my own life as a real woman
and have nothing
to do with you."
And Ernie got up and left.
So on Saturday, April 26th,
I went to confession.
On Sunday, I went to communion.
Then after that,
I out my wrists
and sat on the toilet bowl
and cut my forearms,
like the Romans used to do,
and tried to bleed to death.
Instead, I became unconscious
and passed out.
And they took me to the
hospital and stitched me up.
Then they brought me back
to the prison on a Monday,
and they said I had to go
to be sentenced.
So they took me to
the Federal Court,
and I don't remember
what happened.
He was so out of it.
He was all bandaged up
and he was like this.
"Mr. Wojtowicz,"
Travia asked,
"do you have anything to say
before I pronounce sentence?"
And Wojtowicz says, "Love is
a very strange thing."
Wojtowicz began
in a low, even tone.
"Some feel it more
deeply than others do.
"I love my wife Carmen, my son, my
daughter, my mother, and I love Ernie.
"I love all of them.
"I know it was wrong
to rob the bank,
but what is money
compared to human life?"
I said, "Don't you
love your wife?"
He goes, "Yeah
I said, "Well, imagine your
wife is dying of cancer
"and you didn't have the money
and you needed $10,000,
"and you couldn't get it,
you tried everything to get it.
"You tried to borrow it, tried to
make deals, nothing worked out,
wouldn't you do something illegal to
get the $10,000 to save your wife?"
He said, "No.".
I said, "Well, then you don't
know anything about love.
"In fact, you don't fucking love your
wife, because if you loved your wife,
"you would kill for her, you would
do anything for her to save her.
"So don't talk to me about love because
you don't love your fucking wife.
You don't even know what
the fuck love is all about."
And then he sentenced me.
Terry yelled out in court, "Have
mercy on my son, Your Honor."
Like that, she was screaming, and he got
sentenced to Lewisburg Penitentiary.
I was like, "Wow, he's there forever now," and
that's all I thought. That's all I thought.
That was it.
OK. we told Liz that John would
be speaking directly to her
from jail on today's show,
so let's hear
what he has to say.
This is to you, Liz.
Do you have any message you'd
like to give Liz today?
If you do, would you
like to do it right now?
I love you a great deal,
and I did what I did
because I loved you
and I wanted you to be happy,
and I don't regret doing it
because it saved your life.
And all I want you to
do is to be happy.
And I know I don't see you, and
I know I don't hear from you,
but as long as you're happy,
that's all that counts
because I love you.
That's it.
Are you happy?
Not as happy as I would be
if he was out here.
PARR: What was so
special about Ernie?
How did you fall in love
with him in the first place?
I don't know.
My wife, Carmen, always
asks me that question,
and I said, "I don't know."
Because if I knew why I loved him,
then maybe I could stop loving him,
but when you don't know
why you love somebody...
because he's lousy in bed.
Out of all the guys and girls I've been
to bed with, he's one of the worst.
Do you ever think of him
in that prison?
I mean, when you're getting
ready to go out at night,
do you ever think of John
being locked up in his cell?
There isn't a day that doesn't
pass that I don't think of John.
WOJTOWICZ, VOICE-OVER: When I got to Lewisburg,
they beat me up because they told me
I was in the big house now.
And I said, "it doesn't
look so big to me."
So they beat me some more,
and that's where I met George.
He was a jailhouse lawyer.
He did the legal work
that got my time cut.
He was also black and Irish.
MAN: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania,
is a very rough, tough facility.
More than half the
inmates carried weapons,
and when I got to Lewisburg,
they were getting ready
to kill John.
WOJTOWICZ: There was a time when they
were killing an inmate every month.
There were times when inmates were
being stabbed every day in the place.
When your door opened up
at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning,
you didn't know if they were
going to come in and beat you,
rape you, rob you, or whatever.
was very vulnerable.
Someone like myself, that
carried a knife all of the time,
they didn't bother because I was
considered a tough guy.
I was arrested for bank robbery,
kidnapping, the whole works.
Of course, John, he couldn't
associate with anyone
because of the fact that
they considered him gay.
He was gay.
They didn't like him.
They were making a movie about
him, so they were jealous of him.
They were just, "Oh,
let's do something to him.
Maybe we can get a name
for ourselves."
So he had to fend for himself.
WOJTOWICZ: I was working
in the laundry, OK,
and I was raped by 3 guys
from Washington, D.C.
They hit me in the head
with a lead pipe, right,
knocked me out, and
they raped me repeatedly.
I still have dreams
to this day.
I woke up,
I was in the hospital.
They operated on me.
I was in tremendous pain.
Then they finally let me
back out into population.
HEATH: I felt sorry
for John.
So when I took John under my
wing, they left him alone,
but they would nag at him
occasionally if I wasn't around.
I don't think that he
realized the consequences
of things that
he would do or say.
He didn't care about
what might occur.
He was just there
and not there mentally.
WOJTOWICZ, VOICE-OVER: The 7 years I was in
prison, I spent more time in segregation
than I did out in
actual population,
but I don't linger
on that too much.
My attitude is, I'm from the old
school and I'm old-fashioned Italian,
I'm a male chauvinist pig,
and I'm the fucking boss,
and I run things.
You run the prison,
you do your thing.
I run me.
I do my thing.
You don't bug me.
I don't bug you.
You bug me, we have
a problem, and that's it.
HEATH: He was bad.
John was, to me, a bad,
crazy individual,
but the thing I liked about
John... he had a lot of heart.
WOJTOWICZ: George and I got married
in the prison yard in 1974.
I met him on July 16th, OK, and that's
also my wife Carmen's birthday,
my female wife, and I married
him 2 weeks later on the 31st.
HEATH: I considered it a marriage
because John was on the marriage trail.
He loved to be married.
He had to have a wife.
So I became his third wife.
I've always been in the
gay life to some degree.
I had been in drag, I had been in shows, and
John immediately gravitated towards that.
His wife came up, and John would have me wave
out the window to her and stuff like that.
I don't know if he actually
described me as his new wife,
while she was coming up, but
she did come with the kids.
BIFULCO: I considered him
my husband up until 1978.
He would send me flowers
from the prison,
and it would be yellow roses or flowers
for an occasion or something like that.
Always with the flowers,
you know.
Letters, constant letters,
and then he'd give me orders what
to send him, what he wanted.
He would want this, he would
want that, you know,
things he wanted to eat like chips, the
joy of a Jewish candy, the jelly rings.
WOJTOWICZ: Get me a couple of candy
bars, you know, like Snickers.
You know, I prefer Mounds.
I like Junior Mints and Mounds.
Not Almond Joy. Mounds.
Mars Bars and then
the 3 Musketeers.
Just put like Chuckles
next to it.
Like what kind of stuff?
Mom, what are you
doing down here?
Run. Run. Run.
Where am I gonna run?
HEATH: I was in prison with
John when the movie came out,
and they showed it
to John first in private
and then they showed it
to the general population.
FILM ANNOUNCER: For the people of the
neighborhood, it was a sideshow.
FILM ANNOUNCER: But for Sonny and
Sal, the hostages and the cops,
it was a "Dog Day Afternoon."
WOJTOWICZ: The warden said,
"We're not showing this."
And I said, "if you don't show this
in the prison, I'll go to the press
"and I'll hang you by
your fucking cannolis,
"and I'll start the biggest
prison riot you ever saw.
"I want the fucking movie shown and
I want it shown to the inmates
"because I promised them
for years, because nobody
believed there was
gonna be a movie."
HEATH: A lot of people from all
over the country wrote to John
because of the movie.
A lot of people liked what
John stood for in the movie.
He would try to answer
as many letters as he could,
and I think that he picked out a lot
of letters that were more romantic,
and he enjoyed it.
BIFULCO: Everybody knew
who he was. Everybody.
You would see everybody turn around, looking,
you know, "That's the guy from "Dog Day."
You know, everybody
in the prison.
People would come up for autographs,
and he would love that.
Oh, yeah.
He was... ooh!
HEATH: We never
became cellmates.
He was too hot.
He was a hot potato
because of the publicity
that he was generating
and the publicity that I
was generating also for him
in terms of his criminal case.
Because at the time of sentencing,
he had swallowed pills.
He's already crazy, so he definitely was
out of his mind at the time of sentencing.
So on a legal level, he really was
deprived of his right to due process,
and the court did reduce his sentence
when he went back for re-sentencing.
[Man howling; panting]
New York City is a place of
contrast and contradiction.
Studio 54 here is a shrine to
the city's celebrity cult.
People who come here are either
famous or want to be famous,
but just 50 yards
down the street here
is a building which people enter
for very different reasons.
The Hotel Bryant is a federal
prison halfway house.
One man living in this
fleabag hotel
can lay claim to being one of the most
celebrated losers in recent times.
The story of the life of
John Wojtowicz is so bizarre
that even the jaded people of
New York and Hollywood
find it unbelievable.
WOJTOWICZ: OK. what happened is that
after the judge out my sentence to 15,
he recommended that the
parole board release me.
So at the end of '78,
I was sent to the Bryant Hotel.
You're only allowed to
stay there for so long,
and you have to get a job or
they send you back to prison.
OK. I finally got a job cleaning toilet
bowls on Park Avenue for the rich people,
and then finally,
I went back to my parents.
I was released in 1978,
and I must have lived with John
and Terry for 9 or 10 months
at their Flatbush Avenue
John still saw me as his wife,
and we stayed with each other
while we were out for 2 years.
Eventually, John got work
with Project Return.
This was an inmate organization
that helped ex-cons.
WOJTOWICZ, VOICE-OVER: I only got to work
at Project Return for a couple of months,
and then they had to lay me off
because of a budget crunch and
then they threatened
to lock me back up
because I wasn't working.
I guess everybody don't want to
hire me 'cause I'm an ex-con,
but they can't use that
excuse because of the law,
so they always say
I'm not qualified.
You're a former bank teller?
Yeah, for 8 years.
Specifically, what type of a
job would you like to have?
Well, anything that's got to do
with bookkeeping or anything
that's got to do with finance, but
a lot of people don't like you
handling money because you were
away, you know, for bank robbery.
WOJTOWICZ: I went to Chase
Manhattan when I first was out
at the halfway house,
and I wanted to be
a security guard.
My reference was
"Dog Day Afternoon".
I says "I'm the guy from
"Dog Day Afternoon,"
"and if I'm guarding your bank,
nobody's going to rob the Dog's bank.
OK. also I could sign autographs for
people that open up new accounts."
So it took them 3 weeks to
finally get somebody to tell me
that I couldn't be
a security guard.
Just like I was gonna drive
Dog Day's Disco Limousine.
And in the limousine, you would watch
my movie and disco music would play,
but my parole guy refused
to let me get a license.
Also I had to be kept
under a psychiatric care,
and then I refused to see the
psychiatrist as part of my parole.
Because how can they claim
I wasn't crazy when I did it
and now that I'm out
on parole, now I'm crazy?
But the judge ruled that parole
is not a right, it's a privilege,
and if I want to be out,
I gotta see the psychiatrist.
MAN: His life was pretty much of a
mess when he got out of prison.
For him, prison was
really horrible.
Some people use prison to pull
their lives together.
John, I think it helped cement the
personality that he was becoming.
When the movie came out, that
became the essence of his life.
He then became The Dog,
and there was a real personality
change of a major degree.
So it was easy to slip into this
notoriety rather than settle down.
BIFULCO: When Johnny got out
of prison, the week he got out,
he didn't come straight
home to my house.
He went to visit Ernie or
whoever else he went to visit,
and when he was good and ready, he came
to visit, to stay over that night.
And nothing happened.
And I was upset, because if you come out of
prison and you're not with me in 8 years,
why didn't you come to me
and the kids first?
And I would always say, "Well, he's gay, but
he'll get over it and he'll come back to me"...
always hoping for that white picket fence
that we always used to talk about.
WOJTOWICZ: My name is John
Stanley Joseph Wojtowicz.
I'm the one they made the movie
about, "Dog Day Afternoon,"
that Al Pacino portrayed,
and I'm the husband of
Carmen Ann Wojtowicz,
who is the mother
of my two children.
I'm also the husband of George Heath, who
got me out of prison by cutting my time,
and I'm also the husband
of Ernest Aron,
the guy that I robbed the bank
for to get the sex change for.
HEATH: New York gave John
a lot of respect.
People wanted to
get to know him,
to see what kind
of person he was.
So everyone wanted to
take him back to the bank,
to get a picture of him
in front of the bank,
and John would do anything
for a couple of dollars.
I remember when
he tipped everybody,
threw a lot of bills
out on the sidewalk.
Oh, that's for the pizza.
That's when they
brought the pizza.
How much did you pay
for the pizza?
A couple thousand dollars.
I find this
a very sad commentary...
On our civilization that
1, 2, 3, 4 technicians,
all of whom I assume
are reasonably paid,
should be sent down here
to interview somebody
who has become a celebrity
because of crime.
It's ridiculous!
I mean, young kids
of today see that,
and they're gonna want to rob banks
just for the attention that they get,
and it's not fair.
Have you ever talked to him?
Are you scared of him now?
He's just standing over there.
I still get the jitters just
remembering that whole night.
It was no laughing matter.
I mean, he acted crazy.
You didn't know which way he was gonna
go or what way he was gonna turn,
so you did what he said.
And now he's out
signing autographs.
Signing autographs
and becoming a big star.
Making money on an ordeal
he put a lot of people through.
HEATH: One time, we went
to the actual bank,
and some of the people that
were involved with the bank
or, in fact, maybe one or two
of the hostages, approached us
because John's wearing this T-shirt
saying "I robbed this bank."
A lot of people in the
neighborhood didn't like the fact
that John was coming back to make
more money off the bank robbery.
So they ran us out
of the neighborhood.
Society has got a
right to condemn you
for expecting to make money
out of committing a crime
after you've been caught.
Yeah, but see, you're
forgetting one thing, right?
What about Hollywood?
Hollywood can make a movie...
namely Warner Bros...
make $50 million off of it,
get 6 Academy Award nominations
and win an Oscar for it.
They can make money
off of crime.
Why can a big company and a big
corporation make millions and millions?
They gave the hostages a hundred
dollars, couple hundred dollars each.
My wife Carmen got $50.
I got a couple of thousand, which I
used to get Ernie his operation.
I never got a nickel out of it.
MAN: Not yet anyway.
Warner Bros. recently paid Wojtowicz a
cool $100,000 as a final settlement.
Legal disputes have temporarily
blocked that money.
WOJTOWICZ: And to this day, I'm
still in court with my wife George
trying to get the money.
HEATH: My name is
George Heath.
My relationship with John
Wojtowicz is that I am his lover.
I've also been known
as his wife.
He uses the term "wife."
[Cash register dings]
was out after money.
I'm the wife of John Wojtowicz.
My name is Carmen Ann Wojtowicz and
I have two children, Dawn and Sean.
[Cash register dings]
HEATH, VOICE-OVER: Carmen got paid,
I got paid, John got paid...
[Cash register dings]
And, of course, Liz was trying
to make money herself.
MAN: How much did the whole
sex change operation cost?
EDEN: My last operation
was 2 1/2 weeks ago,
and it's now up to
about $54,000.
MAN: Liz was smart.
Now she's got a personal agent.
We had to pay him
to get this interview.
She's trying to write a book,
but then, so is almost
everyone else involved.
WOJTOWICZ: Liz and I... we didn't
have a relationship at that time.
I would see her in different clubs, and she
would tell me not to show her guy pictures.
I said, "You don't fucking
tell me what to do."
And then she told a lot of people
that different guys are the real Dog
so they'd get treated to
celebrity status, and I would
come there and spoil
it all for them
because I'm the real
We did a thing called "Let's
Talk Dirty" with Mark Stevens,
the big porno star on Channel J.
They're here at Studio 11 B,
and I'm going to be
talking to John Warzinski.
Did I say that right?
No, no, no.
I shouldn't...
John Wojtowicz.
I'm sorry, John.
OK. I'm going to call
you Dog from now on.
WOJTOWICZ: OK now, with
the "Jeanne Parr" show,
Liz is telling me
how much she loves me
and she wants to get
back together with me,
but then when we did the
TV show with Mark Stevens,
she starts accusing me
of all kinds of stuff
and starts turning it around.
I talked to Liz a few weeks ago
about Dog robbing the bank
for Liz's sex change,
which I think is incredibly
amazing, right, don't you?
No, not really.
Well, why? Don't you think
it's incredible?
Because I don't think John
really robbed the bank for me.
I never have.
I really honestly believe
he was in debt to the mob
for unknown amount of
money for my wedding.
All you have to remember
is that I robbed the bank
to get Liz the sex change
even though I was against her
getting the sex change,
and that was the only
reason I robbed the bank.
Didn't you leave anything out?
Give me a break.
I feel like I'm playing
ping-pong here.
I can't give you a break.
Never mind.
Go right to...
Oh! She's getting slick.
Come on, Liz, right?
It is incredible, isn't it?
If you had gotten caught,
what was the contingent plan?
What were you gonna
do when I came in
and kissed you in the
doorway of the bank?
The truth John.
Remember, we don't lie.
The truth, John.
Who? Who lies?
You do. Go ahead.
I very rarely lie.
OK, the truth is, if Liz wasn't
going on the plane with me
to get the sex change operation, I
would have blew her fucking ass away.
You would have blown her away?
See, Mark, you didn't know us
during that one-year period
between the time we met and
the time after we got married
that he robbed the bank.
I mean, it's all right to say
you're in love with somebody
and it's all fine and good.
But he also put me
through a whole year
of getting letters
every day that said,
"You have 28 days to live,"
"You have 26 days to live,"
"you have 15 days to live"
because I left him.
The thing that led me into
the mental institution,
which everybody talks about, is the
fact that I got these threatening notes
all the way down to number one,
and I figured since it was my birthday
and everything else was fine,
I said, "Why don't
I just kill myself?
It would end all this,"
and that's just what I did.
I tried to kill myself.
And you think I really wanted
a person to rob a bank?
I got the shaft.
I might have got the sex change,
but I got the royal shaft.
I can't enjoy it.
MAN: Dog was obsessional
with Liz, and Liz said,
"You know, I don't want
to be with him,
"but he's there all the time,
he like, tracks me down.
I don't know what to do."
I mean, they had this link,
you know, this symbiotic link.
And there was nothing she could do to
release her from this mock marriage.
Well, I told her, I said, "Liz,
you wanted to get married."
"Oh, thank you,
thanks a lot."
Liz was talking about how the sex change really
wasn't what she should have done to herself
and how she thought
it would make her happy
and it didn't make her happy,
and it opened up a new series
of problems for her.
She started prostituting, and she
moved to Rochester eventually,
and she hustled there
until she got AIDS.
She would write to me,
and I says, "Are you ill?"
"No, I'm fine.
I've been diagnosed.
I'm fine."
And then, time just moved ahead
and she was dead, you
know, and that was it.
LOWENKOPF: At that point,
it was a question
of how he was going
to live his life.
He settled into this pattern,
sleeping most of the day,
going out late, and going
down to West Street
where there were lots of
and regarded himself as a kind of
protector, watching out for them.
WOJTOWICZ: When crack
took over the Village,
that's when I started getting
people I never got before.
They would come to
my mother's house a lot.
Then they would eat
spaghetti dinner a lot.
They used to sleep over, because
most of them were street people.
Terry really didn't care.
She was like fairy
godmother to these guys.
I never got a clear-cut idea of
what the father was like.
Almost like he was the little
man that wasn't there.
He worked, he came home, he watched
television, he had dinner.
Whereas, the mother was a much
more vibrant force in John's life.
It was a mother/son combo,
and if you want to talk
about his great love,
that's the great love
of his life.
His mother.
[Bell dings]
Come here!
HEATH: John and Terry were
like husband and wife.
[Bell dinging]
Terry would button up his coat,
help him with his clothes,
and when he wanted something,
he rang a bell.
I got a good memory.
Quiet on the set.
1, 2, 3,Action.
Good morning.
I'm "Dog Day Afternoon,"
the real one,
who Al Pacino portrayed in the
movie "Dog Day Afternoon."
BIFULCO: He always wanted
to impress people.
He always wanted to look like
he was the main character,
but after all that he put me
through, he's my past.
That's all I can say.
KAPPSTATTER: Here's a guy who
probably had a hard life
but really led a twisted life.
I think for his own
sense of self-worth,
this is what he spun
in his own mind.
That here is someone,
you know, what I did, wow.
But you know, give us
a break, he robbed a bank.
He was a criminal...
a romantic criminal,
but he was a criminal.
He had to make it
a fantasy in his mind,
because what else
did he have in reality?
It's what you do
to survive mentally.
There's your autograph.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
Have a nice day.
I'm going to frame this.
And don't rob
no banks without me.
All right. Ha ha!
HEATH: I think that John
wanted to be somebody,
but I don't think that he
really ever found himself.
Thank you very much.
Any time.
HEATH: At the end, he may have
come to a confession with saying,
"Well, I'm sorry for this, I'm sorry
for that," but John was always John.
He would never change.
How are you, buddy?
How are you?
Not so good.
How you been?
How are you?
Not good, not good, not good.
WOJTOWICZ: I talk to Tony, but
he don't understand nothing.
He doesn't understand
what dying is.
He doesn't understand
about cancer.
That's why nuts have more fun.
Come on, you asshole.
Get up here.
Ha ha ha!
That's so funny.
I'll blow you,
if you come back.
OK. here he is.
Come on, you know you
want that blow job!
Yes, you do, you big devil.
See that, see that?
Bent over right in front of me.
Yeah, don't tell me
I ain't got it.
All right, let's go.
WOJTOWICZ, VOICE-OVER: Life is too short.
So there is no "no."
Thank you...
If you want to
do something, do it.
Don't let anybody tell you, "No you
can't do this, you can't be that,
you're no good,
you're rotten."
Whatever they say to
you, fuck them.
Do what you want to do, because
tomorrow you could be dead.
So live every day as if it's your
last, and whoever don't like it
can go fuck themselves
and a rubber duck.
You understand?
T REX Moves:
Life is strange
Life is strange
Oh, life is strange
Oh, God,
life is strange...
WOJTOWICZ: A man doesn't
regret what he does.
And I used to tell everybody, "if I had a
dream the night before, and in that dream
"I saw everything that happened,
exactly how it happened,
"would I still
go out and do it?
You're damn right I would
still go out and do it."
Life is strange
Life is strange
Life is strange
Oh, my life is strange
[Rock music playing]
I been thinking
Just how much
I miss my lady
in the corn field
Brightenin' the daybreak
Livin' like a lusty flower
Runnin' through
the grass for hours
Rollin' through the hay
Whoa, like a puppy child
And when it rains,
the rain falls down
Washin' out the cattle town
And she's
far away somewhere
In her eiderdown
And she dreams
of crystal streams
Of days gone by
when we would lean
Laughing fit to burst
upon each other
And when it rains,
the rain falls down
Washin' out the cattle town
And she's
far away somewhere
In her eiderdown
And she dreams
of crystal streams
Of days gone by
when we would lean
Laughing fit to burst
upon each other, whoa
I been thinking, whoa
Just how much
I miss my lady
in the corn field, whoa
Brightenin' the daybreak
Livin' like a lusty flower
Runnin' through
the grass for hours
Rollin' through
the hay, whoa
Like a PUPPY 5
Like a puppy child