Chapter Two: "Strong-Armed at Ray's"
These days, everyone's a detective... and everyone has a pet theory. Laurelle's idea is that these photographs were shot to serve as guides for illustrators, who painted colorful covers for paperback detective novels or magazines. Perhaps she's right -- this image has a lot going on in the details, and an artist could have chosen to show just the men and the liquor store sign in order to feature the action.
On the other hand, some of the pulp detective magazines ran photographic illustrations-- the better to add a note of gritty realism to their tales of swindlers, kidnappers, dope fiends and killers.
(Click on the people or the front bumpers in the photograph above to pop up enlarged details.)