The Murder of Arthur Huttick

By Clarence George on February 28, 2015
The Murder of Arthur Huttick
His career was not notable or memorable, but the way he died is. Anyway, it should be.

Who killed Arthur Huttick? Unimportant? Maybe. But as Agatha Christie wrote, “It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting…”

“It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.”—Agatha Christie

Rumored to have been either national Golden Gloves light heavyweight or heavyweight champ in 1930 (he wasn’t), and to have fought Joe Louis as an amateur (he didn’t), Arthur Huttick fought pro from ‘30 to ‘34, winding up with a record of 26 wins, nine by knockout, eight losses, two by knockout, and one draw. He beat a few names, including Unknown Winston and Bob Olin. “Surviving a threatening first round in which he was rocked three times under Olin’s smashing right-hand drives to the jaw,” reported The New York Times, “Huttick staged a recovery after the second round, and with a consistent attack to the body pounded his way to the unanimous decision.”

He was also sparring partner to Primo Carnera. In the accompanying photo, the two men are sparring in preparation for Carnera’s championship bout with Tommy Loughran, which took place on March 1, 1934, at Madison Square Garden Stadium in Miami, the Italian winning by unanimous decision, his last bout before losing the title to Max Baer three months later. As for Huttick, his next bout was on May 4, 1934, at Madison Square Garden, drawing against Al Ettore.

Not particularly notable or memorable, but the way he died is. Anyway, it should be.

“Butcher Boy” (that’s what he did for a living) was walking along a New York City street on November 7, 1937, when he was stabbed, dying of his injuries the next day, age 27.

According to one theory, Huttick was killed for refusing to take a dive. Hardly likely, given that his last fight had been three years before, on October 6, 1934, losing to Steve Dudas. According to another, he was stabbed when he came to the rescue of a young woman being assaulted by two sailors. That seems more plausible. We know that a 24-year-old housewife, Mary Carroll, was held as a material witness. But witness to what? Did Huttick come to the aid of a damsel in distress, saving her from a fate worse than death?

Knowing the answer and about five bucks will get you a small (or “tall,” as it’s called, which can lead to a miscommunication worthy of Abbott and Costello) Caramel Flan Latte at Starbucks, a beverage consisting of “espresso with steamed milk and caramel flavors of creamy flan. Topped with caramel-infused whipped cream and caramel flan drizzle.” All right, we get it, it’s all about the caramel.

Who killed Arthur Huttick? Unimportant? Maybe so. But as Agatha Christie wrote in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, “It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting.”

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  1. Clarence George 04:33am, 03/02/2015

    Thanks very much indeed, Bob.

    Newsreel fodder…hadn’t thought of that.  Loved those old newsreels.  Who was famous for narrating those?  Lowell Thomas, I think. 

    I still can’t figure out why this case got so little coverage.  There’d been a series of child molestations and murders in the city that resulted in “lynch madness,” but those had taken place in the spring and summer, and Huttick was killed in November.  The Hindenburg?  May.  Amelia Earhart?  July.  Ironically, a film was released in ‘37 called “Murder Is News.”  In Huttick’s case, it wasn’t.

  2. Bob 08:56pm, 03/01/2015

    What a great piece. Probably made good newsreel fodder in its day.

  3. Clarence George 11:35am, 03/01/2015

    Delighted you liked it, Peter, and I wish you well on your Walpoling activities.  OK, that Monty Python reference is completely irrelevant here, but I enjoyed it.

    It’s all very mysterious, Irish, up to and including why it received so little press attention.  I discovered, by the way, that Huttick’s name somehow got tied up (innocently, it appears) in a called-off fixed fight between Jack Willis and Jack Torrance.  Torrance’s manager, Herb “The Battling Bandmaster” Brodie, was also involved.  But that was almost a year before the murder, and I don’t see a connection.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:31am, 03/01/2015

    Clarence George-This nugget makes one ponder….“house wife”.....where was hubby in all of this….was she “moonlighting”....was she “bait”...Arthur was probably a very hard nut to crack in a street scuffle….all the more reason for a weakass on the losing end to knife him during those desperate times at the depths of the Great Depression. He died the next day apparently without regaining consciousness….which leads me to believe he could have been saved with modern medicine in the present day…. not to mention this case being solved in rather short order by modern police work especially with a material witness who knew or saw something.

  5. peter 09:02am, 03/01/2015

    Thank you for this tasty little story. I’m going straight to BoxRec to look him up. And then I’m going to Starbucks for a Caramel Flan Latte.

  6. Clarence George 09:53pm, 02/28/2015

    Thank you, Jason.  I share your frustration, but I could discover precious little about this case.  The newspaper coverage of the time is scant to the point of nonexistent.  Would love to get my hands on the police reports, assuming they still exist, but I don’t have that kind of pull.  George Manley, a light heavy from around the same era as Huttick, was shot to death in 1968, a case on which even less info is available.  For all I know, he killed himself.

    That’s what James Ellroy did, Irish.  Hired a retired homicide detective to re-investigate his mother’s murder, which had taken place decades before.  It resulted in an excellent book, “My Dark Places.”

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:15pm, 02/28/2015

    Clarence George-This case may be as cold as a mother-in-law’s kiss but I say it should be reopened. We need to go back and question that Mary Carroll doll again. What would she be now…..hell’s fire… not a day over 102….probably still a looker too…..material witness my ass…..I say she’s covering for some mug.

  8. Jason 09:15pm, 02/28/2015

    Clarence, love these stories. But why truncated? Do you have more background? Police records, investigations, the name of the girl, people who vouched for his last night on earth?

    -JC

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