The Murder of Father Dahme

On a freezing February evening in 1924 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a murder occurred. A well known priest, Father Dahme was shot dead on Main Street, right across from the Lyric Theater.

This horrible crime rocked the City. Witnesses had seen a man running down the street, but few none could directly describe what they saw.

The police couldn’t find the killer immediately, however days later they arrested a vagrant named Harold Israel, found in a Norwalk, Connecticut rooming house.

The murder, arrest, and later court trial began days of the local news paper, including the Bridgeport Post, heavy with headlines about the trial.

The prosecuting attorney, Howard Cummings took on the case, and as the courtroom trial ensued, holes appeared in testimonies and the story that Harold Israel gave himself.

Years later, the story of Father Dahme written in a story in Reader’s Digest, and captured the imagination of director Elia Kazan in 1947, who had just

Boomerangdirected his friend Arthur Miller’s play All of My Sons play on Broadway. 

The movie is entitled Boomerang.  Kazan wanted to shoot the movie in Bridgeport, Connecticut, however because of a local protest of citizens, the movie was shot in Stamford, Ct.  Several familiar locations were used in Stamford, including the old offices of the Stamford Advocate.

The film Boomerang is being shown at 6:00 on the third floor of the Bridgeport Public Library.  I will be giving a short history of the rarely seen film, and the audience is asked to participate in a short discussion.

Come join us at the library for Boomerang with Dana Andres, Lee J. Cobb and Jane Wyatt (Before Father Knows Best).  Kazan asked his friend Arthur Miller to be in the film…see if you can spot him!

Call (203) 576-7417 for further information.

Mary K. Witkowski, Bridgeport City Historian