G-Man: The Rise & Fall of Melvin Purvis

General - South Carolina History

Melvin Horace Purvis. To many people today, the name means nothing. But it was not so long ago that Purvis was a household name, and over 260,000 boys and girls were digging through boxes of Post Toasties breakfast cereal to get their very own decoder rings and Junior G-Man badges. Purvis, the Timmonsville native with the unassuming name, skyrocketed to such fame in the 1930s as the leader of the FBI team that took down some of the biggest gangsters of his day, including John Dillinger, "Baby Face" Nelson and "Pretty Boy" Floyd. His death in 1960 from a gun shot to the head is still shrouded in mystery. Was it a suicide, as first reported? Was it an accidental shooting? Or was there something more sinister behind it?

Learn about the man behind the badge in a new "Carolina Stories" program, "G-MAN: The Rise and Fall of Melvin Purvis." Presenting "just the facts, ma'am," the documentary examines Purvis' life and sheds some light on his gruesome death. In the process, "G-MAN" explores the complicated relationship between Purvis and J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI and the man who some have said was responsible not only for Purvis' meteoric rise, but also his rapid descent back into obscurity. 

Honored as one of the ten South Carolina State Library most notable state documents of the year.

Closed captioning has been provided for this broadcast program.

G-Man: The Rise & Fall of Melvin Purvis