Life shows no mercy for the weak. Cognizance about everythin has become mandatory to survive. Get a piece of everythin that life has in the offering ! i share all that i know to help others know what i know. we stay together , we survive. welcome to candor corner. know. share. survive. always with candor, Praveen Chandar

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

AL CAPONE - Episode 1 (Part 1 of 2)

Hi people,

So, here goes the first episode of the TOP 5 Bad'Fellas. Please note that the personalities discussed in these episodes are not listed by any rank or rating order, I have just chosen the order arbitrarily. The first notorious personality we'll be discussing today is the man who introduced Organized Crime to America. The man who terrorized America with his rampant corruption in boot-legging and his intricate multi-layered and impossible-to-trace criminal organization powered by the then popular 'Tommy Gun'. We are talking about Chicago's most infamous Mob Boss, the brilliantly brutal Crime Czar, Alphonse Capone, popularly known as Al Capone, and sometimes as 'Scarface'.

Here we go,

PART 1 (of 2) : Al Capone takes over Chicago

One of the most common fictions is that like many gangsters of that era, Al Capone was born in Italy. Absolutely not true. This amazing crime czar was strictly domestic -- taking the feudal Italian criminal society and fashioning it into a modern American criminal enterprise.

Capone's family (before Al was born), one among 43000 others, moved to the U.S in 1894. His father was a barber by trade and could read and write his native language. Along with thousands of other Italians, the Capone family moved to Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It was a stark beginning in the New World. The neighborhood was virtually a slum, given its proximity to the noisy Navy Yard, its many sailors and the vices that sailors seek when they're off duty. He was the fourth son to his father and the first to be born and conceived in the New World was born January 17, 1899. He was named Alphonse Capone.

Al did quite well in school until the sixth grade when his steady record of B's deteriorated rapidly. At fourteen, he lost his temper at the teacher, she hit him and he hit her back. He was expelled and never went to school again !!

Soon, his family moved from their house on Navy Street to 21 Garfield Place. This move would have a lasting impact on Al because in this new neighborhood he would meet the people who would have the most influence on his future: his wife Mae and the gangster Johnny Torrio.

Despite Al's relationship with the street gangs and Johnny Torrio, there was no indication that Al would choose someday to lead a life of crime. He still lived at home and did what he as expected to do when he quit school: go to work and help support the family. The family was actually doing quite well under Gabriele's (his father's) guidance. He now owned his own barbershop. At this point in his life, nobody would ever have believed that Al would go on to be the criminal czar that he ultimately became. For approximately six years he worked faithfully at exceptionally boring jobs, first at a munitions factory and then as a paper cutter. He was a good boy !! ( And, you elieve that !!?)

How did the soft-spoken dutiful Al Capone metamorphose into the spectacularly successful and violent super gangster? One clear catalyst was the menacing presence of Frankie Yale. He was a both feared and respected. At the opposite end of the spectrum from the peace-loving, "respectable" Johnny Torrio, Frankie Yale built his turf on muscle and aggression. Yale opened a bar on Coney Island called the Harvard Inn and hired, at the recommendation of Johnny Torrio, the eighteen-year-old Al Capone to be his bartender.

Turning Point :

Capone's job at the Harvard Inn was to be the bartender and bouncer and, when necessary, to wait on tables. In his first year, Capone became popular with his boss and the customers. Then his luck turned suddenly when he waited on the table of a young couple. The girl was beautiful and the young Capone was entranced. He leaned over her and said, "Honey, you have a nice ass and I mean that as a compliment." I mean, something of that sort !! The man with her was her brother Frank Gallucio. He jumped to his feet and punched the man who insulted his sister. Capone flew into a rage and Gallucio pulled out a knife to defend himself. He cut Capone's face three times before he grabbed his sister and ran out of the place. While the wounds healed well, the long ugly scars would haunt him forever.

Capone's insult caused a bit of an uproar. Gallucio went to Lucky Luciano with his grievance and Luciano went to Frankie Yale. When it came to Yale's attention, all four men came together and dispensed justice. Capone was forced to apologize to Gallucio. Capone learned something from the experience --to restrain his temper when it was necessary. Yale took Capone under his wing and impressed upon the younger man how business can be built up through brutality.

Al focused on a legitimate career. He stopped working for Frankie Yale and moved to Baltimore where he worked as capable bookkeeper for Peter Aiello's construction firm. When his father died November 14, 1920, of heart disease at the age of fifty-five, the event saw the end of Capone's legitimate career. He resumed his relationship with Johnny Torrio, who had during the intervening years expanded his racketeering empire with the quiet cunning of a visionary. Torrio had abandoned the hotly contested streets of Brookyn for the comparatively open spaces of Chicago. The opportunities were enormous: gambling, brothels, and...illegal alcohol. Torrio beckoned from Chicago and early in 1921 Al accepted. Armed with his knowledge of business and his experience with the brutal Frankie Yale, Capone had a good resume for a career in crime.

It was into this vast criminal enterprise that Torrio brought twenty-two-year-old Al Capone from his honest bookkeeping job in Baltimore. The money and opportunity for advancement was an order of magnitude greater, but the disgrace of managing brothels bothered Al. It was 1921 and Capone had turned his back on respectability forever. With his business acumen, soon Al became Torrio's partner instead of his employee. Al took over as manager of the Four Deuces, Torrio's headquarters in the Levee area. The Four Deuces was a speakeasy, gambling joint and whorehouse all in one.

From then on Capone became the most feared and respected gangster in America, with his rampant corruption and sprawling illegal business fronts and rackets, punctuated more than often with violence ( very much using the TOMMY GUN) which he used as his professional method to move up the ladder of criminal enterprise. Al wiped out all his rivals and took over their businesses one by one. With the Chicago police on his pay roll, Al ruled Chicago with imperial power and terror. Al Capone became the DON.

Part 2 (of 2) will be posted on 20th September 2007.


Praveen Chandar.


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