When it comes to organized crime, there’s one name that most everybody will know: Al Capone. Here at Trapped Escape Game, we know a thing or two about the story of Al Capone, and we wanted to share a little bit about this mobsters history with you.
The Life of American Gangster Al Capone
The Early Years
Al Capone is one of the most well known names of organized crime. Also recognized as Scarface, Capone was born January 17th in 1899 to parents who had recently immigrated to the United States from Naples. Al was the fourth of nine children and grew up in Brooklyn, New York where he attended school until the 6th grade. At the age of 14, he dropped out of school after striking a teacher.
Once Capone was out of school, he started to work a variety of odd jobs. Anything from a bowling alley pin boy to a cutter in a book bindery, he had done it! He did this while he was also serving in two Brooklyn “kid gangs” known as the South Brooklyn Rippers and the Forty Thieves Juniors. These groups of kids were known for committing petty crimes and vandalism, two things that were extremely common in New York at the time. Eventually, Capone also became a member of the James Street Boys gang as a youth. This gang was run by Johnny Torrio who would eventually become a lifelong mentor of Capone.
Johnny Torrio was a member of the Five Points gang, which Capone wound up joining at the age of 16. During his early years, he worked under Francesco Loele (more commonly known as Frankie Yale), who was Torrio’s assistant. Capone primarily worked as a bartender in Yale’s brothel-saloon that was located in the Harvard Inn.
A Turn of Events
At the age of 19, Capone married Mae Coughlin. This happened just shortly after the birth of their first child, Albert Francis. Now a father and a husband, Capone wanted to do right by his family. At this point, he moved to Baltimore where he found a standard, honest job as a bookkeeper. It wasn’t until his father died and Torrio invited him back to Chicago that things took a turn.
Torrio had been running a business of prostitution and gambling, but when the 18th Amendement that prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol came into play, Torrio focused his efforts elsewhere: as a bootlegger. While Capone was back in Chicago, they met up and realized that Capone could provide different skills than anyone else in the gang. Capone’s background in street smarts and his overall expertise with numbers changed the operation for the better. This change made it easy for Torrio to see the value in Capone, and he quickly promoted him to partner.
History of Violence
Once Capone was in the Five Points Gang, his mobster career took off. By the age of 21, Capone had been involved in several violent incidents, one of which gave him the nickname Scarface. A youthful brawl at the Harvard Inn between a young local by the name of Frank Galluccio and Capone is actually where Al Capone wound up with his infamous nickname. Gulluccio slashed Capone across the left cheek of his face with a blade after Capone had made some crude remarks towards Galluccio’s sister.
This wasn’t the only act of violence that Capone was known for. Once Capone and his family had moved back to Chicago, Capone purchased a beautiful home and kept them safe from the things he was doing behind the scenes. Unfortunately, there were various things that were up and coming in the area that were challenging them and threatened to shut their operations down. One of the most notable occurrences was the election for mayor in 1924.
In this particular year, there was a reformist candidate that would shut their organization down. In order to ensure this candidate was not elected, Torrio and Capone initiated an intimidation effort. There were various voters shot and killed, and when Chicago police responded, they were brutally gunned down.
Capone was known for responding with violence. We’ll touch a little bit more on that later.
Capone’s Career as a Mobster
In 1925, Torrio decided that it was time to leave the business and return home to Italy. This decision led to him turning the organization over to Capone. Rather than listen to his mentor's advice to keep his head low, Capone chose to move his organization right to the heart of the city. This led to a luxurious —- and public — lifestyle.
The press followed Capone closely throughout this time in his life, interested in the money that was circulating within his business as well as the work he was doing during a time where people started to become very anti-prohibition. While this is how things started out for him, the amount of violence that he became known for turned people off to him. One of the most violent crimes that Capone was known for took place in 1929. The crazy thing about this though, he wasn’t actually involved with this crime at all!
Early on in 1929, Capone dominated the illegal liquor trade in Chicago. Though this was the case, there were still various individuals that wanted a piece of this business, one of them being Capone’s rival — “Bugs” Moran. On February 14th, dressed as police, McGurn (a colleague of Copone) and his gunman decided to kill Moran. They assassinated seven of Moran’s men in a North Side garage. The sound alerted Bugs Moran, and he wound up escaping the slaughter. Though Capone was not there during the slaughter, he was associated with it because McGurn was an known associate of his.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for him to say that he had been staying in his Miami house. President Hoover ordered the government to step up and arrest him on income-tax evasion. So, on June 5th, 1931, Capone was indicted on 22 counts of income-tax evasion. Capone, being the street-smart man that he was, thought he could get the case dropped or wind up with the minimum sentence. In the end, Capone wound up in prison for 11 years.
Try Our Capone Inspired Escape Room
If you’re a big fan of the story of Capone and the name he made for himself, you absolutely want to check out the Capone inspired escape room at Trapped Escape Game. In this story line, it’s the year 1937. Chicago is currently known for having some of the most notorious gang leaders in history. You have been falsely accused of being an informant to the FBI, and Al Capone has you captured and held in an apartment. Frustrated with the situation, Capone has plans to settle the score in exactly one hour. Now, you have one hour left to escape before he returns. Do you have what it takes to get out of this situation and save your life? Stop by Trapped Escape Game in Pigeon Forge to give it your best shot!