On October 17, 1931, Al Capone was found guilty and sentenced to eleven years in federal prison for tax evasion. In honor of this, what would you call it? An anniversary? Here are five things you probably didn't know about Chicago's famous mobster...
He Kidnapped Fats Waller When jazz legend Fats Waller was just 21-years-old he was held at gun point and bundled into a limo after finishing a set at a Chicago club. Fearing for his life he was pleasantly surprised to discover that instead of being led to his death, he was in fact being forced to perform at Chicago mafia henchman Al Capone’s 27th birthday party. And what a party it was. It lasted for three days, with Fats sleeping at his piano between sets, and eventually going home with thousands of dollars in tips.
He Played In The Prison Band Al took his love for jazz to the next level in jail. With years' worth of time and little to do in Alcatraz, Capone took up music, and played the banjo in the prison band ‘The Rock Islanders.’ Legend has it that current Alcatraz employees (the prison is now a museum open to the public) have reported hearing eerie banjo tunes coming from the cells.
His Custom Made Car Was Used to Protect FDR Being one of the biggest mobsters of all time, Capone took some precautions to protect himself. One of the most notable was the construction of a custom made bulletproof car. It was a 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan fitted with 3,000 pounds of armor plating and 1-inch thick glass. One interesting modification made to the car is that the window glass contains a circular cutout to accommodate a machine gun muzzle. Once all his assets were seized, the car was recommissioned to become the official car of president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its bulletproof build made it the perfect car for the president to use during WW2. The car was used to drive FDR to his address in front of congress after the events of Pearl Harbor.
His Brother Was a Prohibition Agent In one of the most shocking shows of sibling difference, Al Capone's brother worked as a prohibition officer. His older brother, James Vincenzo Capone worked against the very industry that made Capone so wealthy. He was the eldest in a family of nine children and a fan of actor William S. Hart. Eventually James moved, changing his name to Richard Hart, to disassociate himself with his brother.
He Hated The Nickname “Scarface” Capone was known to lie about how he got the scars on the side of his face by saying he was wounded in the war, even though he was never in the military. It was the press that nicknamed him Scarface as he rose to prominence among area gangsters. Capone got the scars on his face in 1917 while he was working at the Harvard Inn as a bouncer. Another criminal named Frank Galluccio became angry when Capone insulted his sister, Lena. Galluccio then slashed Capone with a knife three times across the face. As a result, Capone needed 80 stitches and ended up with his famous nickname.