There will never be another Al ‘Scarface’ Capone. Over seventy years have passed since he was at the height of power as the most famous gangster of all time and even though more than half a century has passed since his death there is no sign that his notoriety and fame will ever fade.
Commencing professional life as ‘Muscle for Hire’ Capone was transferred from New York City to Chicago with the help of Jewish friends following some inconvenience with the police over a couple of murders and under the tutelage of an old time mobster Johnny Torrio, Al Capone started to reinvent himself and he was in no doubt that he was heading in only one direction.
By the early 1920’s Capone had already ruthlessly clawed his way to the top of the gangster tree of Chicago by removing his bosses and rivals and anyone else who stood in his way.
Sig’ Jim Colosimo, the main man in Chicago at that time was only interested in vice as an important source of income but for Capone the future was in illicit alcohol banned in 1920 under the Volstead Act which prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol across the United States. Colosimo was shot to death and no one was charged with his murder.
Next logo was Dion O’Banion, chief of the Irish Gangs in Chicago. He was shot dead at close range by a couple of customers in his flower shop in 1924 and again no charges were brought.
Barely out of his mid-twenties. Capone established his illegal activitiesgenerating sales approaching one hundred million dollars a year and at his peak there would have been as many as a thousand gangsters under his control.
When I sell liquor it is called criminal activity’ Capone was fond of saying. but in the White House they call it hospitality’.
Capone achieved something never done before or since when he annexed part of the United States as his own private fiefdom. the town of Cicero located just outside of Chicago. Capone loved to show off his power as was demonstrated on one occasion when he kicked the Mayor down the stairs of City Hall whilst the police looked the other way.
Violent opposition was still coming from the Irish remnants led by George Bugs’ Moran who had joined in an alliance with Hymie Weiss. a Polish Catholic gangster of psychopathic tendencies.
Weiss was rubbed out in an ambush in 1926 and the Moran mob sought revenge attempting several times to hit Capone.
On 14th February 1929 seven members of the Moran gang were slaughtered in the immortalised St Valentine’s Day Massacre but the Chicago public had enough and the outcry that followed started Capone on his downward spiral.
Al Capone considered himself invincible and never thought he could ever be successfully prosecuted for dealing in illegal liquor.
He was right.
In 1932 Capone was convicted for tax evasion and sentenced to eleven years in a Federal Penitentiary from where he was then transferred to the impregnable Alcatraz prison just a few miles off the coast of San Fransisco.
Released from prison in 1947 on compassionate grounds. Alphonse Capone, his mind half gone from a venereal related decease, died in Miami in 1947.
He was only forty eight.