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One Year - 1986: The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults

2022-09-01

Rumors about the legendary gangster Al Capone’s buried treasure transform an abandoned Chicago hotel into the center of the entertainment universe. Will Geraldo Rivera’s excavation on live TV turn up money, skeletons, or nothing at all?

One Year is produced by Evan Chung, Sophie Summergrad, Sam Kim, Madeline Ducharme, and Josh Levin. 

Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts and Merritt Jacob is Sr. Technical Director.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Jewels reuben grew up in the nineteen seventy says an only child raised by a single father, his Harold was an entrepreneur while he was there. one king of Chicago I guess. Maybe that makes me the porn prince of Chicago Harold and owned a combination, adult bookstore, massage parlour and nude modeling studio. He got there. Imports from a woman he taken to a costume party. He showed up her apartment carrying a medieval shield. Nothing underneath she said your weird emerald apparently that's how he got the nickname stock, weird herald the person. With sex crazed and shameless weird heralds. The business was a porno superstore, five year old jewels wrote his tricycle up and down the hallway so you'd, again and then As you turn to your last, you would know
The church, confessional and that's, where the register wise weird Harold, thrived on attention, though he mostly it acted? The negative kind newspapers called him a scummy pervert a loathsome smart idler in chicago's leading creep. He also had more than thirty arrest on his record for stuff, like We have seen material and run a house of prostitution. It was rated so many times he always knew was common. One for the raid would come. I would spend the night, it's babysitters house, the poor, king of chicago reigned for just five years, eighteen, seventy five weird landlord cancelled, the stores lease Harold. then gave up his business moved to the suburbs and focused on a different obsession antiques.
He didn't make. His vest finds a second hand. Stores are rummage sales. He preferred to do his digging in places he wasn't supposed to be empty offices in old optometrists, clinic even a medical repository, you walk in, and there are shared upon shells of ox eyeballs in formaldehyde pig fetuses, lamb kidneys. Is you name it when he went on these adventures, harold and brought along a son as an extra set of hands. It wishes come on four eleven then wait bs an abandoned building will be fine unaware. One in the early nineties, jewels was around eleven. His dad drove him to it. Rapid, looking block on chicago's nears outside their target. That day was an old hotel. The front doors were boarded enchained. You had to push them open. Squeeze through and that
you got it. The building they snuck into had opened in the nineteenth century. Back then, it was called the lexington the dell series of very grandiose. They had a grand ball room with a mezzanine chandelier ears and at one time. It was a very nice place, that's for sure, and what did he look like By the time you started going there, so when you walked in there was Huge guarded had two and twenty four: cross hall in the ceiling of interest electricity. You got a flashlight at best every I mean in his chicago there's rats. You hear things and then the keys jewels and his father moved from florida floor. Taking inventory just like they done in so many other abandoned spaces to me, the hotel was just another
building and I think for him It was just another building until he found it that it wasn't. Once he realized that history His crime boss stayed here that just at the fire. the crime boss, who stayed at the lexington was the notorious is Al Capone Harold. been had stumbled into the former headquarters of a criminal act. When he discovered that he began to wonder what treasures america's most people gangster hidden away, you're too, talking about the place that housed AL capone on a regular basis, so scotty something down there. He wouldn't the only one who thought there were secrets inside the lexington hotel eighteen. Eighty six, a tv special would fuel, a nation wide frenzy over AL capone in the back.
honey he may have left behind, I had never seen reality tv like this unfolding as we all watched it together. We didn't know if we will find bodies, we didn't know if we will find tunnels. We didn't know If we want a fine riches, you find them put the acts on it? You want to know what's under that acts in this week's episode and abandon the building in chicago becomes the center of the entertainment universe and the site
a legendary american fiasco. This is one year later navy since the mystery of AL capone spots, high vibes com, you ve, changed your mind, I mean from ethnic seems to want to handle and sexual and now me and my big pass. Not a governs. Have our very own shameful banging with clarity beach that you simply mush checkout banging is the ultimate sex and die in talk. Show
I'll be having a chat with will favour sniff for aids and notes. Pic is off. Limits is very like may just go there. You know me baby. I want to know that you see us the cup stories the meciar x, the craziest I ve ever been on on battling. We hate to have to be shocked and to get all the basic quits out in the islands of your favorite celebrities. So listen to bang him with plenty bait every changed I on the eve podcast network or watch philip. Besides on our banging of cairo reach, you two page. This office, it is it's like pee, wee playhouse, except for historian, in a converted, auto parts factor southwest of downtown chicago. It's now full of offices, an artist studios, alot of either architectural plans and drawings.
So here you ve, got of various historical properties This office belongs to a man, who's been conserving pieces of his home town since he was an elementary school. My name TIM Samuelson and I was a preservation specialist with chicago commission, on god, dammit rate, where I worked tim, worked at the commission on chicago landmarks back in the nineteen eighties later. He became the city is first official cultural historian. He has a person, collection of around twenty five thousand artifacts, a lot of which were on display right here well, this is an old reckon player. The sound goes through this hollow too, but gets bigger and bigger and makes this giant horn all run by spring power.
This kind of thing that AL capone might listen to for entertainment up in his room and the lexington hotels, probably about the right date, I'll. Capone was born in brooklyn and eighteen. Ninety nine one of nine children of italian immigrant parents legend has it that he left school for good in the sixth grade punching his teacher in the face, as a teenager He fell in with some low level. Gangsters got slash outside a salute. The injury that made him scarface. He said for chicago at the dawn of the prohibition. That's when he levelled up from a small time hood to a criminal mastermind the main part of AL capone is known for
was running the networks of illegal liquor holy everyone together to be able to manufacture transport deliver liquor throughout the city without interruption, capone's organization, eventually branched out into gambling and prostitution. They ruled the streets with bloody efficiency. AL capone enter chicago court at height of his career and leave still king of bootleggers, his reign of terrorist still to take its toll of bed in an underworld and war. He was conniving dangerous, an enemy of the state, but eyes of the public. He wasn't necessarily a villain. He was almost like a fool glory figure in a way with the same kind of mythology that you have four million people in the west of Jesse james
everybody knew he was behind horrific things of a murder extortion. Many people have a Kind of warm feeling soulier like you would for some kind of mythical fictional hero. capone was richer than anyone could fathom one s pegs as net worth at forty million dollars new. seven hundred million dollars. Today, He wanted the world to see that wealth spending, big Diamond jewelry succeeds in a bullet proof cadillac the entire car threw up his line. on the wind failures, wantage and a quarter thing all the while the pony presented himself as a man of the people. He ran a soup for the needy in a modest two flat apartment building on the south side, his headquarters, with seven miles away at the lexington hotel.
On michigan avenue and what's now called sir macro ice. What are we seeing here, Ok, so now we are at a. Mouth of an alley originally serve the lexington hotel tim too, over two michigan and sir mac and told us what the lexington look like when it was first built up ten, story: eighteen nineties, building it, really dignified when it was new reddish terror. Cod in the mental designs it had bay windows Stuck out around the corner to europe, but the prohibition years it had left a lot of its lustre. This would not have been great glamorous area. The old houses had been torn down by the nineteen twenties in brazil placed by factory buildings, and this became ro upon role of automobiles showrooms the lex,
in hotel became an inexpensive, stop for travelling salesman and cross country truckers. It was the perfect out of the way spot for chicago most infamous gangster, capone made himself at home at lexington installing a gymnasium holding out a master sweet with a lavender bathtub and a gilded toilet its supposedly settled, obey window watching his need a beer trucks role past, even if he didn't Technically own the place, the hotel, was hit, but that wouldn't last Al capone goes to jail. The federal government structures birthday. in the underworld by conducting public game number one on income tax brought capone winter. prison in nineteen thirty two eventually ending up on alcatraz island. He got really After seven years when he was I noticed with syphilis of the brain capone.
in nineteen forty seven in miami beach. He was forty, eight years old, in chicago relaxing hotel, continued its own decline the former stomping grounds became a four hundred room brothel then flophouse in a eighty, the gas and electricity got shut off for non payment in a judge of victims. last a hundred and fifty tenants often wonder what would happen in an apocalypse in That was a museum of their at the lexington hotel, leaky roofs will soak the interior. The paint in plaster would be being from the ceiling dislikes, the lack tights. If you were in a cave at first, it was crazy but There was a certain about the lexington,
four jewels ribbons, dad weird herald the lexington decline. It wasn't a tragedy, it was an opportunity. I just remember that everything can be shifted at one point then that's where we really started removing stuff that hotel in the bathroom, the walls were all pink dial. All of the time came out there, all of it the whole lobby was killed. bird in italian marble, The floors was on the walls spend a lot of time breaking that up how is it removed sledgehammer crow bars and just sheer human will and where would you put all this stuff? like all of the marble, was in our backyard in suburban chicago, act up on the side of the house in piles, junk files,
Harold reuben plan to sell those hunk of marble as authentic relics. But he wasn't going to stop there. He thought the buildings. most fascinating secret, still waiting to get on earth. There was a part of the building he hadn't explored. Yet the basement the stairs leading down to it had fallen away. He actually attempt to get me to go down there. I just I wouldn't. There was no light, and I was not jumping into the dark one of one of the few times I defied my father that going down in that gps basement. Harold reuben was not afraid. He lowered himself into that creepy ass basement And what he found there was tantalizing hungary wall about a hundred and twenty five belong, it seemed like that wall had no functional purpose. So why was it there?
weird Harold realized. There was something on the other side of that country, It was some kind of chamber a space big enough to fit almost anything that was it. He was obsessed he had to know what was buried inside And the more research they did, the more excited he got about it a cigar, he figured, they were gonna, find bodies skeletons. Whatever was in their harold. Determined to be the guy who uncovered in the issue way through. It was with explosives blow that, while I'm gone all apparelled scavenging had led up to one moment he was going get behind that wall and discover what AL capone was hiding. This was a thing it was. Happen, but then in an instant, his scheme
imploded as a foundation has enough not for I'm just hoping we don't find any bodies, the lex in hotel, had been bought. The new owner a group called the sun foundation. It was led by pat porter, who read and one of the only woman owned construction companies in the united states. She thought the lexington was the perfect training ground These were hundreds of new workers could learn demolition and wiring is they? We had. The building should the entire hotel for just five hundred thousand dollars and Harold Reuben got shut out was mad. He was so mad that this group had bought this building and locked it down tired drum on the surface, pat porter seem the exact opposite of Harold reuben. She was a feminist and a friend of city hall He was a chauvinist. An immunity, pariah, but they were both shrewd business people and great at getting publicity.
And they both understood that axing ten hotel with a potential gold. Mine if the cargo is a legendary gangster, AL capone has been dead for almost forty years now, but he's back in the news today because of something he may have left behind in nineteen. Eighty five pat porter put on a hardhat and let a group of reporters down to that creepy ass she told them an irresistible story about AL capone in a whole, huge, complex of hidden staircases and underground tunnels, but the main attraction was that enormous, concrete mystery box, Harold reuben, had thought it was full of bodies. Pat quarter
had another idea ever since I walked into this building the first time, I've known I'm gonna find something. My instinct is telling me that there's mine will be back in a minute. American scandal is a podcast from wondering: takes you deep into the most infamous scandals in american history to see what drives someone to break the rules? The newest season explores one scandal that proved uniquely polarizing at a profit global impact all because of one man Edward Snowden, when the and I say, contractor leaks thousands of document outlining the secret in illegal mass surveillance operation. The united states was running on its own citizens. People were shocked. Consequently, many argued
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are you for sniff for aids and notes. Pic is off. Limits is very like major just go there. You know me babes. I want to know that you see us the cup stories the meciar x, the craziest I haven't been on on battling. We hate happened to be shocked and to get all the basic quits out in the islands of your favorite celebrities. So listen to bang him with plenty bait every changed. I on the eve podcast network or watch philip besides on our banging. If colleagues, each year to page. Sir Joshua looks like here in your closet. I am back. You know that Doug Llewellyn knows how to look good on screen in the nineteen eighties. He had the best here on daytime television. One report recalled it Where do you could serve on He also had an all time classic tv catchphrase. If you're in
involved in a dispute with another party such as this new just can't seem to work it out, don't resort taking the law into your own. Have you taken to court the people's court, was still on the air right now, it's in its thirty eight year believe it or not, as the rapporteur the people's court. He help transform rinkitink disputes in the tv. but that wasn't his only job here, a television production company on the side and he always on the lookout for his next big project. My partner, I were sitting on our office in los angeles. One morning we were sir the newspaper- and there was an article talking about vaults belonging to AL capone, supposedly had been discovered in cargo and my partner. I decide let's look into this that article
Oh said: one person controlled access to capone's former headquarters at quarter of the sunbeam foundation. We approach And said we would like to explore to see if there really was something there and I and to meet her? She showed me around the building and the most talked about it, the more so made that there could be material, but capone's, and his men left in there could be money could be bodies could be guns could be whatever it sounded. Illogical. Doug llewellyn in his business partner, made an agreement with porter. They would try to sell the tv special about busting into our opponents secret stash if they got a deal that The sun both foundation a chunk of the broadcast proceeds, so we put together a dime my presentation, real all about prohibition era I'll go in the nineteen thirty's when capone was there and the magic?
of what a show like that could be like well, was feeling good when you took a sizzle real to new york and made his pitch to a b c, and NBC both network were intrigue at first, but they got her up on the same question. How could they know for certain that with something exciting inside that chamber in the lexington hotel. The truth was that they couldn't now that. Wasn't what the network's wanted to hear. We couldn't anybody interested for some recent rather just didn't, fly so look like AL capone secrets, wouldn't get laid bare on national television, but then Ellen heard about one more potential. Buyer someone mention to us about a new company that had started in chicago contribution. Tribune entertainment at the time was essentially a start up with a very large media company, the large media company being tribune broadcasting alan graph may join.
immune entertainment in nineteen. Eighty three as director of this affairs, he was left with a big task to create develop produce. and distribute television programming, that our stations could play and also that we could make money. He was looking for something big and splashing at the time the crown jewel in tribune. Entertainments portfolio was the least sex show on television, the? U S, farm report. Yes, annual tuxedo show, because last saturday night we were bismarck, north dakota or the donations for outstanding young farmers were nay backing lay doug llewellyn, gotta tipp? The tribune was hungry for a new idea and the sudden, I've got a pitch this to the people in chicago we did exactly that. We went in and gave him our dog and pony show and boy. They went to court. This is better than anything we had what was in the
spent behind this wall of concrete the potential that There might be something really interesting. Just but my imagination later. This is the answer. goes story be sheer magic and we decided we could do this. We would have to blast of also and do it on live television Hey show. I've been a history of Al Capone in Chicago this the mystery of Al Capone spoilt. What's in there, ladies and gentlemen, tribune entertainment agreed to finance a two hour tv special paid done: llewellyn company, nine hundred thousand dollars, pat porter, the women of the sun, both foundation got fifty thousand dollars and one percent of the royalties, since the big broadcast networks had rejected the special. The mystery of AL capone vaults would be televised insinuation that
tribune entertainment would sell the show to local stations all over the country. It was up Doug llewellyn to make sure they had something? So we went back and forth to chicago only fifteen times in los angeles. Doing research there Just so much work to be done, the mystery I'll capone's, vaults wooden just be alive, excavation, there would also be documentary segments on the history of gangway chicago the produced sat down with people who knew capone. Journalists who covered him and experts like tempts him. well said. It was a normal day at the landmark commission office and I get a telephone call from a production company tim's job at the commission on chicago landmarks, didn't typically involve consulting on flashy tv specials, but he was happy to help long as he could remain honest to his profession. I have to tell the truth: the historians not gonna make things up, or some of them do, but I try not to
tim knew everything there was to know about the lexington. So he gave tourist to the producers and anyone how who needed a guide. One time we made an appointment, and they didn't tell me what it was, and so I dutifully went down there who is there but famous psychic irene hughes in Chicago psychic irene Hughes has received commendations from police for her efforts in helping them solve no less than fifteen murder cases, So we go wandering through the building. in there was this round like a manhole cover in the basement floor and she said. There is something of capone underneath there
and I said well misuse that is the cover further sewage injector. If anything of capone's arrives down there. You want to dear clear that another the producers asked him to hurry over because they discovered a tour your chamber- and, I have said the torture chamber This is the electrical closet. This is where the fee, whose boxes were come on folks TIM thought, the psychic and the torture chamber, we're harmless diversions, but he did see the more fundamental problem with the mystery of AL capone's vaults, it wasn't. those walls were a complete mystery Chicago it was very calm and when you are building a building, you would bill a space for storage or delivery of coal under the
public sidewalk, that storage space was known. The chicago sidewalk vault tim felt certain. That was the kind of votes in the basement of the law. Tat. The thing about a sidewalk fault is It can be a bit of a problem overtime if it's not well maintained he's sidewalk vaults would start to leak. When that happened, workers would quickly, cave in the vaults and fill them with whatever they could find. Slag that comes from the old steel mills dirt. instruction rubble from a demolition site, so how the sidewalk fault is gone, words in old, chicago sidewalk. Vaults, wasn't like a bank funds, was more the garbage dump even tried to tell them, but well they didn't listen to me, vienna.
He was one opinion there were I'll. Tell you what we brought in very high high class X, ray equipment to try and pin trade through the walls to see if we could find anything. It wasn't conclusive We knew that we do see anything that we'd like to see. But who knows what's beyond behind what we do see the poodle in team figured they done all the pre show exploration they could do but they still had one big thing to sort out Do it live? You need a host some one to pull together. We knew we need somebody who could walk and talk without a written script as luck would have it a guy with just that who had recently become available a man, a man for all Rivera had a reputation for taking on stories that other reporters wooden touch in.
Nineteen seventies he broadcast the uncut. Zapruder fell of J f k is assassination later, as a and for a b twenty twenty? He did the first network news report within the aids crisis. The story of the birth malignant spread of the killer. Disease may see like a scenario from some horror movie, but this is real life. We said you know her elbow be great. To do the show he's a reporter and he knows how to dig for a story and, most importantly, he was out of work. In the fall of nineteen eighty five, her old had gotten into a big fight with his bosses at a b c. He publicly accused, of burying a story about marilyn Monroe, legit affairs. With the Kennedy brothers Michael assertion I got fired, the most famous unemployed person in america that's her although from an interview in two thousand eleven I was so hurt,
and so in a way embarrassed. I didn't want to go. Looking for a job, so the sale. My boat around the world got his boat ready. He was, and contention for one job, he'd applied to be the first journalists in space enough of nasa's teacher and space programme, then astronaut deal was looking unlikely, in the early days of nineteen. Eighty six her. Although it just lost his seven figure, salary and needed some quick cash so when Doug Llewellyn got his phone number, he answered the call, and I spent about an hour and a half on the phone with him about it. We finished the telephone. recession. He had agree Do the show her all this b with fifty thousand dollars the annual cost maintaining a sailboat as soon as he signed the deal here? appeared on that boat for more than a month
when he finally made it to Chicago? In march of nineteen eighty six there were five weeks until the show went on the air. Her, although cut his hair, trimmed his moustache and got to work hoping the project may doubt upon may have built, and nobody knows what's in it, something more something body something we are not going to open so we were really really baiting the audience. Early on Joanie bay hack was the publicist for the mystery of AL capone's vaults it was my dream. Member before the broadcasts Chile aired- I was here dinner with a friend maxine restaurant and everybody was talking about where they were going to be to watch the show and that's it when I knew that it was on everybody's mind or geography Jim grows. Here there are federal tax agents. There may be a few
here, waiting to see what happens when I crack that safe It was such a unifying experience when people said What do you think's then? What are you? Ok, I think it was just the suspense of it all was so exciting there a lot riding on that baltimore lexington hotel for her aldo. This was his chance. for a big come back to prove that was still a star and to show is old bosses that abc that firing has been a huge mistake. So he had a lot of skin in the game with this broadcast and he knew What was the risk? Tribute? entertainments Alan draftsman is feeling the pressure to Tension mounted day by day I have to say it We had a million bucks in the project we all the two hundred ninety stations that internationally twenty countries,
much experience that you have with live television. None. While there are very clearly in great hands, but not to worry it's only in prime time around the world. Let's take a quick break. I can tell you I was after we're. Thinking tell you where I was the days and weeks before, but that day is a flippant blur on Monday April, twenty first nineteen. Eighty six alan ass men with the lexington hotel worrying about logistics? Are this
like trucks and place. Is her rollo prepped, proud control? Is our script done? I remember going out and then seeing all these different reporters from all over the world publicist Only by hack saw camera crews from as far away as europe and asia, and it wasn't just journalists wanted to be close to the action in this. If your t was there with like a t, shirt and a weird hat and all these gold shades, it was so cool and I was right in the middle of it. Joni. The a photo that night of mister t standing in a crowd waiting around to see I was going to happen. There's a guy behind him holding up a commemorative sure. It says I was there April protein first, nineteen, eighty six AL capone, vault open the crew, of the show were all sneaking out to buy these tee shirts. I bought one myself
Historian tim Samuelson was standing by at the lexington just in case the production team. Needed his expertise. Twenty five blocks away, producer doug Llewellyn was mingling with the crowd at an AL capone safe, cracking play got everybody having a good time ere, I beg they're having a grand time. We were all gung ho. We were confident. but we had to show the audience was really great that when it comes to at seven pm central It was time to make television history lights are working. The MIKE's working, the satellite is working life chicago I world order and you're about to witness a live television event. A massive concrete, both has been discovered, think it belonged to none other than the notorious AL capone. Well tonight, for the first time that
all there's going to be open lie Cameras and helicopters show opened with a helicopter landing right in the middle of missing an avenue and sir mac, which is where the hotel was. It was exciting exciting evening in chicago up after that, helicopter land parole, strolled inside the lexington and headed downstairs seemed to show the audience around. There are also these hidden staircase you can see them now only because we have torn the wall away. There's another one over here check it out. Girls said. The mystery of AL capone's vaults was dilemma. Three to him to now. What, if anything, that balkan? and we don't know. This is an adventure you and I are going to be taken together. I station on the first floor, enters a feed they were broadcast. the actual live, show TIM Samuelson, felt certain that there wasn't any, buried treasure and that basement he was about to find out if he was right,
ims is sitting in watching the milder they're gonna drop section of war. We are ready to tear this massive slab away. I'm gonna do it with the help of a man. So both bulldozer, believe it or not? We have large one entered amazement that this was just phase one of a multi part construction project. After a short comment, I break the mini bulldozer, was ready to run errands okay without further ado. Let's take the wall down, let's break it down, let's go in the drop the wall. Feel the building shake. and then it shows how rollo going to the newly open wall in here you can see The rubble I thought would be there about me area. The other one is john tabloid wanted job in theirs.
Too little bottles that were tumbled right out and her elbow picks up too little bottles, in says: sleep found some old stuff already had vat fraud and then about now, to viewers at home. These dusty bottles look like promising start. It wasn't even seven thirty. There were still More than ninety minutes left to go. Well then, I get called from upstairs TIM. You know bottles, don't you well. Yeah down here so now, I'm in the base at the scene of action in here were too little bottles dated nineteen forty eight, Nineteen forty eight was sixteen years after AL capone moved out of the lexington hotel and one year after he died. Those bottles were trash
not prohibition. Her treasure, I said I'm slurry fellows, but remember. This was just phase one There is still so much more of the lexington to explore the more than ninety minutes left to find the real bounty down in the basement. There was relentlessly up Our task indicate that this is a is very, very chamber, so don't expect to see all bars right out front. It's probably not going to work that way, hereafter wisdom perfect. I to do it because he had the gravitas he had You know the mellow drama in his personality Johnny bay hack worked alongside her aldo before and during the broadcast he added to every part of the documentary in every part of the stringing along the viewer to what's inside, what's inside. In my opinion, he butcher the whole thing
jewels reuben and his dad Harold weren't at them thanked him. That night they were watching with the crowd at the AL capone safe, cracking party, hosted by Doug llewellyn. I remember, being there and zol glitzy and you know gang stirred up Llewellyn had met with weird harold in the months later up to the lie broadcast, but the lex, in hotels, leading scavenger didn't make the cut that makes me a little bit twisted out of shape and yeah they never really even acknowledge. that he had anything to do with it, but yet they invited us to the party with his dad cut out of the show jewels didn't think much of her all those take on gang land history in his opinion, sunk, even lower when a pre recorded segment started to play, your brain, I can remember you watching harold over Rivera. As he's going
It's through the gymnasium, the second floor room and a lexington hotel was basically the gang's first gymnasium, but it also had a more sinister purpose. This was the target practice range for capone and the boys, and I thought self. No, no, they shoot the tommy guns in the gym. They just didn't happen, that time, what better weapon to hit what you are aiming at than this one. The thomson sub machine gun and he said the mob called it the typewriter, but we all knew what a bloody tail occur if the cold. was the weapon that won the west. They say this was the way the main the twenties har. That's so hurrah, though her elbow just want to talk about tommy guns. He wanted a fire them on camera. Live shot most modern weapons. I haven't you This one year is a difficult. If I know it's a very easy weapon, the fire, it has very little rise. It is strictly accurately, and it's very comfortable the shoe the guy,
roger was chatting with with the chicago gunshot owner named sure. In turn off. I was the year special facts and weapons master, and I supplied, a lot of things that they needed. we're getting ready to tape. The gymnasium seen sherwin lou the vintage ptarmigan with fifty rounds of blanks harold told him that wasn't going to work. He said it. This is docu drama. We have to use real bullets. I said to dangerous ice sheet Fifty rouser machine gun bullets it that was gonna have bullets. Bouncing back all over the room, so he insisted now. One point I want to make very clearly right now this is live ammunition. It's not like the cop shows you see on tv. This is the real forty miles: caliber pot ammunition. When loaded the tommy gun with low capacity bullets with very soft heads. But he regrets doing even that
especially given what geraldo did next, I said: don't move till the gun stops airing say right in the square that I have marked out on the floor. I just watch my burst. The name by the march of earthward start firing. A bath, I would say, a few seconds into the fiery he does I still run with the gun fiery. The wall. He took about four steps in there I ran out of ammo and favourably. Reckless, while her out of love doing that, that was really great any worked. The live broadcast was going pretty much as planned. The bulldozer was digging the tape segments were rolling in the crowded that safe crack. Party was watching with rapt attention and then as the evening progressed the elation slowly.
He gave way to tension has to how is this going to end these One of the excavation hen revealed anything but those old bottles and a vintage sign that the Adams express company now with about an hour were left in the special. It was time for is to get a clear. The baby now provided clear. The basement outlets got everybody up there. We come back from this commercial break going to blow that, while this was the big moment- and it was what, Harold Reuben had always vanished, about the mystery of Capone's vault was going to get cracked by blasting the thing to pieces, I hear sherwin tone up the man who taught me how to use the tommy gun he's. Also an explosives expert tell me about it. We're going to use a sixty percent dynamite sticks really use to the ex located at the bottom of the wall, how much
did you feel like they wanted it to be real verses, wanting to be like a movie, and they said to me what what's he gonna look like I said, the walls fall down. He says no explosion. No, not really he's We cannot have that I see. What do you want me to do up? Put flesh banks on the front of every one of them Is what do there? What's the classic phrase, fire robo had his right hand on an old, timey plunder with a handle. the kind wily coyote my ears to trigger an explosion, we brought daddy and so around. I could do tat while I push the button so The plunder actually wasn't connected anything now why
the flash bags went off the wall toppled over and when the dusk cleared there as a whole lot more debris, we're in we're getting there we'll find out, what's happening them. All of that shovelling turned up jack squad. Not even any more bottles it was over and there were still more than forty five minutes left to go in there. They'll digging like little. Like my. happy, does anyone is dig in the grass He was trying to put up a good friend, but TIM Samuelson specks that her aldo knew what was really happening, timid. Not a glimpse of ham, an hour earlier, not long after that. First wall came down
Parallel was actually way down at another. Under the basement, any kind of kept to himself when he wasn't I'm camera, then there was a milk crate there. In her aldo sat on the milk, create put his hands over his face Hmm we're still more prerecorded segments left iran on various. Bulk opponent killed and the gang there's final days in miami time. Her aldo came back on the air after one of those tape debts, He found it more defeated. I don't buy that. I tell you this at eight minutes to the hour, but we've got another wall in there. There was anything behind that wall. Either we didn't find bodies Didn't vine money. There really technically was not much there, but anything there. There was a bottle, a bottle. Yes, you're right
had you talked in advance about. If there is not in the vault. Then here's how we should plan not really that's one thing we did not do at night big lawyer minutes before nine p m central time, her aldo asked the men who done the excavation together around then he addressed the p watching all over the world. I think, at least up to now that we ve struck out with evolve and disappointed. That, as I am sure you are so what can? I say: I'm sorry, I think my buddy, you ever been in a job? I beg you to watch and I promised all the credit that we didn't. I know that sing a song so chicago margo problem. I'm gonna uglier than I am sorry to hear that are you
man and I can remember the abruptness. at the end of it all and just like the disappointment, and then it was done. That's how you're gonna end it allowed out. is the funding dont sing, I was in the zone of while What a bummer of an end, I would have tried not to walk off wade like our other did I I wouldn't doing it. Sorry, it's hard for me to say we had a party at after that. Joe and hurled. It did not come to the party. I know you devastated. Her others says he stopped by the party for a moment, but spent most of them at a nearby bar pounding tequila in a two thousand eleven interview. He said that tried to shut himself off from the world
I knew that I read my reputation that I had fallen into the trap where I was exactly the caricature there once said. I was never work again in the business. The critics were not kind, The chicago tribune called the special rapid fire nonsense. The early times but there were two empty vaults in Chicago one was in the base the lexington hotel, the other inside. Were there his head when out opponents. Vault gets name check today. It shorthand for big time build up with zero path or, if you're feeling last I for massive consumer fraud. Although huh, We're simpson was way
more charitable than that yeah. Why no capone's bug bug it was in her role. Does Paul Allen graph men confessed to me that he suspected they might come up empty. All of that fancy extra equipment. They brought him before the show it hadn't turned up anything super promised more and more. We are coming up with dead ends, so we had an aim, claim and I dont even know to this day, if herald a exactly, but we knew it could turn out disappointing. It did turn out disappointing for the people watching at home. And alan draftsman thought that he might have to pay the price we could fired, we didn't know could have been at the the irritation forgot to boycott us for the next twenty years. He learned his feet, the morning after the special aired get up at five thirty
go into the office and at six o clock ratings come across. They come across my fact. Are you standing by the fax machine waiting was essentially were huddled. Around a table were all look At the same facts is expedite like like it or matrix. Well, it's a little better than that and we will staring at it and we're lookin something no one had ever seen before. It was crazy, crazy numbers, the mist we have AL capone's vaults, attracted forty five percent of all viewers in new york city, sixty one percent in l, a and seventy three percent in chicago alto, Twenty eight and a half million american families watched the special it was the most, Ever first indicated tv show beating out David, frost's interviews with richard Nixon The industry was a gag.
Whose tribune entertainment, who is alan graph, We were a hop property after we had gotten the red out of the ratings we went up and slid those under the door of her own sweet that in his mind. He then got pretty excited when he saw those ratings geraldo, laughed so hard. He nearly choked all the sun is agents were a million dollar offers by the next year He and Alan draftsman had struck a deal for a new daytime talk show. Let me introduce our guest today They are young, smart, good. Looking kids, murdered. In the name of say it was the tent that supported tribune entertainment and her elder for over a decade. and that's what we found in the vault the way alan graph, men and dug Llewellyn, see it the mystery of AL capone's vaults can
He considered a failure for them. It was a colossal triumph. It turned out be a moment in history that many people look back with a smile and the criticism was that america gut suckered or concentrate yes, Did you feel bad for people that had watched it. No, not at all. We I two hours and we deliver two hours. The show was a success. Ass from a television point of view. The funny was there wasn't anything and about ok, so be it we didn't promise anything would be there. always said was. This is what we think his ear. We're going to explore together and find out Anything you do differently for that show in retrospect, not really, I think we did the best We could- and I wouldn't have changed anything quite frankly when Harold
Ruby died in two thousand seven. He was still better than his own quest to profit. If the lexington hotel got cut short one, those things in life some may tragedy, minor tragedy, but a tragic It was a tragedy for my father. I mean it left a pretty bad. impression on me, it's it's at the large part My wife, I mean the weird harold less of it all. I do miss that less than a year after the special, the sun. Both foundation dropped its plans to rehab lexington thing. It was short on funds. In eighteen, eighty five adjudged declared the building a public nuisance that fall. The hotel got demolished,
an architect who studied it before it met the wrecking ball, didn't find any secret tunnels were hidden staircases. Let's see what it says it leasing office events should look for an apartment. Here be the ultimate the block where the lexington one stood is now home to a high rise luxury apartment building. when TIM Samuelson took us to the neighbourhood earlier this year, he couldn't help pointing out everything that had changed. Here in the coroner's, a grocery store, the south loop market, that's where the lexington drugstore used to be so. If we walk down the side here and go half way through the doorway here, That would be about the location where there was an alley. TIM started rooting around to see if there was anything left of AL capone's old headquarters.
Alright, I now here its role of dumpsters. Now they probably have good security on this, so I doubt would get in there, but we can try. Let's walk around. at least we became near where we want to be the under the parking garage in actually were this is one of the early used to go through its gone now, so Well, anyway, here's an open door that leads him to the side of the lexington hotel. Let's see where it takes us all these doors, I could tell you what we found on the other side of that open door, but maybe some mysteries better left.
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Here's to hit their home town where it hurts. We have tried very best to reason with you, but the only thing you don't understand is academic crash so here. One year is written by me, Josh living senior producer is evensong. This episode was It is by SAM Kim, Derek john Sophie summer grass. Madeleine do sharm, Evan, Chung and me, it was by Evan Chung, indirect john slits senior, supervising producer of narrative, podcasts our senior technical director is merit. Jacob hollywood. Created the artwork for the season. You can
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Transcript generated on 2022-09-02.