Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Al Capone, "Inspiration" for the Dreamland Series



   



 I took this picture of a life-like "Al Capone" enjoying his ease in front of the Ohio Club in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was here I came up wit the idea for the Dreamland Series.









      Al Capone’s life reads like a crime novel; indeed, he lived a notorious life of crime as a bootlegger and racketeer among other pursuits. Born Alphonse Gabriel Capone to Italian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, in 1899, he succeeded his long-time mentor Johnny Torio as head of a Chicago crime syndicate. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 has been immortalized by Hollywood. He acquired the nickname “Scarface” after the brother of a woman he insulted slashed him in retaliation when Capone refused to apologize. He referred to the resulting damage to the left side of his face as “war wounds”.
     Capone is said to have kept a year-round suite at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and also frequented the Ohio Club. Both establishments are still in business. Those engaged in not-so-legal schemes found the Arkansas resort area a good place to get away from it all or even hide out if necessary.
     Married once and the father of one child, he was eventually brought down on a charge of income tax evasion in 1931, he served a total of 11 years in federal prisons, including Alcatraz. In 1947 he died in Florida of cardiac arrest following a stroke, but he had suffered from the debilitating effects of neurosyphilis for many years prior to his death. His wife Mae died in 1986.
     Al Capone’s only child, known as “Sonny”, is said to have been born with congenital syphilis. Later, a severe mastoid infection left him partially deaf. He did not follow in his father’s footsteps and later changed his name to Brown—although the name had been previously used as an alias by his father. He died in 2004.


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