Friday, April 1, 2016

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault

It wasn't April 1st, but it might as well have been. Thirty years ago this month, Geraldo Rivera announced that a secret vault had been uncovered in one of Al Capone's old haunts and he would open it in a live two hour syndicated special.

Many doubted that they would find anything; some experts felt that anything valuable or incriminating would have been discovered years earlier. Geraldo, however, hyped up the possibilities for weeks before. Would they find bodies? Documents detailing illegal activities? Gold? When the day arrived, a record breaking national audience tuned into what would be a two hour special detailing Capone's crimes featuring taped visits to locations important to Al Capone's life. The live portion of the special was being beamed from Chicago as demolition crews worked on uncovering the vault and Geraldo wildly speculated on what they would find.

At the end of two hours, however, the excavation uncovered nothing except for broken beer bottles and old newspapers. Geraldo became a laughingstock, but a very wealthy one. In the end, that's all that really mattered to him.