The name of Al Capone was once feared by criminals and law-abiding citizens alike.
Implicated in over 100 deaths, some say as many as 700, he was famous for his ruthless control of the Chicago underworld in the 1920s.
But although he evaded his rivals and numerous attempts on his life, he couldn’t escape the tax man and his criminal career came to an abrupt end when he was incarcerated in 1931.
But after seven years of surprisingly good behaviour in prison, he became violent and delusional, believing he was on a mission from God to solve the problems of the Great Depression and he was diagnosed with an illness that led to him being described as a “middle-grade moron” in the terminology of the time.
In this historical documentary I explore the colourful life of the brutal gangster who was once declared Public Enemy Number One, but who ended his days needing round the clock care at the age of 48, aiming to find out what made Al Capone the man he was in his prime…. and what was the illness that reduced his mind to that of a 7-year-old child.
Finding Out More:
There are lots of biographies on Al Capone, but it is the older ones that are best. I would recommend Mr Capone by Robert J Schoenberg. There are lots of movies which are very entertaining but not very historically accurate. I have added some of the better ones my Amazon store page if you are interested:
Bousquet, S. C. (1997). The Gangster in Our Midst: Al Capone in South Florida, 1930-1947. Florida Historical Quarterly, 76(3), 4.
Brewer-Smyth, K. (2006). Neurological correlates of high-risk behavior: A case study of Alphonse Capone. Journal of neuroscience nursing, 38(6), 442.
Tampa, M., Sarbu, I., Matei, C., Benea, V., and Georgescu, S. R. (2014). Brief history of syphilis. Journal of medicine and life, 7(1), 4.
The primary purpose of this video is educational. I have tried to use material in the public domain or with Creative Commons Non-attribution licences wherever possible. Where attribution is required, I have listed this below. I believe that any copyright material used falls under the remit of Fair Use, but if any content owners would like to dispute this, I will not hesitate to immediately remove that content. It is not my intention to infringe on content ownership in any way. If you happen to find your art or images in the video, please let me know and I will be glad to credit you.
My Alcapone Museum
Stephan Do Mandolinen Demo CC1.0
Hyacinth Yankee Doodle Public Domain
Leoncavallo Vesti la giuba from Pagliacci. Enrico Caruso rec 1907. Public domain
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem, K. 626, Lacrimosa. Wiener Philharmoniker Herbert von Karajan, conductor; Salzburg Festival, 1960. Public domain.
Scott Joplin – Gladiolus Rag – Pathé Dance Orchestra (public domain)
Jazz-Symphonie-Orchester Bernard Etté – O sole mio by Ernesto Di Capua, rearranged as a Tango and blues by Wilhelm Lindemann – Berlin 1927 CC0
Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra Create Rhapsody (Rhapsody in Blue-Paul Whiteman Orchestra) From the King of Jazz (1930) 1.35
The Foop Jazz Trio, Die Moritat von Mackie Messer — Ukulele Instrumental Medley attribution
Confident Kurt Track Tribe CC0
Walk through the park Track Tribe CC0
Quiet the Mini Vandals CC0
Mussorgsky Il Vecchio Castello – Saxophone and Piano. David Hernando Vitores. CC4.0
Vladan Kuzmanović – Bravoure for 12 string guitar in A-flat major. CC4.0
Mussorgsky Hut on Fowl’s Legs IX. La Cabane sur des pattes de poule Allegro con brio feroce An by Skidmore College Orchestra CC0
Asher Fulero Lament of the Ancients CC0
Aletheia (Unforgetting) Devon Church CC0
B – Somber Ballads by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Artist:
I Am a Man Who Will Fight for Your Honor by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.
Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”, published in 1902 and performed here by James Brigham in 2018. CC0
Video produced by Graeme Yorston and Tom Yorston.