Capone's Vaults

"In April 1986 the WGN TV station got a scoop. Amidst much ballyhoo they announced they were going to unseal Al Capone's secret vault beneath the Lexington Hotel, Chicago. It was said to contain hoards of missing money, diamonds, whisky and the bones of those who had 'upset' him.

"Entitled, 'The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults,' the two-hour live show was hosted by an excited reporter who wore an excavation helmet and a large fighter pilot's moustache. 'I am Geraldo Rivera and you're about to witness a live television event,' he gasped. 'Now for the first time that vault is going to be opened live. This isan adventure you and I will take together.'

"The show was syndicated across the whole of America and there was a carnival-like atmosphere with hundreds celebrating at an 'Al Capone Safe-Cracking Charity Ball.' Also in attendance was a small army of law enforcement officials, reporters, Internal Revenue {IRS} agents, members of the federal treasury, claiming that Capone still owed them $800,000 and criminal technicians who were there gathering evidence.

"To add an air of authenticy to the production, Rivera demonstrated the use of a prohibition-era Thompson sub-machine gun and detonated a dynamite blast using a Capone-style plunger.

"Tension mounted as an explosives team arrived. After an hour and a half blasting through walls the dust settled and the cameras went in accompanied by Dr Robert Stein, the County Medical Examiner, who was on hand in case bones or mummified bodies were found.

"The vault contained two empty gin bottles and Geraldo filled inthe time by singing 'Chicago'."

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