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Some of Al Capone's down time.

Philadephia's Eastern Penitentiary

Capone arrested at movie theater for gun posession.
Some claim the fix was in and that he was avoiding retaliation for the St. Valentine's day massacre.
Others stated he was doing this to appease his peers in other cities this, in order to remove the government's spotlight on organized crime. According to Jake Guzik, the arrest was a double-cross by police. Capone had told him that the fix thing was bunk that after they left Atlantic City and reached Philidelphia, their (he and Rio's) car broke down. They planned to take a train out of Philly. The train was later on so they decided to take in a movie just to kill time. The detectives identified Capone and arrested him and Rio. They told Capone to plead guilty and reassured them that the judge would just slap them on the wrists for that minor offence. The opposite of that happened as the detectives knew full well that Capone and his cohort would do time.

  James “Shoey” Malone and John “Jack” Creedon shooting Al Capone and Frank Rio's seized .38 caliber weapons into a barrel of waste. The slugs were kept for ballistics comparison.

Al Capone and Frankie Rio mugshots in Philadelphia.
(Mugshots taken on May 16, 1929).

Al Capone and Frank Rio are arrested on May 16, 1929 at Stanley Theater in Philadelphia.
They will be sentenced to one year in jail on May 17, 1929. This was called quick Quaker justice in the newspapers because it took less then half a day from the arrest to the sentencing. Many believe the fix was in because Al knew the arresting detective previously in Florida. There was talk that Al needed a rest from gangland could have the best protection from enemies in his private jail cell with his bodyguard in an adjoining one. He was also hoping this would help tone down the uproar created by the St. Valentine's day Massacre. After their arrest Capone and Rio are taken to Moyamensing prison and are then transferred a day or two later to Holmesburg County prison. They will be transferred again to their final destination at the Eastern State Penitentiary on August 9,1929.

May 17,1929. Al Capone with hat standing next to his arresting officers (Creedon and Malone) in a Philadelphia court.
He is sentenced to 1 year in prison.
 (Mario Gomes collection)

Mae staying with relatives which was her sister Agnes who at the time lived in Mountainside, New Jersey. Al is later transferred in August 1929 to Eastern State Penitentiary. The travel distance and time remain about the same for Mae to visit Al from her sister's home in Mountainside, N.J. (The Courier Express May 30,1929).

SEE Al Capone's Dress Shirt

Al's transfer from Holmesburg to Eastern State.
(The Evening News August 9,1929).

Al Capone's cell at Eastern State Penitentiary is a main attraction for many who visit there.
Al took a powder and served a year after the Atlantic city gangster conference.
(Photo courtesy of Gerri DiSalvio Ruppert )

Eastern State Penitentiary i.d. card.
(Taken from novelty postcard on knick knacks page. Copyright Eastern State Penitentiary).

Photo from outside Al's old cell.
(Photo courtesy of anonymous)

(Photo courtesy of anonymous)

Al's jail cell at the old Eastern Penitentiary in Philadelphia.The cell still stands today and according to Eastern State it is furnished every year exactly as Al had it when he was incarcerated there. This may have not been an accurate description and simply made up by the press.
(Photo courtesy of Gerri DiSalvio Ruppert )

The Bismarck Tribune September 5, 1929.
According to this story, the cell wasn't as accurate as the photos shown above and Al had the minimum as far as furnishings.

Reporters including Jake Lingle were waiting for Al to be released. Al was already enroute to Chicago when this photo was taken much to the dismay of these reporters.

Capone followers and gawkers, among them many children looking for a glimpse of the famous gangster Al Capone.
(Photo courtesy of anonymous)

The streets were filled with the curious and reporters.
The Warden knew that Al's release would cause a a great amount of hoopla, so he ingeniously had Al leave earlier and made the crowd believe he was still inside.
(Photo courtesy of anonymous)

After his arrest in Philly his mugshot was sent across all the states. This copy was sent to San Diego in California.

After 11 months behind bars, Al Capone and Frank Rio were released from the Philadelphia prison on March 17,1930.
Al made his way to Chicago where a welcome home party was planned in his honor across the street of The lexington Hotel.
The rendez vous was at Little Florence restaurant that was closed off to the regular clientele for big Al's retrurn. Over 200 guests and family came to see Snorky. The main dining hall had been turned into a banquet hall with private booths turned into makeshift wardrobes with their connected tables forming a long dining board.
Each table had on them a decorative bowl of flowers along the stretch of white linened tables gleaming with silverware.
In the back was a makeshift bar served beer and champagne.

Matriarch Theresa, sister Mafalda and Al's wife Mae Capone entered together. Ralph Capone with his wife and son Ralph Jr. then entered next. Al greeted his mother in Italian. While Theresa did not speak english she fully understood what people were saying.
For that day she was dressed in black and only had a pair of diamond earrings with a gold wedding band on her finger.

Mae was next to Al, with her brown hair streaked with gray from worry of Al being gone for those many months. With Al gone she had to deal with Mafalda's attitude and her place in the family. Mae kept a close watch on Al as he downed glass after glass of champagne. She frowned as he held a glass up to his lips but he just gave hera loving wink.

Besides family there were politicians, doctors and lawyers. People such as Alderman William Pacelli, city sealer Daniel Serritella, Albert J. Prignano, lawyer Tyrell Richardson, Dr. David Omans. All had brought their wives. Also in attendance were Jake Gusik, Dennis Cooney, Tony "Mops" Volpe, Jack McGurn, Danny Stanton and Rocco "Rocky" Fischetti.
Phil D'Andrea who was Capone's main bodyguard had a special cake made for his boss. It was laden with pink roses. Everyone clapped but not to be outdone Al's mother Theresa had an even more special cake made. It was an enormous white cake written with pink icing across it. The words read "My son, your Mother welcomes you home".

Al immediately embraced and kissed his mother. The entertainment consisted of a trio band that broke out into that year's hit called "A great big man from the South".
After the entertainement stopped for break, everyone cheered Al on to make a speech. Al laughed got up from his seat with his champagne glass in hand. "Folks, I don't know what to say except -- Good Luck!"
Everyone drank to the toast and gave out a burst of applause.

The Cotton Club in Cicero run by his brother Ralph.

After the banquet over Capone had the remaining revellers driven to The Cotton Club in Cicero where they partied into the wee hours of the morning.
Capone in the next days after the party left for Miami. On April 20, 1930, a photograph taken of happy Al Capone can be seen fishing off the stern of his boat moored at the back of his Florida mansion.   

Often mistaken as Al Capone near the end of his life, this photo was actually taken on April 20, 1930 by The Chicago Evening American. Capone would soon make a trip to Cuba after this photo. These series of events got Capone in deeper hot water when he claimed at the time that he was too sick to appear in a Chicago Federal court.
 (Mario Gomes collection)

First Posted June 2009