Myths

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A current Internet story that President Franklin Roosevelt used Al Capone’s bulletproof Car after Pearl Harbor is a myth! Click here for details.

 

Most prevalent myths in bold face

(See Know More for number after each myth)

That Capone's real name was "Caponi", and he Americanized it

-It was “Capone” on his birth certificate, and Gabriel’s naturalization papers (18)

That little Al and Lucky Luciano were in 1st grade together

-Luciano, 14 months older, lived and went to school in Manhattan; Capone attended P.S. 7, then P.S. 133, both in Brooklyn (21; 375)

That, age 10, little Al challenged a Marine recruit to a fistfight

-Marine corporal who told story “learned” that boy he claimed he saw was little Al only much later (375)

That Johnny Torrio was Big Jim Colosimo’s nephew

-They were unrelated; Torrio cousin of Colosimo’s wife(46)

That Capone personally murdered Colosimo (63-5)

-Frankie Yale did it (62-4)

That Capone ranked low in Torrio’s outfit, obscure before 1923

-Misunderstanding because of 1922 “Alfred Caponi” news story (77-9)

That O’Banion’s gang was “Irish”

-Closest associates and (first three) successors:

-Hymie Weiss (real name, Earl Wojciechowski)

-Vincent Drucci (Di Ambrosio)

-George Moran (two 1921 Cook County Criminal Court cases gave his alias, "Morrisey," but said his real name was unknown, although he was of Polish extraction; a 2010 book, though, says his birth name was "Adelard Cunin," his father French, mother French-Canadian)

-Louis Alterie (Leland Verain, French extraction)

-Nails Morton (Samuel Markowitz)

-Maxie Eisen

-Daniel J. McCarthy (Irish extraction!) (80-1)

That O’Banion spoke with a brogue (always in movies)

-Born in Aurora, Illinois, 1892, moved to Maroa, IL, mid-’90s, then Chicago early, 1900s (106)

 That O’Banion had been an altar boy

-Family did not attend church in Maroa; O’Banion not baptized until 12, first communion 6 months later, left school/church next year; only students could be altar boys (106-7)

 That Capone was mysterious “3rd gunman” when brother Frank was killed

-later positively ID’d as David Hedlin, also wounded by police (98)

That O’Banion was murdered because he said, “Oh, to hell with them Sicilians”

-Capone’s one known prejudice was against Sicilians; once said, “You can’t trust those damn Sicilians. They really aren’t Italian and they’re no damn good”; he had almost more trouble with the Gennas than with O’Banion (114)

That Capone set out to murder the O’Donnells because Klondike had said he sold better beer than “the slop Capone peddles”

-started by Cicero card dealer; in reality murders (including McSwiggin’s) were culmination of trouble months old that had grown acute (147)

That murder of Theodore Anton, owner of Hawthorne Hotel left Capone in tears

-Capone ordered it (168)

That Mayor Thompson was dumb, creature and tool of Lundin

-When they fell out, Thompson destroyed Lundin and his new candidate at "The Rat Show"; campaigned brilliantly before and after Lundin (171)

That Jack McGurn’s “real” family name was Gebardi or Demory or Demora

-Born Vincenzo Gibaldi (181)

 That Capone’s had arranged as an alibi to be with the Dade County Solicitor, in Florida, at the moment the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was going on

-The official specified date and time for an interrogation (with an assistant DA from New York) about Yale’s murder; started at 2:30 p.m., the Massacre already over (216)

That Capone celebrated the Massacre by throwing a party on Palm Island that night

-It was two nights later, a party planned way in advance for the press covering the Sharkey-Stribling fight in Miami (221)

That Moran said, “Only Capone’s gang kills like that”

-First appeared in Miami papers, and endured; actually Moran, in hiding, had sent word to Chicago police, “We don’t know what brought it on. We’re facing an enemy in the dark.”(219)

That John May had been an innocent Massacre victim, an “ordinary mechanic”

-Twice charged with robbery and larceny, a gang driver, started maintaining the gang’s trucks a month and a half before; Reinhart H. Schwimmer wasn’t a gang member, but a groupie (210)

That Fred R. Burke was certainly one of the St. Valentine’s killers

-No ties to Capone; the sort of flake Capone would never have used (227)

That Eliot Ness and Untouchables “got” Capone

-Raids cost Capone considerable money, but Ness never “dried up Chicago” or even close; Capone never charged with Prohibition violation, Ness’s only area of enforcement; Ness had nothing to do with tax charges

That Ness, Untouchables, IRS men and undercover agents were in danger

-Capone’s men ordered never to resist, let alone attack, cops or federal officers; bribery, the “fix” and flight were only permitted defenses

That Capone refused treatment for syphilis because he feared injections

-Started treatment as soon as Wassermann showed positive

That “lost Capone,” Jimmy (Richard Hart), was honest lawman

-Twice charged with murder, finally dismissed as town marshal for pilfering on night rounds; ended up fronting for Ralph

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For Capone's complete story, click on Know More.

PHOTOS Top Row: mug shot at Terminal Island; the "Big Fellow"; giving "the Look"; the scars; late '20s; in car after release in '39.