Retired intelligence detective Gary Jenkins researched many well-known myths about Al Capone. In this episode, Gary explains the myths and the real story behind each myth. If you want to learn my about these myths, go to My Al Capone Museum website.
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scalise, capone, chicago, al capone, policemen, people, sicily, gangsters, big, starts, sicilian, gun, named, real, jenna, banquet, kill, olson, outfit, firing
They can see he’s got a blue steel turned out a 30 caliber gun in his hand and he starts firing at them as he falls down. Well, he already had a severed femoral artery in his leg at the time, but he’s still going and, of course, they open up on him. And he’s still alive when they call an ambulance and Genna, Genna starts kicking at the ambulance drivers and you know, take that you son of a bitch. I tell you what, he was a bad dude. Hey, oh, all you wiretappers out there back here in the studio gangland wire. Good to be back here. And I have a story for you today about the myth about how Al Capone had this big banquet and he had some guy there who was a traitor that he knew about and he called him out and he beat him to death with a baseball bat and made famous in the movie. The Untouchables was Sean Connery and and I can’t think of that the guy’s name you know who it is who played Eliot Ness? Anyhow, Connor, he played the tough old Irish, Chicago copper. First of all, I saw a video the other day my my daughter My granddaughter told me about this is a true crime podcast on YouTube. And this wouldn’t work on the audio platform that I mainly use. A lady starts telling about some horror crime primarily some kind of a true crime deal, but she also instructs people on how to put on makeup the time so I thought well, well, there’s a gimmick. We’re always looking for a gimmick. There’s a gimmick. Here’s a gimmick. So what can I do? Alright, here’s what I’m thinking I should tell you how to clean and get a 4026 Smith and Wesson my old service pistol ready to go but you know I tell you what, I don’t know if I can tell that story a true crime story or keep concentration because it takes way too much concentration, I be going God Damnit , where is that spring, how does that thing spring go back in there. I forget how to do that. First. Whe I first got this gun, it was a pain in the butt. It was a good gun and I never had to use it for anything. But it’s always here in the house. For home protection anyhow. So let’s get on with the story of the two guys that really incurred the wrath of Al Capone and the kind of the the basis for that story. There was two men from Sicily named Alberto Anselmi and Giovanni Scalise. They came to Sicily Rackley running from came that they came to Chicago actually running from Benito Mussolini. Mussolini was after the mafia and he had warrants out for him for things like consorting with known criminals and some basic, you know, general, kind of a warrant like that. Even just putting them all in jail, but they were they were cold blooded, black hander mafia killers from Sicily. I came to Chicago and of course, the first time they first place they came to in Chicago was a Taylor Street area and the Patch and little Italy had actually had two areas, Little Italy and then little Sicily was just north of that as his 1920s. An arrest warrant was put out for one of them in 1927. I found out for associations, which are associating with a band of outlaws. Scalise and Anselmi quickly found work with the Genna’s the Genna family who ruled the roost on tyhe east side kinda as Al Capone is getting bigger and consolidating his territory and they’ll he’ll end up in a fight with them. The Genna’s are making and selling booze and they’re in a constant battle with what they call the North siders back then this is the Dean or Dion O’Bannon, Irish outfit and they had some some sayings and some other tie ins with them and some Jewish gangsters. I think Hymie Weiss was was with Dion O’Banion or Dean O’Banion, but somebody set dynamic duo from Sicily loose on Dion O’Banion and of course we all know now he had a flower shop somebody came and said that they had were in there to pick up an order and when he stuck out his hand to shake their hands, they killed him. The actual murders were never caught. These two guys are suspected a few months later in the north side and some of the North Side crews gunned down Angela Genna and Salvador Avatuna. So you know we don’t really know exactly police and Anselmi were really involved with the Genna’s at the time and they were once being driven around by Mike Genna and a car 1925 And there had been some kind of a gun battle with Bugsy Moran and a guy named Druchi. Just before that, who were who were part of this Northside crew police were out cruising around they had heard about this and they got word that As Mike they called him the devil. Jenna was part of this gunbattle or that happened earlier and they started they saw him and they started following him around. There was another man they said Samuel am atuna, who was the Beau Brummell. The gank plan area at the time was driving. So they started cruising and following them at 47 and Western Genna and the dynamic duo like the Gemini twins of the 1920s and Anselmi and Scalise took off and the car became this big car chase throughout the city that Mike was yelling loudly and saying and given instructions for everybody what they should do, he told Anselmi then Scalise to grab the guns and then we’re on the floor. I had two repeating shotguns and four sawed off shotguns and somebody in Scalise really wanted to take him out anyhow they were already trying to move on the jet again and they were getting other offers from other places couple three policemen Charles Walsh and Harold Olson. Michael Conway William Swinney were among the policemen that would follow them they were going 70-80 miles an hour on 59th street truck swerved in front of them the agenda driver hit the brakes caused a spin slammed into a lamppost, cops jumped out our dealer natum the Genna party started firing back at them. Sclaise and Anselmi started firing back at him with these shotguns. One patrolman, Mr. Our officer Olson is hitting the job but some slugs I guess they were using slugs and goes down to chrome and wolves was hitting the chest with some buckshot that are two policemen Sweeney and Conway returned Florida fire get his gun jams at this a hell of a gun pack on his gun jams Gleason Selmy take off running the other guy who the driver to Beau Brummell the outfit at the time was was gone. He slept away Jetta and he follows Gleason and Selma and they run into an alley between Western and artesian Avenue. If you know Chicago that Scalise and Anselmi are turned into a kind of a passageway between some houses at 6941 artesian Avenue. Jenna’s getting tired. Sometimes these guys get tired, again best shape and he turns around and faces patrolman Sweeney levels his shot gun at him presses that trigger and click nothing happens he must have been out or had a bad shell or some swing he starts firing back and hits Jenna and the leg. Jenna start stumbling away jumps to the basement of window of a nearby home Sweeney and some other policemen they picked up a couple of guys by now falling down in the basement and they seem line on the floor. They can see he’s got a blue steel turned out a 30 caliber gun in his hand and he starts firing at them as he falls down. Well, he really had a sweat severed femoral artery, artery in his leg at the time. But he’s still go on and doors they open up on him. And he’s still alive when they call an ambulance and Jenna Jenna starts kicking at the ambulance drivers and you know take that use of a bitch. They was a bad dude. When they looked at Jenna later on he was supposedly an olive oil and cheese in bordered lived at 856 Blue Island Avenue the officers Olson and wolves died from their wounds. And Selma and Scalise had ducked into a store but later on, they’re captured by the police and they’re roughed up pretty good things that there was no Marquess of Queensbury rules and no civil rights of the FBI or the Justice Department to take a look at this so they wrap them up pretty good. They say Harold Olsen’s rather more than slain officers came to the station and tried to kill and sell me and Scalise but they’ve talked him out of it. They get ready to go to trial. They have a handgun prosecutor named Max Wiggin in Cook County. And they figured that hit they’re gonna get the death penalty at least during the trial and Selmy is he can’t speak English Khaleesi speaks real broken English and they have like an interpreter that tries to help them but they keep claiming that I never would have shot at these people that were chasing them had they known their replacement they thought these rather gangsters. They also put the blame on my Jenna who’s already dead said you know he started this and we were just trying to get away but they ended up being sentenced for 14 or 14 years for manslaughter. So actually they got off lucky. I tell you what, during their time in prison, they were in fear for the lives the whole time. They were beaten and someone tried to poison them. Scalise once said that his food tasted a little funny. The prison people in prison administration sent the food to be analyzed and they discovered that there was no sign that in there to kill a couple of men. In the end the Supreme Court would order a new trial for the killing of policemen or or police officer Olson and they’re both found not guilty by then you know the heats out of the deal and nobody’s paying any attention and and then the lawyers defense was they say in essence that if a policeman tries to kill you you can kill him in self defense there’s been some talk about that here in more recent times so you know, I don’t know kind of dependent everything is that’s facts specific what happens there everything’s like different depending on the facts for their defense, and sell me and Scalise a lot of connections and they got others to say things to squeeze the newly arrives and see and shop owners and businessmen in Chicago to take up money took up enough money in squeezing that money. They got $10,000 even out of one real wealthy Chicago resident named Henry Spagnola, who will end up being shot to death but he was a self made well met wealthy businessman. He didn’t like done it but it didn’t have a really in the end. He didn’t have a choice and he ended up getting killed in the end anyhow. I mean, they were all everybody was pretty much involved. And the bootlegging business they were just too lucrative and it was not you know, I don’t know it just even though you’re wealthy and you’re doing well on your own, you’re still probably gonna get involved in the bootleg business, you know, after all this and they ended up getting out of that and 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Scalise and machine gun Jack McGurn are picked up but then released for lack of evidence. We know now that it was the Chicago’s mean Capone’s American boys out of St. Louis Egan’s rat Fred Burke Frederick killer Burke was one of the ones that he said on bugs Moran’s people at that garage, and st balanced died a massacre happened but boy these guys and Sal me and Scalise become, they think they’re invincible, invincible, they’re like smug and arrogant now and and they’re being recruited by another Sicilian and Chicago named Joe Katina. And they want to take over Capone and throw him out and make themselves the overall bosses of Chicago in the bootlegging business probations about the end of prohibition, but it’s still on and they’re really they’re like Capone’s big boys. They have money. And of course by now women and they’re living hide and components protecting them. He thinks that you know that these are his guys. He didn’t know that they’re starting to plot against him. When in fact there was a another shootout with some of these North siders and Jewish gangsters that Scalise and Anselmi are involved with and it was Jaime vice was was kind of on the other side. He was a famous gangster in Chicago in the 20s. And he demanded Capone hand these guys over because he had been involved in the shootout. Kind of trying to kill some of his guys in front of the standard doll building in downtown Chicago. But, you know, here’s the interesting quote from Capone he said, you know, even though it may cost us the peace that we have right now, I wouldn’t do that to a yellow dog. You know, by this point in time they’ve had that big shoot out at the Lexington hotel report, the Capone’s and some of his people I think Tony Accardo was was sitting in the lobby. And these guys went by with machine guns and and put over 1000 rounds in the lobby of that hotel down in Cicero the Lexington hotel Scalise and then Selma you’re hanging out with this gift to guide you i n ta they’re thinking that they’re gonna put together this deal and take out Capone. They’re forming a relationship with a guy named Joe Aiello and we’re starting to make plans and deals and they’re been extorting businessmen for money. They say Scalise had over $250,000 saved, you know, that’s like, man, that’s crazy. $250,000 back then he’d gotten there again. What another word that has come down through history is he had snubbed a Cleveland Sicilian meeting. There’s a group of scenes that were meeting in Cleveland. He had snubbed him there that Capone you know, Capone was not all civilians had come home was a combined or a partnership or the outfit. They had eyes and ears everywhere and didn’t take him long to find out. There was a plot and then sell me were Scalise it were part of it. So Al Capone being kind of devious. He has a buddy trusted friend named Frank Rio and and they play out their act of arguing in front of Anselmi and Scalise I tell you that cupola slit. Scalise and cellmate think that there’s a rift between this Rio and Capone so they tried to convince Rio that he should join nap with them. Well, this is you know, real gels Capone immediately and so components as you know, I know this is this is for real now there’s more direct evidence before it was just like innuendo and and secondary information Capone’s got firsthand evidence in his mind that these guys are planning to take him out. Capone again he’s he’s pretty slick. He sets up a banquet to honor Sicilians and part of his crew is outfit, who’s invited to this big banquet? It’s kind of like an Academy Award for gangsters. They’re feasting on food and copious amounts of booze and get into and Scalise and sell more there during that during this as people start getting drunk. During this banquet fake argument arises proponents set this up have a couple other guys start some big argument. Scalise and cellmate try to calm things down all sudden they realize that they are the subject of this argument and quickly and cellmates Gleeson winter are held at gunpoint by them Capone men are sworn at spit on and shoved around a feign innocence please believe me we weren’t trying to do anything they fall down in their knees or said no you know we didn’t It’s not us I don’t know what you’re talking about. You know when we’re not doing anything we don’t work with you owl to no avail. I’ll does the thumbs down I guess I wasn’t there. So I don’t know that’s that could be another myth thou does a thumbs down. Each album was shot several times point blank in the face, chest, arms and legs with 38 specials. The autopsies will prove that out later on. They weren’t beaten to death with baseball bats. Scalise, his pinky finger is completely shot off while he was trying to shield his face from the bullets. Now, in actuality, there’s no evidence that Capone himself was there. And if he was smart, he wouldn’t be there. See, I just start adding to the myth when I said boom gave him the thumbs down. I doubt if he was there. He was already being scrutinized closely by Chicago authorities. He was getting ready to go to his big meeting in Atlantic City. That guy Nucky something was putting on with Lucky Luciano and all the bootleggers trying to organize the all the bootlegging in the United States. And by this point in time, he was not messing around with what you would call the wet work or the heavy work. He let other people do all the killing in the claim of cleanup, but he knew he wouldn’t be blamed. But he just say, you know, this is a Sicilian thing and didn’t have anything to do with me or my organization. I’ve got, you know, I have a good alibi. And another interesting thing about the autopsies, I say I mentioned the autopsies, there were autopsies, they did not show any beating, they only showed shooting and all their stomachs were filled with food just before they died. That myth about Al Capone and the baseball bat has been really strong for a long time. You know, you think about it. Tony Accardo took on that name Joe batters and supposedly Capone gave him that name. Whenever he beat somebody up at the baseball bat and said you’re a real Joe batters, aren’t you? You know that that whole story was probably floated just to make a poem more of a threat more scary, you know, when you invoke Capone’s name and you might somebody might bring down his wrath on you. If you were library extorting money from you, you weren’t agreeing to help some of the lower level gangsters with whatever they were doing. They say, you know, Al Capone, you really beat those three guys to death, the baseball bat, I’d hate to have him you know, they’d have to go to hell about this. You know, that kind of stuff. They do. Joe batters, you know, but he really enjoyed the reputation of being a guy who was a real Joe biters could beat people up really bad. So now that’s a lot of this is from the Mario Gomez collection by Al Capone. museum.com is a Canadian guy that runs a really interesting website if you’re really interested in more of these myths about Al Capone, and more information that’s good solid information backed up by primary source documents like the autopsy report, primary source document right there. Don’t forget, I like to ride motorcycles. So watch out for motorcycles when you’re out there. If you have a problem with PTSD in your event, go to the VA website. And don’t forget if you have a problem with alcohol, look up Anthony ruggiano Look up his website. He’s got a hotline number and go to his YouTube page or something. He’s got a hotline number. He’s really heavy up in the in the recovery. So thanks a lot, guys. So thanks a lot, guys. So thanks a lot.