|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
One of the first iconic American gangsters of the 20th century.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone was the fourth son of first-generation Neapolitan immigrants. Born in New York City, Al dropped out of school and let himself be caught up in street gangs, and as an adult brought himself to the attention of racketeers Frankie Yale and Johnny Torrio. Torrio would subsequently invite Capone to join him as a partner when he took over the businesses of Chicago crime lord "Big Jim" Colosimo and expanded his operations to take advantage of the lucrative career of bootlegging created by the passing of 18th Amendment in the United States, banning the manufacture, importation, and sale of alcoholic drinks.
Torrio and Capone established a monopoly for illegal activities in the nearby town of Cicero, but still were caught up in a mild turf war against Irish-American bootlegger Dion O'Banion. When O'Banion was murdered, all hell broke loose amongst the gangs in Chicago as his subordinates sought revenge and Torrio, a pacifist who would narrowly survive an assassination attempt during the events, opted to abandon Chicago and leave all his operations to Capone.
Capone brought things under control with the murder of O'Banion's successor, Hymie Weiss, and set about establishing himself in the establishment of Chicago.
Things started going downhill again when Capone had seven rival gangsters killed in the 1929 Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, bringing him unwanted national attention (though, that said, there is some speculation that he was innocent of that particular crime). The Federal government finally stepped in, assigning Prohibition enforcer Eliot Ness to do some damage against Capone with his handpicked team of incorruptible agents nicknamed The Untouchables, while investigations into his massive secret income for the purpose of tax evasion charges were underway.
Capone finally went to trial in 1931 and, after his attempt to fix the jury failed, he was convicted as a tax cheat. During his imprisonment, a latent case of syphilis he had developed finally hit the tertiary stage, and the damage to his nervous system completely destroyed him. He was released in 1939 and died eight years later.
Not a member of The Mafia, although his organization, the Chicago Outfit, as well as Capone himself, sat on The Commission. Within a few years of his rise to power, the ethnic divisions in the American mob effectively became meaningless.
- Affably Evil: He was generous, friendly and polite as long as You didn't try and screw him over.
- Afraid of Needles
- Batter Up: See Nasty Party bellow.
- Brooklyn Rage
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: He made no secret of his enjoyment of the power and luxury his crime brought him.
- Dirty Cop: Several served his organization. The sentence "I own the police" is usually attributed to him.
- The Don
- Embarrassing Nickname: Scarface (the scars were from playing with a knife as a kid
- Evil Scars
- Fluffy the Terrible: Worked with a group of notoriously violent bootleggers called "The Purple Gang."
- Friend to All Children / Wouldn't Hurt a Child
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He went from a street punk and Chicago bouncer to one of the most powerful mobsters in America in only six years.
- Gangsterland: One of the first names everybody associates with the trope.
- Just One Little Mistake: After a lifetime of crime, he got nailed for tax evasion.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: He used laundries as a front for his dealings (hence the idiom "money laundering").
- He also was officially an antique dealer.
- Luxury Prison Suite: After he finally went to jail.
- Mob War: Against the Irish North Side Gang, culminating in the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre.
- More Dakka: His name is nearly synonymous with the Thompson Submachine Gun, aka "The Chicago Typewriter."
- Nasty Party: In 1929, Al Capone learned that three men intended to betray him. He invited them to a lavish banquet, and once they'd eaten and drunk their fill ordered his bodyguards to tie the men to their chairs. Capone worked all three over with a baseball bat, before finally ordering his guards to shoot the would-be betrayers and dump the remains.
- Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: During The Great Depression he set up soup lines in Chicago.
- Nice Hat
- Phony Veteran: At times, he passed his prominent facial scars off as old war wounds, but he never served in the military.
- The Virus: It's been proposed that part of his ruthless, ragging personality was caused by him suffering from third stage syphillys, which had no treatment at the time. His son Albert Francis Capone was born with congenital syphilis as well due to this.
Fictional works portraying Al Capone
- Tintin in America, where he serves as the Big Bad.
- Scarface, the original B&W film, has Expy of Al Capone Toni Camonte as a protagonist.
- The Untouchables: As the Big Bad again.
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
- Night at the Museum
- Road to Perdition
- Boardwalk Empire: As a young thug trying to expand his share in the business.
- Deadliest Warrior: A foil for Jesse James in the second season. He loses.
- Soul Eater: Him and his gang are Kishin eggs, though the writer seems to have made the "mafia" mistake.