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Beale Street’s Colorful History: Entertainment, Entrepreneurs, Murder & Blues

beale collage




Memphis Music History


Fats Waller & Alberta Hunter Beale Street Blues (1927)


Beale Street Mama (Bessie Smith, 1923) Jazz Legend


Memphis Tennessee – Beale Street, Rock’N’Roll, Blues & Soul Music – BIG USA DOKU # 13


January 30

This week, tens of thousands of blues musicians and fans will descend upon Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee for the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge — a competition where representatives from blues associations across the world compete for the top spot in a four day battle of the bands.  The winner receives great accolades, as well as guaranteed headliner positions on numerous blues festivals across the country. The IBC’s host, Beale Street, is one of the most famous musical streets in the world, and boasts a long and storied history.

For over 150 years, Beale has hosted Blues music, entertainment, drinking, gambling, and even murder. Beale played a pivotal role in branding Memphis as one of the most musically rich cities in the world, and was prominent in hosting some of the first Black business owners in the south. In between, the sometimes-infamous street was host to the birth of Blues music,  the civil rights movement, Rock n’ Roll, and countless beers, racks of ribs, and bands.

The Beginning of Beale

Beale Street was first created as a part of South Memphis by city planner Robertson Topp. Though the origins of how Beale was given it’s name are murky, the official story is that it was named for a long-forgotten war hero. During the early days of Beale, the area became home to a great number of freed slaves and free African-Americans, many from the Mississippi Delta, as well as Irish and Italian immigrants, living peacefully among Memphis’ residents, with reportedly few racial tensions.

Much of the lack of violence that was so destructive in the Jim Crow south was attributed to the occupation of Memphis by Union troops. During Union occupation, many black men were recruited and commissioned as soldiers. Once the war was over, however, the troops left and racial tensions quickly came to a boil, resulting in the Memphis Riots in 1866, where a number of black churches and homes were burned, and over forty African Americans lost their lives.

The horrors committed against the black community during the riots led to the rapid ratification of the 14th Amendment, stating that every person should have equal protection under the law. This would be the backbone of civil rights cases that, 100 long years later, would break longstanding Jim Crow policies, stir peaceful protests in the same neighborhood — and on Beale Street, and tragically end the life of one of the greatest American heroes, and the most powerful civil rights champion, just blocks away.

Beale continued for decades to act as a relatively safe haven for racial minorities in the city — a place where people could enjoy themselves free from fear of malice, where African Americans could own businesses, largely without the concern of oppression or terrorism from the government or racist sects. Politicians in the area were well aware of the power in numbers within the community, especially in the strong voting power of the black minority, and as a result, continued to ensure a largely peaceful co-existence of the neighborhood around Beale.

Gambling, Murder, Blues, and the Birth of Rock on Beale

The Monarch - The infamous "Castle of Missing Men"

By the turn of the 20th century,  Beale Street had become something of a self-contained microcosm, with churches, a pharmacy, grocery, public housing, and entertainment. Beale had also become a place with a dark underbelly —  where murder in it’s rough-and-tumble gambling halls was a regular occurrence. Many men spoke about the infamous Monarch, on 340 Beale. In Paul Oliver’s Conversation with the Blues, a number of former Beale residents spoke with candor about the building that was known as “The Castle of Missing Men”, where many gamblers and drinkers went in but never came out. Behind the Monarch was a funeral home, and it was reported that men who were killed in the bar room for cheating, arguing, or some other perceived injustice, would be quickly and quietly carried to the crematorium through the alley.

The famous gangster Machine Gun Kelly sold bootleg liquor on Beale during the prohibition, as the area took on what has been described as a “carnival” atmosphere, where ambulances waited in rows for the next victim to stumble out of a gambling hall, bluesmen played on corners and in door frames, traveling shows pushed alcohol labeled as “medicines”, and iconic figures like Bessie Smith played the Old Daisy,  (which still stands and will be hosting a number of blues acts during IBC).

W.C. Handy was probably Beale’s most famous resident prior to Elvis Presley, and his presence continues to be felt through his giant statue, a museum on Beale dedicated to his life in his original house, and numerous other accolades showered upon the man known as the “Father of the Blues”. A mayoral candidate in the early 1900s, in an effort to win the black vote, hired Handy to create a theme song for his mayoral bid. The resulting tune was “Mr. Crump”, which Handy reworked and released as “memphis blues“, which quickly became one of his most famous numbers. W.C. went on to be a highly successful artist and band leader with numerous hits to his credit, earning his position as arguably the most celebrated of the decades-long list of musicians on Beale. Parks, bars, and streets bear the name of Handy, who’s music is celebrated as an irreplaceable part of Americana music.

In 1946, a young man named Riley B. King trekked to Beale to seek out his Cousin, musician Bukka White. While King had cut his teeth playing on Church Street in his adopted hometown of Indianola, Beale was a much larger platform, and King “got his licks” busking the famous street. He landed a job as a disc jockey for WDIA radio station in Memphis by making an on-the-spot jingle. It was there that he picked up the handle of the Beale Street Blues Boy, which was later shortened to Blues Boy, and finally, B.B. 45 years later, the celebrated blues club bearing his name was opened with great fanfare on the corner of Second and Beale. Just a single block away, Gibson Guitar’s famous factory produces B.B. King’s signature ES-355 Semi-Hollow body, and boasts a two-story likeness of King’s famous “Lucille” in the reception area.

At the same time as B.B. was earning what would become international widespread fame, another young man was daily found roaming the streets of Beale in search of the blues. A shy and wiry Elvis Presley couldn’t stay away from the blues music that moved him.  “When I was in Memphis with my band, he used to stand in the wings and watch us perform,” B.B King said to Sepia of the future fellow “King”. Not long after, the young man wandered into Sun studio to make a single record “for his mother’s birthday.” Owner Sam Phillips called him back some months later, and on the weekend of July 4th, Presley cut “That’s All Right Mama”, a blues number by Arthur Crudup. Elvis was an instant hit, becoming a driving force in the creation of what Jerry Wexler would soon call Rock n’ Roll. But through his international accolades and unprecedented worldwide fame, Presley always called Memphis home. Purchasing a tract of land and large house south of town, he called the estate Graceland.

Memphis fights for Civil Rights, and Beale Dies and is Revived

A peaceful protest march past Beale Street. The building on the left is now home to B.B. King's Blues Club.

by the mid-1960s, The Civil Rights movement was in full swing. Brown v. Board of Education, using the 14th Amendment (created in the wake of the 1866 Memphis Riots), had finally cracked the “Separate but Equal” laws which were masquerading as equality, but ultimately, were used to continue to enable widespread segregation. Peaceful protest marches and demonstrations began across the south as African Americans struggled for equality.

Memphis became a hotbed of activity in the movement, home to many key civil rights events such as the 1968 sanitation strike. On April 3rd, Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. returned to Memphis, as he had a great number of times, to make a stirring, compelling, and ultimately prophetic speech, known by many as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”. On April 4th, 1968, only 6 blocks from Beale, an assassin gunned Dr. King down as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, now known as the National Civil Rights Museum.

King’s murder changed Memphis. Racial tensions again boiled as riots broke into the streets, most starting on Beale. As Beale Black & Blue: Life and Music on Black America’s Main Street stated, “The riots and looting rampages left shops with broken windows and ransacked counters. Stores closed, buildings emptied.”  For decades, the street had been something of a safe haven; where African Americans could own businesses and enjoy themselves, largely without fear of racism and persecution, but  the area began to descend into ruin. The Memphis housing Authority bulldozed some of the landmarks that had fallen into disrepair as many businesses had closed up shop. By the 1970s, Beale had eroded into a virtual ghost town, despite an act of Congress officially declaring the iconic street the Home of the Blues in 1977. As one of the great epicenters of the Blues had all but died, a renaissance of blues music, the first of many, was brewing across the world. According to Beale Black & Blue,

Rubble of a demolished building, across from The Daisy Theater

There was yet another irony to add to the contradictions that figured so prominently into the mile-long maelstrom. As Beale lay dying, the blues that had helped bring it fame sprang to life again. Elvis Presley’s blue suede blues branched out into amplified hard rock, rock and soul, and progressive country rock; the Beatles acknowledged their debt to blues old timers like Lightnin Hopkins; the Rolling Stones took their name from a Muddy Waters song; and there was born a new interest of  what Beale Streeter Willie Blackwell called the “true blues — the old time, natural blues.”

Fueled by the interest in blues, rock & roll, B.B. King, and Elvis Presley, a strong investment was made into the street in the 1980s, fueling re-establishment of new businesses, and revitalization of old ones. Tourists made their way back to the Home of the Blues, slowly at first, then quickly, as the live music poured into the streets. By 2009, Beale Street alone was reporting nearly $32 Million in gross sales. With the revitalization and tourism that has come with the street in the past two decades, there has been some criticism that the street has become a sort of caricature of it’s former self. Regardless, the music has a nearly unprecedented opportunity to bring new exposure to the millions that walk the streets of Beale during their trips and vacations — undoubtedly the first time many new visitors are even willing to hear the blues.

International Blues Challenge

As thousands of bands, fans, major blues players, entertainers, and reporters (including American Blues Scene) descend on Beale, the street once again takes a party atmosphere as only the blues can provide, colliding a searing helping of original Memphis soul with dozens of different styles, takes, and interpretations of hundreds of artist’s blues music and dedication. Most of the buildings that exist on Beale are the same buildings that have been frequented by the great many music lovers and great musicians that came in the 100 years before, providing a proprietary sense of history to the legendary street.

In 1890, Beale Street underwent a classy renovation with the addition of the Grand Opera House, later known as the Orpheum. The Orpheum, originally built in the late 1800s and rebuilt in grand fashion in 1928 after a fire, was a place for vaudeville, nationally touring shows, and early movies. Sparing no expense, the theater was built to be larger than life — a Memphis jewel. During the International Blues Challenge, the best-of-the-best will adorn the stage at the Orpheum, and a 2012 winner will be crowned!

American Blues Scene will be covering the event, as we do every year, and will be bringing you up-to-the-minute happenings. Stay tuned to the American Blues Scene to be at the event without leaving your screen.

Joni Mitchell is ‘walking, talking and painting’ as she recovers from brain aneurysm


Joni Mitchell is ‘walking, talking and painting’ as she recovers from brain aneurysm

Singer ‘making good progress’ after being found unconscious at her home in March

image: http://nme.assets.ipccdn.co.uk/images/2014JoniMitchell_Getty465118731_170414.article_x4.jpg




Joni Mitchell is reportedly “making good progress” after suffering a brain aneurysm earlier this year.

Mitchell was hospitalised in Los Angeles on March 31, after being found unconscious at her home.

The singer suffered a brain aneurysm according to her conservator, Leslie Morris, who previously revealed that the musician is “undergoing daily therapies” at home after being released from hospital in the summer.

Now folk singer and friend Judy Collins has delivered “some good news” about Mitchell’s health in a statement released on her Facebook page.

Collins writes: “I have just heard from a close mutual friend that Joni is walking, talking, painting some, doing much [sic] rehab every day, and making good progress — I have another friend who went through something similar – it does take a long time, three years for my friend, who has really totally recovered professionally and personally. I will try my best to see our songbird when I am in LA in the coming weeks – So – some good news!!”

Mitchell’s attorney Rebecca J Thyne recently described visiting the singer at her home on June 26, telling People: “When I arrived she was seated at her kitchen table feeding herself lunch”.

Thyne continued: “She also told me that she receives excellent care from caregivers round-the-clock. It was clear that she was happy to be home and that she has made remarkable progress. She has physical therapy each day and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/joni-mitchell/89063#YwvDx0dZD7AOdGul.99

Bill Murray on being obnoxious


Bill Murray on being obnoxious


#ana_christy #beatnikhiway.com#bill_murray



“I‘m just an obnoxious guy who can make it appear charming, that’s what they pay me to do,” said Bill Murray in an interview with T.J. English for Irish America . In an episode of PBS Digital Studios’ “Blank on Blank,” Murray cracks wise on giving back to his mom when he made it big, hijinks on the set of Ghostbusters, the spiritual change that saved him from destruction, and how fame sort of helps with talking to women.



14 Crazy Pics Of Famous Actors As Women


14 Crazy Pics Of Famous Actors As Women


John S. Cow Oct 19, 2015 Humo\
Hilarious user-generated photomanipulation project seamlessly showcases how some of Hollywood’s most famous faces would look like if they were women.

#1. Daniel Watson or Emma Radcliffe


#2. Ms McKellen


#3. Bradley Spears


#4. Serena Wayans


#5. Hugh Laurie


#6. Nicolas Cage


#7. Samuela L. Jackson


#8. Robert Downey


#9. Zac Aniston


#10. Benicio Del Jovovich


#11. Ms. Bean


#12. Leonardo Dicaprio


#13. Daniel Craig


#14. Jim Carrey


A Touch of Art -The Incredible Earthworks of Stan Herd


The Incredible Earthworks of Stan Herd

on 23 October, 2015 at 21:02
Stan Herd is an American crop artist and painter who creates images, or earthworks, on large areas of land, especially in Kansas. His work is sometimes called living sculpture.Inspired by the pre-Columbian drawings on the desert floor of the Andes Mountains, Herd completed his first projected in 1981. It was a 160-acre portrait of the Kiowa chief Satanta, whose heroic exploits had made him a symbol among the Kiowa of resistance to European American encroachment.

An installation Herd completed in 1994, Countryside, which was an image of a pastoral Kansas landscape on an acre of property owned by Donald Trump in New York City, is the subject of an independent film by Chris Ordal called Earthwork. The film’s Kansas premiere, in Herd’s adopted hometown of Lawrence, took place September 10, 2010, at the Lawrence Arts Center. Earthwork won awards at more than 50 film festivals in the United States alone.

His most recent project is a 1.2-acre recreation of Van Gogh’s famous artwork, Olive Trees which he “planted” in Minneapolis. The piece was commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and involved weeks of mowing, digging, planting, and earthscaping to create the piece viewable from the air near the Minneapolis airport.












COOL PEOPLE – Talk Like Frank Sinatra


 frank 1

#Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits – Frank Sinatra Colletion


Talk Like Frank Sinatra

July 17, 2015
Manly Skills
Talk Like Frank Sinatra
vintage Frank Sinatra

Old Blue Eyes. The Chairman of the Board. Frank Sinatra was the epitome of American male coolness. When he walked into any room, his confident swagger created an electric charge. Women wanted to be with him and men wanted to be him.

Part of Sinatra’s manly and cool presence came from the way he talked. See, Frank had a way of livening up every part of life, even the English language. He peppered casual conversations with phrases and words that to the uninitiated sounded like a bunch of gibberish. Yet it left people intrigued, and wanting to be part of the seemingly exclusive fraternity that used this secret lingo. It not only created a magnetic attraction, but simply sounded damn cool.

Below is a dictionary of the secret man language of Frank Sinatra. Throw a few of these words into your conversations among friends. You’ll probably get a few raised eyebrows but like Frank, you’ll add spark to even the most mundane interactions.
Bag — As in “my bag,” a person’s particular interest.
Barn burner — A very stylish, classy woman.
Beard — A male friend who acts as a “cover,” usually for extramarital affairs.
Beetle — A girl who dresses in flashy clothes.
Big-leaguer — A resourceful man who can handle any situation.
Bird — A euphemism sometimes used in reference to the pelvic section.
Bombsvillle — Any kind of failure in life.
Broad — Affectionate term for a girl or woman with sex appeal.
Bum — A person who is despised, most frequently linked to people in the media.
Bunter — A man who fails in almost everything he does, the opposite of gasser.
Charley — A general term for anyone whose name has been forgotten. See also Sam.
Chick — A young and invariably pretty girl.
Clam-bake — A party or get-together.
Clyde — A word used to cover a multitude of personal observations: viz, “I don’t like her clyde,” means, “I don’t like her voice,” etc.
Cool — A term of admiration for a person or place. An alternative word meaning the same thing is crazy.
Creep — A man who is disliked for any reason whatsoever.
Crumb — Someone for whom it is impossible to show respect.
Dame — A generally derogatory term for a probably unattractive woman. The word dog is also sometimes substituted.
Dig — A term of appreciation for a person or thing, as in “I dig her.”
Dying — As in, “I’m dying,” which means, “I’m slightly upset.”
End — A word to signify that someone or something is the very best.
Endsville — A term to express total failure, and similar to bombsville. See ville.
Fink — A man who cannot be relied upon, whose loyalties are suspect.
First base — The start of something, usually applied in terms of failure when someone has failed to reach it.
Fracture — As in, “That fractures me,” meaning, “That’s an amusing joke.”
Gas — A great situation as in, “The day was a gas.”
Gasoline — A term for alcohol, more specifically, Frank’s favorite drink, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky.
Gasser — A man or woman highly admired, considered to be the best or, “The End!”
Gofer — Someone who does menial jobs or runs errands, as in, “go for drinks,” etc.
Good night all — A term of invective to change the subject of conversation.
Groove — As in “in the groove,” a term of admiration or approval.
Harvey — A man or woman who acts in a stupid or naive fashion; sometimes shortened to a “Harve.”
Hacked — A word used to describe someone who is angry, as in, “He’s hacked off.”
Hello! — A cry of surprise to no one in particular when a beautiful woman is seen.
Hunker — A jack-of-all-trades rather like the gofer.
Jokes — A term used to describe an actor’s lines in a film script.
Let’s lose Charley — A term used among intimates who want to get rid of a bore in their company.
Locked-up — As in “all locked-up,” a term for a forthcoming date or engagement, private or public.
Loser — Anyone who has made a mess of their life, drinks too much, makes enemies, etc.
Mish-mash — Similar to loser but refers specifically to a woman who is mixed up.
Mouse — Usually a small, very feminine girl who invites being cuddled.
Nowhere — A term of failure, usually applied to a person, viz, “He’s nowhere.”
Odds — Used in connection with important decisions, as in, “The odds aren’t right,” meaning not to go somewhere, accept anything, or buy something.
Original loser — A man or woman without talent; sometimes more fully expressed as, “He (she) is the original Major Bowes Amateur Hour loser.”
Platinum — Having a big heart, generous. “You’re platinum, pussycat!”
Player — Term for a man who is a gambler by nature, who makes friends easily, and never gives up trying.
Punks — Any undesirable person, in particular mobsters, gangsters, or criminals.
Quin — Derisive term for any girl or woman who is an easy pick-up.
Rain — As in, “I think it’s going to rain,” indicating that it is time to leave a dull gathering or party.
Ring-a-ding — A term of approval for a beautiful girl, viz, “What a ring-a-ding broad!”
Sam — Used in the same way as Charley for a person whose name has been forgotten, most often applied to females.
Scam — To cheat at gambling, as in, “Hey, what’s the scam?”
Scramsville — To run off.
Sharp — A person who dresses well and with style.
Smashed — A word used to describe someone who is drunk. On occasions it has been replaced with “pissed.”
Square — A person of limited character, not unlike a Harvey.
Swing — To hang out and drink, smoke, sing, generally get real loose.
Tomato — As in “a ripe tomato,” a woman ready for seduction or even marriage.
Twirl — A girl who loves dancing. An alternative word with the same meaning is a “Twist.”
Ville — A suffix used to indicate changes in any given situation. See endsville, etc.
Wow-ee wow wow — An expression of glee, joyful anticipation, and a euphemism for lubricious fun.
Music Suggestions

Need some more help capturing that Sinatra swagger? Listen to some tunes from Old Blue Eyes.


My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra
The Very Best of #Frank Sinatra

The Frank Sinatra Scrapbook: His Life and Times in Words and Pictures

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Keith Richards slams The Beatles: “Sgt. Pepper’s” is “a mishmash of rubbish”


Keith Richards slams The Beatles: “Sgt. Pepper’s” is “a mishmash of rubbish”


The 71-year-old rock icon spoke to Esquire about his new solo album, “

Keith Richards slams The Beatles: "Sgt. Pepper's" is "a mishmash of rubbish"EnlargeKeith Richards(Credit: AP/Chris Pizzello)

Keith Richards may be 71 years old, but that doesn’t mean the #Rolling Stones’ storied rivalry with the Beatles has faded into the past. Not by a long shot. In a new interview with Esquire, Richards lobs some pot-shots at the mop-tops, calling out their pathbreaking 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” for being “a mishmash of rubbish.”

 Discussing the frenzied adoration bands like the Stones and the #Beatles received from female fans, Richards suggests that when it came to the Beatles, “those chicks wore those guys out,” adding that “they stopped touring in 1966—they were done already. They were ready to go to India and shit.”

“The Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles. But there’s not a lot of roots in that music,” he continued. “I think they got carried away. Why not? If you’re the Beatles in the ’60s, you just get carried away—you forget what it is you wanted to do. You’re starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it’s a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like Satanic Majesties—”Oh, if you can make a load of shit, so can we.”








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The federal prison on Alcatraz Island in the chilly waters of California’s San Francisco Bay housed some of America’s most difficult and dangerous felons during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. Among those who served time at the maximum-security facility were the notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone (1899-1947) and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud (1890-1963). No inmate ever successfully escaped The Rock, as the prison was nicknamed, although more than a dozen known attempts were made over the years. After the prison was shut down due to high operating costs, the island was occupied for almost two years, starting in 1969, by a group of Native-American activists. Today, historic Alcatraz Island, which was also the site of a U.S. military prison from the late 1850s to 1933, is a popular tourist destination.

Alcatraz (5)

In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala (1745-97) mapped and named rugged Alcatraz Island, christening it La Isla de los Alcatraces, or Island of the Pelicans, due to its large population of sea birds. Seventy-five years later, in 1850, President Millard Fillmore (1800-74) signed an order reserving the island for military use. During the 1850s, a fortress was constructed on Alcatraz and some 100 cannons were installed around the island to protect San Francisco Bay. Also during this time, Alcatraz became home to the West Coast’s first operational lighthouse.

By the late 1850s, the U.S. Army had begun holding military prisoners at Alcatraz. Isolated from the mainland by the cold, strong waters of San Francisco Bay, the island was deemed an ideal location for a prison. It was assumed no Alcatraz inmate could attempt to escape by swimming and survive.

During its years as a military prison, the inmates at Alcatraz included Confederate sympathizers and citizens accused of treason during the American Civil War (1861-65). Alcatraz also housed a number of “rebellious” American Indians, including 19 Hopis from the Arizona Territory who were sent to the prison in 1895 following land disagreements with the federal government. The inmate population at Alcatraz continued to rise during the Spanish-American War (1898).

During the early 20th century, inmate labor fueled the construction of a new cellhouse (the 600-cell structure still stands today) on Alcatraz, along with a hospital, mess hall and other prison buildings. According to the National Park Service, when this new complex was finished in 1912 it was the world’s largest reinforced concrete building.

In 1933, the Army relinquished Alcatraz to the U.S. Justice Department, which wanted a federal prison that could house a criminal population too difficult or dangerous to be handled by other U.S. penitentiaries. Following construction to make the existing complex at Alcatraz more secure, the maximum-security facility officially opened on July 1, 1934. The first warden, James A. Johnston (1874-1954), hired approximately one guard for every three prisoners. Each prisoner had his own cell.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) viewed Alcatraz as “the prison system’s prison,” a place where the most disruptive inmates could be sent to live under sparse conditions with few privileges in order to learn how to follow rules (at which point, they could be transferred to other federal prisons to complete their sentences). According to the BOP, Alcatraz typically held some 260 to 275 prisoners, which represented less than 1 percent of the entire federal inmate population.

Among those who did time at The Rock was the notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al “Scarface” Capone, who spent four-and-a-half years there during the 1930s. His arrival on the island generated headlines across America. Capone was sent to Alcatraz because his incarceration in Atlanta, Georgia, had allowed him to remain in contact with the outside world and continue to run his criminal operation in Chicago. He was also known to corrupt prison officers. All of that ended when he was sent to Alcatraz. According to the biography “Capone” by John Kobler, Capone once told the warden, “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked.”

Other famous (or infamous) Alcatraz inmates included George “Machine Gun” Kelly (1895-1954), who spent 17 years there on a kidnapping conviction. Gangster Alvin “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz (1907-79), listed as “Public Enemy No. 1″ by the FBI in the 1930s, spent over 25 years behind bars at Alcatraz, reportedly more time than any other prisoner. Murderer Robert Stroud, also known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” was transferred there after three decades at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Stroud arrived on the island in 1942 and served 17 years there; however, despite his nickname, he was not permitted to keep birds at Alcatraz as he had while locked up at Leavenworth.

Over the years, there were 14 known attempts to escape from Alcatraz, involving 36 inmates. The Federal Bureau of Prisons reports that of these would-be escapees, 23 were captured, six were shot and killed during their attempted getaways, two drowned and five went missing and were presumed drowned.

The most famous escape attempt resulted in a battle, from May 2 to May 4, 1946, in which six prisoners overpowered cellhouse officers and were able to gain access to weapons, but not the keys needed to leave the prison. In the ensuing battle, the prisoners killed two correctional officers and injured 18 others. The U.S. Marines were called in, and the battle ended with the deaths of three of the rogue inmates and the trial of the three others, two of whom received the death penalty for their actions.

The federal penitentiary at Alcatraz was shut down in 1963 because its operating expenses were much higher than those of other federal facilities at the time. (The prison’s island location meant all food and supplies had to be shipped in, at great expense.) Furthermore, the isolated island buildings were beginning to crumble due to exposure to the salty sea air. During nearly three decades of operation, Alcatraz housed a total of 1,576 men.

In 1969, a group of Native Americans led by Mohawk activist Richard Oakes (1942-72) arrived on Alcatraz Island and claimed the land on behalf of “Indians of All Tribes.” The activists hoped to establish a university and a museum on the island. Oakes left Alcatraz following the death there of his stepdaughter in 1970, and the remaining occupiers, whose ranks had become increasingly contentious and divided, were removed by order of President Richard M. Nixon (1913-94) in 1971. The island became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972 and was opened to the public a year later. Today, some 1 million tourists visit Alcatraz each year.

The final days of Alcatraz revealed in new photographs released for 50th anniversary of prison closing its doors for good

Its fascination for the public remains though, as millions travel to San Francisco Bay to take in a glimpse of the cells which held the country’s most dangerous criminals such as – Al Capone, George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly and Alvin ‘Creepy’ Karpis.

And on Thursday, The National Park Service celebrated the 50th anniversary of Alcatraz Island’s closure as a federal penitentiary with an exhibit of newly discovered photos of the prison’s final hours.


In this March 21, 1963 photo taken by Leigh Wiener and provided by the National Park Service, prison guard Jim Albright, (second from left), leads out the last prisoners from Alcatraz federal penitentiary

In this March 21, 1963 photo taken by Leigh Wiener and provided by the National Park Service, prison guard Jim Albright, (second from left), leads out the last prisoners from Alcatraz federal penitentiary

On that day in 1963, prison guard Jim Albright led the Navy-coat clad prisoners — considered the nation’s most dangerous — to waiting boats as cameras clicked and hundreds of reporters chronicled The Rock’s last hours as a prison.

Albright wasn’t deterred by the ruckus, keeping his eye on his wards and his focus steely.

The ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the closing was attended by former guard Jim Albright, who can be seen in the photographs in a light gray suit and dark tie, walking the shackled prisoners past reporters.

New discovered photos show the last prisoners depart from Alcatraz Island federal prison in San Francisco. The National Park Service on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of Alcatraz Island's closure with an exhibit of the photos

New discovered photos show the last prisoners depart from Alcatraz Island federal prison in San Francisco. The National Park Service on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of Alcatraz Island’s closure with an exhibit of the photos

He had been a guard during two escapes, including the one made famous in the movie ‘Escape from Alcatraz,’ and was keeping an eye open for any funny business involving the prisoners and reporters.

‘What I was worried about was that one of these god-darned fools was going to give the inmates something that they could get out of their cuffs with,’ Albright, now 77, said. ‘These were all the worst bad guys. If you messed up somewhere else you came to Alcatraz.’

Alcatraz started as a fortress and became an Army disciplinary barracks before the Bureau of Prisons took it over in 1934 to house America’s most notorious criminals.

U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy signed an order in 1962 to close the prison due to its expensive upkeep and its prime location in the bay.

A flag flies on a ferry as it approaches Alcatraz Island on the day The National Park Service marked the 50th anniversary of the closure of the notorious Alcatraz federal penitentiary with an exhibit of newly discovered photos

A flag flies on a ferry as it approaches Alcatraz Island on the day The National Park Service marked the 50th anniversary of the closure of the notorious Alcatraz federal penitentiary with an exhibit of newly discovered photos

Tourists view an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary on today on the island prison

Tourists view an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary on today on the island prison

Former Alcatraz Island prison guard Jim Albright looks on while viewing an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary today

Former Alcatraz Island prison guard Jim Albright looks on while viewing an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary today.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2297271/Alcatraz-final-days-revealed-new-photos-released-50th-anniversary-prison-closing.html#ixzz3oUc9SOA6
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Stoned Ohio man calls cops because he’s too high, is found groaning on floor surrounded by Doritos, cookies, other snacks


Stoned Ohio man calls cops because he’s too high, is found groaning on floor surrounded by Doritos, cookies, other snacks

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 3:50 PM A A A

The 22-year-old man called cops after smoking too much pot, telling police he couldn’t feel his hands.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Police in Ohio say they were called to a house by a man who complained he’d gotten too high smoking marijuana.

The Youngstown Vindicator reports that Austintown Township police on Friday found the 22-year-old man curled in a fetal position on the floor, groaning and surrounded by snacks that included Doritos, Goldfish crackers and Chips Ahoy cookies.

The newspaper reports that the man told officers he couldn’t feel his hands.

PreviousNextMmmmmm…..CHIPS! And cookies — so many cookies! Exported.; Enlarge

Officers found a glass jar of marijuana and paraphernalia in the man’s car after he gave them his keys. The man refused medical treatment and so far has not been charged with a crime.