Friday, April 21, 2017

This Day in Pop Culture for April 21

Gerald Rivera found nothing in Al Capone's vaults on April 21, 1986.

Geraldo Rivera Opens Al Capone’s Vaults and Finds Nothing

Notorious and “most wanted” gangster, Al Capone, began his life of crime in Chicago in 1919 and had his headquarters set up at the Metropole Hotel and then later moved to the Lexington Hotel where he ran things until his arrest in 1931. He later died in 1947. Fast forward to the 1980s when renovations were being made at the Lexington Hotel, a renovation team discovered a shooting-range and series of connected tunnels. One tunnel was connected to Capone’s medicine cabinet. The tunnels led to taverns and brothels making for an easy escape should there be a police raid. Rumors were spread that Capone had a secret vault hidden under the hotel. Meanwhile, in 1985, news reporter Geraldo Rivera has been fired from ABC after he criticized the network for canceling a report made about an alleged relationship between John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. It seemed like a good time for Rivera to scoop a new story to repair his reputation. It was on this day in 1986 that his live two-hour syndicated TV special, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults, was aired. After lots of backstory, the time finally came to reveal what was in Capone’s vaults which turned out to be empty. After the show, Rivera was quoted as saying "Seems like we struck out.”

The Space Needled opened on April 21, 1962.

The Space Needle Opens

In 1959, Edward E. Carlson, president of Western International Hotels, scribbled his idea for the main structure to serve as a centerpiece to the 1962 World’s Fair on a paper napkin at a local coffee house. Inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany, Carlson thought a similar building would fit the “21st Century” theme of the Seattle fair. The design of the building went through many shapes before settling on the “flying saucer” idea which wasn’t finalized until a year and a half before the fair’s opening. 467 cement trucks were used to fill the 30 foot deep by 120 feet hole which was to be used as the Needle’s foundation weighing in as much as the Space Needle itself. The 605-foot tall Needle was finished in December of 1961 and officially opened on this day in 1962.