Escape From Alcatraz – 1962

By Penny Chavers
Cells inside Alcatraz Prison, an island prison in San Francisco Bay, off San Francisco, California, United States of America, North America (Getty Image #141816649)

It was once assumed that no one could escape from Alcatraz. In fact, officials bragged that it was not possible to escape from “The Rock” as they called it. Making it the topic of news reports, documentaries, and movies, the 1962 escape has definitely left its mark in history.

Alcatraz – A little history.

Alcatraz was named in 1775 by Spanish Lieutenant, Juan Manuel de Ayala called the Island “Island of the Pelicans” because of all the pelicans that used to flock there before prisoners started coming there. Criminals that were sent there were not just those who were the vilest and evil, as most people have thought, but a lot were sent there because they were in need of learning how to follow the rules. They just needed a wake-up call, so to speak.  

Al Capone, the notorious gangster, was among the first prisoners to be imprisoned there in 1934. After serving time first in Atlanta for tax evasion, he was transferred to Alcatraz where he thought he could receive special treatment as he did in Atlanta from bribing the guards. But that was not the case in Alcatraz, as he soon found out. Convict number 85, he had been broken like a wild horse and became such a model prisoner that he was allowed to play the banjo in the prison band.