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Added by FG93 on 21 Jan 2013 11:45
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Alcatraz Island and its many uses

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Evil Island/Alcatraz Island/Fortress Alcatraz/The Rock/Hellcatraz


At first the island was avoided as the Native Americans believed it to be cursed and referred to it as the 'Evil Island'. It was first documented by the Spanish in 1775.

The island was eventually bought for $5,000 in the name of the United States government and in 1850 the president (Millard Fillmore) gave the order for Alcatraz to be set aside for military purposes.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers began fortifying the island in 1853 and continued until 1858, resulting in Fortress Alcatraz.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 the island mounted 85 cannon (increased to 105 cannon by 1866) in casemates around its perimeter, though only 200 soldiers were garrisoned there and so only a small fraction of the guns could be used at one time. The fortification also served as the San Francisco Arsenal for storage of firearms to prevent them falling into the hands of Confederate sympathizers.
The fortification of the island completed the defense of San Francisco Bay.
The model of Military Point Alcatraz:

The island was used to imprison confederates during the war. It was the most effective place to keep them because of the cold, strong, hazardous currents of the waters surrounding the island.
The army, convinced the fortifications and arms were become outdated thanks to new technology came up with a plan to completely level the island and construct shell-proof magazines and tunnels but the plans were never completed. (Between 1870 and 1876)
The plans were then changed to use the island for further detention, instead of defense.
The first jailhouse on the island was built in 1867 (the previous prisoners were kept in the basement of the guardhouse) and in 1868, Alcatraz was officially in the business of the detention of military prisoners.

The main concrete cell block began being constructed in 1909, for this the old barracks had to be leveled to just one floor, which was underground and kept as a basement for the new cell block, giving rise to the popular legend of their being ‘dungeons’ below the main cell block.
During World War I the prison held conscientious objectors(those who refused to serve in the military), including Phillip Grosser who wrote about the island in one of the first exposés of Alcatraz Prison, entitled Uncle Sam's Devil's Island.
In October 1933, the Fortress was deactivated as a military prison and transferred to the Bureau of Prisons.
Alcatraz was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons.
Some famous inmates of Alcatraz include Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz), George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. "Doc" Barker, James "Whitey" Bulger, and Alvin "Creepy" Karpis (who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate).
During its 29 years of operation, the penitentiary claimed that no prisoner successfully escaped. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escape, two drowned, and five are listed as "missing and presumed drowned".

The prison was closed in March 1963, due to high costs, eroding building and the environmental effects on San Francisco Bay of the sewage from the island.

Alcatraz has been cited as one of the most haunted places in America, and also as the most haunted prison in the country. The Native Americans mentioned the evil spirits they purportedly encountered on the island long before it became a federal prison.
This is based on the true story of Robert Stroud. His nickname is deceiving as his love for birds was born during his time at Leavenworth Penitentiary, not Alcatraz, furthermore he was not allowed to keep pets at Alcatraz either.

According to those who knew him while he was in prison, the mild-mannered characterization of Stroud, as presented in Gaddis' book and the subsequent film, was largely fiction. Former inmate Glenn Williams went so far as to say that Stroud "was not a sweetheart; he was a vicious killer. I think Burt Lancaster owes us all an apology." He and another former convict, Jim Quillan, described the real Stroud as a "jerk", "a guy that liked chaos and turmoil and upheaval... Always at somebody else's expense." They regarded the film as a "comedy... an excellent comedy"

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People who added this item 994 Average listal rating (665 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
This films stars Clint Eastwood as Frank Morris, who was prisoner AZ1441 at Alcatraz. The film depicts his escape attempt which is possibly the only successful attempt recorded, although the warden insisted they drowned. *(No bodies were found and the warden would clearly want to protect his reputation)

Alcatraz was closed shortly after the true events on which the film was based. While it is not known whether the three escapees survived, sightings of them over the years provides circumstantial evidence that they may have.
(But we all know the validity of eyewitness testimonies!)

The character Charlie Butts is fictional. A fourth inmate, Allen West, did participate in the real escape but was left behind when he couldn't remove his ventilator grille on the night of the escape. He aided the FBI's official investigation of the escape
Papier-mâché dummies were made and used to act as decoys.

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Many of the events depicted in the film, are historically inaccurate, but, Henri Young, the films main character, was an inmate of Alcatraz, who was a violent bankrobber, turned murderer. He attempted to escape but failed. He later killed an inmate with a spoon.

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This is a true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars' worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. Alcatraz however, is just used for filming, and they never actually 'were' on the island in the film or the real story.

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Fictional - Hostages

Alcatraz's isolated and fortified image has meant that it has been used as a location for fictional hostage scenarios in various instances.
People who added this item 320 Average listal rating (233 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
Alcatraz is used in the thrid Dirty Harry installment as a hiding place for a group of kidnappers/terrorists. Harry finds and kills them, saving the Mayor of San Francisco.

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People who added this item 2205 Average listal rating (1548 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
A renegade general and his group of U.S. Marines take over Alcatraz and threaten San Francisco Bay with biological weapons.
Sean Connery stars as 'Captain John Patrick Mason' of the SAS, the apparent only escapee of Alcatraz prison.

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Fictional Futures

In this film, the thrid installment in the X-Men franchise, the pharmaceutical company Worthington Labs holds its operations here. They claim its the safest place they could find and so thats why they keep 'the cure' there.

It is also the location of the final battle between the X-Men and Magneto's army, Magneto having moved the Golden Gate Bridge, with his power, to allow his army access to the island.

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People who added this item 1730 Average listal rating (1149 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.9
Solara and Eli row to Alcatraz island, where they find a group intent on saving what they can of civilization.

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People who added this item 235 Average listal rating (130 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Switching between eras, the series focuses on the Alcatraz prison, which was allegedly shut down in 1963 due to unsafe conditions for its prisoners and guards. The show's premise is that both the prisoners and the guards disappeared in 1963 and have abruptly reappeared in modern-day San Francisco, where they are being tracked down by a government agency.

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One of the many random things that facinates me, is Alcatraz Island, probably for its notoriety and minor involvements with a few interesting events in history.


Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary or United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island was a maximum high security Federal prison on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, California, USA, which operated from 1934 to 1963, and this is its most famous use, however it has had other uses.

*Wrote some notes myself, paraphrased etc, most info sourced from Wiki.

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