Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.... Show More

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September 1, 2020 60 min
In 1962, three ordinary criminals transcended into folk heroes when they crawled out of their cells in Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary took to the water in a homemade raft and were never heard from again. Could they have possibly survived? Learn more about your ad-choices at
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Episode Transcription

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Hey everybody: it's US and we're here to talk to you about get this our book. We have a stuff. You should know book coming out this November and you're going to love it and you can preorder it now.

That's triit, it's called stuff Yo should know Colin an incomplete compedium of mostly interesting things, and it's been a lot of fun to work on and we're really, I mean genuinely excited about how this thing is. Come together, Yep, it's twenty six Chunky, hairy chapters that are just going to knock your socks, clean off and yes, Chuck. We are indeed proud of this book. It is truly indubitably the first stuff you should know book and it's coming out this November and you can order it now. preorder everywhere you get books. So do that and we thank you in avent.

Welcome to step. You should know a production of FI heart radios have stuff works, HEYOU'M! Welcome to the PODCAST, I'm Josh, there's Chuck Jerry's out there in the ether somewhere.

Like that, one kid being transmitted from the camera to the TV in Rillywanka Wow.

I got that one eight kinds of wrong yeah, but anyway this is stuff you should know which is appropriate, that Il get something eight kinds afe wrong right at the beginning. Did you ever hear the story from Geane Wylder about the move at the beginning of that movie, where he walks out with a cane where he did the spill? The summersalt yeah, you see, sticks acane in the ground and does his summer sault.


He said that that was his idea, and this just shows the brilliance of gene wilder, and he said he did that because he knew from that moment on and no one would believe anything that that character said.

Oh, yes, I have heard that before great. That is, that is brilliant. That man was a brilliant man and a wonderful human being. I loved him he's got one of his last interviews on Coa Brian was so great because Conan was just gushing and I'm sure Jen Wilder was very, I think, kind of taken back by how much he means to people the ouns.

Have you ever seen?

Oh know that wasn't the question I had did you know, did you know Thet Questionwas did you fart?

Did you know that Conan O'Brian and Dennis leary or cousins?

I don't think I knew that according to Cona No'Brian, asking a question on jeopardy. That is his cousin.

Do Not know that speaking of jeopardy, we have a colleague named Kenjenigs who is on jeopardy yeah and we have another collleague two collleagues called Daniel and Horhey and they have a a podcast called Daniel and Horhey explain the universe is pretty cool, but they also chok. I just saw have a PBS kid's animated program coming out September. Seventh called Eleanor wonders why Okand it looks adorable wow. That sounds like right at my daughter's alley. Yeah so check it out, everybody PBS Kid September, sevent Eleanor wonders white and Congrat, Daniel and Horhey. Do you have any famous cousins, famous or infamous?

I think we are the famous cousins. That's that's. How said our families are yeah feels pretty great, though I keep being like hey. Let's have another family reunion this month, speaking of infamous cousins chuck how about those Anglan Brothers, Huh yeah man.

This is, I coild Hofe thought I kind of thought we did this. I know we did. We do one on Alcatraz, and maybe it just briefly touched on it.

Absolutely because this is this movie unine teen. What was it? Seventy nine escaped from alcatrez movie with Cliniswood was one of my favorite movies. As kid it's a good movie. I went, I watched it just the other night as part of is yeah.

It was an HBO special, so I must have been. I didn't see it and when I was eight at probably was like ten or eleven, and it was one of those movies. I probably watched over a dozen times when I was twelve twelve years old, followed by crawl and outlan man. Those are great yeah.

They always went together, they didn't they yeah in war games. I mean those ware all HB specials, but this is a really good movie and I'm a big big fan of prison escape movies. Sure - and I was thinking today when I was looking over this stuff again - that it's so weird that, like these guys, ere hardened criminals and yet when you're researching this, all you can think about is man.

I hope they got out of there all right and I hope they live the fat ligfts in Brazil. Well, that really speaks to like who they are what they became because of this escape, which is put most simply their folk heroes. I guess so yeah, that's definitely a part of being a folkhuros that you can trancend the kind of like judgments that society typically Levis against people. Criminals like if you, if you are so good at your craft or so good at something to do with criminality that you transcend being judged for your crimes. That's you've become a folk hero for sure it's like DB Cooper, yeah, and I think it helps that you know these guys were armed, drobbers and thieves and I think frank, warricand, we'll get into all these Ho. These dudes are, but he was a drug trafficker, but they weren't, rapist and murderers - that I don't think I ano transin that no they they were definitely nonviolent criminals from everything that I've seen yeah. They used o toy gun in one of these robberies: Yeah it's adorable! Well, let's talk about these guys, like you are saying we're talking about a group of people who escaped from alcatres and as far as anyone knows, they are the only ones who really may have escaped from Acotrez. They vanished in one thousand nine hundred and sixty two last scene leaving their cells and were never heard from again and, like you said they were all hardened criminals like lifelong career criminals. Frank Morris was thirty five when he left Alcatrez and he'd been a criminal, since he was thirteen, he was in and out of institutions and, like you said he wasn't a violent criminal. He wasn't a rapist or a murderer or anything like that. He was, he was he liked O to sell the drugs he had like hiis forehead, tattooed Ora, star Toit titoon on his forehead for a while, which he very sensibly had removed later on.

Is that what that means, but that he was a drug trafficker? Yes, no. I think that means that he did a few too many drugs one night. Oh, he really did have a star Yeah. I thought that was some like prison thing for, like the tier drop, Tattoo means you didn that mean you killed somemoney or something that's what I've always heard, but I don't know it could just be Ourben legend, but yes, what I've always her? No, I really did have a star okay yeah. I think he got super wasted won. I had star tattooed on his forehead. There was a Tetoo or just far too handy, that night, yeah yeah, which I think the old saying don't ever make friends with tat two artists, yeah or at least drinking buddies. Sure it's true, but he was also super smart, too yeah, and they point this out in the movie and a lot of the movie. I mean it's pretty close to the real story that they did a really good job, but they do make a big deal in the movie about how smart he was.

I know, IQ is sort of tacular t leave it as far as that being a real measurement of one's intelligence, but he supposedly had an IQ of huned ND thirty and the the BOP which stands for the was it bureau prisons.

I didn't know they had rankings, but they had rankings of in intellectual intellectuality. Is that a word yeah? I think so?

It gets the point across ar go. It is yeah and I'm curious what other rankings they have but best look in best abs, but he was in the top two percent, supposedly in the American prison system as far as his intellectual capabilities yeah. So you you hit on a point there. I think we need to at least at least bring up like the the the movie did, follow the the actual the truth of the matter fairly closely. In some cases. In other cases, it veered wildly away like there was a character based on one guy, who was very much involved, but they didn't even use his name and they made him seem less involved than he actually was, there's a lot that the movie gets wrong, but the problem with covering this is that there's so many gaps and holes that are so easily and casually filled inthat. You can't help, but wonder like wait was this.

Was this detail provided by somebody who saw the movie and took the movie is fact like? Where are we exactly and just how pure the knowledge and understanding is of this escape? So you have to just kind of bear that in mind that a it's kind of a blur ind the annals of crime as far as factuality goes yeah, but it's a good story, great story - and most of this is pretty true. I think so. Frank Morris was four years into a fourteen year stent and this was for a bank robbery and he was transferred to the rock one thousand nine hundred and sixty the ride is no. We were using Wingo is it's out adres? It's a prison island or an island, prison, yeah and so might say. The Island itself is a prison which will get to and then his buddies. You mentioned the Anglan brothers Jw John William, and his younger brother Clarence were thirty and twenty nine years old and they were from a very big family of migrant farm workers in south Georgia.

They traveled all over the country where, wherever the work was basically as a big family and they got into stealing things from people yeah, they were the ones who used the toy gun later on.

They were, I think, visiting family in a small town called Columbia Alabama, which is in the southeast of the state, and they found out that this bank had been around for a hundred years in this town. It had never been robbed, so they assumed we're going to change that he'll be easy to knock over and apparently it was pretty easy to knock over and they had a toy gun that they used and they still managed to get away with.

At least I think like ten grand or twenty grand something a pretty substantial amount of money and they were on the run for a little while b but got caught and the Alabamans were not very happy with it and they threw the book at these brothers.

They got twenty five year sentences for robbing a bank with a toy gun and that actually was way better than the sentence, the initially face, which was the potentially the death penal thats, crazy yeah.

So so they were, they were, they were caught and busted and they had a third brother named Alfred too, who was also involved, but he was never sent to that to the rock. As you put it, I bet it was not a bed. It was actually a lot easier to rob banks back then yeah. It was way easier to be a criminal even just a few decades ago, yeah just in general, I think now it's like.

Don't even try.

No you got, I mean if it's not the cops and their cameras, he got some dumb neighbor with their cameras. Like me Right, Oh man, I hate to get off topic. So quickly, but - and we should post this on the facebook page or something or maybe I'll - put it on instagram what I got attacked by Squirrel and it was captured by my front of the house - Camera.

Oh No yeah, everyone wants to see that it as great I just I was taking out some recycling and I heard some rustling and I went around the corner and I was like this squirrel was freaking out and then he literally leapt. If he freeze frame it, he leapt three feet in the air wow and hit my leg and ran up my leg a little bit and then wow and I react thussily.

That's awesome, you know, Wud be wonderful, is to Innercut closeups of your face when you got that Charlie Horse on Internet round. Oh my God, in with this squorrel attack the amaze a good thing. I don't care about myself and looking dumb.

Why did you? Why did that Squirrel attack? You would you do to it? I didn't do anything I was freaking out and then I turned and looked after I dropped the recycling off and he and another squirrel were going at in our oak tree.

So I think he was just he was all riled up. He might have picken it thout on you, yeah did he have a star Tattoo on his forehea did right on his little tiny furry forehead wow. Yes, please do post that, okay, so all right, these guys are all in Alcatrez and Alcatrez at the time was like I said it was sort of the rock itself was the prison, and that was the idea was that even if you're, even if you manage to get out of the prison that they ementually built, which will talk about, then you still can't get out of there, because you got to swim over a mile to the nearest body of land about one point, three miles that wateris really cold, the currents are brutal.

The winds are really strong. San Francisco Bay is not you know, for people that haven't been there. It's not just like some lovely little chillbody of water that you hang out in.

No, it's not a very hospitable body of water. It's not so there! The the idea was that yeah like when you got sent to Alcatraz you weren't getting off of that island and you wer either paroled or died, and that was actually the reason that the Englans and Frank Morris were sent. There was because they had all met at the federal pen and t Atlanta. I guess the wone down in grant park right yeah, which that building is amazing.

It's one of the most forbidding buildings in the world.

I would say it looks like a old timy, federal, penitentiay and Alcapom. was there too for a little while yeah, I actually drove by there not too long ago, with my daughter for the first time, and I was like check out that building look at that. It's like that's a prison to what's a prison, and I want oh well. I guess I got to explain that I'll. Tell you when you're eighteen, if you make it and don't go to prison first right, so they all met at the Federal Penanet Lane, and I can't remember if they actually made it out or if they were caught escaping, but they were known escape artists, like the that Frank Morris had escaped from places in Florida.

They didn't stay put when you, when you put them in prison, and so that's why they were all sent to Algatras and just crazily as they arrived bet, oe thousand ninehundred and sixt oethousand nine hundred and sixty one.

They were all put pretty close together and in fact the anglan brothers had adjoining cells, which is a very stupid thing to do, but that's what they did and part. I believe, because there is a certain thread of arrogance that ran through the administration of Alcatrez, that it was just basically inescapable yeah and I think you also sort of want happy prisoners and I've heard of request like that being made possible before, like Hey, you put me near my brother, we're going to be a lot better behaved.

Yeah we're, definitely not going to break out.

I don't think we mentioned either like Alcatraz was so formidable as I just a an island that the very first time they used. It was when the army put soldiers there who cheered on President Lincoln's death, and so they didn't even bother building a prison that they just built. Some barracks through him on the islands like well you're in prison. Now, because good luck getting out of here, yeah, that's what I shought too, and when the the bureau prisons took over, they really fortified it even more. Like you said, there was a larger building that housed everything from like the mess hall to the Cell Box.

So when you were in a cell in a cellblock, you were in youwere in a little tiny prison inside a larger prison. Onside this island prison and the the cellbock themselves had like three inch thick concrete walls, reinforced iron bars.

The building itself has made a very thick concrete.

It was.

It was just meant to basically tell you, there's, there's no getting out here, but what's crazy is Frank Morris, an the England brothers, they weren't the first people that ever try to bust out.

I believe they were part of a total of thirty six people who tried to escape in the history of the the prison everybody else. Almost everybody else was either killed, captured or their bodies were found.

Except - and I did not realize this Morris and the England brothers were not the first people avanish without a trace from alcatras. Had you heard about teg coal and Ralph Ro?

I hadn't heard about them until this, but in the s lats they did escape and they did vanish and you know sort of like where the story's going ther ere.

I don't think anyone wants to admit that from the prison system that they could have really made it right so they're like now, they died, they drowned.

But the thing is the thing that really differentiates the England, brothers and Frank Morris from guys like teg Colan, ralh Ro. They all shared in common, that they escaped from Alcatras and vanished without a trace.

The thing that differentiates Morris in the Englans is that their folk heroes, because almost exclusively because of this plan they devised and executed, and that the plane was so good and so complex and well done - that it actually lends credence to the idea that they may have survived and escaped from Alcatrez genuinely yeah, and what they had in common is that they were all topped in in best abbs in the prison system Yep and what everybody listening right now has in common. Is that you're about to hear an ad okay, we're back everybody, and I think it's high time.

We talk about the plan, the escape plan, don't you yeah, if you're going to escape from Malcatraz, it's not the kind of thing where you distract Ta guard and just run and jump over a fence.

You got to start this thing this plan, many months in advance and by all accounts they and by all accounts, meaning from the one account that we really have this.

They started planning easily six months before the escape.

They start developing this plan. They start collecting kind of anything they can get their hands on that. They think they can use everything from just loose nuts and bolts and screws to things that I mean they actually ended up using a lot of this stuff. But I got the impression that they were just kind of like anytime. They saw something that they could squirel away and hide.

They would do it because you never know what you could use it for yeah and so like over thes six month period. They amassed something like eighty tools that they either stole had stolen for them rebuild a repurpose out of other stuff or just made completely out of like their own labor, like they had a pretty extensive tool kit that they created one of the ways that they got a lot of the tools was from Allan West, who we haven't mentioned yet, but a lot of people don't realize there was a fourth conspirator in the alcatrez escape, who was a major integra part of it, but who actually didn't go along with the escape as we'll see how man that part in the movies so tough?

It is especially with that poor guy.

He just looks he ha that character. AER Boom, like down on my luck C, can you spare a dine brotherme he's so good he's been a night, so many things, but he was.

I think he was the guy who played Kramer on he assinfeld in the in the pilot in the NBC pilot yeah, so like in the show, the guy playing cramers right on the show in the show. I think that was him that he stole the UMANMS. I think yeah yeah, so he was in escape from Alcatrez to yeah. He just Hhe's perfect for that part, but this guy named Alan West.

He was on the painting crew and he put that to use big time one of the first ways he did it was. He was in the prison, barber shop and managed to steel, a pair of electric clippers. While he was in there painting and they were like Hey, this motor will come in Handy llet's, repurpose it into a power drill and they did yeah, that's pretty cool. He also I mean just having a little motor is so handy, so he came across a vacuum cleaner that wasn't working and he said hey you mind. If I repair this, I got to shake the tree first, but after that you mind, if I repair this in that what they call it a vacuuming. No and you got a p on the on chain, Gane that you call it shaking the tree.

Oh, I guess I think that's what it's called sure, but I mean wasn. I have to do with fixing a vacuum. Nothing is just prison humor!

Oh, I got me a lot of prison jokes. So all the inmates left listening right now is busted out laughing like he is sa shake the tree. Well, it's a drinking game.

Wi'll explain if you're listening from prison, if someone says shake the tree, take a drink of Pruno Wel, that's another drinking yeah!

That's the! But that's what you would drink when somebody said shake the trees et, say: Shak the tree one more time rig shake the tree guys. I think everybody's got a pretty good buzz in prison right now, so he says: Let me fix this vacuum cleaner. They say that's fine!

He saw that the vacuum cleaner had a couple of different motors and one of which he used to repair and actually make you know, pass it off as a working vacuum cleaner and then he just took that other one, and that meant that they could make a drill that was even more powerful than the other one yeah.

So they had not one but two electric trills at their disposal, which kind of gives you a pretty good idea of just how dedicated and smart and crafty these guys were right. Yes, they also very famously ended up with fifty five zero different raincoats that were made from rubber prison issue, raincoats that they got from other inmates, and this really reveals something that I think a lot of people, don't necessarily realize it seems like.

Basically, all the inmates in prison with Anglan the Englans and Morris were well aware of their plans, not necessarily every detail or even any of the details just that they were planning on breaking out, and so they managed to get their hands on like fifty different raincoats from other prisoners that they use to build a life raft and life vests with pretty great.

I think the idea was is that these guys didn't like being on Alcatraz, so they kind of figured hey if these guys actually get out they're going to close this place down we're going to get out of here right.

Not You know, I don't I don't know if I would have gone along with that Rashional.

I would have thought it's going to be even worse for us here, Oh yeah, but well. Well, hang on to what happened till the end of the show. How about that?

I think everybody would have kept their pruno from you. Had you raise that point, Yeu N, so they've got all this stuff. They got paint, they got paper, they collect hair and from the from the barber shop they like sweep up his hair and keep that you might be thinking line I the world. Would they need that you just wait you'll see, and then they had about three and a half hours each evening after dinner, slop and before lights out, where they had to work and create, you know a way out of their prison cell and then once they get out of their prison. So, like you said they're still in this larger building, then away out of there, but the first trick is getting out of their individual cells yeah.

So from what I understand that took up like the lion share of the time between when they first hatched this plan in the time when they finally escaped, there were like these little six by eight or nine or something very small ventilation, chef cemented into the wall.

These the greates were cuminted into the wall, but really it was just a little metal great over a hole, so they figured it.

They could start chipping away at that hole and enlarge the whole into something they could crawl through and that's exactly what they did eventually over time.

Frank Morris and then both of the Englan brothers managed to create these holes, and they did so by by serving his lookout for one another, while the other one shipped one night, and then they would trade off that kind of thing, and then here's a question that I have. I could not confirm one way or the other if it was a movie thing or if it was a real life thing, but in the movie they create these kind of cardboard, false walls yeah that they're able to fill the hole with that it looks like the great is still there and the wall is still intact.

So when they were out of their cells, they could put this false wall in behind them and nobody would be any othe wiser when they just walk past and casually glanced in there. I don't know if they did that or not I mean it's a pretty great detail of the movie, so I'm inclined to believe it.

Let's go with it. What I didn't see an Ri, I haven't seen it in a long time.

Did they have those drills in the movie, because I just remember a lot of digging with the e kind of just like used a sharpen spoon as a a little mini pick, a sharpened spoon with the the wardens fingernail clippers that he steals in like one of the first scenes, but there was no drill in the movie. was there not that I remember noitick? So there definitely were two drills one of the one of the drills that wone with the vacuum motor.

They actually figured out it's just too loud, it's too powerful, yeah and too loud that so they abandoned that one. But I don't know what became of the the hair clipper drill. I didn't hear anything about that, one other than that they created it and used it well.

They managed to dig through, though, where they could get their bodies out of the cell, and that just must have felt like you know, we're halfway there at this point guys oh yeah ill bet, so they from there it led to a utility courd or it was about a meter wide, and there were no guards in here, because this is sort of like the guts of the prison yeah like. Why would you need to guard where there are no people winkwink and in that Courd, or they could kind of move around freely they would climb up to the ceiling?

This is like a three story, cellblock still within a larger building, though of course like we mentioned, and then they had a flu on workshop up there for a few weeks. They could store their tools, they could hide their stuff, they could build.

We haven't really talked about the rafts, but where they were much, they would build their rafts there and it just sort of sort of serves as their staging area where they would eventually leave from to go by this big heavy iron grate to a vinulation chef which actually finally led to the rooftop right, but that big iron grat was a big iron problem because the bars were reinforced. There was they were, I think, welded or maybe screw it, I'm not sure into this iron ring that covered this ventilation shat. So it was a big problem and then they figured out that the bolts holding this whole thing together were actually not nearly as strong as the bars that made up the great ind the ring that held the bars. So they started working away, cutting these bolts one way or another. I think they created a wrench. They built themselves a wrench and they managed to use that to some pretty good effect, but it it went from digging out of their cells to figuring out a way to get through this grate that was kind of like stage to, and then let's talk about the raft, because the raft is a extremely important part of this whole thing, I think really one of the things. If not the thing that lends credence to the idea that they might have actually made it yeah. So they got these raincoats and back then raincoats were just basically sheets of rubber yeah. They didn't breathe very well, no theyrer, very hot think, like ges sweaty, Gorton's fisherman type of stuff, the sweaty Gortons Fisherman, Oh yeah, that guy was always weaty, so they ended up creating as six foot by fourteen foot life RAF from these rain coates from an article in popular mechanics, which chose up a couple of times varieus for magazine.

If you were trying to escape prison - and it was an article about a hunter who had gotten lost and survived hunting geese that he attracted using rubber decoys that he'd made. So they get this idea, they build these inflatable pontoons made from these raincoat sleeves.

So they were stuffed inside and made air tight by gluing rubber sement contact cement over the seams and then pressing hem against steel pipes, which vulcanized it it just basically melted everything shut, and then you have these flotable pantoons that you could use and craft this larger raft yeah.

So they had something that was inflatable that the because those seams were vulcanized, it would hold the air the air couldn't escape and they used a concertina.

Oh, I can't remember handsome Pete, there's like a little a little guy who plays the accordion down on the docks that looks just like crusty the clown and one of the simpsons episode and he's playing a concertina. It's like a squeezebox. It's like an accordion without the keys in the buttons yeah, but it acts as a bellows because it moves air, essentially that's what they used it for they modified it so that they could use it to inflate their wrath very quickly with this concertina that I guess they stole from the Prison Music Room, which is pretty great, so they're working on all this stuff, and the raft in particular this this is like th.

The Lynchpin of this whole plan is this raft in these life preservers that work fell to Alen West.

So, while these dudes were were like chipping away at the ventilation holes, Alan West was standing lookout for most of them and he was creating this raft in these life vests, and so he was enable to chip away at hisow ventilation whole nearly as fast.

So while they were out, you know, working on the the great the vent cover great. He still had no way out of his cell. At that point he hadn't made it all the way through yeah, and you know we should point out something that earlier we mentioned if if they happen to walk by and they don't notice a hole in the wall because they may or may not have made these false grates and walls.

If you're a listener - and you don't know the story - you might have said like yeah, but wouldn't they have noticed, there was no one in the cell good question what they did was they made paper Miche recreations of themselves. They made these busts.

They use that prison hair.

So criss is so groat and use that reber sement again to glue this hair on, and if you see the real things it's not Madam Toso or anything, it's not like boy. Look at that likeness photo realistic, but it's in the dark - and your sort of I think, is a human train to to see what you're looking for. So if Youre Guard this just walking by you see a head turn the other way with with prison hair on it and some pillows under a blanket and you R, you don't think it looks fake. It just looks like it Woaldn't, like Ferris beeler style, with like a fake snore on the high fight system or anything right, but you just kind of walk acass it. It worked well enough, like they did this for weeks and weeks and weeks with these paper Miche bust and it worked, they never got noticed.

No, they didn't because I mean remember like tha that they were working between the end of dinner and lights out, so they just seemd to have made it like, like they went to bed early and put the paper Miche, busts and thelike the guys sure are sleepy yeah. They mught be Parno, for you, frank got alot. I got a lot of questions about this, but I'm not going to Investigatin it fairly. Exactly so, do you want to talk about the escape and then go to adbreak yeah?

I think that's. He Way to do it.

Okay, so finally, they get to this point where the great is the bars are removed from this great enough that they can slip through and they realize that they have.

They have successfully penetrated that to the exterior of the building. That's right: okay, they're on the roof!

Well, they know they can go don the roof. Now they know this go night at the advinture. They got up there at least once to be like all right.

I don't know. I haven't heard anything like that and there's a lot of questions about why this particular night was this the very first night that they were able to get out and they're like, let's go, which seems likely to me or were they waiting for a particular night or, like you said I they tested it before they do any dry runs. We don't really know that Butwe do know is that on Monday June e H, one thousand nine hundred and sixty two JW angling Clarance, Anglin and frank mors, all left their cells and the first thing Frank Morris did was go to help Alen West finishe puncturing the whole through his cell Wallporan dill, had not done this yet he's like come on, we got ta go, but apparently part of the plan was to help him punch the hole out the rest of the way and then he would escape with them.

Frank Morris apparently tried in vain and went off to get clearance England to come, try they traded off and then clarence tried.

He couldn't do it either. So I guess he had the very uncomfortable yeah cover I'll, be right. Back I got to go. I got to go shake the tree right or something like that. I'll be right back. You say here, and that was the last. Anybody ever saw of Frank Morris, Clarence, Anglin or JW Anglan from from that moment until today, yeah, so they get to that corridor. They climb up to the roof of the cell block and then through that vintilation shaft.

That great is no longer a problem and they push lat Allan West. They can just barely hear him saying, like you guys, are coming back right any minute now you said so there's this rain cover on top. They push that thing off, and this this all makes some noise and in the movie they they kind of accurately displayed that to as some clanking and clinging around, and I don't think in the movie. They did this, but in real life. Supposedly there was so much noise that they did like a little forty five minute kind of a search of the area right didn't see an good going on. No, they didn't go upon the roof, that's for sure yeah and they basically didn't find anything.

So the guys are out they shimy about fifty feet to the ground via drain pipe, which is how you always do it go to that perimater fence and I'm sure the PRIMITER EFENCE was fine, but I think the idea was that they're never getting out anyway.

So I don't think it had like fifteen feet of razor wire o anything like that.

I think it did have double barbed wire, at least for sure, nothing for it's not like Concertina. Why or anything Tho Noi like that around one in the morning, Allan West, poor, Allen West.

He finally gets that sell great, broken open yeah.

I'm sure he just thinks all right, I'm going to catch up to these guys and it's going to be all good right. I'm getting out of here followed that same route.

It's been a couple of hours at this point, though he saw at these were genuinely good dudes. It seemed like because they did leave him a paddle. I don't think we mentioned they made paddles out of chairlegs and the Ra crews and nuts and bolts yeah and a pontoon that was all inflated for him and he got a little snack. Lotle Rice, chrispe ice cers Petrat the little prunou little shot, AP pruno for his first courage. Righand then he looks over terrible timing and there's a guard in a new position that basically could see anything that he tries to do.

Yeah from that point forward, he's visually pinned down on the roof f. He can't do anything, so this is around one am or something and he figures. Okay, the guard will eventually move while Allan West says the guard never moved for until dawn it doesn't this guy p right doesn't h ever shake the tree igt and he didn't. He did not shake the trees stayed put, and so eventually Alan West was forced to climb back down the ventilationship back down from the roof of the Sel blot at a three story, Iraq to his cell - that he had just a few hours earlier. Finally, after months, punched a hole through and he went and lay down and just waited for the heat to come down on him, and indeed it did because at the seven am bedcheck three dummy heads were discovered were three immates real heads should have been and the prison just went berserk. You know that feeling you get when you take a wrong turn and go like three or four miles in the wrong direction and have to go all the way back, the other way, yeah, imagine being Alan West and having to do that that times, infinity that times infinity yeah.

You want to take another break.

I think so man all right, we'll get to the BOT. Well, we won't get to the bottom of this, but we'll speculate all over the place right after this okay. So there are some things that we know about this from watching the movie, but the movie writers based the movie on a book and the book author, I believe, basis stuff on an interview or interviews with Allan West that Allen Westhad with the bureau prisons in the FBI, because basically, everything we know about the escape from Alcatrez came from the mouth of Allen. West Yeah. So he made a deal. He said, listen I'll, tell you all about it, but you can't throw me in here for longer, because I tried to escape prison. You got to give me immunity for that attempted escape and, let's be honest, guys, it really wasn't much of an attempt. Can you give me a break here right?

I had to make the sad walk of shame back hersel.

I have a feeling that that definitely factored into their decision to give them immunity like man.

Probably so you really, you really got a hard luck case, so he makes a deal and says I'll. Tell you everything.

But again, this is just his account of it.

One thing that kind of jumped out is: Maybe it's not the most accurate account was that he was like yeah. I was the mastermind. I thought up the whole thing from the start. Yeah and I don't know if that's quite true because it seems like Clinestwood - did yeah the certainly t the in the movie. The movies basically t should be called Colan. The Frank Morris Story, yeah he's the main character. Everybody else is a side character, who's, clinny, SOM, it really kind of downplayed a lot of the contributions by the England brothers, certainly by Alan West, doesn't even use Allan West's name.

So I don't know how much of an influence is from that movie or if that movie was just based on the general idea that Frank Morris was the mastermind and the leader that he was a very intelligent person and kind of a born leader from what I know.

So it's just not clear whether Allan Wast actually came up with this plan or not.

was he the one who sewed thei raft all this time and he got left behind, or maybe he had really weak arms? And this was just what he told the the bureau prisons investigators. It was the reason why he never was able to chip out of e his cell, who knows, but just so just bear mind from this point for we're just going to go on with the with this is Gospel, but all of this is coming from Allan Westmouth. He was the one that was left behind.

I feel like in the movie. He got to the point where he could not jump up by himself and reach the grate. Is that right, yeah? So in the movie they help each other up right and he would. He would have had to have done it himself and he couldn't jump. He just kept, jumping and jumping and couldn't make it yes, but from what I know he made it up to the roof and was pinned down on the roof by that that guard in the watch yeah, but don' think it was a Guarit side, no, no, no you're right in the movie. It was like that, so the plan was - and this is again from West Account Said - was to sail this raft - or I guess paddle this raft across the bay to Angel Island about a mile away a little over and they said from there. They were going to rest for a little bit, get their bearings stash everything and then swim to the mainland across. What's called the Raccoon Straits to Ma Marin County and then once they got there, they would start doing crime again immediately. They would rob a store for closing money and steal a car and get the heck out of there as quickly as possible before the word gets out, isdeadly, which is a pretty great plan actually except for the crime part like. I would have I don't know, I guess the ideas just get as far away as possible, but I don't know if I would have yeah, but you need a car. It's not like somebody's Goin. No just give you one hin, take the bart sure you could take the bard, I guess by the part was around back. Then I think it was a pretty good, maybe theywere, just like one last heigst to get away from here. Maybe that's what it was, maybe because they just want. I mean I get didn want the urge to get as far away from there as possible yeah, but also what, if all of a sudden cops are on you from stealing a car immediately, I gues is Isk its all arisk. It is a big risk and a lot of people say that they were actually helped. On the other side, there was a guy named, Oh man. I can't remember his last name, but is his first thing. Eris nickname was bumpy. He was a Gillicutty Harlem crime, Lord Drug Lord, who is just a total Ba, and they think that he may have had something to do with helping them escape with somebody who would have shown up and picked them up and driven them off.

Other people say that one of the anglangs girlfriends was there, but the FBI supposedly investigated and said Frank Moris didn't have anybody. He was an orphan. He didn't have anybody in the outside. He could have helped the Anglans had family. That definitely would have helped it they could, but they didn't have the means to actually to help them out in San Francisco or Bumkins so yeah, but they were a tight family and they were the kind of family where I think, if one of them Hald call him been like I'm breaking out, I need you to pick me up. They would have done it that they're, like that kind of tight family bond now, like my family, would be like. Oh Wei'll call you right back and then hello FBI, how much of a reward doyou have for giving up a prison escapeee? Yes, a federal prison o that much Hu great you have a pen. Can he do any better, so yeah, that's exactly what my family wuld follow up.

They did find some evidence, so they did a search for about a week and a half along with the FBI. Like you were saying in the bureau prisons and the Alcatraz people, they were all Supermad, of course, especially in the movie version and they search Angel Island.

They searche all the other islands in the bay and they did find one of those life preservers that had teeth marks on the inflation valve. They found a wallet wrapped in plastic that they figured was JW Anglands Yeah. They found one of those oars and they found it looked like most of one of the rafts or most of the raft it Didt, but no bodies, no stolen cars, no burglaries, no one had reported anything in the area unusual to according to their plan, which was to you know, steell, closing money in a car yeah, and so the burau prisons, like right out of the gate, was like they drowned ther. They were washed out to see. That's it will never hear from Hem again, but they're dead they didn't actually escape and that this was one thousand nine hundred and sixty two. It wasn't unt ile thousand nine hundred and Sventy nine of the FBI closed the book and said Yeah. That's probably what happened?

We presume that they were dead in their bodies lost at sea, but when they were building this case they cited the the story of the guy named Seymor Web, who had jumped from the goldengay bridge and virtually the same time the Englands and Morris would have been in San Francisco Bay and his body was never found, despite their being witnesses, who watched him johns very flemsy, yeah, yes, but at the same time it does kind of demonstrate like look Ma Sid have his chy was never yeah, he was never found, he jumped at the same time the Anglans and Morris were in the water, so maybe their bodies were never found. There was a sihting of a body about five weeks later in July, one thousand nine thundren and sixty two by a group of Norwegian sailors who saw something kind of floating off and they're like is that a body Yeah Ho one got binoculars and they sai that's a body. It was a body, it was floating upside down, so all they could see was the butt basically kind of bobbing in the water and the butt looked through their binoculars at least to have on jeans have on Dennum, and they you know that was part of the prison outfit was they were wearing Dennham, and this this is the part that kind of gets a little flims into me. Is the FBI said that there were no missing persons in the area in that time frame that were wearing jeans right?

Are you ready for this so sitting down? Who knows - and it was reported many weeks later so it you know it was all.

It was kind of hearsay. I guess at that point it was and then, by the time hiy actually reported the sihting. It was October, so they're like well that's kind of useless, but the they do point to that and say: okay, this combined with Seymore Web. We think that their bodies were swept out to see not everybody agrees with that, including the Angland family, who very much maintained that their brothers survived this escape from Alcatraz and actually had a photograph that I don't know where they got it, but they have a photograph that was supposedly taken of their brothers in Brazil in one housand nine hundred and seventy five looks that they shared like it could have been themal it does. It certainly does at Thereis, actually a company - I can't remember the name of the company, but they do like artificial intelligence. Facial recognition, yeah they're, just really leading the way to a Justopia, but they were like hey everybody.

We want to introduce you to our software, so we're going to analyze this picture and th theire Ai said Yep.

Definitely the ANGLINS. How cool is that yeah? I mean I certainly looked at it and it could be.

It didn't look so unlike them that it was like no way. Right and again, I found myself being like yeah man. These guys made it to Brazil and there's SI robin banks there to this Ein exactly right.

I have them raising cattle in Brazil. That's my that's! My idea.

In two thousand and thirteen thet was a letter sent to the San Francisco Police Department, supposedly from JW Anglan Saeing, Hey, we made it guys, but just barely Morris died in two thousand and eight we kept in touch great guy, Clarence died in two thousand and eleven and I'm still alive, but I got cancer.

I need help and I'm going to come forward if you, if you promise an Pinky, swear and tell the public that you're not going to send me to jail for more than one year and you're going to heal my cancer yeah and apparently they analyze the letter. Er like this is inconclusive, but the FBI was like we close this case, one thousand nine hundred and seventy nine we're not about to open it up, but here's the thing thethe idea that they survived is at least possible enough that for this whole time, the US marshals office, who took over the case from the Fby one thousand nine hundred and sevnty nine.

We have have kept it open, like these guys, are wanted outlaws still to the day, even though they would be eight Nin. Ninety and ninety five, I think by now they are considered, wanted fugitives and the cases open, even though I believe the martial service typically believes that they're dead, they haven't closed the case. Yeah.

Here's my deal. If you do something like this and you don't leave some rock solid deathbed evidence, then you're just selfish.

You really are you owe it to the world to have this? Be a lead story, be like frank, Morris died and he know. Here's the evidence, here's that little flower from the Riv Yeah exactly you teach your smartest head of cattle to stamp out a message in Morse Code.

That's what I want you spending your dying days, doing teaching that cow the marshalls say that they don't think they survived and went on to lead lives of solitude, because they're like these guys are career criminals, they would have done something again. They would have gotten caught again.

It's a good point arguments for is that and they don't know if they plan this, that way or not, but when they went on the day they went and during the hours they went, they actually had a few good hours of pretty calm bay currents.

Theyou know it could be so bad that they're going to pull you out to see or so bad that they take you in the wrong direction, completely away from Land Uh, and they said that you know whether it was just providence or whether they planned it. This way they had a cloudy night, so there wasn't much light from the moon and they had a really calm bay. So in theory they might could have done this they could have. But the winds were really terrible. That night too, I think they were Guss up to like twenty one miles. An hour sustain wins of like ten miles, an hour in which direction. Now that's tough to row.

Who knows if it was lucky, then yeah if it was blowing thim toward Angel iisland, that was in their favor. It was blowing in any other direction. That would make it very very little to Brazil and then maybe maybe so they're like well. That was fortunate.

I didn't even have to steal a car.

The the other problem is the water, the water temperatureis, like fifty degrees Fahreheit, which is very, very cold, and you get very numb and hat eventually sent into shock in an exhaustion pretty quickly after being in this water for thirty minutes or last, but people swim in that thing they do and it's happened before they have triathlins and in that water and people do it. So it's not to say that these guys could not have done it. It wasn't right so frigid that science would say. Oh No, you would die inside five minutes in this water. Exactly I mean, especially if they were operating on the adrenaline that they surely would have had from the escape shimiing fifty feet down. A drain pipe alone will pump you full of some pretty decent adrennaline, so who knows what they were capable of at the time? I have a theory.

Let's hear is that the Anglans killed Frank Morris out there on that raft, and that was the body they saw floating and that's why they made it to Brazil and we never heard from Frank Mornice again, I don't like your theory.

You don't think O I don't Itall turning on them, the last minute. No, no. My theory is that that body was actually seemore Web, that he was wearing denum Jean's under pants that got taken off of his other plants and that he wasn't actually dead, but he met a mermaid ordmer man who he fell in love with and spent the rest of his life under the sea with an that's lovely hi like that theory, but allright, the Cherry on top here.

Is it those prisoners who wanted to help them escape because they thought the prison would close were right.

The prison was shut down the following March and the bureau prison said. You know what we were going to chut this thing down. Anyway, because Alcatraz is just too much to keep up this yeah, this big, concrete block on a rocky island is too expensive to keep up right with very few guards.

So who knows, but in the movie they definitely sort of portray it is, is that's the reason why yeah and the warden never had a happy dat again, it's right pretty satisfying film, pretty satisfying film and Chuck. I guess we seid all this to say this.

We have a book coming out that we would love for you to preorder yeah, that's right stuff. You should know isthat jarring an incomplete compedium of mostly interesting thing and guys. One of our lifelong dreams is to be on the New York Times best celler list, and they give you a tshirt. We really want to get on that list and if that was came out today we wouldn't be on it.

So we would love for you to step up and help our dreams come true sure how's. That for a plea, I think that's a great plea, a plea in a plug altogether: it's a plague whas this incass, twenty bucks.

I think so, and it's worth every penny, I can tell you because we wrote it. That's right.

SO THAT'S IT! If you want to go ode, Our book, you can preorder anywhere, you get books. Thank you in advance and I think that's it for escape from alcatres too right. That's it.

If you want to know more about escaping from acatras, there are some really great articles and books and all sorts of stuff out there in the Internet. For you to dig into so get digging S. I said, get dig in it's time for listener mail.

I'M gonna call this Delaware response. We kind of poked fun of Delawaye a little bit we now. I guess it was me but Delawareriens Delawarians Delawarans, Delaway Lewerian.

They are lovely people as it seems because we've goten quite a few emails ha they have good humor about their their lovely little state.

Hey guys, are Delaware. Family had to laugh at your pirate radio, podcast Delawarians, Oh yeah, it's right! There would be proud to be known as the Luxembourg of the United States.

Most people drive through our state on inty five. In less than thirty minutes, but if you do stop by our state is rich in history and agriculture, and we have a few nice beeches.

What you should know is the arc on the top of our state.

I guess it's an arch is made by a twelve mile radius from Newcastle in historic town, but many people do not know. Is The bottom of the ARC formed a wedge betwixt, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware?

The ownership of that land was in dispute between Delaware and Pennsylvania for decades, only to be resvnve, one thousand nine hundred and wenty one rumor has it that the disputed land was a haven for unsavoury types who capitalized on the uncertain jurisdiction, thanks for the show and forms and entertains my family, and we wish you well from Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution, Oh, that is from Doug Waz, Gat and Family Nice Dog. Thank you. I would have led with the first state to ratify the constitution thing.

I bet they tout that a lot. That's ATS, a good thing to dout yeah.

Well, if you want to be like dog and defend your state, whether it's Delaware or not, we want to hear from you and you can send it in an email to stuff podcast, and I hart radiocom Stuff You Should Know - is production of iheart radios. HOUSESTUFF works for more podcast fo. My heart radio visit the I hat radio, a apple podcast Ow, wherever you listen to your favorite, shows

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