Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Written by Kirk Baird
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the escape from Alcatraz, the supposedly escape-proof federal prison. In fact, there were 14 escape attempts by 36 prisoners in the nearly 40 years of Alcatraz’s operation as a prison to house the most difficult inmates. But it’s the mystery surrounding the dramatic June 11, 1962, escape by inmates Frank Morris, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin that’s captured the most attention.
The trio, along with another inmate, Allen West, who was left behind, planned a daring escape that seemed like something out of a movie: they used spoons to help carve out aging concrete around an air vent, shuffled quietly through a small corridor, and ultimately escaped detection from spotlights and guards on patrol when outside the prison. (A movie was made, 1979’s Escape From Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood.)
Did the three prisoners survive the chilly and treacherous bay currents around Alcatraz Island to make it to shore? Some believe they did, and either swam or floated on a raft to safety and freedom on the shore. Others think they drowned in the bay during the final stages of their escape. The bodies of Morris and the Anglin brothers were never found or recovered.
To learn more, check out The Real Story: Escape From Alcatraz on DVD.
Also check out these other Alcatraz-themed movies:
The Rock (1996)
Murder in the First (1994)
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
Curse of Alcatraz (2007)
Experiment Alcatraz (1951)