Exploring Alcatraz - Collectable Tin
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Uncover the REAL story about life on Alcatraz. Hear first-hand from notorious criminals, employees and their family members who lived on the island as they debunk the myths and give an honest recount of life on the rock. Witness the last documented interview of Clarence Carnes, the last survivor of the 1946 Riot Blastout, listen to Robert Guilford recount his frightening arrival on the island and hear from inmates Leon Whitey Johnson and Charley Berta. You ll get personal perspectives from Phillip Bergen, Captain of the Guard, and his daughter Patricia Bergen Rothchild, Frank Heaney, the youngest guard in prison history and the only Spanish speaking guard, Joab Picalla. To round out the unique perspectives of life on the island, Joline Babyak, the daughter of the Associate Warden in 1962 tells her story about growing up as a child on Alcatraz and the prison Chaplain, Reverend James Tupy shares his views of prison life. Film clips of the Riot of 1946, arrival of Machine-Gun Kelly and the most famous escapes of 1962 (Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin) are shown as counterpoints to the memories of strict routine and portray the true reality of life on Alcatraz. Includes bonus feature film Prison Train.
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Disc Two should never have been included here as it's nothing more than clips from a tv show in the 1960's. The quality of the picture and sound is awful. It offers no new material and only serves as a rehash of information already known. My overall opinion: If you can locate a copy of this documentary at a budget or reasonable price, it's worth it for Disc One alone. But for full price, not recommended.
The video is presented in it's original footage unremastered so, it is historical low vhs-like quality. Although I was disappointed in the video quality, I enjoyed it and realize we are fortunate to have anything at all. As usual, the historical value was not realized until it was too late. There are a lot of historical 'bits and pieces' of footage pieced together from news media and interviews, not just a story.
The guards, wardens and even the overall video itself, all explain that the media exaggerated the stories and that life there was much more subtle and uneventful. There was a lot of denial from prison authority (unfortunately to be expected) about the escapes and the true nature there which reminded me a lot of the movie "Murder in the First".
There were only two prisoners interviewed, which was only a small sample of the overall number of prisoners held there. I would have liked to hear more perspectives on life there, especially as the interviewed prisoners themselves stated, that they were so secluded from overall daily contact inside and especially outside that they were mostly limited to there own perspectives.
I grew up in the San Francisco, Bay Area and remember passing by Alcatraz often, viewing it from the Oakland Bay bridge, and my father telling the family about it. The stories, the look of the structures built there, and the fact it was on that little island secluded all by itself, only accessible by boat, made it more intriguing to me.
My elementary school went to Alcatraz on a field trip when I was about 10 yrs old, so about 1984, and I loved it. I have not been back since and often wonder what I have forgotten and have heard they don't do as thorough of tour anymore.
I remember the ferry, seeing the cells, the cell door mechanism, the cafeteria, the showers, the yard, and solitary confinement which you get to experience. The tour talked about daily life, murders and Alcatraz's history. They showed the original cells from the most famous true escape depicted in the movie "Escape From Alcatraz" and the wanted posters for the escapees.
I have friends who have worked in modern prisons and jails who have told me about life in them and the good and bad treatment and murders which took place in them from both sides, worker/inmates while they were employed. Sometimes the news mentions it but not often. It's one of those things that most of us could never fathom and that everyone just forgets about. I believe the maximum security prisons of today are more uneventful by means of seclusion, but medium security prisons and jails are more eventful because of more freedom of inmate, guard and outside interaction.
Some stories of modern incidents include sex, fights, murders with blunt objects, suicides, etc regarding inmates and guards. So, I can't believe Alcatraz was so uneventful so many years ago.
If you have ever visited Alcatraz, you will love this DVD!!