Alphonse Capone

Al Capone

Perhaps the most notorious of Chicago's many mobsters, Capone was known by many nicknames and aliases.  His detractors sometimes called him Scarface; friends called him Snorky.  Business associates often just called him The Big Guy.  He is a central figure in Cosa Nosferatu.

Capone was a native of Brooklyn, where as a young man he had been a member two juvenile gangs.  He did not come to Chicago until 1919, when Frankie Yale suggested the Second City would be a good place to lie low after Capone had murdered another hoodlum in New York.  Capone went to work for John Torrio in Chicago, an old connection of Yale's, and quickly rose in the ranks to become an indispensable number two man.  The Torrio/Capone gang operated on the South Side of Chicago, headquartered in the notorious Levee district located in the equally notorious First Ward.  Their chief rivals were the O'Bannion gang from the North Side.  After the Valentine's Day Massacre, the North Side was run by "Bugs" Moran and Hymie Weiss.  In spite of his Jewish-sounding alias, Weiss was actually a Pole, born Henry Wojciechowski in 1898 (a year before Capone).   He was gunned down in 1926, in front of Holy Name Cathedral, and that ended the career of the only man that Al Capone was ever reported to have feared.  But of course, as Cosa Nosferatu documents, Weiss did not actually perish in that ambush in 1926.  Rather, as he explains in Cosa Nosferatu, "I got better."

Capone became associated with Lamia Lucedio and Harley Warren in early 1930, soon after his release from a Philadelphia prison on a minor gun conviction.  His financial connection to the infamous Club Lucedio has never been established, but it is known that Capone supplied beer and liquor for the speakeasy.  Capone also arranged employment at Club Lucedio, at least for a brief time, for Richard (Lord) Buckley, Capone's favorite nightclub comedian.

Capone eventually was convicted on charges of income tax evasion, ending his career as Chicago's de facto Boss, in 1931.  When he emerged from prison, in 1939, he was suffering from advanced untreated syphilis, which had caused significant deterioration of his body and mind. He died in 1947.

There is substantial information available about Al Capone, of course,  He has been the subject of countless books, motion pictures, and television productions.  His reluctant collaboration with Eliot Ness, however, in the face of the unusual circumstances documented in Cosa Nosferatu,  has not been publicly acknowledged before.  Still, there is a wealth of information available on the man and his times.

One interesting website is, which has a huge selection of photographic documentation about Capone and related Chicago history.

For a little background on Capone and his connection with Johnny Patton, "boy mayor" of Burnham, Illinois, take a look here and here.  Here, too.  Some key parts of Cosa Nosferatu take place out in bucolic Burnham, Illinois, where Johnny Patton held sway for so many years.  Patton himself provided testimony before the Kefauver Commission, which is recorded here.  An interesting reminiscence about Capone and Patton in Burnham was published, many years later, in Sports Illustrated, of all places, by a Burnham resident who caddied for them as a young man.  As Capone says in Cosa Nosferatu, when speaking of Patton, "Good golfer, though."

Here is a source of background history of the Chicago mob leading up to the reign of Capone which readers of Cosa Nosferatu may find interesting. 

Here's another internet source of info on "Scarface" Al Capone.  And, of course, the FBI has its own material on Alphonse. And here is additional testimony before the Kefauver Commission regarding some of the characters in Cosa Nosferatu.

Some interesting scenes in Cosa Nosferatu take place at the Shoreland Hotel, which was an alternative location used by Capone for his various business meetings.  In a small bit of trivia, the author of Cosa Nosferatu has noted that both of his sons were residents of the Shoreland while they attended the University of Chicago.

Cosa Nosferatu