ALCATRAZ TV SHOW STORY & TIDBITS:
I decided to give this a watch since J. J. Abrams was involved with it, I loved his work in the ABC TV Series Lost. Not to mention one of my favorite Lost characters was Hurley played by Jorge Garcia who plays Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto on Alcatraz. Sam Neill and Parminder Nagra were another reason I tuned in to watch, always enjoyed their work. The first movie I saw Sam Neill in was Omen III: The Final Conflict in 1981, he played Damien Thorn (he was sooo scary, lol).
Anyways here is the official synopsis of Alcatraz the TV Series:
When San Francisco Police Department DET. REBECCA MADSEN (Sarah Jones, “Sons of Anarchy”) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to a shocking suspect: JACK SYLVANE (guest star Jeffrey Pierce, “The Nine”), a former Alcatraz inmate who died decades ago. Given her family history – both her grandfather and surrogate uncle, RAY ARCHER (Robert Forster, “Jackie Brown”), were guards at the prison – Madsen’s interest is immediately piqued, and once the enigmatic, knows-everything-but-tells-nothing government agent EMERSON HAUSER (Sam Neill, “Jurassic Park”) tries to impede her investigation, she’s doggedly committed. Madsen turns to Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast, DR. DIEGO “DOC” SOTO (Jorge Garcia, “Lost”), to piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. The twosome discovers that Sylvane is not only alive, but he’s loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake. And strangely, he hasn’t aged a day since he was in Alcatraz, when the prison was ruled by the iron-fisted WARDEN EDWIN JAMES (Jonny Coyne, “Undercovers”) and the merciless ASSOCIATE WARDEN E.B. TILLER (Jason Butler Harner, “The Changeling”).
Madsen and Soto reluctantly team with Agent Hauser and his technician, LUCY BANERJEE (Parminder Nagra, “ER”), to stop Sylvane’s vengeful killing spree. By delving into Alcatraz history, government cover-ups and Rebecca’s own heritage, the team will ultimately discover that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane won’t be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz.
Through the course of the investigation, Madsen and Soto will learn that Agent Hauser has known about the prison’s secret history and has been awaiting the prisoners’ return. Soto will witness his life’s work – the history of Alcatraz – come alive. Madsen will be forced to keep her supportive San Francisco cop fiancé, JIMMY DICKENS (Santiago Cabrera, “Heroes”), at arm’s length from the highly classified assignment as she sees everything she thought she knew about her family’s past shattered, all while fighting to keep the country safe from history’s most dangerous criminals.Side Note: Don’t try and compare this show to J.J. Abrams “Lost” Series as it is a show that should stand out on it’s own. One of the most intriguing and entertaining aspect of Alcatraz for me was the 1960s flashbacks to when Alcatraz was still a functioning prison – and not a tourist attraction. One thing that did feel “Lost-ish” about the show to me were the flashbacks. (Flashbacks were a major part of how Lost told its story). All in all this show kept me entertained right to the end of Season 1. I do hope they have the go ahead for Season 2 or we will be left hanging!
ALCATRAZ CAST MEMBERS:
Sarah Jones as Det. Rebecca Madsen
Jorge Garcia as Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto
Sam Neill as Emerson Hauser
Parminder Nagra as Lucy Banerjee
Robert Forster as Ray Archer
Santiago Cabrera as Jimmy Dickens
Jonny Coyne as Warden Edwin James
Jason Butler Harner as Associate Warden E.B. Tiller
-Sarah Jones starred in HBO’s Series Big Love from 2006-2007 where she played Ben’s ex-girlfriend.
-Jorge Garcia starred as Hurley on the hit ABC series Lost.
-Sam Neill starred in the short-lived television series Crusoe (as Jeremiah Blackthorn) and Happy Town (as Merritt Grieves).
-Parminder Nagra, who plays Lucy Banerjee on Alcatraz was on the NBC TV Series ER from 2003 to 2009 where she portrayed Dr. Neela Rasgotra (she was involved romantically on ER with John Stamos & Shane West).
-Santiago Cabrera also appeared in the television show Heroes as Isaac Mendez.
-Jonny Coyne starred in the TV Series The Bill as Mehmet Ergin / Peter Haynes.
-Jason Butler Harner has guest-starred on TV Shows such as The Closer (which starred Kyra Sedwick), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (which stars Mariska Hargitay) & Fringe (which stars Anna Torv & Joshua Jackson).
-J.J. Abrams created Alias and co-created Lost, Fringe, Undercovers and produced the television series Person of Interest.
-Alcatraz is filmed in San Francisco, Vancouver, Canada and even filmed some scenes on the island of Alcatraz.
THE REAL ALCATRAZ STORY & TIDBITS:
Alcatraz Island “The Rock” near San Francisco was home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock. Before that it was the site of the first American lighthouse on the West Coast and the island served as a huge harbor defense fort during the Civil War. After the fort became obsolete, the U.S. Army turned the island into a grim military prison. Following the closing of the penitentiary, Alcatraz became the site of a American Indian protest movement that would change modern American history.
A few famous inmates included:
Al Capone: still remains one of the most notable residents of “the Rock.”
George “Machine Gun” Kelly is probably considered one of the most famous “gangsters” from the prohibition era.
Robert Stroud, who was better known to the public as the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” was probably the most famous inmate ever to reside on Alcatraz.
Roy G. Gardner (January 5, 1884 – January 10, 1940) was once America’s most infamous prison escapee and the most celebrated outlaw and escaped convict during the Roaring Twenties.
Henry Young (His first name is also written “Henri”, this was apparently an alias) was convicted in 1941 of involuntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of fellow inmate Rufus McCain.
Alvin Francis “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz (August 10, 1907 – August 26, 1979), born Alvin Karpowicz, better known as Alvin Karpis and nicknamed “Creepy” for his sinister smile, was an American criminal known for his alliance with the Barker gang in the 1930s.
ALCATRAZ PRISON TIDBITS:
-Construction on Alcatraz began in 1853 and its lighthouse became the first on the Pacific Coast.
-In 1859, the first batch of prisoners arrived and was housed in the Sally Port basement.
-The first inmates were soldiers accused of desertion, rape, murder and treason.
-It became a federal penitentiary in 1934 for prisoners who were deemed “incorrigible.”
-The average stay at Alcatraz was eight to ten years.
-Sizes of B & C block cells measured 5 feet by 9 feet. Each cell at Alcatraz had a small sink with cold running water, small sleeping cot, and a toilet. The cells in D Block (segregation) were more spacious, but still the least popular. In D-Block, inmates were confined to their cells 24-hours per days, with the exception of one visit per week to the recreation yard, and these visits were alone.
-There were 336 cells in B & C Block.
-Inmates were allowed one visit per month through an intercom and a correctional officer monitored the conversations. The prisoners were not allowed to discuss current affairs or any matters concerning prison life.
-The primary living areas for families of the guard staff were Building #64, three apartment buildings, one large duplex, and four large wooden houses for senior officers. Families enjoyed their own bowling alley, small convenience store, and soda fountain shop for the younger island residents. Families did most of their shopping on the mainland since the prison boat made twelve scheduled runs to the Van Ness Street Pier each day. The Warden lived in a large house adjacent to the cell house and actually used inmates with good conduct records for cleaning and cooking.
-In the early years of Alcatraz there was what was called a rule of silence were the inmates were not allowed to talk to one another except during meals and recreation periods. Some inmates commonly emptied out the water from their toilets and created a primitive communications system through the sewage piping. This rule was discontinued in the late 1930’s.
-Twenty-eight people died at Alcatraz that include eight people murdered by inmates, five men committed suicide, and fifteen died from natural illnesses.
-The most inmates at Alcatraz at one time was 302, the least number was 222.
-There were approximately 1545 total men imprisoned at Alcatraz.
-There were only two men ever paroled directly from Alcatraz to the free world.
-Despite 14 attempts by 36 prisoners over 29 years, no one ever successfully escaped Alcatraz.
-Alcatraz eventually closed due to rising costs and deteriorating facilities.
-The prison was permanently closed in 1963 by Robert F. Kennedy.
-Following the closure of the penitentiary, a group of Indians called “Indians of All Tribes” arrived in 1969 and occupied the island of Alcatraz for 19 months. They were removed in 1971 by federal agents.
-Alcatraz was designated as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972, and the first visitors were brought to the island in 1973.
-Alcatraz is one of the biggest tourist magnets and most famous landmarks of San Francisco. Each year over one million tourists board the Alcatraz ferry and visit what was once considered the toughest Federal prisons in America.
Today, Alcatraz is a place of contradictions, with a grim past and an enduring future as one of San Francisco ‘s most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions.
I hope you enjoyed my blog on Alcatraz and if you have some extra time have a look in my Store at Naturesjoy’s Celebrity Clippings & Pinups where you will find a huge selection of various Celebrity clippings and pinups for sale.