Hosted by TV personality Geraldo Rivera, the special centered on the opening of a secret vault in the Lexington Hotel once owned by noted crime lord Al Capone, which turned out to be empty except for debris. The Mystery Of Al Capone's Vault is available in its entirety on Geraldo's website.
Top 10 Most AWKWARD Moments On Live TV
Welcome to Top10Archive! Thanks to the wonders of live television, we’re able to experience everything – including those instances that some would want us to forget about. That’s not going to happen, at least not with us listing off these ten incredibly awkward televised instances! 10. Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe Gaff Being crowned Miss Universe is an amazing accomplishment to those participating, so to have been Miss Columbia the night of the great 2015 mix-up was likely devastating. At the end of the dramatic build-up between Miss Philippine and Miss Columbia, Steve Harvey allegedly does what any good host would do and reads precisely what was on the teleprompter; and that was a victory announcement in favor of Ariadna Gutierrez of Columbia. Not moments after crowning the victor, though, Harvey was forced to back-peddle and suck the joy out of Columbia and announce Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, the real Miss Universe. Between Harvey’s apology and Ariadna’s stunned gaze, it’s hard for viewers not to cringe. 9. The Bachelor Dump You made it so far, winning The Bachelor and earning that final rose. All that’s left is to make it through the final “After the Final Rose” special and you’re home free with your new beau. For Melissa Rycroft, it was that final special that turned her romantic life into an even bigger soap opera. Unsure of his decision to take Melissa over the runner-up, Molly Malaney, Jason Mesnick decides to do the only honorable thing he can think to do – end their 6-week relationship on live television. 8. Ashlee Simpson’s SNL Hoedown Lip synching is not a new bastardization of live entertainment, but it’s still shocking when it’s revealed a performer resorts to the act. During the October 23rd, 2004 episode of Saturday Night Live, Simpson was the slated musical guest. Her first performance of the night, “Pieces of Me,” went off without a hitch, but when Jude Law introduced her for the second time, he was ushering the audience and at-home viewers into a scenario of awkward dancing and revelations. Simpson was geared up to sing “Autobiography,” but “Pieces of Me” began to play. Unsure of what to do, the singer launched into a hoedown, walked off stage, and then blamed her band for playing the wrong song. 7. Janet Jackson’s Half-Time Malfunction Super Bowl XXXVIII featured an incredible game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, but by the end of the half-time show, the game was the last thing most media outlets were talking about. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake took the center stage in a surprisingly in-sync collaboration, but again, nobody wound up caring about the performance. Instead, the focus was on the alleged wardrobe malfunction at the end of the act. It’s a wonder which was more awkward – the actual “malfunction,” or Jackson trying to get everyone to believe it wasn’t intentional. 6. Sinead O’Connor Takes on The Pope You know a really bad way to make friends? Rip up a picture of one of the most revered religious figures of your time while singing the word “Evil”. Another fine Saturday Night Live moment, Sinead O’Connor was the show’s musical guest on October 3rd, 1992. <sarcasm> Keeping the energy high, O’Connor sang an a cappella version of “War” by Bob Marley, staring intently at the camera for the entire 3-minute production. At the songs end, which mentions a victor of good over evil, O’Connor pulls out a picture of Pope John Paul II and rips it into pieces, allegedly protesting against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Adding to the awkwardness is the hush of silence that washed over the studio. 5. Geraldo Visits Capone’s Vault In 1986, former ABC reporter Geraldo Rivera was hot on the trails of something that would help his career even further – he was going to be the first person to open a secret vault owned by Al Capone. Medical examiners were present to look over any bodies found, the Internal Revenue Service provided agents to collect on the money expected to be discovered, and Rivera’s charm was there to bring this incredible moment to the world. When the vault finally opened, an empty room was revealed. Making good on a bet made with critics prior to the special, Rivera awkwardly belted out one line of Frank Sinatra’s “Chicago” and walked away. 4. Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift Ah, it wouldn’t be a list about awkwardness if Kanye West didn’t show up at least once. This time, his arrogance provided him with the cajones needed to jump on stage during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 to interrupt Taylor Swift’s freshly won Best Female Video award speech. Rather than provide the young artist with any honest praise, West snatched the mic to call out an injustice done to Beyoncé. Swift, stunned, stood awkwardly as the audience cheered and jeered West’s outburst. Maybe Beyonce’s video was one of the best of all time, but is it worth embarrassing a young artist to force your opinion? 3. Kanye’s Thoughts on George Dubya Hurricane Katrina was physically devastating to New Orleans and Louisiana, but emotionally affected us all. It also brought together Mike Myers and Kanye West for a heartfelt message about Red Cross’ efforts. Myers sticks to his script but the outspoken Kanye launches into an awkward tirade on the media’s portrayal of black people in the region and makes claims that “they” have been given permission to “go down and shoot us.” Myers tries to recover the intended message, though his efforts go to waste when Kanye ends with a profound statement: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” 2. An Interview with Martin Short Kathie Lee has been on television for quite some time and should know the many faux pas you don’t want to commit on television. The biggest of them probably being bringing up your guest’s deceased spouse and talking about them as if they’re still alive. During an interview with Short to plug the animated movie, Madagascar, Kathie Lee brings up how madly in love Short and his wife are, asking specifically how they’re still in love after 36 years. There’s a moment of hesitation in Short’s answer as if he wanted to explain that his spouse, Nancy Dolman, had passed away over a year prior. Instead, he acted as a gentleman, avoided embarrassing the host on air, and waited for a commercial break. 1. Roseanne Barr National Anthem Roseanne’s boisterous personality made her a sensation in the late 80’s and 90’s, but she risked tanking it all with an opportunity to sing the National Anthem at a doubleheader baseball game with the Padres and Reds. Not that being asked to sing the nation’s anthem is a bad thing, but when you butcher it as she did, you can expect to tick off quite a few people. Roseanne rushed through the first half of the song, paying no mind to tone or pace, and the crowd was sure to let her know that her alleged mockery of the anthem was unappreciated. With fingers plugging her ears, Barr finished singing, grabbed her crotch, and quickly walked off the field.
Al Capone was born to immigrant parents on January 17, 1899 in New York City. He moved to Chicago in 1919, and there he became a notable criminal figure and gangster. He played large parts in gambling, alcohol, and prostitution rackets. In 1925, after an assassination attempt on former head Johnny Torrio, Capone took control of the Chicago Outfit, of which he had served as the second in command. He was listed on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list, sold alcohol during the Prohibition era, planned the St. Valentine's Day massacre, and was eventually indicted and convicted of income tax evasion in 1931. In 1939, he was released from Alcatraz prison on humanitarian grounds, due to acutely advancing syphilis. He died on January 25, 1947 in his home in Palm Island, Florida from cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke a week after his 48th birthday.
Capone had previously housed his headquarters at the nearby Metropole Hotel in Chicago, but in July 1928 moved to a suite at the Lexington Hotel, also in Chicago. Capone ran his various enterprises from this hotel until his arrest in 1931. A construction company in the 1980s planned a renovation of the Lexington Hotel and while surveying the building discovered a shooting range and a series of secret tunnels including one hidden behind Capone's medicine cabinet. These tunnels connected taverns and brothels to provide an elaborate potential escape route in case of a police raid. These discoveries led to further investigation of the hotel, notably by researcher Harold Rubin. Rumors said Capone had kept a very secret vault beneath the hotel to hold some of his wealth.
Geraldo Rivera had been fired from ABC in 1985 after criticizing the network for cancelling a report on an alleged relationship between John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. He then hosted the special The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults which was broadcast live on April 21, 1986. The two-hour special (including commercials) was greatly hyped as potentially revealing great riches or dead bodies on live television. This included the presence of a medical examiner should bodies be found, and agents from the Internal Revenue Service to collect any of Capone's money that might be discovered.
When the vault was finally opened, the only things found inside were dirt and several empty bottles, including one Rivera claimed was for moonshine bathtub gin. After several attempts to dig further into the vault, Geraldo admitted defeat and voiced his disappointment to the viewers, apologizing as he thanked the excavation team for their efforts. Although it gathered criticism and became infamous for its disappointing ending, the program was the most-watched syndicated television special that year with an estimated audience of 30 million. After the show, Rivera was quoted as saying "Seems like we struck out". However, in his 1991 autobiography Exposing Myself, he wrote, regarding the event, "My career was not over, I knew, but had just begun. And all because of a silly, high-concept stunt that failed to deliver on its titillating promise."
Geraldo said on the April 20, 2016 edition of the Fox News Channel program The Five that he went right across the street and got "Tequila drunk" after the special aired, then went back to his hotel room and put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.
- "When Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's vault, he turned nothing into ratings". The A.V. Club.
- "Capone Vault-Cracking An Unrewarding Blast". Toledo Blade.
- "Eaten Alive's snake stunt bit off more than it could chew". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults at the Internet Movie Database
- Al Capone's Vault on TV Acres. Retrieved July 8, 2006.
- Geraldo Rivera on the Museum of Broadcast Communications by Susan Murray. Retrieved July 8, 2006.
- The Lexington Hotel on Prairie Ghosts in 2003 by Troy Taylor. Retrieved July 8, 2006.
- Official Website