Monday, August 08, 2011
The last time I saw Alcatraz...
...I was a visitor (not an inmate, although my mother told me often enough she expected me to end up in prison). Something that struck me immediately about the old federal penitentiary, on its own little island in San Francisco Bay, is how small it is. The impression from movies is that Alcatraz is a large, sprawling facility, but I have more room in my bedroom closet than the inmates had in their cells, and the mess hall was approximately the size of the lunchroom in an elementary school.
This close-in living with dozens of fellow psychopaths and the toughness of the prison's reputation provides the recipe for such an event as the Alcatraz mutiny. It's told here in a story from Crime Does Not Pay #48, 1946, beautifully illustrated by Dan Barry. As always, I'm cautioning you about the use of the word "true" in the splash panel. "True" was a floating concept in crime comics.