Channeling Uncle Al Scarface -- "I was Bad, but now I'm Good."

Channeling Uncle Al Scarface -- "I was Bad, but now I'm Good."

"Look at my mug and tell me I ain't good!" -- Channeled from Al Capone

This morning, I was reading some info on the site of the "other major daily" in Chicago, which shall go un-named, because they do not have a blog site similar to the "other, other major daily"  in Chicago, the Trib.

The story was about an independent publisher struggling to make a go of it, Allium Press of Chicago. The publisher and co-owner, Emily Clark Victorson, has hopeful designs on the upcoming year being a good one for fiction centered on Chicago.  She is taking advantage of all the advances in publishing, such as print-on-demand and, of course the power of the internet to level the field.

One thing caught my eye.  It was the publisher’s slogan: rescuing Chicago from Capone . . . one book at a time.

Recently, I've been on the Chicago Mob trail with some friends.  We even started a Meet-up group, so we could get together and explore this part of Chicago's history. Because of this interest, I've been in contact with some interesting people, both dead and alive.

One of the more infamous was Alphonse Capone himself.  I am now able to channel old Scarface. This ability came to me after a number of shots of Jack Daniels and some beer chasers.  Politically incorrect to admit, I know, but Old No 7 is a truth diviner.

Al was not happy about Allium's slogan.  Here is his rant, straight from Al's lips to's bytes:

"Hey, Ms. Victorson, I'm sure you are a dame who means well, but you've got me all wrong.  How so, you might ask?  Who was it that was doing the thankless task of supplying a needed product -- some fine spirits and beer-- to the citizens of Chicago?  Yes, old Uncle Al.  And who was it that was running the soup kitchens in the first Great Depression?  Yes, ma'am.  Me. And who is it that is still a worldwide tourist attraction some eighty years after my best work in Chicago?  No, not Michael Jordan, but your dear old Uncle.  That's right!  You just ask any Joe in any part of the world...say 'Chicago',  and whose name comes up?   So, Chicago don't need to be saved from me!   Some days when my ghost walks through City Hall, I'm just amazed at the nice offices and respect that the real crooks are getting. No Eliot Ness messing with them or their torpedoes collecting the juice.  In fact, what I used to do is now law. Life ain't fair.   Dirty rats!"

I've been after Mayor Rahm for Chicago to embrace Chicago's  Inner Al, and just go with da flow and collect the Euros from the European fixation on Capone, before the Euro is worthless.  Uncle Al is one thing that the rest of the world does not have.  Use it or lose it.

So far, no response from Mayor Rahm.

I'll be after Allium to change its slogan.  Maybe to "Capone -- Saving Chicago One Visitor at a Time".

After all, what great story does not have its good guys -- and bad guys?

In Chicago, it is not always easy to tell the difference.



Leave a comment
  • This is a great article - your distinctive voice makes me wonder why you don't write a book yourself about Chicago's bad old days as I'm sure it would do well. Thanks for continuing to post these articles about Uncle Al and the rest of the gang!

  • If nothing else, Portillo's-Barnelli's still idolize Al.

    However, given that Rahm is scary already, channeling Al would probably spook people more.

    It might work as a tourist draw for Cicero and Calumet City, if anything could.

  • In reply to jack:

    What is scarier? Rahm pointing a gnawed-off finger at you, or Al waving his baseball bat around? That might be my next survey.

    Nothing will work as a tourist draw for Cal City, unless it becomes the far remote parking lot for the Bears.

  • Cool article! I had to laugh about the part where you admitted it was not PC to talk about Jack D. I'm glad some journalists aren't afraid to be non-PC.

    Definitely Capone is still world-famous. I wouldn't think any less of Chicago for utilizing Uncle Al's fame. Is it going to make people into criminals? No. Will it embarrass anyone? No. Is it extolling the benefits of crime? No. Is it recognizing a famous citizen and supplying info about Al to folks who are interested? Yes.

    Would that be politically incorrect? Maybe. But so what. Jack Daniels doesn't care and neither does Uncle Al.

  • In reply to Blacksand09:

    Please, please don't confuse me with the proof-reading that has become journalism, though I can cut and paste with the best of them.

    You make some very good points, not to mention that your Old Uncle Al is pretty near a saint when it comes to some of Chicago and Illinois politicians.

    Jack Daniels Old No 7 never met a saint or a sinners gut that it didn't take to.

Leave a comment