Dubbed "the Rock" for its formidable location in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz held prisoners during the Civil War. But after the Lindbergh kidnapping, FDR's Attorney General turned the island into a Fort Knoxlike fortress for the nation's most horrific criminals Al Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly and Robert Stroud, the infamous "Birdman of Alcatraz." During the 1960s, it also held three men who later defied the odds and managed to escape: Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin. Morris and the Anglin brothers spent more than two years planning their getaway.
The scheme was a complicated one that involved MacGyver-like ingenuity. Using what little materials they could buy or steal, the men drilled holes in the air vents of their cells, fashioned lifelike dummy heads made of plaster, flesh-tone paint and real human hair, and created a raft. On the night of June 11, 1962, they shimmied through the air vents and into a utility corridor. From there, they made it to the prison's roof and later scaled down a smokestack to reach the shore. After prison officials learned of their escape, authorities launched one of the largest manhunts since the Lindbergh kidnapping. The trio were never found, though most believe they drowned. The FBI officially closed the case in 1979. That same year, Clint Eastwood starred as Morris in the film Escape from Alcatraz.