This was Television on April 21

1986: Capone punks Geraldo

The syndicated special The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults remains to this day one of the most famous bloopers in TV history. It’s also one of the defining moments of the career of reporter and talk show host Geraldo Rivera, who hosted the stunt event. It came about after renovations to the Lexington Hotel, then in Chicago’s South Loop, revealed a network of hidden tunnels near what had for a time been Capone’s headquarters. Rivera’s special breathlessly touted the possibility of unveiling a cache of treasures, evidence, and other artifacts connected to America’s most famous mobster. Approximately 30 million viewers were watching when, at the end of the program, Rivera opened the “vault” to discover only junk. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Tony Danza, cabbie (62); Eric Mabius, magazine editor (42); Elaine May, comedian (81); James Morrison, counter-terrorism director (59); Rob Riggle, correspondent (43); Nicole Sullivan, sketch comic (43)

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