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Top 5 Facts About The Mafia

VO: Chris Masson
Written by George Pacheco It's a world where a code of silence, or Omerta, is essential...otherwise, you may end up sleeping with the fishes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com Top 5 Facts. In today's instalment, we're counting down five the most interesting and surprising facts that we could find about the mafia, be they the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Camorra of Naples, or mafia activity in the United States. Special thanks to our users speechjon or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Written by George Pacheco

Top 5 Facts About The Mafia


It's a world where a code of silence, or "Omerta," is essential...otherwise, you may end up sleeping with the fishes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment, we’re counting down five the most interesting and surprising facts that we could find about the mafia, be they the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Camorra of Naples, or mafia activity in the United States.
 

#5: The Mafia First Rose to Prominence in the U.S. Due to Prohibition


There's a saying, possibly coined by Jello Biafra, which goes, "If evolution is outlawed, then only outlaws will evolve."  Well, during America’s Prohibition Era of 1920 to 1933, alcohol was outlawed, so only outlaws supplied alcohol. So naturally, Prohibition led to the rise of organized crime syndicates which took advantage of the situation, bootlegging liquor for sale in Speakeasies, and organizing protection rackets for local businesses, while simultaneously paying off local police to look the other way. Many of these criminal tactics went on to serve as tried and true revenue streams for the Mob. In the midst of this boom in American black market, organized crime was getting cracked down on in Italy, leading many mafiosi to relocate to the U.S., helping to make Prohibition the era where the Mafia really established itself stateside.

#4: The Mafia Have Poisoned Naples


Italy's relationship with the mafia is a complex one, with many different subsections of organized crime integrating themselves into different areas of the country. The citizens of Naples have long accepted the presence of the Camorra within their lives, an organized crime syndicate with a history dating back to the sixteenth century. The Camorra's impact doesn't stop at the boundaries of some mythical underworld, however; the syndicate ran the waste management system in the Campania region, of which Naples is the capital. The result of this takeover was the illegal mixture of dangerous chemicals and waste along with the normal weekly trash collections, which were then burned and dumped, causing an exponential rise of illness and cancer amongst those living in the region. Add to this the fact that the Camorra's waste management techniques include breaking child labor laws and bribing local officials who look the other way, and you have one situation which unfortunately might get worse before it gets better.

#3: Al Capone Humiliated Geraldo Rivera from Beyond the Grave


Al Capone was one of the most infamous gangsters of the Prohibition era. Geraldo Rivera was one of the most well known personalities on television. These two seemingly unrelated individuals met head on, however, almost forty years after one of them had passed away. The night in question was April 21st, 1986, during a two hour televised Geraldo special titled "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults." Rivera had only recently been fired by his employers over at ABC, and had been touting this special as a big, career defining deal, even going so far as to have on standby a Medical Examiner should there be any bodies buried and agents from the IRS, in the hopes that some of Capone's fortune would be left in the vault. Things didn’t pan out for Geraldo, however, with the contents of Capone's vault consisting of only dirt and some empty bottles. You may not be able take it with you, but one thing's for sure: Capone didn't leave anything behind for Geraldo.

#2: Frank Sinatra Associated with the Mafia


Sinatra’s ties to the mob was such an open secret that it became somewhat of a long running joke amongst fans and friends of the singer, to the point where Sinatra and his Rat Pack would even reference it on stage during their performances. What wasn't a laughing matter to Sinatra, however, was his relationship with then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy during the 1960 election. The singer, desperate for inclusion into Kennedy's inner circle, went so far as to petition Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana for his "influence" getting Kennedy into office, according to Sinatra’s daughter Tina. What Sinatra did not plan on, however, was the behavior of Kennedy sibling Robert as Attorney General, who cracked down on organized crime with great zeal. Giancana was pretty pissed off about this, so to smooth over the situation, Sinatra and the rat pack played a string of gratis performances at the mobster’s club in Chicago.

#1: The Mafia Produced the Most Famous Porn Flick


The mental image most associate with the porn industry is probably one of the West Coast, Californian variety; of hot sun, palm trees and private studios. But in the early 1970s, the New York-based mafia, especially Anthony “Big Tony” Peraino, held sway over much of the industry. Most notably, mob money financed "Deep Throat," starring the legendary Linda Lovelace, a massively popular crossover hit which is credited with ushering in the "porno chic" movement of the decade. So immense was the financial success of "Deep Throat" that one mafia associate from the Colombo crime family reportedly boasted "we don't count the money we make, we weigh it." Reportedly, it earned $600 million. But if that were true, it means it outsold Star Wars in the 70s. Some have considered the possibility that Deep Throat’s numbers were inflated either to build hype, or as part of a mafia money laundering scheme.

So, what do you think? Could a classic porno flick have actualy outgrossed Star Wars? And how many of these facts surprised you? For more tons of cash top 10s and empty vault top 5s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com
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