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Al Capone Cell Accuracy Challenged By Teenager

by John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The historical accuracy of a lavishly decorated cell at Eastern State Penitentiary in Fairmount is challenged by a teenager on a field trip.

In 1929 Al "Scarface" Capone was arrested for carrying a loaded gun in Philadelphia. He spent eight months at Eastern State Penitentiary.

His cell reportedly had oriental rugs, fine furniture, and a cabinet radio where it's said he would listen to waltz music.

It was that antique radio on display in the recreated exhibit that caught the eye of 13-year-old Joey Warchal of Northeast Philadelphia on a field trip with his school.

"I looked in here and I saw that was definitely a 1940s Philco A-361, and I knew that was from the 40s, and I saw on the sign over here that Al Capone was incarcerated from 1929 to 1930. So I knew we had to get a radio that was appropriate for the cell," said Joey.

Eastern State Radio
13-year-old Joey Warchal in front of the era-accurate radio he found for the penitentiary. (credit: John McDevitt)

Joey knows a few things about antique radios. He collects them.

He pointed out the inaccuracy to Eastern State and was challenged by the staff to find a radio suitable for the period, with a budget of $400.

Joey delivered. With a Philco Lowboy 64 from 1929 he found on eBay for $300.

The radios were switched out and the 1940S radio was given to Joey at a token of appreciation by eastern state.

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