Ex-inmate reveals the secrets of Alcatraz

Ex-inmate reveals the secrets of Alcatraz

America’s most notorious prison, Alcatraz once housed celebrity gangsters Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. Today it is a popular tourist attraction, drawing 1.5 visitors a year, and a seagull sanctuary. Its storied history, down to the peeling paint, is recounted in “Secrets of America’s Favorite Places.” The episode’s star attraction is Bill Baker, among the prison’s last surviving inmates, who talks for the first time on television about his three-year stint (1957-60) in cell 1259. But Alcatraz was not only home to convicted felons. Thirty-five to eighty kids — the children of guards and corrections officers — also lived on the island. One of them, Jolene Babyak, recalls her memories of the infamous 1962 escape by three prisoners in a raft made of 40 raincoats.

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Alcatraz Prison Was Apparently an Excellent Place to Eat

Alcatraz Prison Was Apparently an Excellent Place to Eat

Fried Pork Chops? Banana Pudding? Chili Dogs? Being locked up on this island didn't sound so bad.

Most prison cafeteria meals are terrible enough to make inmates want to escape. That’s what I hear, anyway. I’ve never been incarcerated for a felony, so I don’t have much first hand experience (or street cred). Nevertheless, we’ve all seen glops of sludge flung onto plastic trays in the movies or indescribable piles of goop described in the pages of novels. But over 50 years ago, the food in America’s most notorious prison wasn’t quite so bad. Actually, scratch that. The food at San Francisco’s infamous Alcatraz Prison was pretty damn good.

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Discovery Family Channel Orders New Series 'Secrets of America's Favorite Places' (Exclusive)

Discovery Family Channel Orders New Series 'Secrets of America's Favorite Places' (Exclusive)

The series will reveal little-known stories about iconic U.S. landmarks.

Discovery Family Channel is revealing the little-known stories about iconic U.S. landmarks in a new series titled Secrets of America's Favorite Places.

The network has ordered eight episodes of the project, which is set to debut Sunday, July 3, at 6 p.m. ET/PT, kicking off the day before the Fourth of July with a Statue of Liberty-themed installment.

Subsequent episodes will revolve around Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood Boulevard, New York's Central Park and Grand Central Terminal, the Lincoln Memorial and Mount Rushmore.

The series will feature interviews and commentary from historians, U.S. National Park Service members, conspiracy theorists, artists and pop culture experts. Encores will at 11 p.m. Tuesdays.

Secrets of America's Favorite Places is produced by Indigo Films for Discovery Family Channel. For Indigo Films, David M. Frank is the executive producer and Paul Sauer is the series producer.

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