‘Alcatraz’ TV Show Fans Leaving Prison Tours To Search For ‘Secret’ Room

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The Rock is ready for its close-up. Again.

Alcatraz has a starring role on a new TV show, and officials like that – though some problems are emerging as a result.

As the locals know all too well, you visit the real Alcatraz or watch fictional stories about it in the movies.

Sometimes, people seem a bit confused by the real and the fictional. Not surprising, considering the number of films about the one-time prison, coupled with visitors numbering well over one million per year these days.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports:

“One of the reasons that the island is so famous is because of Hollywood,” reasoned Alcatraz site supervisor Marcus Kohnan. “You know, they’ve made so many films over the years.”

Most recently, the new Fox TV show ‘Alcatraz’ is gathering a loyal following – with some viewers curious enough to try breaking into the facility.

“This is a fortress, a bomb-proof bunker in a sense,” Kohnan described an area where, in the show, characters walk into a spiffy-looking underground control room.

“This is the area that was depicted in the film, they’re coming down these stairs,” he described. “They’re walking back into that area.”

The catch, he points out, is that it’s actually not an underground control room – it’s made up, just like the TV show. But, enough people are jumping over the ropes that he’s had to put a sign up.

“It says ‘the TV show Alcatraz is fictional, many areas depicted in the film are not real, please respect closed areas that are established for visitor safety, historic preservation and to protect nesting birds,'” he read the admonition posted for visitors.

In short, Alcatraz continues to welcome visitors and avid TV viewers, though with the understanding that what’s on TV is nothing more than a TV show.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Penny Peterson says:

    My aunt’s second husband was the pharmacist (and basically ran the hospital on Alcatraz for 17 years). He met his first wife on Alcatraz, the daughter of a guard. They raised two boys there. We got to visit the hospital area a few years ago that was closed to the public. We also toured the area below which was originally the fort. He had very facinating stories, because he had such close contact with the prisoners when they were in the hospital. The “Birdman” was often his checkers partner since they kept him in the hospital away from the others. Sadly, at 90 last year he killed himself. He was on some medicine that caused this I believe. He was a very nice and interesting person, and the show always reminds me of him.

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