Journalist Geraldo Rivera hosted this much-hyped live-on-TV opening of gangster Al Capone's secret vault beneath the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, USA. After much fanfare, including the presence of a medical examiner in case human remains were discovered, the vault was revealed to contain... considerably less than many anticipated.
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The show aired live in the USA in April 1986 garnering one of the highest ratings in US television history. Nielsen recorded a 34 average rating and 48 average share in eight markets, and a 57 rating and 73 share in the Chicago market. Rivera hosted the show which was to climax with the opening of a "secret vault" inside the bowels of the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, supposedly revealing Al Capone's treasure or possibly human remains. Internal Revenue Service Agents and a medical examiner stood at the ready should any cash or corpse lay inside. When demolition crews finally made their way inside the only contents were a dirt pile and a bottle of bathtub gin. The hype generated a record rating of 57 with an estimated audience of 30,000,000. The term "Al Capone's Vault" has come to mean any over-hyped event that leads to nothing. See more