WASHINGTON, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Mobsters, both real and fictional, have long captured the attention of the American psyche. Recent headlines are no exception: the trial of famed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger; a new twist in the four-decades-long search for the body of Detroit's Jimmy Hoffa; the popularity of television shows like HBO's Boardwalk Empire and VH1's Mob Wives; and a country mourning the loss of the renowned James Gandolfini, known for his legendary portrayal of mobster Tony Soprano. But rarely do mafiosi step out of the shadows to tell their own stories of violence, greed, omerta and La Cosa Nostra. Now, National Geographic Channel (NGC) goes behind the scenes of the famed and enigmatic hidden empire of crime, money and violence known as the American mob to chronicle the real-life mobsters who would do anything to protect their family and the authorities fighting to bring them down.
Inside the American Mob, a new series premiering Sunday, July 28, at 9 and 10 p.m. ET/PT, delves into the world of the modern Mafia, as told by those who lived it and those who hunted it, to reveal the eye-opening, true-life saga of how U.S. law enforcement took down the deadly, corrupt and unforgiving crime ring known as the American mob. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com/americanmob and follow us on Twitter at @NGC_PR.
Each hour examines a pivotal time frame, beginning with 1970 and leading up to present day, unveiling the little-known yet crucial escapades, capers and cadavers that truly compose the history of the mob. Recently declassified files, first-person accounts by federal officials and the mafioso themselves, and rare archival footage shed a new and raw light on one of the most controversial time periods in American criminal history.
Mobsters step forward to offer untold stories — some speaking on camera for the first time. They expose the tricks to staying alive, while revealing the true meaning of La Cosa Nostra, and even what it feels like to have your own father put a hit on you. Sal Polisi, a former associate of the Colombo and Gambino crime families, discloses, "There was three basic reasons to get killed in the Mafia. It was either A) you were an informant, B) you disobeyed your boss, or the third possibility was that you slept with a 'made' member's wife or daughter. That would get you killed for sure."
Exclusive television interviews include Jimmy Calandra, a gritty member of the Bath Avenue Crew that terrorized the streets of Brooklyn in the late 1990s, who reveals on camera for the first time what it was like to be a Bonanno associate; and "Fat Sal," a former mobster with the Gambino crime family.
Go behind the scenes of the hits, deals and shakedowns of both the major players and the lesser-known but equally corrupt mobsters as NGC exposes a roller-coaster of violence, loyalty and wealth. The infamous John Gotti, boss of the Gambino family, is a Mafia legend, but less is known about the ruthless capos and associates who kept the "Teflon Don" at the top of one of the most powerful crime families in America. And while Joe Colombo is remembered as a hard-hitting mafioso who ruled over an army of killers, he is rarely recognized for founding the Italian American Civil Rights League, a successful action group formed to combat "harassment" from the federal government.
FBI agents, informants and police who helped take down La Cosa Nostra through grueling and dangerous undercover operations also step forward to tell their story firsthand, providing a rare look at what it takes to infiltrate the inner workings of a lucrative and cold-blooded empire. According to Rudolph Giuliani, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and former New York City mayor, "No criminal organization in the history of our country has ever infiltrated legitimate institutions of society, including our political institutions, the way the Mafia was able to do. This was tremendous power." Their detailed accounts shed insight into a world few insiders have discussed in such detail — until now.
Joe Pistone, an FBI legend who, in the most intense undercover operation of its time, infiltrated the Mafia under the name "Donnie Brasco," opens up in detail about his close relationships with members of the Mafia, how he gained acceptance from his "family" members and how it felt when it came to an end. "I mean, you know, he slept in the bedroom, I slept on his couch, we'd get up in the morning and we'd sit around in our underwear. And here's me, an undercover FBI agent, and one of the most powerful captains of the Bonanno family sitting there drinking coffee, having a hard roll with butter and watching cartoons on television. I mean, you never see that in the movies. … They found Sonny's body in '82 in a body bag with his hands cut off. And the reason that they did that was he introduced me to bosses that I shook hands with."
Additional interviews include Michael Franzese, a former mobster with the Colombo crime family; Sal Polisi, a former associate of the Colombo and Gambino crime families; Lindley DeVecchio, the former head of the FBI squad responsible for surveillance of the Colombo crime family; and Bruce Mouw, the former FBI supervising agent responsible for bringing down Gotti.
Chronicling the history of the Mafia like never before, Inside the American Mob uncovers the raw, violent and corrupt underworld that gripped America for decades.
Inside the American Mob is produced by Left/Right, LLC., for National Geographic Channels. For Left/Right, executive producers are Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman, and supervising producer is John Marks. For National Geographic Channels, executive producer is Michael Welsh; vice president, production and development is Kevin Mohs; senior vice president, production and development is Noel Siegel; president is Howard T. Owens.
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 85 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
SOURCE National Geographic Channel