A Very Special Episode: When Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault, he turned nothing into ratings

A single television episode can exemplify the spirit of its time. A Very Special Episode presents The A.V. Club‘s survey of TV at its most distinctive.

“There was nothing in Al Capone’s vault / But it wasn’t Geraldo’s fault.”
Homer Simpson

One standing criticism of television is that it’s a disposable medium, endlessly replenished and easily washed away. But that’s not necessarily so. Aside from the old tapes and films that have literally been destroyed, most everything that’s been broadcast on TV over the decades is available in some multimedia conglomerate’s archives. The rest lingers in our collective memory, befogged by all the fresh information that gets beamed our way every day. The challenge is to hold onto what we know and not let it get lost in the new.

Geraldo Rivera is one of the many TV personalities whose careers have …

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