Expression The Coast Is Clear

"As accurately depicted in the 1979 classic Escape from Alcatraz, escaping the rock was damn near impossible. That didn’t stop 14 different escape attempts during the duration of the prison’s existence, evolving 36 prisoners.

Considering that the lifetime number of inmates was one thousand five hundred and forty-five men, a pretty small sample size in the scheme of things, the efforts to escape Alcatraz had to be bold since leaving the island was extremely treacherous, if not on a boat.

Joe Bowers tried to climb over a fence but was shot and died from his injuries. The following year, Theodore Cole and Ralph Rose escaped and attempted to swim to San Francisco, only to get caught in a storm and drift away at sea and their bodies were never found."


Hi, everyone. This is episode 107 and as you can see from the title, we’ll be working on another expression: The coast is clear. As usual, you’ll hear a joke, you’ll get to practice your pronunciation and learn a fun fact about the United States. Today that fun fact is all about Alcatraz, an island or prison, I should say – former prison – off the coast of San Francisco, which housed some of the United States’s most infamous criminals from 1934 until 1963.

One former resident you may know of is Al Capone, the American gangster / mobster, you can say, also known by the nicknames Public Enemy #1 and, of course, Scarface.

Alcatraz is a fascinating place for its complex history and twisted stories. And today you’re going to hear one of them; the story of how three men managed to escape what was considered the most secure prison at the time. This story baffles historians even today, and the U.S. government still has no idea what happened to the three men. In fact, it is the longest manhunt in U.S. history.

I can’t wait to talk about it. It’s very exciting, so be sure to stay tuned for the second part of this episode.

The audio you heard in this introduction was taken from a video titled: What it Was Like To Be An Inmate At Alcatraz – by Weird History. The link will be provided in the transcript, which you can access by purchasing Season 3 on 


Get full transcript by purchasing  Season 3.  By purchasing Season 3 you’ll be able to access full episodes, the full PDF transcripts for episodes 101 – 150, an Mp3 download and the premium podcast player to work on your pronunciation.

Follow along with the Season 3 audio (episodes 101-150) as episodes are released. Season 3.

Season 3 - American English Podcast