Robert Luke – Return to Alcatraz, ‘the ROCK’!

AFTER 51 YEARS, former Alcatraz Prisoner #1118AZ – Robert Luke, has returned to ‘the ROCK’!

Robert Luke, aka #1118Az, 1954 - 1959 returns to his 'perch'.

Former Armed Bank-Robber and Alcatraz Convict Robert ‘Cold Blue Luke, who did over 5 years as #1118Az – from 1954 to 1959 – recently re-surfaced after keeping a very closely guarded - ‘ROCK-SECRET’ for more than five decades! 

Click below for VIDEO TRAILER:  


 Of the 1576 convicts to do time at USP Alcatraz, Bob Luke is one of only SIX ever released directly from ‘the ROCK!’ Describing the sudden transition from the “colorless little-city of Alcatraz” to the hustling, bustling and most colorful San Francisco as ‘confusing’, he would go on to become a productive citizen in the City by the Bay – never to return to prison! (as a prisoner, that is!)

1954 - Transfered from Leavenworth for Escape Attempt

Working as a waiter in the high profile Ernie’s Restaurant in the early 1960’s , many well known San Francisco personalities enjoyed a Caesar salad prepared tableside, by an ex-felon from ‘the ROCK’ – and never knew it . . . (he may have also prepared a Baked Alaska for you – complete with a hacksaw blade hidden inside!)

When asked why he kept his ‘ROCK Secret’ for so long, Luke say’s “that’s simple – I was ashamed!” – then adds that his brother wrote letters asking for a transfer before his release, “so I wouldn’t have the Alcatraz label on my back.”

But evidently ‘looking-back’ is something this street-wise, and extremely well-read individual has never done! Telling only his first boss on the outside, then 15 years later his girlfriend and soon to be wife, Ida – Bob took to the great outdoors. First becoming a single-digit handicap golfer, then a professional Bass Tour fisherman, Bob  never entertained even his best buddies with  tales from the ‘inside’. 

FEAR NOT, however. . . at age 84 this guy is sharp as a tack, is web savvy and has cranked out an entertaining auto-biography after attending his first ‘Alcatraz Reunion’ back in 2010!  “Everyone told me I should write a book… so I did” – he says with an ever-present grin! The book’s title is “Entombed at Alcatraz” – his first impression!

Bob and Ida Luke visit 'the Yard' - January 2011

The book cleverly starts with his arrival at ‘the ROCK’, and descibes his time here – including a description of the  survival skills which helped him endure a six-week stint in ‘the Hole’ -naked! – with no blanket!’ However, he could look forward to a fresh serving of ‘chunk of bread’ accompanied by a carefully prepared ‘bowl of water’ each day. Every third day – if you weren’t pounding and screaming – each ‘dark cell‘ resident would be rewarded with an actual baked potato, a raw onion and a ‘spoonful’ of peas… no spoon, of course!

#1118Az  has also already completed Volunteer Training with the National Park Service, and has led small group tours and entertained the masses with well thoughtout 45 minute talks which include question and answer sessions and photo-ops with a real ‘Rock Con’. (no wallets or watches missing yet!)

Luke serves up a special treat to over 200 visitors in the prison's mess hall' -

We’ve been fortunate over the past several months to hear many of Bob’s recollections of his ‘time on the ROCK’  – and have captured many of his these colorful stories – all in full HD video- AVAILABLE NOW! on DVD, down-load, or on-line rental: 

“Rock Secret:Surviving Alcatraz”  @  

(text and images by Ian Craig)
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