Atlantic City in the 1920s: The Real Boardwalk Empire

acI’ve been watching Boardwalk Empire for the past few weeks, and I gotta say it’s the best show I’ve seen in a while. (Even better than the Jersey Shore). Started a little slow, but has quickly picked up, and the scene this past week with Al Capone bringing Jimmy those steaks was terrific. If you haven’t been watching, I highly recommend it. You can watch it On Demand if you get HBO. Anyways, I spent some of the day looking at some photos, reading some stories, and looking at some video of AC in the 1920s, and thought I’d share.

  • Recently Philly Mob guru George Anastasia has gone out to Atlantic City to do a couple of shorts about Nucky Johnson. Here’s one of them.
  • A short but informative piece in the AC Weekly about all of the entertainment that went on in AC in the 1920s.   Among the nightclubs that existed back then were the Paradise Club on Illinois Avenue, which was billed as the oldest nightclub in America and the first to host “breakfast shows.” The talent was largely black (and the audience largely white), and many of the artists who performed would take their place among the greatest in history like Count Basie, Ethel Waters, Nat King Cole, Lena Horne and Duke Ellington. The Paradise later merged with A.C.’s famed Club Harlem, which was created in 1935. Babette’s was a club established in the early 1920s by singer/entertainer Blanche Babette, and featured such stars of that era as Velma and Buddy Ebsen, Rudy Vallee, the Three Stooges and Milton Berle.

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