HBO kicks off 'Boardwalk Empire' and Atlantic City goes back in time.
With Sunday’s debut of Boardwalk Empire fast approaching, let’s look back on the period during which the series takes place, specifically the year 1920, the dawn of the Prohibition era.
The year was a pivotal one not only in the history of the United States, but in the world.
World War I ended the year before, and in January 1920 the Treaty of Versailles was ratified by the League of Nations (an organization that the U.S. would vote against joining a few days later).
Among other noteworthy global-level happenings, in April, Azerbaijan became a part of the Soviet Union. In May, the Polish-Bolshevick War began.
Also in May, Joan of Arc was canonized as a saint in Rome. In August the Poles eventually defeated the Red Army, and in October the Communist Party of Australia was formed in Sydney.
Watch 1920 clip of Douglas Fairbanks in the original Mark of Zorro film:
The year 1920 brought several changes to America. Women got the right to vote for the first time, with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution added in August.
Other firsts in 1920 include the first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast, the first Negro League baseball game played (in Indianapolis), and KDKA of Pittsburgh, Pa., becoming the first commercial radio station with its debut broadcast in November.
One of the strangest facts from 1920 may be that, in June of that year, the United States Postal Service ruled that children may not be sent via parcel post.
Plus, we can’t forget Douglas Fairbanks starring in the original The Mark of Zorro (see clip above) or that the year began, in January, with the infamous “Curse of the Bambino” cast on the Boston Red Sox as the team sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. (The curse was broken in 2004, of course.)
The decade that followed — the Roaring 20s — was an era of artistic and social and economic changes for America. The ’20s saw the dawn of the Jazz Age, which would change music forever and represent a style of music that Americans could call its own.
Jazz was still getting off the ground on a national level in the year 1920 after bubbling for several years in New Orleans, where folks like Buddy Bolden, Frank Keppard and a young Louis Armstrong would be among the first — along with legends like King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Bunk Johnson — to play the music we now call jazz. By the later 1920s many other noteable jazz artists would become more and more appreciated, and well known, including such icons as Mamie Smith, Duke Ellington, Sydney Bechet, Bessie Smith and Fletcher Henderson.
Prohibition, which would not be repealed until December 1933, certainly had an effect on Atlantic City, as you’ll see in the upcoming HBO series. But, of course, the outlawing of alcohol had an effect on many sectors of the country, including the mob, other types of outlaws and the music industry.
How so? Check out the names of some of the most popular hits from 1920: “Prohibition Blues,” “The Moon Shines on the Moonshine” and “Everybody Wants a Key to My Cellar.” The latter two songs were part of the popular “black face” performer Bert Williams’ (who was actually African-American) repertoire. He also sang the Prohibition-themed songs “Save a Little Dram for Me” and “Ten Little Bottles.”
Finally, on Sunday, Sept. 19, the night that HBO premieres Boardwalk Empire on TV, the public is invited to a free event at Caesars’ Circus Maximus Theater co-presented by Atlantic City Weekly and the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. The event, which will begin at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm) and run until just before 9pm, when there will be a free viewing party of the first episode of Boardwalk Empire, is called “Conversations & Storytelling” and will feature a who’s who of Atlantic City historians, including Vicki Gold Levi, Allen “Boo” Pergament, Ralph Hunter, Pinky Kravitz, Jim Waltzer and Stockton’s Izzy Posner, talking together — and answering questions from the audience — about Atlantic City’s past, before, during and after 1920. No flappers required. But you can bring an old photo or item from the period to share at the event.
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Watch video of fashions from the Roaring 20s:
A public discussion entitled “The Atlantic City Experience: The Roaring ’20s” will be hosted by the Atlantic City Free Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 13, in the Atlantic City Historical Museum
When the Big Day arrives this weekend, some 40 celebrants will assault 15 pounds of corned beef, 10 pounds of ham, and 15 pounds of potatoes at the Absecon home of Charles Coyle.
"You know what's great about drama? You can make shit up."
This murder-mystery performance deals with the question of what guided Enoch "Nucky" Johnson's — depicted in Boardwalk Empire as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson's — "flotilla of booze" into Atlantic City's safe harbor at Rum Runner's Point during the Prohibition era.
Motion pictures can share the same title but offer completely different stories. A case in point is Atlantic City — two films with little in common beyond their names. The more recent Atlantic City, which came out in 1981 and was directed by Louis Malle, depicts the resort in the early years of legalized gambling. Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon lead a strong cast in this gritty drama filmed on location.
Matchless documentarian Ken Burns captures this volatile, surreal scene in his new miniseries Prohibition, which premieres Oct. 2, 3 and 4 at 8pm on PBS. The three-part, five-and-a-half-hour film explores both the forces that produced the U.S. Constitution’s 18th Amendment and ...
“This became the major way station for liquor during Prohibition,” says Lisa Kennard, one of the Inn’s owners since April. “They’d bring it up the intracoastal, have dinner, play cards, have a few drinks, do their thing with the women, and at night they’d load the liquor into small canoes and ship it up the back bays into Atlantic City.”
Esteemed filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick explore America’s greatest social experiment in their latest documentary, Prohibition, set to debut Oct. 2-4 at 8pm on PBS. The three-part miniseries follows the rise and fall of the 18th amendment and the era that encompassed its rule.
This year’s theme was Boardwalk Empire and as the HBO series’ opening credits — bootlegged by Pernod-Ricard, to feature their bottles of Beefeater and Jameson washing up against Nucky Thompson’s wingtip spectators — flashed upon the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater, nominees and presenters in wide ties and suspenders, and tattoo-baring flapper dresses filed inside.
Early in the premiere episode of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, a crowd of dapper Atlantic City movers and shakers, partying well into the night in a spiffy supper club, make a familiar countdown, cocktail glasses held high...
It was a windy and rainy mid-September night for the Atlantic City premiere of the much anticipated new HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Regional storms pounded the beach and Boardwalk with crashing ocean waves and assaulting wind gusts. We're talking not only hold onto your hat, but everything else, too.
In real life, Nucky Johnson, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk emperor during the 1920s, did eventually marry a former showgirl and actress, a local woman named Flossie Osbeck. But that didn’t happen until one day before Johnson began serving a four-year prison term for tax fraud in 1941. There’s little historical evidence to support the fact that Lucy is patterned after Osbeck.
Each Friday acweekly.com presents a new episode in the "Atlantic City History: Conversations & Storytelling" web video series, inspired by HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" series, and featuring the conversations on six selected topics between Atlantic City historians Vicki Gold Levi, All "Boo" Pergament, Pinky Kravitz, Ralph Hunter, Jim Waltzer and Israel Posner.
Answer the following trivia questions correctly and be entered to win a large Boardwalk Empire poster. We have two available. Participants must be 18 or older and provide correct e-mail address when answering (in the comments portion below) so we can contact you for shipping of the winnings. OK, here they go: 1. What did Senior Prohibition Agent Nelson Van Alden claim to be the cause of death of his partner Agent Sebso? 2. Which of the following six themes have not yet been presented in the multi-part Atlantic City Weekly web video series "Atlantic City History: Conversations & Storytelling"? The web video series was filmed at Caesars right before the viewing party for the debut episode of HBO's Boardwalk Empire on Sept. 19 and included a panel discussion of the following topics by Atlantic City authors and historians including Vicki Gold Levi, Allen "Boo" Pergament, Ralph Hunter, Jim Waltzer, Pinky Kravitz and Israel Posner. a. "Entertainment & Nightlife" b. "The Boardwalk" c. "Nucky Johnson" d. "Gambling (Legal or Otherwise)" e. "The African American Experience" f. "Sports in AC and Camp Boardwalk" Leave your answers below in the comments portion. Two winners will be contacted....
Here are the Golden Globe nominations for 'Boardwalk Empire,' and what they face as challengers. The Golden Globes will air live on NBC on Jan. 16, 2011 at 8pm.
An authentic, Prohibition-era atmosphere will be replicated Saturday night, reminiscent of the time when Nucky Johnson ruled Atlantic City and Al Capone’s reign over the underworld was in its infancy. Those in attendance are encouraged to dress the part ....
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