Atlantic City natives ensure facts of ‘Boardwalk Empire

Filed under: Boardwalk Buzz — Boardwalk Empire @ 7:33 am
Pinky's Corner

Pinky’s Corner

Have you ever wondered how they’ve come up with the information about Atlantic City’s history and the specific characters in the show? Besides reading “Boardwalk Empire,” written by Nelson Johnson, two former locals were selected by executive producer Terence Winter, who sought detail-oriented researchers who could make everything as historically accurate as possible.

Edward McGinty and Vicki Gold Levi are Atlantic City natives whose connection to the town goes back to the days of Prohibition. McGinty’s grandfather worked at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel when Nucky Johnson was living there; Gold Levi met the man himself as a kid.

Read the full article at Pinky’s Corner: Atlantic City natives ensure facts of ‘Boardwalk Empire’.

Nucky Johnson, History of a Real Man

Filed under: Boardwalk Buzz — Boardwalk Empire @ 3:25 pm
The Real Nucky Johnson

The Real Nucky Johnson

Few people still remember that there was a real Nucky Johnson who pulled the strings in Atlantic City just as successfully as Nucky Thompson does on television. Nucky covertly encouraged the sale and consumption of various illegal products and services in Prohibition-era Atlantic City. He participated in all of the illegal operations in town, helping them grow while pocketing a good deal of the proceeds himself.

He started his political career as a low-level official and quickly became more influential than his official title warranted.

Read on at  Boardwalk Empire Nucky Johnson, History of a Man.

Satisfy Your TV Cravings with Books

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 10:25 am
Guest of a Guest

Guest of a Guest

Nelson Johnson’s book made Guest of a Guest’s Satisfy Your TV Cravings With These Books list yesterday.

In addition to a suggestion for Boardwalk Empire fans, they include suggested reading for fans of Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and even Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson is the very tome from which screenwriter Terrance Winter adapted the script for Boardwalk Empire. The book tells the story of Atlantic City political boss and racketeer Nucky Johnson, who met the demand of tourists visiting Atlantic City by allowing them to imbibe, gamble, and hire prostitutes, despite all three being illegal in New Jersey at the time.

Nucky Johnson may have run Atlantic City during the early 1900’s, but Skinny D’Amato, owner of Atlantic City’s 500 Club, played host to the real-life political corruption and illegal activities that created the Atlantic City we know from Boardwalk Empire. In Chance of a Lifetime: Nucky Johnson, Skinny D’Amato and How Atlantic City became the Naughty Queen of Resorts, author Grace D’Amato tells the true tale about her brother-in-law Skinny and his club, where the much of the Atlantic City we see on TV was born.

via Satisfy Your TV Cravings With These Books.

Nelson Johnson Interviewed in the Atlantic City Weekly

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 6:19 pm

Nelson Johnson did not set out to write a book when he came to Atlantic City. Nor did he know that his deep passion for the written word would cultivate and become bound up in a masterful work that exposed the truth about the city’s past and inspired a semi-fictional account in the form of a hit cable TV series, which will start its third season in the fall of 2012.

Boardwalk Empire is a story of antiheroes. Are there any characters in particular whose actions might seem more forgivable than others?

[Boardwalk Empire creator] Terence Winter tells people that his Nucky is 70% the Nucky that I wrote about and 30% the Nucky that he created. And I’ll have to take the 70/30 split. The only place where I sort of part company with Terence is the violence because what the general public, and what’s difficult to appreciate today is that Nucky Johnson was so powerful in Atlantic City and had so much support that if you crossed him, you were done! So when you went to work the next day, you were fired, open up your business the next day, it could be a laundry, everyone would come in to get their clothes and nobody brought any back. You had a restaurant, nobody came in to eat.  You had a bar; nobody came in to get a drink. So you didn’t cross Nucky because he could destroy you simply by sending out word that, you know, “Bill Jones is no longer a friend of the organization. I don’t want you to patronize him. I don’t want you to hire him. I don’t want you to do anything that helps him.” That’s power. Power is not having to be violent, power is getting your way simply by saying this is what [you] want. When you have to get violent then maybe you weren’t as powerful as you think you were.  So that’s the biggest problem I have with the show, but other than that it’s a heck of a lot of fun watching, it really is.

Read the rest of this great interview at How ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Found Nelson Johnson

Terence Winter and Nelson Johnson

Terence Winter and Nelson Johnson (L - R)

Nelson Johnson at the Murphy Writing Seminars

Filed under: Top Stories — Tags: , , — Boardwalk Empire @ 12:28 pm

With the event’s move from Cape May to Atlantic County it is only fitting that Nelson Johnson, one of the county’s foremost historians and author of Boardwalk Empire and The Northside, be invited to speak.

Former Press of Atlantic City reporter Thomas Peele introduced the Mr. Johnson.  Johnson consulted with Peele while Peele was a reporter in Atlantic City and Johnson a lawyer. Peele praised Johnson’s work on the book, Boardwalk Empire, which inspired the HBO show of the same name.

“There was a painstaking amount of research in this 20-year passion project, in bringing this story and history alive for us,I can’t imagine 20 years of that level of research, and then having the wherewithal and the humanity, to take a couple chapters about the plight of African Americans in Atlantic City and turning it into the next book, The North Side.”

–Thomas Peele

Nelson Johnson has been a lifelong resident of Hammonton.  He recounted the people he met when trying to capture the essence of Atlantic City.  He also spoke about the widespread corruption and dysfunction of past the city governments.

Johnson headed to the Atlantic City library when became interested in the history of the city. He read over twenty books about the city from different perspectives.  After completing his extensive reading the decided to write a complete history of Atlantic City.

“The corruption in Atlantic City…it was organic.  You had to give the visitor what they wanted during the season, or they wouldn’t come back, and the city wouldn’t flourish…in order to provide that kind of entertainment, the law had to be bent.”

–Nelson Johnson

Read more about the event at ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Author Speaks at Seaview.

Great Adaptations: The Origins of HBO’s Most Popular Shows

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 12:39 pm

Eddie Gribbin has written an interesting post on the phillyBurbs blog about HBO’s efforts to adapt novels — and series of novels — to the small screen.

While HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is based on Nelson Johnson’s non-fiction book, Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, they are using a lot of the same techniques involving story arcs that cover a whole season to carry the series forward year to year.

For almost a century, films have been adapted from novels. HBO has profited from this idea with television shows like “True Blood” and “Game of Thrones.”

Countless novels have become films that have not lived up to the original content. Now it is HBO’s turn to see how successful it can be at the adaptation game.

A novel series isn’t the only adaptation coming to the network. “Boardwalk Empire,” which averages 2.75 million viewers a week, was re-imagined for television from the Nelson Johnson biography of the same name. Even though the main characters’ names have been changed, the general concept – prohibition life in Atlantic City – is still being brought to life.

via From print machine to premium cable:
HBO’s most popular shows are novels – : Hboblog

Boardwalk Empire’s First Season Blu-ray Review is up at BigPictureBigSound

Filed under: Boardwalk Buzz — Tags: , , — Boardwalk Empire @ 11:47 am

Atlantic City, New Jersey was perhaps the single most heavily utilized point of entry for illegal liquor into the United States from Canada, and so much of the riches, the corruption, the violence and the “glory” were centered in this beachside vacation haven. Nelson Johnson revealed the specifics in his book Boardwalk Empire, which also recently completed its second season on HBO.

via Boardwalk Empire The Complete First Season
Blu-ray Review by Chris Chiarella on BigPictureBigSound

Chris Chiarella concludes:  Boardwalk Empire has earned its place among the very best original series ever to grace HBO, which is no small feat, and this Blu-ray box with its solid audio and video makes catching up easy. And the deep, sophisticated extras are so good, they should be illegal.

Big Picture Big Sound was created by a movie buff and an electronics hobbyist who thought the world would somehow be a better place with a Web site dedicated to all things film, HDTV and home theater.

‘Boardwalk Empire’ author to speak at Camden County College

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 5:47 pm

GLOUCESTER TWP.  — The author of the book behind the popular HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” will compare the real Nucky Johnson of Atlantic City history to the fictional Nucky Thompson as portrayed in the series during his second appearance at Camden County College this year.

Two versions of Nucky

Two versions of Nucky

Nelson Johnson will present “Boardwalk Empire, Part II: Nucky Johnson is Back in Town and He Means Business” at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in Civic Hall, which is inside the Connector Building on the College’s Blackwood Campus. CCC’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility is presenting the event, which will include a question-and-answer session and a book signing.

“The award-winning HBO series ‘Boardwalk Empire’ attracts millions of viewers to a fictional version of Atlantic City fraught with violence and sex, which often embellishes the historical truth,” noted Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility director John Pesda. “Nelson Johnson, a gifted writer and speaker, will return to Camden County College to set the record straight with a fact-based account of the city and Nucky Johnson’s role.”

Learn more at ‘Boardwalk Empire’ author to speak at Camden County College at