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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

An entertainment “first” originating in Atlantic City, NJ

1. You aren’t considered truly successful in the entertainment and music industry until you’ve played the world famous Steel Pier.

2. The Steel Pier factor is more important for big bands such as Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (featuring “The Boy Singer” Frank Sinatra) and Harry James Orchestra to name a few. You weren’t considered a “big band” until you played Steel Pier.

2. The legendary “Skinny” D’Amato debuted alongside Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on his iconic “The 500 Club.”

3. Atlantic City and Philadelphia television and radio pioneer Ed Hurst was the creator of the studio’s first teenage dancers.

Joe Grady and Ed Hurst were the first to be invited to host American Bandstand.

Dick Clark openly stated on Ed Hearst’s Steel Pier radio show, “There would be no Dick Clark without Ed Hearst,”

4. It’s hardly a big deal…but the importance of the first casino in US history outside of Las Vegas, which opened in Atlantic City in 1978 at the Resorts International Hotel and Casino, cannot be overemphasized.

5. John Phillip Sousa wrote a song called “The Atlantic City Pageant.” In July 1926, they performed at the Music Hall in Steel Pier.

6. Bobby Rydell wrote a 45 RPM single called “Steel Pier.” It was a single, and Hurst announced on the radio that if you mailed 25 cents to Steel Pier, you’d get a Rydell single.

7. George Hamid was taken aback when the 75,000 quarters arrived at the Steel Dock. Hamid told Hearst, “Ed, we didn’t deliver on this.” Ed replied, “We made a promise on TV … we have to deliver,” Hearst said.

8. On August 4, 1958, Ricky Nelson played his first live concert at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier. It was the largest concert in Steel Pier history with 58,000 people in attendance. The crowd was huge and the steel pier was literally moving and swaying from side to side. Many believe the pier would actually collapse into the Atlantic Ocean.

This marked the last time Joe Grady was seen on the Steel Pier, and he never returned after this incident.

Photo by Don P. Hurley.

Photo by Don P. Hurley.

9. The Bay City Rollers played their first US concert at Steel Pier.

10. In the summer of 1966, the Rolling Stones played their first-ever East Coast concert at Steel Pier.

11. In 1966, Dennis Wilson, a founding member and drummer of the Beach Boys, became the first civilian high diver in the history of the famed water circus Steel Pier. He literally ran Barney Cipriani’s head off, climbed a 100-foot ladder, and dived into the Atlantic Ocean.

bonus: All of the above are “firsts” in Atlantic City. This is the “last” of the Atlantic. The last time the entire Beach Boys played together, Atlantic City drew 250,000 people for an epic beach concert. It took place on July 4, 1983 near the Caesars Casino Hotel.

source: Ed Hurst and Don P. Hurley.

First in Atlantic City history

Steel Pier

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