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Atlantic City Revisited,  by William H. Sokolic and Robert E. Ruffolo Jr
 
In 1854, a group of engineers and railroad businessmen drew a straight line from Philadelphia to the New Jersey coast, built a railroad along the line, and created Atlantic City.  From the 1850s to the 1950s, the city attracted the creme of American society and the working class alike and gave birth to the beauty pageant, the rolling chair, the boardwalk, saltwater taffy, the jitney, and the successful Monopoly board game.  But the onset of air travel in the 1950s and the aging grand hotels brought Atlantic City to its knees.  The opening of Resorts International in 1978 and the prosperous gaming business that followed in its wake helped the city rise from its own ashes, and a year-round tourism industry exploded.  Garish and opulent casino hotels replaced many of the boardwalk dowagers, and new palaces transformed the once desolate marina section into an again vibrant destination.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     
Price: $21.00

 

Atlantic City,  by John T. Cunningham and Kenneth D. Cole

 

 Few American resort cities rival the romantic splendor of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Since 1854, this island has evoked dreams and memories of days lived amid white sand beaches, a vibrant boardwalk, exciting amusement piers, and grand hotels.  Atlantic City is a nostalgic return to the pre-casino days that now seem relatively innocent.  The founders believed that the city, with its healthful sea breezes and balmy days, would become a grand health resort.  Recognition was slow coming, but by 1900, Atlantic City was known throughout much of the world as "The Queen of American Resorts."  With huge hotels lining the Boardwalk and unique amusement piers jutting into the ocean, the city thrived on what one promoter called "ocean, emotion, and constant promotion." Nearly 200 photographs recall the days when bathers frolicked on the beach in drab clothing, the Boardwalk was alive with throngs of happy visitors, and Miss America actually strolled the Boardwalk amid the crowds.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 
Price: $21.00

 

Greetings from Bertrand Island Amusement Park,  by Martin Kane and Laura J. Kane

 

Lake Hopatcong was a major northeast resort from the late 1800s through World War II. More than forty lake hotels and rooming houses welcomed thousands of vacationers each year.  After the war, the lake continued to be a popular spot to rent a bungalow or buy a summer cottage.  But for many, Lake Hopatcong is best remembered as the home of Bertrand Island Park.  Although it closed in 1983, few places in New Jersey are so fondly remembered.  For over 70 years, the park thrilled youngsters and adults alike. Opened during the peak of Lake Hopatcong's resort years, its popularity continued as the lake evolved from a hotel resort to a community of second homes, then a year-round locale.  Generations of residents, as well as school, church and company groups, delighted in the wooden roller coaster, the magical carousel, and scores of other rides and games.  Vintage photos bring to life again the boardwalk, big bands, beauty pageants, Nickel Nights, and Kiddieland that drew thousands each day to Bertrand Island Park.  
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 160 pgs.     
Price: $21.50

 

Burlesque: A Living History,  by Jane Briggeman

 

The sometimes risqué world of burlesque (often jokingly referred to as bur-lee-cue) was once an established part of the larger theatrical world.  Besides its scantily-clad dancing girls, the burlesque show offered comedy and live music.  The spirit of this unique art form is captured here through hundreds of photographs and stories from many who were a part of live theatre’s most colorful past.  This book highlights the careers and contributions of many artists who were the nuts and bolts of burlesque.  With the close of the last burlesque theatres and clubs, a whole world went dark.  This book preserves some of the history and memories of that unique theatrical world and those who worked the stages.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 439 pgs.        

Price:  $28.50

 

 

Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History  

 

"Chicago--a city where they are always rubbing the lamp, fetching up the genii, and contriving and achieving new possibilities"  ...Mark Twain

Known as the city of broad shoulders, Chicago has also developed an international reputation for split sides and slapped knees.  Watch the Chicago style of comedy evolve from nineteenth century vaudeville, through the rebellious comics of the 1950s and onto the improvisation and sketch era that ushered in a new millennium.  Drawing on material both hilarious and profound, Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History touches on what makes Chicago different from other cities and how that difference produced some of the greatest minds comedy will ever know: Amos 'n' Andy, Jack Benny, Lenny Bruce, Del Close, John Belushi, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and many, many more.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 126 pgs.

Price:  $19.95

                                                                                               

 

 Chicago Entertainment Between the Wars, 1919-1939,  by Jim Edwards

 

Chicago historically has been a city of great energy, a showcase of modernity. Determined to wash away memories of World War I, Chicagoans in the 1920s and into the 1930s set out to enjoy themselves, creating a Golden Age of entertainment envied throughout the world.  Old and new forms of entertainment blossomed and flourished, including dance halls, mechanical music machines, radio studios, rodeos, theatres, and movie palaces.  Period photos, rare glass slides and other printed images illustrate how “that toddling’ town” entertained itself through Prohibition and the Great Depression.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     
Price: $21.00
 

 The Cincinnati Sound,  by Randy McNutt and Jim LaBarbara

 
From 1940 to 1970, Cincinnati overflowed with musical opportunities.  Hank Williams recorded his hit “Lovesick Blues.”  Andy Williams, Rosemary and Betty Clooney, and Doris Day appeared regularly on WLW Radio, which also broadcast Boone County Jamboree.  Then came the network television show Midwestern Hayride and stardom for Kenny Price.  Meanwhile, King and Fraternity Records released hundreds of hits for James Brown, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, Cowboy Copas, Lonnie Mack, and the Casinos. In the late 1960s, the Lemon Pipers sang “Green Tambourine,” and rock bands ruled Coney Island’s Moonlite Gardens.  It was a wild, incredible ride while it lasted, and it left such an indelible impression that today Cincinnati is remembered as one of America’s top music capitals.
 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.      

Price: $19.99  

 
Cleveland's Rock and Roll Roots, by Deanna R. Adams  
 
Ever since Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed first called the records he was playing "rock and roll," northeast Ohio has been a driving force in this musical phenomenon. From the disc jockeys who spun the music to the musicians who played it, the clubs that welcomed it and fans who encouraged it, rock and roll has been as much a part of this north coast as the lake that hugs it. It was those early years, from the 1950s on, that led Cleveland to becoming the "Rock and Roll Capital of the World" and ultimately home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. While the city spawned several widely recognized names, such as the James Gang (with Joe Walsh), the Raspberries (with Eric Carmen), and Bobby Womack, it is the music itself that will keep this town rocking on the shores of Lake Erie, and beyond, for a long time to come. 

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.      
Price: $21.00
 

 Coney Island and Astroland,  by Charles Denson

 

Coney Island is a unique New York City neighborhood, a place of exciting innovation, where the roller coaster and the hot dog were introduced to the world and the glow of a million bare lightbulbs at Luna Park dazzled visitors.  Coney Island served as a pressure valve for New York, drawing millions to its famous beach on sweltering weekends.  Astroland Park was created at the dawn of the space age when Dewey and Jerome Albert transformed the 3-acre Feltman's Restaurant property, one of Coney Island's oldest attractions, into a futuristic amusement park.  Opened in 1962, the park's rocket rides fueled intergalactic fantasies and mirrored the wide-eyed optimism of the early 1960s.
 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.      

Price: $21.00
 
The Copacabana,  by Kristin Baggelaar 
 
It has been years since New York has seen anything quite like the old Copacabana. The Copa, Manhattan's best-known night club, was also the most popular nightspot in America.  From the moment it burst onto the scene in 1940, an aura of glamour and sophistication hovered over the Copa.  It was a luminous glow that, over the course of five decades, served this illustrious establishment well, beckoning the people who made it famous--Hollywood stars, sports heroes, foreign dignitaries, and the town's leading families, including the Kennedys, the Roosevelts, and the Du Ponts.  The Copa was a showcase for past, present, and future stars, including Joe E. Lewis, Sophie Tucker, Jimmy Durante, Julie Wilson, Tony Orlando, and Wayne Newton.  Through vintage photographs and stories from performers, Copa Girls, and other people connected with the Copa's history, The Copacabana chronicles how this landmark institution became an American cultural icon.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     
Price: $19.99
 

 Detroit: Ragtime and the Jazz Age,  by Jon Milan 

 

Detroit has always been at the forefront of American popular music development, and the ragtime years and jazz age are no exception.  The city’s long history of diversity has served the region well, providing a fertile environment for creating and nurturing some of America’s most distinctly indigenous music.  With a focus on the people and places that made Detroit a major contributor to America’s rich musical heritage, Detroit: Ragtime and the Jazz Age provides a unique photo journal of a period stretching from the Civil War to the diminishing years of the big bands in the early 1940s. 
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    

Price: $21.00

 

Private Eyes in the Comics,  by John A. Dinan 

 

Okay, you mugs...reach!  It's time for a lesson in crime from the comics, heavily illustrated and bustin' with baddies, babes and tough animals in hats!  Ever wondered what role the private eye played in comic books? Now you get your lesson. From master pulp historian John A. Dinan comes the first book on PIs in the comics!  A history and appreciation of the tough guy, the deadly dame and the dog in the trenchcoat.  

 

Paperback,  Illustrated

Price:  $14.95

 

 

Early Reno,  compiled by Nevada Historical Society

 

In 1868, Reno was a rough railroad town located on the new Central Pacific line.  It quickly became the transportation hub for the greatest silver strike in the world, the Comstock Lode in Virginia City.  By the early 1900s, Reno was the state's financial and industrial center.  The automobile and the new Lincoln and Victory Highways made it a convenient place for a quick divorce.  Between 1910 and 1970, it was known as the divorce capital of the world.  Gambling thrived in Reno's back rooms from the earliest days and became the state's major economic force after it was legalized in 1931.  Known as the "Biggest Little City in the World," Reno was famous as a place where one could do things that one might not do anywhere else.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.       

Price:  $21.00

 

 

Fort Worth's Rock and Roll Roots,  by Mark A. Nobles

 

On the the evening of February 9, 1964, Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles to America.  Across the country, teens were glued to their TV sets and witnessed a turning point in rock and roll history.  The scene in Fort Worth, Texas, produced an exceptional burst of creativity in songwriting and musicianship.  Weekend concerts and battles of the bands drew thousands of fans.  Local television shows featured live bands.  Fashions changed, with girls’ skirts growing shorter and boys’ hair becoming longer.  The seeds of the counterculture were planted and flourished.  Featured here are never-before-seen photographs from the private collections of musicians, fans, and industry insiders of the generation that birthed every rock subgenre for the next 40 years.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9. 128 pgs.    
Price: $21.00

 
The Golden Age of Roller Coasters,  by Diane and David Francis
 
Roller Coasters: the Cyclone at Coney Island, the Racer at Pittsburgh’s Kenywood Park, the Blue Streak at Sandusky’s Cedar Point.  Icons of the midway, they were capable of reducing even strong men to screaming, white-knuckled hysteria.  During the early decades of the 20th Century, designers pushed the “death-defying” limits by increasing speeds and adding more height and length to the winding, twisting, lurching tracks that dominated America’s amusement parks.  Most are now gone, but this photo collection provides an exciting record of many rides that thrilled our parents and grandparents, whether they climbed aboard as adults or thrill-seeking kids.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9. 128 pgs.    
Price: $21.00
 
Knott's Berry Farm: The Early Years,  by Jay Jennings
 
Before there was a Disneyland, there was Knott’s Berry Farm.  What
started out in the early 1920s as a small, roadside berry stand in Buena Park, California, grew over the next 60 years into one of the most popular amusement parks in the world.  Its founder, Walter Knott, along with his wife and family, knew no boundaries when it came to expanding his small berry market and tearoom into the world-famous Chicken Dinner Restaurant and later adding his ultimate achievement, Ghost Town.  Jay Jennings, who grew up in the 1970s, spending his weekends at various Southern California amusement parks, has also spent the last 25 years researching the history of amusement parks, with an emphasis on Knott’s Berry Farm.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.   
Price: $21.00
 
Laugh Your Troubles Away: The Complete History of Riverview Park
 
In an era before giant theme parks, Chicago’s Riverview Park was advertised as the world’s largest amusement park.  Although it closed after the 1967 season, it is still lovingly remembered by Chicagoans and countless others who came from other towns and surrounding states.  Ralph Lopez worked at the park for eleven years and was the last manager of its famous “Shoot-the-Chutes” ride.  With co-writer Derek Gee, Ralph has compiled a loving history of the park’s origin and development over the years that includes maps, postcards, vintage ads and 263 photographs taken by or for the park, some as early as 1879.  This unique mix makes Laugh Your Troubles Away the most comprehensive and factual history of Riverview available, the definitive history of that wonderful amusement park, where visitors were urged to come and "Laugh your trouble away." 
 
Softcover, 8½ x 11; 166 pgs.     
Price: $29.85
 
Memphis Blues: Birthplace of a Music Tradition,  by William Bearden and Knox Phillips

 

The blues was born in the Mississippi Delta.  Since that fateful night in 1903 when W. C. Handy heard the mournful sound of a pocketknife sliding over the strings of an acoustic guitar and the plaintive song of a long-forgotten musician in the hot night of Tutwiler, Mississippi, the blues has been on a journey around the world.  From the cotton fields and juke joints of the Delta, up Highway 61 to Memphis’s Beale Street, St. Louis, the Southside of Chicago, England, and points beyond, the blues is America’s unique form of music.  Blues is incisive in its honesty, elemental in its rhythm, powerful in its almost visceral sensation. Nearly every style of popular music has roots in the blues.  Muddy Waters said it best: “The blues had a baby, and they called it rock and roll.” Memphis has become the heart of the blues world, and a reborn Beale Street acting is its spiritual center.  People come from the world over to experience its beat, savor its emotion, and feel its power.  In the end . . . “it ain’t nothin’ but the blues.”
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price: $21.00
 
The New York City Vaudeville,  by Anthony Slide

 

New York City Vaudeville provides a unique pictorial record of America’s preeminent entertainment medium in the late 1800s through the early 1930s.  New York’s Palace Theatre served as the flagship for vaudeville, on which stage every vaudevillian aspired to perform.  New York City Vaudeville features photographs of some of the greatest names from the Palace Theatre, including Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen and the Marx Brothers, as well as legendary African- American performers such as Bill Robinson, Ethel Waters, and Bert Williams. 
Anthony Slide is the author of 70 books on the history of popular entertainment, including the award-winning Encyclopedia of Vaudeville.  Through photographs from his personal collection and capsule biographies, the reader is transported back to a time when vaudeville was the people’s entertainment, with a new bill of fare each week and an ever-changing number of performers with ever-changing styles of presentation.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     
Price: $21.00                              
 

 Playland,  by Kathryn W. Burke; Foreword by Andrew J. Spano

 

Here is an inviting look at the historic amusement park on the shore of the Long Island Sound in Rye.  Playland recalls the early days and the later years of a national historic landmark and America’s only publicly owned amusement park.  Opened in 1928 as part of the newly developed Westchester County Park System, Playland originally drew crowds that arrived via automobile, bus, and steamship.  They came to enjoy circus acts, sideshows, and rides, such as the Swooper, an oval roller coaster, and the Derby Racer, one of only two left in the United States.  An all-purpose resort, the park included a beach, bathhouse, pool, and casino with restaurants and games.  Today the park draws even larger crowds—nearly a million people each season—that come for the Dragon Coaster and other rides, Kiddyland, the indoor ice rink, the pool, the beach, and the boardwalk.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price: $21.00
 

The Pulp Western: A Popular History of the Western Fiction

Magazine of America,  by John A. Dinan 

 

In the Old West, as depicted in popular Western pulps, the good guys were dead shots, women were dangerous, and thieving wranglers were lynched until the cows came home.  Rediscover three decades of Western pulps in the first documentation of the genre’s writers and their importance in American popular culture.  These short novels featured bad men in need of killing, and cowboys who were more affectionate with their horses than with women.  Pulp authors included Zane Grey, who authored as many as 200 pulps, and famed Texas Ranger Captain Manuel T. Gonzaullas.  There were more than 165 of these magazines to choose from, including Ace High Weekly, Zane Grey's Western Story Magazine, and Texas Rangers.  This seminal work in the field is filled with fascinating information about the magazines, their contents, their editors and the most popular writers and characters.

 

Paperback (appropriately)   Price: $14.95

 

 

 Riverview Amusement Park,  by Dolores Haugh

 
Chicago's Riverview, once billed as “the world’s largest amusement park,” opened to the public in 1904, and for 63 years millions of people flowed through its gates.  The park offered thrill rides, sideshows, skill games, food and music to folks from all walks of life, and especially to children, who flocked there during summer vacations.  Riverview survived depressions, two world wars, labor disputes, Prohibition and tough competition from the 1933-34 World’s Fair.  Riverview Amusement Park is the story of the park’s growth from 22 acres and 3 rides to 140 acres and more than 100 attractions.
Popular Chicago personality Two Ton Baker, “The Music Maker,” became a spokesman for Riverview, urging folks to come and “Laugh your troubles away at Riverview!”  Drawing upon research during 50 years as a journalist, plus her own fond memories, Dolores Haugh tells why people from far and near responded to the invitation.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, dozens of photos     
Price: $21.00
 

San Francisco Zoo,  by Katherine Girlich 

 

In 1922, philanthropist and president of the San Francisco Parks Commission, Herbert Fleishhacker, purchased a 60-acre site in southwestern San Francisco. Fleishhacker Pool was built in 1925 and an adjoining zoo added in 1929. Originally called Fleishhacker Zoo, it featured a variety of exotic wildlife. Major exhibits were built in the 1930s Depression era as part of the Work Progress Administration (WPA). This book celebrates the San Francisco Zoo’s 80-year history as it revisits cherished animals and structures like Monkey Island, Storyland, and Dentzel Carousel. Author Katherine Girlich has lived in the shadow of the zoo all her life. Like many San Franciscans, she regards the zoo as a special place, a great San Francisco treasure along the foggy shores of Ocean Beach. 

 

 Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    

Price: $21.00

 

 

Santa's Village,  by Phillip L. Wenz

 

Since 1959, Santa’s Village in Dundee has entertained millions. The park was born of a man who as a child had no real Christmas. Glenn Holland grew up in California during the Great Depression. His parents died by the time he was 18 years old, leaving him to care for his younger sister. As a father, he tried to give his own children the type of Christmas that he only knew in his dreams. In the early 1950s, struck with inspiration, Holland sat at his kitchen table one day and started to sketch his idea for a Christmas fairyland where all the magic of the holiday would come to life: Santa’s Village. Holland eventually built three Santa’s Villages, two in California and one in Dundee.
Phillip L. Wenz is the Dundee park’s resident Santa Claus and official historian.  Utilizing his personal collection of pictures, memorabilia, and rare park photographs, he presents a vivid reminisce about the fun of Santa’s Village throughout the years. It is all here, the Christmas Tree Ride, the twirling Snowballs, Santa’s House, and the Frozen North Pole. 

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.         
Price: $21.00                                                        
 

Spike Jones Off the Record: The Man Who Murdered

Music;  by Jordan R. Young 

 

"Good evening, music lovers.”  Thus did Spike Jones introduce his popular weekly radio program and stage performances.  The pistol-packing bandleader’s wreck-reations of popular music brightened some of World War II’s darkest hours.  Spike Jones Off the Record explores the public and private worlds of a complex individual: a serious man in a funny suit; a no-nonsense boss with a razor-sharp tongue; and a public relations wizard who worked his best magic behind the scenes.  Interviews with over 100 of Jones' friends and associates provide a wealth of anecdotes and revelations.  Includes rare photos, a comprehensive discography, a who's who of City Slickers, and a foreword by radio personality Dr. Demento.

Softcover, 6 x 9, 398 pgs.

Price: $28.25                                                    

 

 

Springlake Amusement Park,  by Douglas Loudenback 

From 1924 through 1981, Oklahoma City’s Springlake Amusement Park was the premier place for fun for everyone around the state.  Park enthusiast Carla Williams Noffsinger mirrors the comments of many of the park’s patrons when she says, “I grew up in Moore.  We spent many happy hours there.  My cousins would come up in the summer from southeast Oklahoma, and Springlake was at the top of their list of places to go.  We always heard bad stories about the Big Dipper, but that was the first ride we would hit.  I remember my cousin wetting her pants once on the Tilt-A-Whirl; we laugh about that to this day.  Our family considered it good, clean, old-fashioned fun.”  For all its goodness, Springlake was flawed, remaining segregated longer than most other businesses during the turbulent struggles of the civil rights era.  When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forced it to integrate, Springlake adapted poorly—rather than open its huge pool to all swimmers, the pool was converted to an aquarium.  On Easter 1971, racial tensions sparked a small but fateful riot from which the park never fully recovered. 
 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    

Price: $21.00

 
Story Land,  by Jim Miller

 

When sedans and station wagons replaced trains for vacationers heading to New Hampshire's rugged and picturesque White Mountains, new motels and attractions catering to middle-class families sprang up amidst the established grand hotels and diversions for socialites, artists, skiers, and hikers.  In 1954, a tiny children's park inspired by a collection of storybook dolls opened in the quiet village of Glen.  Through a unique combination of independent innovation and regional cooperation, Story Land has continually grown for more than 50 years through economic and cultural changes that undermined many amusement parks.  Parents still travel great distances for a Story Land getaway with their children, just as their own parents did, sharing a common experience that is talked about between multiple generations at family gatherings. This photograph collection illustrates the unlikely beginnings and creative entrepreneurship behind one of New England's most memorable and enduring childhood institutions.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     

Price:  $21.00

 

 

Western New York Amusement Parks,  by Rose Ann Hirsch 

 

For more than 100 years, western New Yorkers have enjoyed the region's exciting amusement parks.  In the days of trolleys and steamships, area businessmen created Celoron Park, Crystal Beach Park, and other fine local summer resorts.  Decades later, lifelong memories were formed for neighborhood baby boomers who visited Glen Park and Fantasy Island, as well as one of New York State's finest theme parks, Darien Lake. Western New York has long been a proving ground for some of the nation's most famous roller coasters.  The terrifying Cyclone, the fast and furious Silver Comet, and the extreme Ride of Steel have attracted the very bravest of visitors.  In the new millennium, the summer tradition of visiting local amusement parks continues with a blend of family-orientated parks and theme parks that appeal to all ages.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     

Price:  $21.00

 

Willowbrook Ballroom, by Bonnie Classen

 

The Willowbrook Ballroom was originally built as an outdoor dance pavilion named Oh Henry Park by Austrian immigrant John Verderbar.  Wildly successful, it was enlarged and fully enclosed in 1923, and a 10¢-a-dance policy was implemented.  When it was destroyed by fire in 1930, a determined Verderbar hired a crew of 200 carpenters, and a new facility was built at a then-staggering cost of $100,000.  In 1959, it was renamed the Willowbrook Ballroom, and dancers have since enjoyed the big band sounds of Count Basie, Teddy Lee, Harry James, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  As record crowds flocked to the 6,000-square-foot dance floor, the Willowbrook also became a favorite setting for weddings, proms, and other once-in-a-lifetime events.  Today, the Willowbrook is one of only five ballrooms of its magnitude in the United States and the only one remaining in the greater Chicagoland area.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     

Price:  $21.00