Saturday, August 24, 2013

Clown at the Steel Pier, Atlantic City - 1957

Part of my amusement park fascination includes the many beach-side amusement piers, from Venice, California to Coney Island. Today's pictures are from Atlantic City, on the Million Dollar Steel Pier. Among the amusements available were popular bands (Stan Kenton! Les Brown!), aerialists, diving horses (you can see the ramp for the horse), performing bears, and more. 

Hey, who is that lone figure walking toward us? Cheese it, the cops!

The Clown Cop is not afraid to use brute force if necessary. He looks like he stepped right out of a Charlie Chaplin movie! I wanted to see if I could find out anything about our clown... 

After some Googlin', I found a blog ("Yesterday's Towns") that had a 1952 photo from the Steel Pier, featuring the cast of the Hamid-produced circus that was there for many years. Notice a certain clown cop to the left! The blogger helpfully identified the cop as Charlie Franks.

Here's a closeup, provided by the "Clown Alley" blog; both blogs posted these photos back in 2006, and one commenter said that Charlie was still working at the pier not too long before that date. Amazing! Another comment said that his coat "was unbelievably heavy from all of the police and sheriff's badges that were given to him from real officers all over the country".

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Atlantic City's Steel Pier!


Nanook said...


What fun images. I can't remember which summer (late 70's-early 80's) I spent a couple of days going up and down the Jersey shore, hitting all the piers from Atlantic City all the way down to Wildwood. What a great time that was - especially for a Southern California lad.

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, wow that sounds like it was an awesome trip! As usual, that is something I wish I could have done 50 years ago; some of the piers were already in decline, but still fairly vital.

K. Martinez said...

I love seeing pics old amusement piers and seaside parks from early to mid-20th century. The board signs on the pier are cool.

@Nanook - Your trip sounds great! Wish I had seen the Wildwood area while I was in the north east back around 2001. It looks like a lot of fun.

Melissa said...

I guess you've got to have a cop around when you've got "steal" right in the name of your pier. You can't count on on them delinquent types being able to spell.

Nancy said...

Pretty cool! :-)

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I am going to have to find my few slides of places like Seaside, NJ and (even fewer) Santa Cruz, CA, to share here.

Melissa, this cop is dirty, I can tell. Where is Serpico when you need him?

Nancy, thanks!