The Last Good Time is a richly layered epic that brings to life a fascinating place, its politics, people, and culture, through the portrait of one of Atlantic City’s most famous families—the powerful, flamboyant, and ultimately tragic D’Amatos. Paul “Skinny” D’Amato created and presided over the 500 Club, the celebrated supper club that entertained thousands of AmericansThe Last Good Time is a richly layered epic that brings to life a fascinating place, its politics, people, and culture, through the portrait of one of Atlantic City’s most famous families—the powerful, flamboyant, and ultimately tragic D’Amatos. Paul “Skinny” D’Amato created and presided over the 500 Club, the celebrated supper club that entertained thousands of Americans and helped guide the careers of the great Rat Pack performers—Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra. Skinny was at the center of it all, hovering behind the scenes during the zenith of one of the world’s most notorious playgrounds.Veteran magazine writer Jonathan Van Meter captures the volatile history of twentieth-century Atlantic City—from the days of Prohibition and smoky speakeasies to the city’s heyday of imported Hollywood glamour and glitz after World War II; from the near demise of the resort in the 1970s to the city’s current era of legal “gaming” and dazzling high-tech hotel/casinos. Skinny D’Amato avoided the public eye whenever possible, though he was perhaps the most important person in the history of Atlantic City, where his nightclub served as the ultimate backroom for the big players of entertainment, politics, sports, and the Mob. Skinny is rarely acknowledged as part of the Rat Pack, but he was at the center of its creation, its mentor. It was Skinny who taught Sinatra how to hold a cigarette, tip big, be cool. He paired Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin for the first time at his 500 Club, and on any given night back in the 1950s and 1960s, you’d find Elizabeth Taylor, Toots Shor, the Gabor sisters, Joe DiMaggio, Milton Berle, Liberace, Grace Kelly, Nat King Cole, and just about every big player in the underworld hanging out by the bar or in the back rooms. Skinny was a link between politicians—including John F. Kennedy—entertainers, and the Mob and was the subject of constant surveillance by the FBI and tax investigators. Whether he was in the Mob or not, Skinny was the ultimate connected guy, a gentleman’s gentleman, a passionate gambler who had a special touch that brought bigpeople together so that they could have a good time.As Van Meter evokes the ever-evolving landscape of Atlantic City, he shows us how the D’Amato family, like other larger-than-life American families during the last century, experienced a changing wheel of fortune, seeing great moments of wealth, power, and personal attainment, as well as all manner of human tragedy. In the space of a few years, Skinny’s beloved wife, Bettyjane, died of a brain aneurysm at a relatively young age; the 500 Club burned to the ground; and, perhaps most devastating of all, his son, Angelo, was convicted of brutally murdering two people. With the last of the good times behind him, Skinny retreated to his Ventnor, New Jersey, mansion, taking his card game with him, emerging to see his Rat Pack friends, and, in the process, becoming a living symbol of how cool it all was once upon a time in America.Van Meter expertly renders one of the great untold tales of modern America, a character portrait of both an extraordinary time and place, and the Zelig-like man who hovered over it all. The Last Good Time is a classic tale of the whiskey-soaked dark side of America’s mid-century popular culture....
|Title||:||The Last Good Time: Skinny D'Amato, the Notorious 500 Club, & the Rise and Fall of Atlantic City|
|Number of Pages||:||304 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Last Good Time: Skinny D'Amato, the Notorious 500 Club, & the Rise and Fall of Atlantic City Reviews
This was the perfect book to read en route to a Tom Jones-infused getaway in Atlantic City (which I did), as it documents everything that was cool, sexy, and un-geriatric about that fabled town. The book focuses on Skinny D'Amato, the club owner whose entrepreneurial know-how and possible mob connections helped build Atlantic City into its glory. He is a pretty interesting character, and as the king of the East Coast's premier resort town, he attracts a whole slew of other interesting characters, like Frank Sinatra, President Kennedy, and other 50s and 60s playboys. But anecdotes about those storied celebrities (steamy as they are) don't manage overshadow the real meat of the book--the meteoric rise and fall of Atlantic City itself, which is reflected in D'Amato's business- and family-life. If I'm making this sound too dry, let me just throw out a few juicy bits--murder, dismemberment, boob-jobs, Miss America! I would recommend reading this and then watching "The King of Marvin Gardens" to get the full AC experience. And then wear your best sweatsuit out to the nearest shopping mall or parking ramp, to give you an idea of what the Atlantic City pleasure palaces are like today.
I wore a suit, smoked cigars and called my girlfriend sweetheart for a week straight after reading this book....
Ah, the glamour of postwar nightclub life: men in well-cut suits with perfectly coordinated silk pocket squares, chic women in beautiful dresses, waiters bringing stylish cocktails, movie stars in the front row, and showgirls and a famous singer on stage. I like the clothes, the cocktails, and the music, and I wish we had a similarly stylish nightclub in town where I could be a regular, but I wouldn't want the world that came with these things at all. And Atlantic City would be about the last place I'd choose for a holiday as I have no interest whatsoever in gambling (I can't think of a stupider way to spend one's time and one's resources) and there is now absolutely nothing else there except giant casinos. But there used to be. For one brief period, it was one of the most glamorous places in North America.
Since I personally know many of the characters in this book, along with the author, I may not be the most objective person to review it. But I've always been fascinated with the history of Atlantic City, particularly the period from the 1920-50s. Skinny was a true character and his interactions with the rich and famous were legendary. Loved the way his story is a real cautionary tale about how good things always come to an end. Van Meter brings the characters to life. Don't miss this one if you have any feelings for Atlantic City, the Rat Pack or a good time.
awesome insight into underworld in the 40s...
Loved this book! Poor, Atlantic City. Total dive now.
pop history. Mostly fluff, but some interesting tidbits.