By Raquel Castrataro
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Despite the cold, rainy weather almost 250 guests showed up to attend Boardwalk Empire Part II: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City. Camden County College’s Blackwood Campus held the event inside of its Civic Hall Connector Building at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Guest speaker Nelson Johnson was there to sign books before and after the event as well as answer the question: How does the fictional Nucky Thompson from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire compare to the real-life Nucky Johnson of Atlantic City history?
About 20 minutes into the event, after all introductions were said and done, they showed a 20-minute video on the history of Atlantic City. The video was based on factual history ranging from the history of the island itself to the beginning of the boardwalk and finally the era of prohibition. The audience maintained their interest throughout the video and afterward there was a burst of chatter among the audience of their personal questions, thoughts, and feelings that impacted them from the video.
Once the video portion was completed, the event then transitioned into a question and answer session with Nelson Johnson. Although there was an additional speaker with Johnson, he did not have much to say but agree with Johnson or speak of any additional facts Johnson may not have been sure of. The question and answer portion lasted for about an hour and there were questions raised about family members associated with Nucky Johnson, questions about his personal life and questions on information that was seen in the introductory video. The crowd transitioned from interested to restless during this portion but the overall event was interesting nonetheless. When asked to describe the event in one word a Gloucester County College student attending the event, Theodore Apostle, described it as “entertaining.”
Much of the younger student-based crowd had trickled out by the end of the event and Apostle noted that “it was entertaining and very interesting but it was still missing something.” However, much of the rest of the crowd seemed to be pleased and excited to purchase and/or get their books signed by Johnson.
Johnson let listeners in on a little secret and said that each of his family member’s names was incorporated into the show. As well as enlightening the audience on Nucky Johnson’s life after serving a four-year prison term, Nucky Johnson will be back next fall to hold an event on a new and upcoming show on Atlantic City “Sin City.”