Fans of the HBO hit "Boardwalk Empire" gaze at their television sets soaking up vintage Atlantic City. This weekend, people will have the opportunity to get off their couches and learn about the city inside out.
On Oct. 13, "Boardwalk Empire" historical consultants Vicki Gold Levi and Heather Halpin Perez will spill all the details for lovers of the show and beyond in "Atlantic City Experience: The Roaring '20s."
"Boardwalk Empire," just a few episodes into its third season, paints a picture of the city during Prohibition, but the event at the Atlantic City Historical Museum - at the Garden Pier, South New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk - will be the ultimate source.
"People should come to really find out why Atlantic City is called the playground of the nation," Levi said.
Levi, who said she and Perez make up a "cohesive team," was born and raised in America's playground. Although she now lives in New York City, her history in the city has deep roots, beginning with her father, Al Gold, the city's first official photographer from 1939 to 1964. Levi went on to help establish the historical museum, co-author "Atlantic City: 125 Years of Ocean Madness," and consult on many Atlantic City-themed books and movies.
"I grew up during all the hoopla," she joked.
Perez, of Absecon, works as the Atlantic City Free Public Library's archivist, overseeing the Alfred M. Heston Collection, which houses anything cultural, economic, social and historical about Atlantic City's development. Perez also oversees the museum, of which the library assumed management in August. Perez was called to consult for the show after Ed McGinty, an Atlantic City native and head research adviser, walked into the library for initial research.
"People have a big interest in the show and love to learn what really happened, what really went on and who the power players were," the archivist said. "It's done great things for the city."
The event will include a discussion by Levi on the culture of the 1920s, including music, movies, clothing and the Miss America pageant.
She plans to touch on personal anecdotes, her father's work and, of course, her experiences with the show.
"The $5,000,000 boardwalk they built in Brooklyn … it's spectacular. You think you are in Atlantic City!" Levi shared with enthusiasm days before the event.
The focus of Perez's section will be on politics, prominent people, such as Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, upon whom the television show's lead character is based, highlights such as the construction of the World War I Memorial and Convention Hall, and more.
"Atlantic City Experience: The Roaring '20s." will begin at 11 a.m. Oct. 13 and is free and open to the public.
This will be the first program at the museum since the library took over management. Visitors also can view exhibits of Atlantic City in the 1920s, Mr. Peanut, Kentucky Avenue and Miss America, as well as vintage photographs and local artifacts.
Visitors who wish to continue their day with more Atlantic City fun can venture over to the 2012 Atlantic City Cinefest at Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Ave., at 2 p.m. for an exclusive screening of an unaired "Boardwalk Empire" episode. The series' creator, head writer and producer, Terrence Winter, will be available for a Q&A session following the screening.
The episode will air the following day on HBO, said William Sokolic, the festival's founder and president.
"We've asked Terry to come before, and this year he said yes, which will make it even more special," Sokolic said.
Contact Caitlin Honan:
To learn more
The Atlantic City Historical Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the week and to learn more information on the Cinefest, visit downbeachfilmfestival.org.