My wife and I had our first date on the Steel Pier in the 1940s. We had finished our junior year at Atlantic City High School and went with another couple. We wanted to see all the attractions and go dancing. "Everything" included 2 movies, a stage show, Tony Grant's kids, the water circus, the haunted house, the Diving Bell and the arcade. The water show had diving "collegians," a water-skiing dog, high-wire acrobats and the iconic Diving Horse. It was always a mad rush and race to try to include everything. But it was wonderful.
There were many more visits, especially to see the big bands and headline entertainers.
Years later on a trip to Spain, we stayed overnight in Algecerus on the Mediterranean Sea, opposite Gibraltar. Chatting after dinner with another American couple, four young men breezed by us entering the hotel restaurant. One looked particularly familiar, from a story in Time Magazine. By the time they finished dinner and exited, I recalled who they were: Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. I asked if he would sign an autograph for my daughters - "to make some young girls happy." Jagger's reply: "Yeah, I love to make young girls happy." Jagger then asked where we were from. "Atlantic City," I said. Jagger answered, "Oh, we played Steel Pier there."
My wife, Faith, and I will be married 65 years this June. - Herb Stern, Longport
It seems like only yesterday, but it has been many, many years since I packed up the car with my wife and two children. We drove to Atlantic City from Philly to visit Steel Pier. The weather was overcast, but there was a sellout crowd to see the Diving Horse Show. After the horse climbed up the ramp, the woman got on his back and they both jumped into the water. It was amazing! We never saw anything like it before. After the show we went to a large ballroom, where we saw Herman's Hermits. They were a singing group one step down from the Beatles. They were very entertaining. Then we went to a theater where we saw young people doing all kinds of dancing. We then went for our last stop at the Diving Bell before leaving for home. The Diving Bell took you under the water. At first it was a little scary when some of the water started coming in at the seams, but nothing happened. It is amazing to imagine going to one place and spending all day seeing so much. My children are all grown up, but the memories linger on. - Edward McDonald Sr., Absecon
I remember growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, how much my mother and aunts enjoyed watching "The Lawrence Welk Show" on TV each week. In the early '60s, we saw an ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper that "The Lennon Sisters" would be appearing on Steel Pier in Atlantic City. We loved those talented girls and decided to come down to the shore for a day. We took the bus from the old terminal in downtown Philly. We spent the whole day on Steel Pier, going from one attraction to the next. I remember the Lennon Sisters concert - their four-part harmony was so delightful. We also saw a movie, and I especially enjoyed the "Tony Grant's Stars of Tomorrow," with the singing and dancing of very talented children. I will never forget the water show, aqua-sports, high divers, and of course the Diving Horse. He made such a splash when he hit the tank of water! After spending hours on the pier, we would walk the boards. We always bought custard at Kohr's before we headed home on the bus. I also remember in the summer of 1967 coming to Atlantic City with a carful of girlfriends. We intended to go to the beach but the day turned out to be rainy, so of course we spent the day on Steel Pier. The headliner was "The Temptations" who I have seen many times since then in the casino showrooms. It was such a thrill in those days to see famous entertainers in person! - Kathy Byrnes, Brigantine
I am 62 years old and worked on the Steel Pier as a teenager. If my memory serves me right, I made $1.25 per hour and was very happy to have a summer job on The Pier! I started out working at the french-fry stand, near the Diving Bell. My stand was also located on the way to the Grand Ballroom, so I could see the stars on their way to the Ballroom. I remember vividly seeing Herman's Hermits, Chubby Checker, and others walk by. I also remember dancing on the televised "Ed Hurst Record Hop" when I wasn't working. I thought that was very cool!
Since it was one price to get onto the Pier for all the attractions, as an employee, I could see all the shows such as the Tony Grant show, the main event shows, the diving show (along with the "High Diving Horse") - all free. Also I knew most of the people at the refreshment stands, so I could usually get snacks free. One of my best friends, Russ Cook, worked at the pizza stand. I also remember going to the Chubby Checker show with my friends and dancing with him up on stage.
My last summer on the Pier I was "promoted" to running the "Rocket Ship" ride. I was the barker (selling tickets) and also the pilot. As the pilot, I was responsible for rewinding the 16mm projector after each flight and then operating the seats that the riders sat in during the flight to simulate a flight into outer space.
What a great time I had working on the famous Steel Pier! Thanks for the memories, George Hamid. - John Lubin, Egg Harbor Township