The flash mob that broke out in a mass dance on the Atlantic City Boardwalk at high noon Tuesday was probably a bit different from most other flash mobs you may have seen on TV or online.

For one thing, the leader of this group was 77 years old, which was probably about the average age of most of the 70 or so fancy dancers behind her.

For another, the fact all those dancers were carefully lined up in advance - and all in a uniform of neon-orange T-shirts from a group called PSOP - took away ever so slightly from the element of surprise so prized by most flash mobsters.

Oh, and this was an officially sanctioned (by Resorts Casino Hotel, which welcomed the mob to boogie on its Boardwalk) and media-notified (by Resorts' publicity types) flash mob.

So certainly, those factors all changed the spontaneous spirit of the standard flash mob.

Still, these mobsters drew a curious crowd when they suddenly - OK, leisurely, gingerly - started shuffling to the strains of the Drifters' locally appropriate classic, "Under The Boardwalk."

And the local media did show up to record the event: Along with this newspaper, there was also a TV camera there. Plus this flash mob definitely made it online - live, even, in real time - by way of the "beach cam" button on Resorts website.

"My son saw us back in Belleville (Ill.)," said one excited dancer, Sue Sutherland. "We waved to him. He said, 'Mom, look out. There's a police car behind you.'"

PSOP, or Programs and Services for Older Persons, - a creature of Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville - runs lots of road trips for its members. And the group has sprung at least one other flash-mob dance before, said the chief choreographer, Carol Schwartz, 77.

But not all the dancers were veteran mobsters. Ed Bauer, a World War II vet, age "86 and folding," had to admit he didn't even realize he'd just been part of an Internet-age phenomenon by doing a 2-minute, 45-second line dance with some old friends on a sunny Atlantic City Boardwalk.

"Flash mob?" he said afterward, sounding a bit mystified. "Is that what this is?"

Contact Martin DeAngelis:

609-272-7237