One Man’s Empire


Okay, that’s not a real script but mom took some liberties . . . however, in reality, Our Dad’s Flag was recently taken for a stroll along the faux “grand promenade”, the set of Boardwalk Empire. Our host? The show’s creator and executive producer, Terence Winter. His hit HBO series is currently filming its third season (BTW: mom and dad are big fans!) and the set is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

His Empire: Terence Winter on the set of Boardwalk Empire with Our Dad’s Flag

His Story of History 

His is a tapestry of time with fibers of fact and folklore spun into a great work of historical fiction. Winter’s Boardwalk Empire features golden era glimmers of the roaring twenties, weaved with colorful real life characters of crime, politics and celebrity along with fictitious players who twist into a compelling mesh of syndicates – some good and most bad – all framed during prohibition.

The adoption of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the Volstead Act (ratified by the states to go into effect in January 1920), forbid the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages – specifically those drinks containing more than one half of one percent (1 proof). This gave root to bootleggers, rumrunners, racketeering and mobsters; it was the birth of new invincibility. Terence Winter’s series takes place mostly in Atlantic City (the seaside beyond reproach) and revolves around this political experiment of control as the adolescence of society and nation tests boundaries — and breaks through with wild abandon.

The Real McCoy

Boardwalk Empire has been loosely based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, by Nelson Johnson. This book depicts the real life of Nucky Johnson, the county treasurer in Atlantic City for over 30 years who is said to have dominated city politics and society. The artistic license of the Boardwalk series writers is challenged as story development is held to the actual periods of characters like Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, and Arnold Rothstein. Many other important Boardwalk characters are products of the writers – and they are wonderful at that.

Steel Pier Atlantic City-Detroit Publishing circa 1910-20

Winter and all involved with the creative development of Boardwalk Empire go above and beyond to pull music, costumes, locations and conflicts from this time period.  During this era, jazz and big bands were all the rage, flapper fashion was en vogue and cultural crises were aplenty: anti-communism, racism, immigration, women’s right to vote, religious and moral conflicts.

The Winter Seasons

Terence Winter has an extensive background in television production, development and writing. Before Boardwalk Empire, he was best known for his incredible work on The Sopranos. Amazingly enough, he didn’t start out creating thugs and mobsters — he worked with sitcoms! Maybe even more amazing is that he didn’t even start his writing career until after he attended St. John’s Law School and got his JD — which was after attending NYU — which was after he was resigned to the fact that he’d most likely wind up as an auto mechanic. Lucky for us, he weathered the different seasons.

Winter believes in keeping things entertaining and doing what he loves. In an interview with Huffington Post’s Susan Dormandy Eisenberg, Winter said, “I am privileged to do this for a living. I come from a place where I never thought people liked their jobs. So the idea of doing something you love, creating things and telling stories and working with other really talented people … is incredible.”

No time for idle hands, Winter keeps busy not only dusting the numerous industry awards on his shelves but also being the Creator and Executive Producer on Boardwalk Empire. He recently wrote the film adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s autobiography The Wolf of Wall Street (to be directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio) and also has a project in the works with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.

Thumbs up and thanks!

Look for the premiere of Boardwalk Empire’s third season this fall and if you’ve missed out…catch up on it all season one is now on DVD, and if you’re up to speed on season two you’ll understand why Our Dad and the troops in Afghanistan are still asking, ”Jimmy? Really?!?!” Our thanks to Mr. Winter for continuing to keep us – and the troops – entertained and for being such a gracious host to Our Dad’s Flag. Additional thanks to Cameron Combe for his outstanding assistance!

Need More Boards?

The idea for the first boardwalk came about in the 1870s down in Atlantic City as a way to prevent tourists from tracking sand into the hotels and shops. Mere wooden boards were laid out in the town near the coast. . . then low and behold — folks truly enjoyed walking on them! This brought in even more tourists. Overtime the idea improved, the boards were raised and widened, railed and lit up. This created a true ramble, promenade and amusement atmosphere that encouraged more hotels, shops and attractions. You’re welcome Bally’s, Harrah’s and Mr. Trump!

Tune in Next Week When  . . .

Can you guess where Our Dad’s Flag is going next? There are many visits on the horizon but here’s one hint: Our Dad’s Flag had a grand ole time. Thanks for reading, following and commenting. If you like our family project in patriotism, share it with a friend. Feel free to tweet all about it and like us on Facebook. 

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4 Responses to One Man’s Empire

  1. Jennifer Daniele says:

    What a great piece of history! Thank you to you and your family.

  2. auntytam says:

    Let’s raise our glasses to Mr. Winter, his assistant, Cameron, and our Troops! Great write up and photos.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    soo cool

  4. sschmidtinfredonia says:

    Amazing how that little flag gets around!

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