When the new HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” had a screening in Atlanta this weekend (9/24/2010), it brought a couple of supporting stars to town. It also brought out some Atlanta residents who have family ties to the period (1920-27) that the show depicts in Atlantic City, N.J.
Daniel Bader Kane and Laura Bader Kane have lived in Atlanta since the 1970s. Their great-grandfather, Edward L. Bader, was mayor of the oceanside gambling haven in the bawdy Prohibition era shown in the series, which stars veteran actor Steve Buscemi. Also, legendary director Martin Scorsese directed the first episode, which aired Sunday, Sept. 19.
“We’ve been waiting for (the series),” Daniel Kane, 61, said Friday. “(The Bader family) was the first family of New Jersey in the ’20s and ’30s.”
Laura Kane remembers series references to “the 500 Club” by her father, when asked to compare “Boardwalk Empire” with her own memories. She also remembers the famous boardwalk; who wouldn’t?
Daniel Kane, 61, is an attorney. Laura Kane works with handicapped children. They are two of nine children, eight of whom are in Atlanta. The family moved from Philadelphia.
Daniel Kane also noted that Edward L. Bader was owner of a construction company in Atlantic City at the time he was mayor. “At the time, that was how they did business,” he said of the blatant conflicts of interest, which are depicted graphically in the series. Edward L. Bader is credited as one of the founders of the Miss America pageant. Also, Atlantic City’s municipal airport still bears his name. It was the nation’s first airfield for seaplanes as well as land-based airplanes.
The series, which has already been renewed by HBO for a second season, centers on political boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, played by Buscemi. Johnson is sheriff when the series opens, and later becomes an equally corrupt county treasurer. Rules regarding alcohol are winked at, and at one point, Johnson has an envelope full of cash shoved in his hand and told, “You can’t be half a gangster.”
Shea Whigham and Vincent Piazza were the actors who attended the Atlanta screening. The audience got an advance look at the second installment, which is set to air Sunday, Sept. 26, as well as the inaugural episode.
“You have to call him Marty,” Whigham said of Scorsese, 67, who also was executive producer of the initial episode. (These actors also discussed working with Scorsese — whose body of work includes “Goodfellas,” “Taxi Driver” and “The Aviator” — in my video above. “The (HBO) suits never came on the set. They were very supportive.”
Veteran actor Mark Wahlberg is executive producer of Episode 2; of him, Piazza said, “He was nursing it … I gave him a congratulatory hello.”
Episode 1, as some 7 million HBO viewers already know, bears a distinct Scorsese touch: brutal slayings involving freeze frames, among them. Episode 2 has more of a Chicago connection and lighter moments.
“Boardwalk Empire,” which will run for 12 episodes, also features writer Terence Winter of “The Sopranos” fame. Shooting for the second season starts in January.