Boardwalk Empire's Enoch "Nucky" Thompson was based very closely upon the life of a real life New Jersey politician, Enoch Lewis "Nucky" Johnson who eventually went to prison for tax evasion.
The charismatic Nucky of HBO's series is played fabulously by Steve Buscemi. The charming, but deadly boss, of Atlantic City during Prohibition not only ruled his city with an iron fist, he was a true fashion plate.
It was during Prohibition, which was enacted nationally in 1919 and lasted until 1933, that Johnson’s power reached its zenith.
Prohibition was effectively unenforced in Atlantic City, and, as a result, the resort's popularity grew further. The city then dubbed itself as "The World's Playground". Most of Johnson’s income came from the percentage he took on every gallon of illegal liquor sold, and on gambling and prostitution operations in Atlantic City.
Whisky, Wine, Women, Song And Slot Machines
Johnson once said: “We have whisky, wine, women, song and slot machines. I won't deny it and I won't apologize for it. If the majority of the people didn't want them they wouldn't be profitable and they wouldn't exist. The fact that they do exist proves to me that the people want them.”
Investigators charged that Johnson's income from vice exceeded $500,000 a year. He rode in a chauffeur-driven, $14,000 powder blue limousine, and wore expensive clothes, including a $1,200 raccoon coat.
His personal trademark was a red carnation, fresh daily, worn in his lapel. At the height of his power, Johnson lived in a suite of rooms on the eighth floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, located on the Boardwalk. The Ritz, which opened in 1921, was where Johnson hosted many lavish parties.
He was known as both “the Czar of the Ritz” and “the Prisoner of the Ritz”. He freely gave to those in need, and was widely beloved by local citizens, among whom his benevolence and generosity were legendary.
Johnson once explained that "when I lived well, everybody lived well".
Under Nucky Johnson, Atlantic City was one of the leading ports for importing bootleg liquor and, in 1927, he agreed to participate in a loose organization of other bootleggers and racketeers along the east coast forming the Big Seven or Seven Group. He was the host of the Atlantic City Conference in 1929, a meeting of national organized crime leaders, including Al Capone.
Influence Of Boardwalk Empire On Men's Hairstyles
During the Prohibition era many men, especially in professional positions, wore their hair slicked back off their faces with a modified pompadour look. The traditional greased back men's hairstyles of the 1920s have become popular with a segment of today's male population.
While not every modern man is willing to convert their hair into a slicked back or wet looking style, some are definitely adopting the look with a more modern twist.
Men's Hairstyles During Roaring 20s
Men's hairstyles during the Roaring 20s were actually based on a classic hairstyle with neat and clean lines. Of course the classic 20s men's hairstyles utilized old fashioned hair grease to create that slicked back shiny ook.
During Nucky's time men made regular trips to the barbershop where their hair was often razor cut with varying lengths along the top, sides and back. Grooming for men was an important service offered by barbers. During this time clipper cuts were very popular.
The success of Boardwalk Empire has generated a trend by edgy hairstylists to re-create the 1920s men's clean haircut lines but with an infusion of more modern trends such as a range of pompadours along the top, disconnection throughout the sides or longer scissor cuts focused on neat and tailored finishes.
The 2011 version of the Boardwalk Empire hairstyles include combined texture, clean and tailored strong shapes, layering and balanced use of gels, paste and hair waxes.
Men who like the look of the 1920s but want a modern take should ask their hairstylist to suggest adding edge to the traditional men's style with a range of cutting and product options.
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- Revised Publication Date: 04/23/11