This month, I have a milestone Atlantic City history column in Casino Connection that celebrates one of the real personalities of Atlantic City, Tony “Mr. Wonderful” Grant:
Today, most of the entertainment in Atlantic City comes courtesy of seasoned veterans and nationally known recording artists. Once, however, the city was a mecca for amateur performers seeking applause—all courtesy of one man, whose name became synonymous with young talent. A staple on Steel Pier for 32 years, Tony Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow show gave thousands of children their first taste of the performing arts.
Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow was one of the real institutions of post-war Atlantic City. Generations of children performed in his shows. This was a fun column to research; I found the Stars of Tomorrow Facebook page, which is a real treasure trove, and got to interview Tony’s grand-daughter Roxann.
It’s a milestone column because this is the last print edition of Casino Connection, so this is the final Atlantic City history column I’ll be writing for them. It’s been a great run–more than seven years of monthly columns–that gave me a chance to explore the history of my hometown and share some neat things with readers. I’d like to thank Roger Gros for giving me a great opportunity to write about a topic I’m passionate about for so long, Rob Rossiello for pairing my words with some fine images, Boo Pergament for sharing his photos with us, and the entire staff of the Atlantic City Free Public Library–particularly Pat Rothenberg (reference) and Heather Halpin Perez (Heston Collection). And of course everyone who read the column–thanks.