Atlantic City’s Million Dollar Pier: Working ‘The Cat Rack’ In 1974
This is me in 1974. That’s 48 years ago. I worked the famous ‘Cat Rack’ at The Million Dollar Pier. It’s the only photo ever taken of me on The Million Dollar Pier.
Incredibly, the photo was taken by my identical twin brother, Don, who has taken tens of thousands of photos since this one.
We purchased the camera together, buying it used from a second hand shop in Ventnor City. It was an early self-developing model.
Nearly a 1/2 century later, I have such fond memories of working at Million Dollar Pier.
It was a great summer job and a proving ground at a very young age.
You were responsible to manage all aspects of a small business.
- Have the proper amount of money on hand to make change at the point of sale.
- Stock the game of skill with plush animals.
- Collect payment from customers.
- Create a welcoming atmosphere to attract business.
- Reconcile receipts at the end of each shift.
- It taught discipline in many ways. Keeping to a schedule. Arriving to work on time.
- Accomplishing required tasks.
- Accept responsibility and direction from superiors.
- Being part of a team.
Million Dollar Pier was wonderful. There were so many great rides, along with countless games of skill and chance.
In those days, you looked forward to turning 14 years old, because you could officially apply to get your working papers.
We worked full time jobs. It taught character, responsibility and life lessons at a very young age.
It prepared you for what would come later in life. You formed good work habits, that would later pay valuable dividends.
Many times during each shift, I would hear the whole schtick coming from ‘The Ape Girl’ and other live attractions.
Million Dollar Pier was in operation from 1906-1981. It was built by a larger-then-life man named Captain John L. Young, with a partner, Kennedy Crossan, who was a builder from Philadelphia.
Young was an experienced showman who began his Atlantic City career in 1891, managing Young's Ocean Pier, which later became Central Pier.
Young built a most beautiful home on The Million Dollar Pier. It was magnificent, with uniformly placed statues and a perfectly manicured lawn.
Captain Young’s home address was 1 Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Here’s a look at Captain Young’s magnificent home.
The Million Dollar Pier was built in a Mediterranean
Revival style by architect Addison Miner.
The Mediterranean Revival style architecture was specifically selected to create the romance found in the Mediterranean.
Their belief was that it would encourage Americans to vacation here in Atlantic City, rather then vacation abroad.
Prior to the casino era, the piers and grand hotels of Atlantic City was our region’s life blood.
They were visionaries, who were proven to be right time and time, again.
SOURCES: Biography of Captain John L. Young & Million Dollar Pier.
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