History Was Made 40 Years Ago At Tony Mart’s In Somers Point, NJ
History was made in Somers Point, New Jersey during the Spring of 1982 and it’s fair to say that few realized it at the time.
A movie was made in May of 1982, with pivotal parts being filmed in Somers Point, at the legendary Tony Mart’s nightclub.
The movie is Eddie & The Cruisers, about a fictional band, featuring a bigger-than-life lead singer, Eddie Wilson.
However, the real band doing all the work behind the scenes is John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band.
They have played together and stayed together for more than 40 years.
John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band played for 2 1/2 hours, until 11:00 p.m. last night on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City on the outdoor stage at Kennedy Plaza.
Cafferty is now 72 years old, but, still rocks like an indefatigable teenager.
We caught up with John Cafferty in a live, on-air interview, who shared the following with us:
“We were a bar band, but a very premiere bar band, who had a dream like every other band to make it in this business and get a record deal. Working hard led us to Hollywood and our work in the movies landed us the record deal we’d been dreaming about and took us around the world.”
“We’ve got a greatest hits album coming out later this month, which we hope will lead to a new album later this year. So we’re celebrating the past, the present, and the future all at once. We’ve learned to take nothing for granted,” said Cafferty.
Not to be outdone in the looking good for your age department is the legendary saxophonist Michael “Tunes” Antunes, who is now 82 years old and looks 20 years younger.
We caught up with “Tunes” yesterday. Here are his thoughts about “Eddie & The Cruisers.”
“It’s been an honor to have been associated with Eddie & The Cruisers from the beginning of the project. Between the movie and the music, it is still something which has remained strong in peoples' hearts…and mine too.”
“And, now it’s 40 years later and people still have such a great connection to the movie and our music with John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band.”
“It might surprise people to know I never spoke a word in either of the movies, and yet people know I was speaking directly to them with my heart, presence, and the music itself. I’m truly honored to be associated with a world-class band, and a movie which still touches peoples' hearts to this day,” said Tunes.
David Wilson, the drummer (Kenny Hopkins) from Eddie & The Cruisers (the movie) is also in town this week.
“I can’t believe it’s been 40 years since we filmed the movie in Somers Point. I actually filmed scenes with Tom Berenger right down from here on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, where in the movie I was playing a Black Jack dealer.”
“The experience is still vivid with me today. We caught lightning in a bottle with what we learned was a true ensemble cast with Michael Pare, Tom Berenger, Joe Pantoliano, Matthew Laurence, Michael Tunes Antunes, and myself.”
“The music of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band and a great story made Eddie & The Cruisers a lasting piece of movie and music history. I’m so proud to be associated with this great project,” said Wilson.
Carmen and Nancy Marotta have delivered an incredible summer, 2022 concert series in both Atlantic City and on the beach stage in Somers Point.
Here is Carmen Marotta, during the summer of 1982 during the filming of Eddie & The Cruisers, where Carmen served as the bartender at Tony Mart’s in the movie.
Carmen Marotta is the son of club owner and impresario Tony Mart. He has a great command of the history and the significance of what happened in Somers point, at Tony Mart’s in the Spring of 1982.
“Dad was always on the cutting edge of the club business and music. He was always on the cutting edge of music. I remember dad being the first to play the British Invasion bands and then the long-haired bands.”
“He was always ahead of the curve. So in 1982 when we were approached by Martin Davidson, the producer of Eddie & The Cruisers, dad was thrilled to involve our historic nightclub with the telling of a great fictional rock and roll band.”
“Once we opened our scrapbooks and revealed the remarkable history of Tony Mart’s, they were sold that this was the place for their movie.”
“We had three stages, so the music never stopped at Tony Mart’s. While one band was taking a break another would be playing another stage for continuous entertainment.
"This is the way my father liked it. He always said 'keep the room moving.' We showed the production company that this was the home of Bill Haley & The Comets, Del Shannon, Levon Helms, Conway Twitty, and so many other stars.
"And, in March of 1982, we signed the agreement to make the film here at Tony Mart’s and filmed over the course of 20 days in May of 1982.”
“I’m so happy it worked out the way it did, because none of us realized this would be the swan song for Tony Mart’s as the club would close the following year. But what a way to end things with such a special project and a film which has given us the most precious images of the inside and outside of Tony Mart’s which will last forever,” said Marotta.
The Marotta’s are closing out the Summer, 2022 concert series on a real high note.
John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band will be playing twice tomorrow night, Friday, September 2, 2022, of Labor Day Weekend.
First, they will play at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night on the beach in Somers Point.
Immediately following this appearance, they will be whisked away to the Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City, where they will be appearing with Sylvester and Frank Stallone.
SOURCES: John Cafferty, Michael “Tunes” Antunes, David Wilson, Carmen Marotta, Don Hurley.
Atlantic City Area: Readers Share Favorite Childhood Memories
What Are These Atlantic & Cape May, NJ Communities Best Known For?