THE LATIN CASINO
I spoke in 2011 with guitarist Chuck Anderson who's had a remarkable career playing for some of the biggest names in show business. He got his big break as the house guitarist at The Latin Casino in Cherry Hill New Jersey; I've been fascinated by this legendary Dinner Theater lately. A 3,000 seater, people dressed to the nines and came from all over the Tri-State area to see the finest entertainment outside of New York City. Frank, Dean, Hope, Rickles, all the greatest Vegas performers would do a week or two a year at the Latin which opened in 1960 after moving from Philadelphia.
It was only when Atlantic City legalized gambling and opened huge showrooms with non-compete clauses that led to the club's reinvention as a discotheque in 1978. The place suffered a serious fire in the mid-1980s and never re-opened. People who lived in Philly and Cherry Hill at the time will always remember The Latin Casino, a place, ironically, where you could not gamble.
Here Chuck Anderson talks about the club and shares behind the scenes stories about some of the biggies that played the Latin like Anthony Newley, Wayne Newton, Perry Como, and Peggy Lee who employed a one-armed drummer. Chuck Anderson has a blog here that you should check out, especially if you're a jazz lover.
If you have memories of The Latin Casino I'd love to hear them!