Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, photo from June 18, 1975. A pleasant enough place for a long evening’s beguilement …”And many were beguiled. “It’s important to us in this business to keep these clubs open.”Belafonte would perform a show for free, more than 3,000 reportedly in attendance. “The Osmond Family would swim at the Jewish Community Center. Disco, however, was already beginning its fade into musical obscurity, and acts like Donna Summer and the Trammps gave way to more avant-garde performers like the Talking Heads and XTC.
Original caption: The Latin Casino Stage is so crowded with acoustical equipment for hte Blood, Sweat and Tears performance that there's no room for a free-wheeling comedian like Charlie Callas. The Route 70 nightclub was often packed with celebrities, stargazers and beautiful people from up and down the East Coast.“Our performers are the world’s greatest,” Dushoff wrote in a 1961 Courier-Post op-ed; he also called his club “the nation’s greatest showcase for every facet of their talents.”At the club’s peak, Dushoff’s assertion was no idle boast, and its place in South Jersey’s musical and cultural history is indisputable.“Our location is a prime asset,” wrote Dushoff, who died in 1972. Lines of persons seeking tickets to Frank Sinatra's scheduled May 27-31, 1976, appearance at the Latin Casino, Route 70, Cherry Hill, began forming about 5 a.m. Andy Williams played golf at Pine Valley Country Club…”Doris Dushoff, speaking to a Courier-Post reporter at her lavish Haddonfield home a decade after her husband’s death, recalled some acts did better than others.“Performers such as Nat King Cole, Liberace, Tom Jones and Sammy Davis Jr. It wasn’t enough, though, to keep the music playing in Cherry Hill.
That's why Callas took one look at the stage and cancelled out as the opening act in the Cherry Hill club's final show of the season. The auction included some extravagant items: a 1967 Rolls Royce, whose passengers included show business royalty, the biggest entertainers of their day; an upright Baldwin piano that been part of countless performances by musical luminaries; 1,500 Bentwood chairs and 1,000 tables, where a generation sat enjoying dinner and music and cocktails; fountains, statuary, silver- and glassware, monogrammed napkins — what was left of a once-great venue, a “Showplace of Stars,” in Cherry Hill. A French revue, which included topless dancers, brought unwanted attention from the authorities and charges of lewdness. “And we are firmly convinced that nowhere else in the United States could we have found 11 acres with such excellent highways, population density and healthy business climate.”Johnny Mathis. Sinatra would reappear at the Latin to make up two missed days from his last appearance when he came down with the flu. were known as ‘money in the bank’ acts — every show was a sell-out,” she said.“In contrast,” the story continued, “Tiny Tim, best known for his falsetto of ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips,’ drew a crowd of 12.”The Trammps. Emerald City’s doors would close in the fall of 1982; the club would be demolished by the end of the year.
Lines of persons seeking tickets to Frank Sinatra's scheduled May 27-31, 1976, appearance at the Latin Casino, Route 70, Cherry Hill, began forming about 5 a.m. The Latin Casino’s owners, David Dushoff and his partner Daniel “Dallas” Gerson, moved their popular nightclub to Cherry Hill after nine years on Walnut Street in Philadelphia in 1960, tired of customers’ complaints about parking and the city’s blue laws, which prohibited them from selling alcohol after midnight Saturdays. A national columnist who falsely accused the club owners of having Mafia ties drew scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service. It makes you blue and there’s nothing to be happy about. This March 26, 1976 Courier-Post photo is by Bob Bartosz Diana Ross and the Supremes were scheduled to perform a series of shows in 1969. Today, the headquarters for Subaru USA occupies the site on Route 70.
Sinatra would reappear at the Latin to make up two missed days from his last appearance when he came down with the flu. And the final blow: The first casino outside Las Vegas opened earlier that year in Atlantic City, drawing the entertainers who for years had been the Latin Casino’s main draw.“It’s a darn shame,” longtime Latin Casino emcee Jack Curtis told the Courier-Post in 1978. After a mouse was sighted in club, however, the staff spread poison pellets to head off any possible infestation — but when Ross’ two dogs ingested the poison, the engagement was prematurely ended. But that, too, will soon change: The company will soon relocate to a brand-new building in Camden.1951: The Latin Casino opens on Walnut Street in Philadelphia1960: Owners David Dushoff and Daniel “Dallas” Gerson move the Latin Casino to Cherry Hill, tired of customers’ complaints about parking and Philadelphia’s “blue” laws which prohibit the sale of alcohol after midnight Saturday.1965: 87 of the Latin Casino’s servers stage a walk-off, upset over pay and working conditions.
This March 26, 1976 Courier-Post photo is by Bob Bartosz Steve Lawrence and Eyde Gorme. Soul singer Jackie Wilson, performing in 1975 as part of Dick Clark’s “Good Ol’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” revue, collapsed from a heart attack onstage, reportedly while singing the lyrics “my heart is crying, crying.”It was his last performance; Wilson would spend the remainder of his life in the hospital and died at Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly in 1984. Singer Harry Belafonte, scheduled to perform, hears of the walkout and waives his fee so the show may go on.1969: The Supremes abruptly end a series of scheduled performances after dogs owned by singer Diana Ross ingest poison pellets meant for vermin in the club.1975: Singer Jackie Wilson collapses on stage while performing as part of a revue; it is his last performance.
The walls are scarlet with white filigree and some black trim; the scarlet is caught up again in the table linen and some service costumes. The subdued lighting is from sunken spotlights in the 40-foot ceiling. “I am prepared to surrender my fee for as long as this lasts,” the entertainer was quoted as saying in a Courier-Post story. A 1983 Courier-Post retrospective included memories from Dushoff’s assistant and his widow, Doris.“When the stars performed in Cherry Hill, they frequently would stay at either the Rickshaw Inn or the Cherry Hill and attempt to blend into South Jersey,” the story read. The new venue also had The Forest, a restaurant that seated 350, and an upstairs VIP lounge with video and game rooms.
In a 1974 review from a dinner theater event, the Courier-Post described the showroom as “a shallow amphitheater dipping toward a stage plenty large enough for (a) full-scale musical. Harry Belafonte, known as much for his social activism as for his talent as a performer, heard about the impending work stoppage before a show. Performers didn’t just retreat to their swanky hotels, either. Emerald City boasted a cocktail lounge, two boutiques, a 4,000-square foot dance floor with a 17-foot light tower outfitted with the latest lighting effects, even “a grandstand to serve as a respite for weary dancers,” according to the Courier-Post story.
At its height, it employed 300 people, including waitstaff, tuxedoed maître-d’s, kitchen staff and valets. In 1965, 87 servers staged a walk-out, upset over pay and working conditions. Gerson, now running the club with his son, announced the Latin’s closing in June 1978, citing rising operating costs, competition from Atlantic City and the advent of more entertainment venues coming to Philadelphia and South Jersey. 8, 1978, Gerson was telling the Courier-Post about a new concept in the Latin’s building: Emerald City, calling it a “startling,” “dazzling” and “brilliant” disco-themed venue.
The lights of the Latin Casino drew the biggest stars to a little slice of Las Vegas on Route 70 in South Jersey — a glamorous concert venue and dinner club that seated as many as 2,000 people. The Latin had its share of issues, though — some involving its big-name performers. By 1978, casino gambling was taking hold in Atlantic City, and the A-list acts were flocking to its glitzy new lounges, bypassing the Latin Casino.
He never recovers and dies 1984 at a Mount Holly hospital.1972: David Dushoff dies.
Gerson and his son take over full control of the Latin Casino.1976: New Jersey voters pass a referendum allowing legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City.1978: Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts International, opens in May.