Headlines of Yore

That time a match nearly torched a newlywed on the Atlantic City boardwalk

A Broadway actor who also showed up in Hollywood movies, she was saved by a comedian known as “the jolliest man in America.”

Actor May Boley in 'Fighting Caravans,' 1931

Actor May Boley in 'Fighting Caravans,' 1931

Wikimedia Commons

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In the early 1900s, the Atlantic City boardwalk was the place to be.

Hotels were rising as the beach town blossomed into one of the nation’s most popular resorts. Multiple rail lines ferried tourists to and from the shore, and the town was overflowing with entertainment stars. Like everyone else, the show performers regularly walked the boardwalk, at the time considered one of the region’s great innovations.

Lucky for one May Blossom Boley, a Broadway actor who had just gotten hitched to British officer Lt. Frederick Nicholson.

As the newlyweds were strolling along, a flicked match set Boley’s skirt aflame — but according to an Inquirer headline, she survived, thanks to the help of a famous comedian who happened to be passing by.

Turns out that comedian, Ralph Bingham, also played Santa Claus at Philly’s Pen & Pencil Club. Check out the details below.

Want some more? Explore other Headlines of Yore stories.

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