Burlesque was a form of live entertainment with skits, comedians, music and scantily clad women. To no ones surprise the audiences were overwhelmingly male. Burlesque was considered quite risqué , although by todays standards it was quite tame. The Minsky’s were famous for their burlesque shows. However,times and taste change and Mayor LaGuardia, considering burlesque immoral, had it outlawed in New York. Harold Minsky moved his burlesque show across the Hudson to Newark.
Minsky took over the Adams Theater, on Branford Place, in 1952. He applied to the City of Newark for a permit to have a burlesque show but was denied. After an appeal he was allowed to open which he did in August 1953.On December 21st,1955 Newark passed an ordinance making burlesque illegal. The ordinance forbade shows in which an actor disrobed or created an illusion of nudeness. The law also banned profane, lewd or indecent language. Newark’s two burlesque houses launched an immediate challenge. They pursued their legal battle all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Court declined to hear the case. The ban on burlesque went forward. Minsky did not wait for the verdict and shut his show on February 7th, 1957. He took his show to Las Vegas where he found a favorable environment for his style of entertainment. He spent the rest of his life in Las Vegas.
In the February 6th, 1957 Newark Evening News announced:
BURLESQUE CLOSES FEBRUARY 7TH, 1957
Harold Minsky , who brought burlesque to the old Adams Theater in August 1953, said the fifty permanent employees at the theater had received one-week lay-off notices.
He said tomorrow night’s last show beginning at 10 o’clock, would ring down the curtain. Minsky estimated that Newark is one of only 15 to 20 cities in the country where burlesque shows operated.