This book chronicles the life and times of Tom Powell, the larger-than-life former editor and now associates publisher of Amusement Business, an outdoor amusement industry business-to-business weekly newspaper.
In his 30-plus years with the publication, TP, as he is known to most, has become a celebrity journalist. He has won a bevy of awards during his days, has been officially roasted, and has judged everything from parade floats and fair queens to barbecue and sweet corn.
Amusement Business has a long and colorful history. Founded as The Billboard in 1894 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the publication grew along with the live entertainment business. Through the years, it chronicled every industry that "sold fun for profit," including fairs, carnivals, amusement parks, Vaudeville, radio, record companies, television and video. By 1961, it had grown so large and was covering so many different entertainment industries, a decision to divide the coverage was made and The Billboard and Amusement Business became two separate publications, owned by the same corporation.
The two magazines are still owned by the same parent company, VNU USA, a Dutch company that also owns dozens of additional business-to-business magazines, trade shows, and e-media properties.
Old timers in the carnival, fair and amusement park industries still call Amusement Business The Billboard and it is still considered by most as the Bible of the outdoor amusement industry.
TP arrived in 1972 at a time the newspaper and the industries it served needed a strong personality, a celebrity journalist that could pull it all together. TP soon filled those shoes and became a legend in the process.