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Nevada club in vegas

Las Vegas Today and Yesterday

Las Vegas. The impossible city, carved incredibly out of the middle of a merciless desert, the brainchild of mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel who never lived to see his baby become the raging success he knew it would be. He was assassinated because of what his big moneyed partners, also mobsters, thought was destined to be nothing but a wasteful boondoggle stranded in the arid sands.

Not even hot-tempered Bugsy envisioned what an amazing attraction The Vegas Strip would become, or how fashionable it would be in the 60s and 70s when folks would dress in tuxes and evening gowns when they hit gambling sites like the Sands, Mirage or the Riviera. It wasn’t just the games of chance that drew crowds from around the country, from around the world. It was the stellar entertainment where the biggest names in entertainment lit up the marquees - from Sinatra and Dean Martin to Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Martin.

In modern times there is even more to see, one would likely need a casino guide to navigate the landscape. The hotels, the casino floors are larger than anyone could have imagined 40 years ago when Vegas was still a small town, with neon encrusted hotels basically laid out down one long boulevard.

Vegas no longer possesses that Rat Pack mystique it once had and is no longer as dependent on singing stars like Elvis and Steve & Eydie to draw customers, it’s the hotels themselves that are the main attraction today. The city is most famous in modern times for the elaborate replicas of the Eiffel Tower, New York City and the Egyptian pyramids - and enthusiastic recreations of the Rat Pack shows starring pale imitations of Frank, Dean and Sammy.

Well, let’s face it, Las Vegas was never about authenticity - nor was it ever meant to be. It’s the great escape, always has been, always will be.

Viva Las Vegas!

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Watch this clip of some of the legendary
performers that played the big rooms in the 1970s:

 

 


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