Las Vegas Legends

 

"Never use a big word when a little filthy one will do." - Johnny Carson

 

 

Frank Sinatra

Dean Martin

Dean Martin Live in Las Vegas

Frank Sinatra
with Dean Martin

Jerry Vale

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Elvis

Lola Falana

Don Rickles

Sonny & Cher

The Supremes

Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows

Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

Louis Prima

Pat Cooper

Johnny Carson

Mort Lindsey

Liberace

Joan Rivers

Las Vegas Postcards

Totie Fields

Wayne Newton

George Carlin

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme

Redd Foxx

Las Vegas & The Mob

Henny Youngman

Rodney Dangerfield

How Las Vegas Has Changed Since the 1970s

How Las Vegas Has Changed Since the 1960s

More on How Las Vegas Has Changed Over the Years

BONUS: Garry Shandling in Las Vegas

Johnny Carson  : Las Vegas Legend

Johnny Carson didn't just rule late night television he was a dominant force on the Las Vegas Strip as well. He played Vegas often and the crowds, especially the folks from the midwest, adored Johnny.

Everyone of a certain age holds Johnny Carson in high esteem. And no wonder, he was able to gab with just about any celebrity, writer, politician, and did it with an easygoing style and grace.

That style carried over nicely to Las Vegas stages.

The affable comic began playing Las Vegas in ernest in the 1960s at the Sahara hotel and continued to headline the big room there for 13 years. He liked the area so much he bought a TV station in Vegas. These were the days when folks needed casino game education, gambling, roulette, slot machines and the lot were very unfamiliar to the average person.

Sahara Director of Marketing and Entertainment Ron Garrett said about Carson's appearances, "It was the toughest ticket in town. He always filled the room." Indeed, the crowds loved Carson's midwest personality so much the laughs came as much from his persona as the stellar comedy material he delivered.

"I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself." - Johnny Carson

Vegas giants Dean Martin and Johnny Carson winged it during one of the primetime Tonight show anniversary specials and it's a sight to see. Poor Dean was bombed, and yes, he really did drink that much. It wasn't just an act like folks pretended back in the day. Another Vegas biggie Buddy Hackett liked to go head to head with Johnny, trying so hard not to get dirty like he would in his Vegas act.

Carson worked so well with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin he was considered an unofficial member of the Rat Pack. Notice how easily he fits in with their between the tunes tomfoolery.

When he headlined weekends at the Sahara, Carson's contract stated that he had to be in his own Malibu bed by Sunday morning. The Sahara chartered a jet and limo to make sure he got there. Now that's star power. And Carson possessed that in spades! There will never be another like him. That's because no late night entertainer could ever attract the audience numbers Johnny got on a typical night.

Johnny was married four times leading him to quip, "If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover Spam." His alimony payments weere often a source for laughs in his Vegas act.

Here's Johnny Carson performing with The Rat Pack, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin.

It's a shame we no longer have guys like Johnny Carson to enjoy in Las Vegas today. The comics today just don't have his panache, his easy going style and razor sharp comedy bits, many of which were lifted from Jackie Gleason's act. Fortunately we have a large treasure trove of Tonight Shows to remember him by.


 Did you know Paul Anka's theme for the Tonight show was based on his instrumental from 1960, Toot Sweet?

 



Great NEW Oral History about
the end of Las Vegas' golden age!

YOUR GO-GO HOST: Billy Ingram

 

April 6, 2017

 

"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead." - Johnny Carson

 

 


Las Vegas Legends