“Kid, Las Vegas turns women into men and men into idiots.”
-Benjamin Siegel (as quoted by Alan King)
Before Disneyland opened (hell, when Disney himself was a small child), Las Vegas has been the playground, albeit an adult one, that many had longed for and recovered from for over a century. Sure, Walt’s own land might have satisfied the young child’s desires, but once those youngin’s grew up, learned to tolerate hard liquor and got their collective butts kicked hard by puberty, there wasn’t much Walt could do but watch his now-grown kids seek out that bigger thrill ride that only Vegas can fulfill. Disney building his version of New Orleans’ French Quarter with all the beads but none of the flashing breasts and the smell of booze was a defeating effort.
While I had my own personal relationship with “Uncle Disney”, endlessly riding through Tomorrowland on the PeopleMover as if I were really in “The Future”, my exposure to Vegas started much earlier than most.
My first exposure to this Neonland came from inside of a camper on the way to living in Roy, Utah in 1975. Our dad wanted to do a bit of gambling while passing by, so our step-mother made my older brother and I stay inside the camper for over an hour while they both had Dad’s share of the fun. While we looked out the window, studying all the outrageous architecture and feeling the heat and electricity in the air from that camper window, it felt like a poor white trash F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby scenario; so close, yet so far. You can see it, smell it, drool over it, BUT you couldn’t join the party. In retrospect, we were still Disneyland age and not ready to get our hind-ends kicked by Vegas yet. (the step-mother was still a passive-aggressive jerk though)
The Vegas seeds from this frustrated pit stop would soon bloom during my first real Vegas trip in the summer of 1978. When this trip was first announced, I had a small fear of being kidnapped by the mob straight off the Strip for being too young to walk the those streets. I can only attribute this pointless fear to my geekish days in junior high school.
Regardless, that first ride down the Strip was a rush I couldn’t contain, thus making yours truly a major 14-year old nuisance to my mom and her then-boyfriend. Once we settled into our room in the motel section of the Stardust, I pounded the pavement up and down the strip, desperately trying to see and get everything all at once. Obviously, I was way too young for 95% of the attractions these gambling palaces were offering, but, to me, this urban wonderland was better than anything Disney and his copyrightedLands could offer.
To say that I geeked out there was the least that can be said as this was the starting gun for my Vegas fetish; collecting anything I can get my hands on, keeping track of the resorts like a sports fan tracks his favorite player and/or team, recording resort radio commercials on the 50,000 watt KDWN-AM, drawing and talking about this town at my junior and regular high school, dreamed about living and working there and so on. Yes, I became that obnoxious about this city.
…and that’s what this personal site will lay bare for all to bravely witness; the old and new versions of my Las Vegas obsession; bits and pieces, trips and what’s left of my collection and what not.
Below are just some of the slices of what's left of my Las Vegas moments.
Good damned luck,
Trips? Yup, they were too many to mention and remember. Luckily, some are more worthy to mention and
remember than most.
Here is what’s left of my old collection of brochures of places that, these days, are too old to stand anymore.
Yup, there are a ton of 'em and I managed to read and collect JUST some of them. A big mountain to climb and I
manage to review some of them here. Wish me and my spell checker luck.
Actually there are a few Vegas-related zines out there and here are just a very few I managed to get my hands on.
I’m not the only one who has a blind interest in this town, and many more of them actually are willing to sweat it out by living there. They are much braver fools than myself.
I recorded a lot of commercials from this radio station before it went all talk-radio. Here’s my small tribute to the old K-Dawn of yore.
LAS VEGAS, DAMNIT!
A Sin City mix tape project that's getting out of hand.....much like the town itself.
NEVADA MAGAZINE spring 1972 (excerpts)
I bumped into this issue many years ago. It is one of their VEGAS issues circa 1972. Here are some excerpts.
GAMBLING TIMES February 1978 (excerpts)
We continue our magazine highlights with this issue of Gambling Times. We feature some old ads, an article on
Union Plaza and a Ralph Peal article on Paul Anka.
This section is a collection of clippings from the entertainment magazine/newspaper Billboard Magazine related to this city. The time line is all over the place, but the focus is on the late 70's.