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Before relocating to Las Vegas in 1999 my family use to vacation in here in the 70's.  As a high school teacher in Florida my father had the same three months off as I did. We would load up the family custom Dodge van and truck our way across this once great country towards Las Vegas.  Here are some of the images from those early travels to land of dreams.   

In Las Vegas nothing is classic, historical, or of value if it's not profitable. If it serves no purpose it's demolished and the property waits for new construction.  

 


    The Landmark Tower was a hotel/casino located in Paradise, Nevada. The Landmark opened on July 1, 1969 and closed on August 8, 1990. The Landmark played host to famous celebrities such as Danny Thomas, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Freddy Fender's first appearance. With just 525 rooms, the Landmark was small in comparison to the newer Las Vegas megaresorts.  The Landmark had recurring roles in both Vega$ and Crime Story. Notice the lean to the right? Poor engineering.

 

 



     The Aladdin opened on March 31, 1966, with flower petals pouring from the ceiling and onto guests as they entered the hall. The opening entertainment included comedian Jackie Mason, the "Jet Set Revue", a musical review that showcased The Three Cheers and the Petite Rockette Dancers in the Baghdad Theatre. Prell introduced an innovative main showroom policy by offering three completely different shows twice nightly with no cover or minimum charges. The Aladdin contained a 9-hole golf course. A little more than a year after it was opened, the Aladdin was host to Elvis and Priscilla Presley's wedding. In August 1969, the Aladdin completed a $750,000 makeover including renovations to the Sinbad Lounge, which became enclosed and leveled above the casino floor with Arabic motif.

 

 

 



     The resort was sold to Wayne Newton and Ed Torres in 1980 for $85 million, snubbing an offer from comedian Johnny Carson. Newton sold his share to Torres 21 months later. Newton sued NBC, who had alleged in broadcasts, that his purchase of the Aladdin was tied to the mafia. He won a $22.8 million judgment, which was overturned on appeal.  In February 1984, the Aladdin went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  In 1981, heavy metal band Iron Maiden played at the Aladdin it was their first ever concert in America.

 


This photos was taken a couple of weeks after the fire. 

     The MGM Grand fire occurred on November 21, 1980 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (now Bally's Las Vegas) in Paradise, Nevada, USA. The fire killed 85 people, most through smoke inhalation. The tragedy remains the worst disaster in Nevada history, and the third-worst hotel fire in modern U.S. history, after the 1946 Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta that killed 119 people and the Dupont Plaza Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico fire on December 31, 1986, in which 97 perished. 

     At the time of the fire, approximately 5,000 people were in the hotel and casino, a 23-story luxury resort with more than 2,000 hotel rooms. Just after 7:00 in the morning of November 21, 1980, a fire broke out in a restaurant known as The Deli. The Clark County Fire Department was the first agency to respond. Other agencies that responded included the North Las Vegas Fire Department, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and the Henderson Fire Department. UH-1N (Huey) and CH-3E (Jolly Green Giant) helicopters from the 1st Special Operations Wing out of Hurlburt Field, FL (which were deployed to Nellis AFB to participate in Red Flag '80) were the main part of a helicopter rescue effort that pulled 1,000 people from the roof of the MGM Grand. Fire spread across the areas of the casino in which no fire sprinklers were installed. Smoke spread into the hotel tower. A total of 85 people were killed and 650 injured, including guests, employees and 14 firefighters. While the fire primarily damaged the second floor casino and adjacent restaurants, most of the deaths were on the upper floors of the hotel, and were caused by smoke inhalation. Openings in vertical shafts (elevators and stairwells) and seismic joints allowed toxic smoke to spread to the top floor.

     The disaster led to the general publicizing of the fact that during a building fire, smoke inhalation is a more serious threat than flames. Seventy-five people died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, four from smoke inhalation alone, three from burns and smoke inhalation, only one person died from burns alone, and one person died from massive skull trauma, caused by jumping from a high window.

 

 


     The Sands Hotel was a historic Las Vegas Strip hotel/casino that operated from December 15, 1952, to June 30, 1996. Designed by the architect Wayne McAllister, the Sands was the seventh resort to open on the Strip.

     During its heyday, the Sands was the center of entertainment and "cool" on the Strip, and hosted many famous entertainers of the day. Regulars were able to mingle with the stars in the lounge after their late-night shows. In its time, the Sands was located next door to the Desert Inn. The two adjacent properties were owned by the reclusive businessman Howard Hughes in the mid-1960s. Today, The Venetian stands where the Sands once stood.

 

 

 

 

This photo shows the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana. Fairly uncluttered as it looks now with the two Tropicana towers, plus the MGM where the mobil gas and motel are sitting.  The median is small, now four lanes both ways, palm trees, etc. 

 

     In the 70's Las Vegas was sparse with long walks in the hot weather between casinos. Small motels littered the strip with little shops, empty lots and gas stations. As amazing as Vegas is today, the 70's were so much better.  

 

 

     This does not look like the Tropicana/Las Vegas Blvd intersection today at all. That is definitely nothing like the still old Tropicana of today. 

 

     The old Barbary Coast was in constant battles with the owners of the Flamingo hotel. Once they painted his casino/hotel white to match the block (Flamingo, Ballys, and Caesar's). Something happen to piss off the owner and he painted his casino a chocolate brown.  Stations Casinos finally sold the Barbary coast to the Flamingo group who came up the shitty "Bill's Casino" title and it's currently under reconstruction into something new and likely expensive for everyone.  

 

     The Frontier, throughout the years has always been the ugliest casino in Las Vegas. Even when it finally closed the old west themed casino was outdated, even for the old west. LOL 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     The first casino on the site was the Club Bingo, opened in 1947. Owner Milton Prell replaced the casino with a new casino hotel in 1952 called the Sahara. It was located just outside of the City of Las Vegas, and was the sixth resort to open on the Strip. The resort was built by Del Webb.

     In late 1954, the hotel hired jazz musician Louis Prima to be their late night lounge act, one of the earliest ones on the Las Vegas Strip. Along with his then-wife Keely Smith and sax player Sam Butera, they created one of the hottest late-night attractions on the Strip. In 1956, Abbott and Costello appeared together for the last time on the Sahara stage before their permanent breakup. The hotel constructed the first high-rise tower on the Strip in 1959, designed by Martin Stern.

 

 

 

     The Showboat was built by William J. Moore of the Last Frontier and J. Kell Houssels of the for $2 million. The first resort within Las Vegas city limits, it had 100 rooms on two floors. While Moore and Houssels ran the hotel, the casino was leased by a group of managers from the Desert Inn, including Moe Dalitz. The Showboat opened on September 3, 1954. After several unsuccessful years, Joe Kelley took over management, and began successfully targeting local customers with forty-nine cent breakfast specials and other promotions.

     Kelley added a bowling alley in 1959, which soon became the Showboat's signature attraction, hosting nationally televised PBA tournaments. Showboat bowling leagues were organized in Los Angeles and Phoenix, offering winners free trips to Las Vegas for championship events. By 1979, the bowling alley grew to 106 lanes, making it the nation's third largest.

     The property's parent company, Showboat, Inc., made its initial public offering in 1969. Later that year, Ramada Inns agreed to buy the company for $15 million in stock, but negotiations failed because of conditions set by Houssels, who wanted cash for his 24 percent stake. 

 

 

 

   After the MGM fire in the 70's they purchases the land at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana and build the monstrous MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.  Little did they now that to the Japanese walking under the a lion head is bad luck or something. Thus the remodel to the Lion figure in front of the MGM today. I have walk under that lion head... yeah, it can bring bad luck even years later. lol...   This was really quite beautiful but not as majestic as the current full figured lion standing guard at the MGM today.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TimBlackwell@burnteffects.com

 


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PHOTO PRINTS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO ARTICLES OLD TV SHOWS TELEVISION THEMES
SHORT STORIES LINK TO US DISC REVIEWS SCI-FI FONTS SERIES PAGES