Saturday, June 02, 2018

Vintage Vegas

Who loves vintage Las Vegas? A lot of folks, I suspect.

The first two of today's scans show Caesar's Palace, circa 1975; this world-famous hotel and casino originally opened in 1966 on the Las Vegas Strip, themed to a Hollywood version of Imperial Rome (including a 20-foot tall statue of Augustus Caesar). 

I love how this first image still has that "out in the middle of a freaking desert" feeling, in spite of those measly fountains. If you don't want to gamble, maybe you can take in a champagne brunch, go lounge by the pool, and then see Steve and Eydie perform! 

I had to look up Corbett Monica,  a Borscht Belt comedian who appeared on the Ed Sullivan program 18 times, and was a frequent guest host on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson". Wikipedia even added that "...As his career wound down he was noted for touring for many years with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé". You don't say!

Using Google Maps' "street view", I tired to capture what the same approximate area looks like today - things have changed so much that it's kind of hard to tell, so I used the marquee as a landmark.

A second photo shows Caesar's in all of it's beige glory. The colonnaded entrance has a certain mid-century charm. I love the old taxi cab.

Incredibly, Caesar's now has nearly 4,000 hotel rooms. I will only stay in the "high roller" suites, as befitting my stature as an important and powerful blogger. You'll find me at the 24-hour high stakes poker tables. 

Next is this kind of murky shot of an older (1962) Vegas, along Fremont Street, and featuring places like the Fremont, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget, and The Mint. I find the Las Vegas of this era to be so appealing (especially at night), I wish I could set a Wayback Machine to 1962!


Nanook said...


You ain't kidding about things changing at Caesar's - just as with the rest of Vegas. Pity. 1962 is as grand a time to be there as any, from the "good old days".

I've definitely heard of Corbett Monica, but looking at his picture only brings back a vague remembrance of how he looked. Undoubtedly, he was side-splitting hysterical-!

And certainly, I would expect nothing less for The Major than the finest in Las Vegas' accommodations. "I'll Place $15,000.00 on 6". You big spender, you-!

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

The taxi is a '69, '70, '71, or '72 Checker Motors A9. Whittlesea Blue Cab is still in business today.

I think the palm trees along the strip were planted in '95 to help soften the "concrete desert" feel. I think it`s ironic that Anaheim also planted palm trees in the resort area to spruce up what Walt called the "cheap Las Vegas-type development" around Dinseyland.

I`ll take either 1962 or 1975 Vegas over today's version, and any version over having to dig a hole and set a post in concrete in the heat and sun and then replace a dryer motor, which is today's "to do" list.

Chuck said...

Totally forgot about the humidity. Had to get out the machete to hack my way through the atmosphere to the dig site. Gonna be a loooong day...

Patrick Devlin said...

Very nice, Major. I liked the link to the night shot. I see night shots like those and can only envision, "Diamonds are Forever" .

Nanook said...

I forgot that Corbett Monica was a regular cast member of The Joey Bishop Show (1961-1965) - for those who could stomach Joey Bishop... But, you could also see Joe Besser and Abby Dalton, among others from the usual stable of TV actors from that time.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick Devlin-
I too, am always reminded of Diamonds Are Forever whenever there are nighttime shots of downtown Vegas. Overall, it’s not the strongest of Bond pictures, but as a complete package - of which Sin City plays a huge part - it’s pull is irresistible. (Well that, and a certain Jill Oppenheim. If that name isn’t sounding familiar, just check out her stage name: Jill St. John. A-ha).

TokyoMagic! said...

I can just picture Evel Knievel in midair over those fountains in the first shot. And Fonzie too.

I haven't visited Caesar's Palace since the nineties. Does anyone know if they still have that street/sidewalk entrance to the property, where guests would ride up an escalator while looking down on miniatures of ancient Rome? It was sort of Disney-esque.

JC Shannon said...

"Vegas Baby"! In the last photo I can just picture the Rat Pack shooting Craps and Dean dealing Blackjack. My mother once saw Dean at the Sands for a two drink minimum. That's less than $5.00. Try that in today's Las Vegas. I stayed at the Fabulous Flamingo with my mom in 1961. At the time it was really "out in the desert". It was my first airplane ride, a Western Airlines Lockeed Electra prop-jet. Good times, ring a ding ding. Thanks Major.

Patrick Devlin said...

Hey, JC my first airliner ride (PSA) was to Vegas as well, though it was mumble, mumble years ago.

Melissa said...

”The taxi is a '69, '70, '71, or '72 Checker Motors A9.

Do you suppose Johnny Cash built it one piece at a time?

Going to Las Vegas wasn't my first time in an airplane, but it was my second! And that picture of myself fighting the Gorn that I linked to a couple days back was from the old Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton. Anyway, I've rattled on about my Vegas nostalgia and so many previous GDB posts that I should probably stop now.

Has anyone else seen pictures of the entrance sign for the new Toy Story Land in Florida, with the giant statue of Sheriff Woody, and been reminded of the big neon “Vegas Vic” cowboy from the Pioneer Club on Fremont Street?

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing from the last pic is Bond in the red Mustang.

Apart from the stifling heat, it was the incessant buzzing of the neon facades. This is definitely the Vegas I remember.

Thanks Major. I'll carry your bags for you when you head back again.