Saturday, July 20, 2019

E-307: The Heathers Room

Random Vegas
The 56 room Desert Rose Motel existed on the Las Vegas strip from 1953-1995.  Why do we care about a motel without a casino attached to it, because in 1995, it was razed to the ground to make way for the Monte Carlo, known today as Park MGM (Neon Museum) 

Twitpic of the week



Awe, I wanna stand on top of Luxor.  Sincerely, here is a blank check.  Write whatever number is required to allow me to have this experience.  Depending on the amount you write, you may or may not want to even bother attempting to cash that though.  Aside from the experience, here we get to see a time when properties would use a large real estate on vast parking lots.  Still fascinates me.  Thankfully they’ve learned to better utilize their space and abandon the mall parking lot concept.  Some better than others.  Once again shared by @summacorp, photo by Galen Rowell, captures a moment in time more valuable than 95% of every picture any of us have ever taken.

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

E-306: Cream of Nut Spread



Random Vegas

The Golden Nugget opened on Fremont St in 1946.  The signage best known for its appearance in the James Bond film Diamonds are Forever as well as the signage on display when Steve Wynn initially took over the property in 1973, featured a glittering nugget of gold with the date 1905 above it.  That date is the year the city of Las Vegas was born.  Specifically, May 15th, 190, coincidentally, the same date as my birthday.  (Neon Museum) 

Twitpic of the week



Look at those cars.  Look at those colors.  @TonyIllia’s picture this week seems to capture downtown Las Vegas like a fuckin oil painting, exaggerating the reality of the time.  But it isn’t an exaggeration.  This is a fuckin picture, simply capturing the awe-inspiring site that was downtown Las Vegas in the late 1950s.  I find it apropos that this photo was shared at this time while we continue work on our next large scale 360 Vintage Vegas project, the evolution of Fremont St. Not only that, it features the Nevada Club, the one first casinos on Fremont to absorb its next-door neighbor so it could expand its footprint, merging 113 and 117 Fremont St.

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Saturday, July 6, 2019

E-305: The Face



Random Vegas
Average Las Vegas casino electricity bill is about $100,000/month. Big casinos are much more. For example, MGM Grand averages $350,000/month. (VitalVegas)

Twitpic of the week

I never liked the Frontier.  I didn’t like the theme, thought the place was gross and was indifferent to the signage.  I understood why other people liked it because I kind of liked O’Shea’s and it was a shithole.  But honestly, I was happy to see it go.  Then perspective set in while I continue to try and learn everything I can about the city that changed my life.  And even though the Frontier was nothing more than an attempt to copy the El Rancho but make it better in every way, the fact is…they accomplished it.  Think about it, Walt Disney didn’t invent amusement parks, he just found a way to do it better than everyone else.  Also, this show was created in the same vain.  In 2011, when I was just a fan of Las Vegas like all of you listening and looking for podcasts to listen to about it, I couldn’t help but think of all the things I wish the shows I enjoyed would do.  Not being the kind of person to tell someone else how they should produce their creative outlet, that desire for more evolved into the 360 Vegas Podcast.  All that said, it still doesn’t change my feelings about the Frontier, but now I respect it and it’s place in the city’s history.  Thank you @classiclasvegas for helping to guide that revelation

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

E-304: Virgining Market


Random Vegas
May advertising, a Las Vegas ad agency, created 250 logos for the Union Plaza (now plaza) before one was approved (@vitalvegas)

Twitpic of the week

The monologue for this week’s winner will be unique in that it gives me a chance to share some insight into what goes into Vintage Vegas research, or maybe its just a fun fact with impeccable timing.  I’m currently working on a large project to document the evolution of Fremont and the people who played a part in it. Recently, my research has led me to a connection to the owners of the various casinos that used to exist in the place known today as the Bonanza, the World's Largest Gift Shop, on the north west corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Sahara.  Almost as if they knew I was going to need it, @NeonMuseumshared a picture of two of the casinos that existed at that location for a time, MoneyTree and Honest John’s Casinos.  As previously state, research is ongoing, so that’s all I can tell you about those two casinos.  What I learn will be shared in a future Vintage Vegas episode

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

E-303: Have You Seen Minority Report?



Random Vegas
The Hacienda Hotel & Casino was one of a chain of 4 properties each featuring a distinctive horse and rider sign.  The other 3 locations were in California. (Neon Museum) 

Twitpic of the week



It’s so Vegas it's kind of annoying while simultaneously being sexy as hell.  If LED signage is eye-catching, what does one 30 stories tall do.  @Palms hopes it draws people to the off-strip property that kicked off the nightclub revolution in the city only to eventually be outdone by their strip counterparts.  Returning to the well is a risky proposition but how else do you recommend they reclaim their place in the market?  But when renovation costs exceed that of some newer projects, is there any chance they can recoup their investment?  Time will tell. 

News


Saturday, June 8, 2019

E-302: 360 Vegas Vacation 8 Spring 2019



Random Vegas 
Since it opened in 1941, despite multiple expansions and renovations, the property has never changed it exterior fa├žade.  On Feb 22, 2013, the El Cortez, the original hotel/casino built on Fremont St, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 


Twitpic of the week 


Metaphor, oh how I love the.  Unless the architect for the property’s marquee signage was Nostradamus, there is no way they could have known how the landscape of the Vegas valley would evolve over the years.  Regardless, when the El Cortez opened in 1941, its marquee design would essentially direct your attention to the future of the city on Highway 91, a POV we had the opportunity to enjoy for the first during 360VV8.  Then again, maybe they did see what lay just beyond the horizon.  After all, 1941 was also the year that the El Rancho, Las Vegas Blvd’s first proper hotel/casino, would open.  An event that signaled the rise of what would later be known as the Strip.  A nickname coined by another Vegas pioneer and former LA Police officer Guy McAfee, inspired by the famous California Sunset Strip.  If that name rings a bell for another reason, it may be because McAfee built the Golden Nugget and co-founded the city of Paradise Nevada so casino owners on the strip could avoid paying taxes to the city of Las Vegas by establishing themselves outside of the Las Vegas city limits. 

Official Photographer @japluto09

Saturday, May 25, 2019

360 Vintage Vegas: Luxor






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Luxor changed my life.  It can be credited as the property that brought me to Vegas for the first time with a theme that made me say "I have to go see that". The inspiration for this show, my love for just about all things involving the city including becoming a student of it's history can all be traced back to this property.  While it’s true, over the years, I’ve not spent a lot of time at Luxor.  In fact, I haven’t stayed at the property since my first trip.  I can still say with no exaggeration that I love Luxor.  This is the story of the 1st pyramid built in the desert in over 6,000 years.

For more information on Luxor, Bill Bennett and Mandalay Resorts, check out



Saturday, May 18, 2019

E-301: Highest Functioning Autistic EVER



Random Vegas 
When bill acceptors were added to slot machines in the '90s, it generated a 30% increase in the amount of money played. (@VitalVegas via Natasha Dow Schull) 


Twitpic of the week 



The story of Rio is a tragic tale.  When it opened, it was a monster success, pioneering the move to fine dining and celebrity chefs.  3 years after opening in 1990, the property was so popular that it built and opened a 20-story expansion tower, showcased this week by @LuckysLasVegas.  In 1997, at a cost of about $200 million dollars, it unveiled the “Masquerade in the Sky” show.  When Harrah’s Entertainment decided to relocate their corporate headquarters from Memphis TN to Las Vegas in the late 90s, they didn’t feel they owned a property that was worthy to setup operations in.  So they purchased the Rio in 1999 for $888 million and established it as their corporate headquarters.  And so began its downfall.  Years later, after all the celebrity chefs left, CEO at the time Gary Loveman would admit that they made the mistake of thinking they could run Rio with the same way they run Harrah’s.  Despite making Rio the home of their prized acquisition, the World Series of Poker, the property has noticeably not received any of the renovation love that has been given out to all its sister properties.  While Rio has been at the middle of many sale rumors, the latest claiming it will be demolished so a baseball stadium can be built on the land would not only be its final indignity, it would be its most egregious.  The irony isn’t lost on me that a sport infamous for its many cheating scandals wants to move to a city that originally identified the importance of insuring that the games had to be fair to the player only to recently adopted the practice of hidden fees.   

News


Saturday, May 11, 2019

E-300: FSE Dimmer Switch



Random Vegas 
The NYNY skyline is a collage of 12 NY skyscrapers approximately one-third the size of the originals with a 150-foot-tall Statue of Liberty (super casino) 

Twitpic of the week 



It’s fascinating to me that @Cosmopolitan_LV does more with 4.4 acres of land than City Center is able to do with 19 time that real estate.  Don’t get me wrong, the City Center campus is attractive.  It’s just, who really wants to vacation in an office park on the strip.  I know that sounds like a knock but it isn’t intended to be in this case.  It’s more a testament to how special the minds who think up such concepts are.  As critical as I can be towards some of the decisions made by the people running the casinos I love, I always try to keep in mind before voicing that opinion, especially a negative opinion, is could I do any better.  And the answer is no.  Then again, that’s not my job.  I’ve never claimed to know how to build a better resort.  I make a point to stay in my lane and share insight I feel I can offer educated commentary on.  Speaking of, let me give a little insight into what’s going on today in Vegas.  Vegas has historically been recession proof, or at least virtually.  After feeling the impact of the Great Recession, everything, including long standing established protocol, is under scrutiny by industry leadership.  History shows us that Vegas may be the first company to follow the software development philosophy known as Agile.  A practice that gives businesses the ability to try out new concepts while still giving them the freedom to pivot from the original plan when market feedback does not respond favorably.  Today, we are at that juncture.  Just like the patience one needs to exhibit when telling a child not to do something for the millionth time, now is the time to stay resolute because the hardest thing for a company to explain to shareholders is eliminating a source of revenue for the betterment of the company.  Keep complaining about resort fees, paid parking and CNF charges.  Reward companies like Wynn and TI who are beginning to eliminating such fees with your patronage.  Support them for pioneering the change back to a Vegas that can be experienced by all income demographics.  

News

Saturday, May 4, 2019

E-299: Lesidency



Random Vegas
The La Concha Motel lobby was designed in 1961 by Paul Revere Williams, the first African American elected Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.  To this day it is considered one of the best preserved examples of 1950s googie architecture, a style featuring upswept roofs, curvaceous geometric shapes and its use of neon. The La Concha lobby is now the Neon Museum's visitors' center (Neon Museum & Research) 

Twitpic of the week



It’s quite simply one of the best marquees that has existed in Vegas history.  A truly mesmerizing sign whose presence was not only grand but glorious.  Shared this week by @summacorp aka vintageLasVegas on instagram, this whole style of architecture resonates with me in an unexplainable way.  I find the swooping curves breathtaking, get lost in the sparkle of the lettering and could spend hours watching the lights cascade back and forth.  It’s a special thing when signage becomes iconic.  While I like that owners of the small dive casino bar west of Lucky Dragon have resurrected the name and installed a smaller version of this marquee, make no mistake, the Mint has not returned.  That being said, here’s hoping that this is the start of a new era in Vegas where unforgettable brands return to the landscape. 

News

Saturday, April 27, 2019

E-298: Icahnification



Random Vegas 
In the Fall of 94, Martin Scorsese began filming the movie Casino in Las Vegas.  Bob Stupak was cast in a non-speaking role for the movie.  At one point, he approached the director and asked for a larger role with lines.  When his request was declined, he demanded a speaking role.  His demand caused his part in the movie to be recast.  Bob would later joke "I guess I overplayed my hand" (No Limit) 

Twitpic of the week


I will forever be torn by my affection for the Fremont St Experience canopy and my love of what downtown looked like without it.  I dream of the day when it evolves into something of a transformer; retracting itself in between shows at night revealing the glory that is neon signage bouncing off a sky background.  Oh, or have all the hotel towers facing Fremont St cover themselves in LED like the side of Palms instead of having a canopy.  Oh, if not that, how great would it be if the first commercial use of a time machine was so you could visit the various eras of downtown Las Vegas.  So many things I’d love to see.  The Sundance in the early 80s, an operational Vegas Vic and Vegas Vicki and possibly the greatest exterior incarnation of the Golden Nugget, with the bullnose corners, after it first took over the entire block between 1st and Casino Center Blvd.  I dream of seeing the best use of neon in history, the Mint marquee, and even though it replaced said beloved marquee, see Binion’s version of the bullnose corner, shared this week by @Summacorp.  If only we all looked this good in old pictures.

News


Saturday, April 20, 2019

E-297: Does Mom Know?



Random Vegas
In 2007, the Brand Ranking survey saw Las Vegas rise to America’s number two brand, behind only google (The Strip – Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream) 

Twitpic of the week 



Glorious is one way to describe the Galaxy Bar at Vegas World.  Vegas as fuck is another.  Say what you will about Bob Stupak, he got it right with this amenity.  Potentially inspired by what I can only imagine every brothel in Pahrump looks like inside, the use a mirrored ceiling to capture the reflection of the light feature creates the illusion of infinity.  Trapped in tacky you say? We should all be so lucky. That being said, I can’t help but think everything you see in the picture shared by @summacorp is sticky.

News

Saturday, April 13, 2019

E-296: Bill Cosby Head Shake



Random Vegas
Per a recent press release, since opening in 1995, the Joint @Hard Rock concert venue has hosted 709 shows, 14 residencies, 42 comedy shows, 45 Rap / Hip-Hop / R & B Acts, 52 Country Acts, 392 Rock ‘n’ Roll Acts, played 2,127 hours of music and sold 1.14 million tickets (@VitalVegas

Twitpic of the week



An Arthurian representation of wealth housing a den of vice for those who are not wealthy.  An icon of the Vegas strip that declares without saying a word that there is something for everyone in the city to enjoy.   Selected this week, not only for the view it shared but the joke attached to it.  @Bluestorm2000‘s cleaver wordplay delivered with a regal accent that would make the queen proud somehow permeates even via text.  Apropos considering the inspiration for the concept.  The longer I live Vegas the more I feel the responsibility to find out the great answers mankind has sought after, like what is in that center tower?  Is it office buildings? Is it storage? What kind of storage? You know, the hard-hitting sort of journalism that changes the world.  If you're thinking to yourself, “What was the joke attached to the picture?”  I guess you’re just gonna have to go to twitter yourself and see. 

News


Saturday, April 6, 2019

E-295: Anticahn



Random Vegas 
Before Vegas World was done with construction, Bob was approached by the Nevada Culinary Union who attempted to pressure him to hired dues paying members.  When he wouldn't do as they requested, they began to picket the property.  In response, Bob organized the Vegas World staff and had them picket the union with signs proclaiming their practices were unfair.  At one point, Bob offered to resolve the matter and sign the union contract if the organizers could beat his carnival trained roosters at tick-tac-toe.  Eventually the Union was ordered to stop their illegal protest in front of the property in 1980 (No Limit

Twitpic of the week


I think this is the appeal of Lonnie Hammargren’s houses, a pile of things you can’t help but wonder “How the hell did this all get here?”.  Not just how did this physically get here but what’s the story?  Because there is no way there isn’t a story behind how this came to be here from wherever it came from.  Unlike Lonnie’s house, the Neon Museum keeps things that have a million different stories of memorable moments and legendary hot streaks, depending on the person telling the story. While they may all have a memorable tone they are intimately unique.  Perhaps more than any time in the recorded history of the adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has the retort, “Who the hell thinks any of this is trash” ever been more apropos.  You can thank @arivetinglife for inspiring the recognition this moment.

News


Saturday, March 16, 2019

E-294: Patting the Soft Helmet



Random Vegas 
In 2002, Stratosphere owners proposed a roller coaster attraction that would depart from the base of the pod, drop passengers to the ground at a top speed of 93mps before curving at the bottom into a misshapen "U" track that would cross Las Vegas Blvd.  The project was blocked by residents claiming it would not only be a distraction for traffic but would undermine plans to revitalize the area by discourage new residents from moving in. Almost 20 years later, the revitalization plans have yet to materialize (No Limit

Twitpic of the week 



This week I realized I will not be able to get a helicopter pilots license; because there is a 100% chance that I’ll be too distracted enjoying views like the one shared this week by @MaverickHeli and die in a fiery crash.  That being said, what a way to go.  If I could only guarantee that I’d crash into a remote area so I was the only one hurt.  But again, I can’t, because I’d be too distracted looking at views like the one shared this week by @MaverickHeli.  Something else this picture forces me to realize is I need to work on my patience so I can take a Helicopter ride over Vegas, or many of them.  Or maybe not so I can continue to be captivated every time someone shares a unique view.  Shit, now I have dueling patience issues. 

News


Saturday, March 2, 2019

360 Vintage Vegas: Bill Bennett and Circus Circus




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Looking at the same thing everyone else sees and seeing it in a way no one else before has is just one of the many reasons he took a property that failed almost the day it opened and turned it into the most successful gaming company in Vegas history.  Yet, despite all he accomplished, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never even heard of a man referred to by many as one of the most influential in the evolution of Las Vegas.  This is Bill Bennett’s story. 

Make no mistake about it, Bill Bennett was a genius; a true pioneer in gaming. While history will forever glorify the legacy of Steve Wynn and Kirk Kerkorian, Bill Bennett is the reason Las Vegas is as popular and diverse as it is today. Before him, no one in Vegas seemed to care about the majority of the people who listen to shows like ours. While some argue things have changed for the worst and lament for the days of old when tuxes and gowns were required attire for an evening in Las Vegas, Bennett saw that it was a place that should be enjoyed by all.   While he never cared much for self promotion or the kind of attention Wynn embraces, ultimately he did want credit for what he did.  While historians recognize him as one the most important figures in the cities history, we honor his memory by making sure you, the listener, die-hard lovers of Las Vegas, know this as well.

If your interested in learning more about Bill Bennett, check out "Forgotten Man"

Saturday, February 23, 2019

E-293: Icahnic Evil



Random Vegas 
3 years after the 1993 Dunes implosion destroyed one of the most iconic strip marquees in Vegas history, the Neon Museum nonprofit was officially launched after 16 years of planning.  One of their goals, prevent anything like that from happening again (VegasSeven.com) 

Twitpic of the week 



What most people don’t realize, is that, like most things, snow in Las Vegas isn’t the same as it is everywhere else.  It’s better.  Here, it's just mother nature's contribution to the spectacle.  And just like the decorations on display promoting whatever random celebration is going on that week, the following week, you’re unable to find a trace of the past.  Watching snow fall here is just as magical as it is everywhere else without any of the residual issues that come with a prolonged winter season.  @NickyFurmage shared our favorite picture of snow falling around the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign this week.  I was hoping for a great picture of Luxor covered in snow but unfortunately all that were shared looked like they were taking with a Motorola razor flip phone.

News

Saturday, February 16, 2019

E-292: It's Magnets, Keren


Random Vegas

To draw traffic to his casinos during traditionally slow times, Jackie Gaughan, best known as the owner of the El Cortez, would give out up to 70,000 boxes of candy on any given holiday; Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. 
Twitpic of the week



Magical.  I can think of no better way to describe it.  I don’t bemoan the evolution of Las Vegas. It’s that creative evolution that drew me to the city in the first place.  It’s the lack of creativity currently being showcased that disappoints me.  I’m the last person to criticize the excitement of using new technology. That being said, knowing what all of these LED signs can do, I look forward to the time when they stop being used as giant TVs playing an endless loop of commercials and start getting creative like the neon signage of old, showcased this week by @Summacorp a la Stardust Circa 1959.  However I fear this may be similar to the endless conversation I have with my beloved wife. Attempting to show her all the bells and whistles, shortcuts and efficiency enablers available on her apple devices only to be disregarded and scolded for not allowing her to utilize them in the way that works for her.  Shaking my head in defeat, I’ll never understand the resistance to better.   

News

(Thanks @GamblinMcGoo)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

E-291: Liquor Up and Down



Random Vegas 
All the custom videos advertising the rebranded name “The Strat” have something gold in them, a call back to their new owners, Golden Entertainment (Vital Vegas) 

Twitpic of the week



There isn’t enough massive signage at the street level.  Like signage so close you could jump up and touch it with your hands.  Then again, I imagine that’s exactly why you can’t find signage you can touch anymore.  While Neon lights don’t get hot, they weren’t the only source of exterior illumination utilized in the Fremont signs of yesteryear, shared this week by @TonyIllia, flashing lightbulbs do get hot.  And while I think the generations of the last 40 years have cornered the market on lawsuits resulting from being stupid, just like sex, recent generations didn’t invent stupid.  Signs like these are the reason why I visit the Neon Museum so often.  There’s something about being surrounded by massive signage that reminds me just how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things.  And yet, all those signs were made by people.  So maybe we are a little bigger than that.



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