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Vegas: 50 years ago?

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by JR Swift, Sep 11, 2013.

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  1. JR Swift

    JR Swift High-Roller

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    As I enjoyed my last vacation day and thought back on an awesome trip to Vegas for my 50th, I started wondering what things were like 50 years ago. What was the price for a really nice hotel room, a dinner at a good restaurant, etc. Probably a reach to think anyone on here was actually doing the town that long ago but figured someone might have some information on it or would know where to look.
     
  2. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    My first trip was sometime in the mid-80's, but here's some things that were happenin' 50 years ago (give or take):

    1960: Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford) performs for first time.
    March 25, 1960: NAACP members, politicians and businessmen lift Jim Crow restrictions.
    June 17, 1960: El Rancho goes up in flames.
    Aug. 10, 1960: "Ocean’s Eleven," starring the Rat Pack, debuts.
    March 1963: McCarran Airport completes expansion and relocation project.
    Oct. 10, 1963: Atomic Age ends when Limited Test Ban Treaty goes into effect, banning above ground testing at the Nevada Test Site.
    Nov. 20, 1963: The Las Vegas Sun's newspaper office burns to the ground.
    1963: Wayne Newton performs first show at the Flamingo.
    May 20, 1964: The film “Viva Las Vegas,” starring Elvis Presley and Ann Margret, is released.
    June 3, 1964:UNLV holds first commencement ceremony as 29 students graduate in the “Centennial Class” as Nevada turns 100.
    Aug. 20, 1964:The Beatles perform at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
    Aug. 25, 1964: A rooftop fire causes $1 million in damage to the Sahara.
    April 1, 1966:The Aladdin opens with 400 rooms.
    Aug. 5, 1966:Caesars Palace opens.
    Nov. 27 1966: Howard Hughes arrives in Las Vegas and takes over the top two floors of the Desert Inn.
    Jan. 7, 1967:R.J. Parish kills six people — including himself — and injured eight others by shooting a pile of dynamite at the Orbit Inn Motel.
    March 1967: Hughes buys the Desert Inn (avoiding eviction), the first in a slew of hotels the billionaire would purchase.
    1967: Siegfried & Roy debut at the Tropicana.
    May 1, 1967:Elvis and Priscilla Presley marry at the Aladdin.
    Dec. 31, 1967:Evel Knievel crashes during his famous jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace.
    1967: The first Las Vegas Marathon takes place.
    Oct. 18, 1968:Circus Circus opens.
    1969: The Nevada Legislature approves its second Gaming Act, allowing corporations to own casinos.
    1969: Kirk Kekorian builds the International Hotel.
    July 26, 1969: Elvis Presley starts his shows at the International, signing up for four weeks, twice a year, for $125,000 per week.
    1969: B.B. King plays first show in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace.
     
  3. rayrat

    rayrat Low-Roller

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    Darlene Dalmaceda has the ultimate Facebook group: The Golden Age of Las Vegas - Vintage Hotels, Casinos, Headliners and History.

    This is outstanding stuff, worth checking out!:nworthy:
     
  4. waverunner

    waverunner BBHMM

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    Will you settle for almost 40 years ago?
    http://gaming.unlv.edu/Xanadu/then.html
     
  5. 2smooth

    2smooth Tourist

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    Watch some documentaries on YouTube. I enjoy watching the breaking Vegas series also.
     
  6. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Well, I can certainly speak to 30 years ago...

    A really nice, 'higher-end' room ran about $80 to $100... not that I ever paid for one, but I had friends who did.

    Meals were dirt-cheap... but 'Tony Romas' at the Stardust was probably the 'nicest' place I ate back then... remember - these were the days before any of the mega-resorts... even the Mirage was still a twinkle in Steve Wynn's eye. Suffice it to say, there wasn't much in the way of "fine dining" in town. Of course, since we didn't have it, we never missed it!

    Caesar's was the 'high-end' place, and compared to today, it wasn't all that. Pretty basic by today's standards.

    For me, staying at the Riv was a step up from Stardust...and their rooms were pretty nice back then.
    A nice touch was (at least at the Stardust, the Riv & Flamingo) was the "invited guest" line for check-in. Always saved you at least 20 minutes versus the "regular" line.

    The town had a completely different feel in the early-80s... and, yeah - I'm a bit nostalgic for those days.
    It was all about the gambler and all of the casinos (except, perhaps Circus) dedicated all of their efforts to appease them - even the low-rollers like me.

    Back then, the best part of getting a meal comp was the seperate line, by-passing the 30-minute wait for a table... and a smoking table, at that!
    There were Keno girls in every bar and every restaurant...

    Seeing the celebrities of the time was far more commonplace than it is today. Back then, you'd see the famous & reasonably-famous at main-floor tables, and at the cage & in the elevators. Not so much anymore.

    Cabbies were great too... I never got 'long-hauled' back in those days... and they knew all of the short-cuts to get around traffic (which wouldn't even be considered "traffic" today!).

    The demeanor/behavior of players (and dealers) was far-more civil & courteous back then. While the 'coat-and-tie' days were already long-gone, there was still a 'business-casual' kind of appearance, both with men and women... and at night, you would never ever mistake a tourist for a working girl. Not so much today.

    No porn-slappers and very-few street people...crazy-characters didn't last long on the street in those days.

    And, finally, WAY more casino floor space was dedicated to table-games... more than half back then.
    Now it's more like 20-30%...the rest is a sea-o-slots.
    :beer:
     
    Seems like forever from now, but the flights are booked, so it counts!
  7. ButterflyMtn

    ButterflyMtn High-Roller

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    Would have loved seeing Vegas back then but 50yrs ago I wasn't even a twinkle in my daddy's eye. Love reading about old Vegas.
     
  8. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    I can't go back 50 years either - my first visit was in 1966.

    I remember like it was yesterday wandering through the newly opened Caesars with my mouth open, sort of like Jethro Bodine. I had never seen anything so beautiful or opulent in my life before that.

    I remember spending many hours in the lounges listening to and enjoying many top notch acts for the price of a drink.

    And Topcard is right, it was a different place and vibe than today. But one thing has never changed, it was and always will be about the money. The thing that has changed about that is what they have to give to get your money.

    Check out the "Vintage Vegas Pictures" thread in the sticky section of this thread. You will see some pictures of Caesars that my wife and I took in July of 1967 while driving down the strip. (They were developed in 1968. There was no digital then! ;))
     
  9. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    Keep in mind that is was not like it is on tv.

    Air conditioning was something special so that means some rooms did not have it. Just a window that opens.

    You could not walk the strip while drinking. Could not take your own from outside the casino into another one. They would make you pour it out or drink it right there or leave.

    No slot clubs. You could get comped if you were performing at the tables but a regular guy didnt do this or get that.

    Tipe for a drink were $1. Seems that some people still go old school.

    Sure, high end rooms were $80 per night but they were not as nice as they are now by a long shot plus you only made 12 k per year so it still was expensive.

    Everyone love $1.99 buffets but keep in mind they werent serving lobster and crab legs, they were serving what you would get at the circus circus buffet if that and agin you only brought $200 with your because it took you 6 months to save up that much money.

    Coin in machines that only accepted 2-3 coins at a time. Your hands would be dirty al the time plus you had to lug a bunch of coins around with you everywhere.

    Then you needed to get change to play so you would have to stock up on quarters and nickles from the change lady every time you wanted to play.

    So sure people think back to the glory that was vegas but they forget the day to day stuff that made its building progress slow to a halt until steve wynn rescued it. If you think the places are far apart now, they were twice as far apart then because there were far fewer of them.
     
  10. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    My first trip to Las Vegas was in the 1970s. I miss those days! However, I still enjoy it.

    I remember a gourmet room, walnut paneling, linen tablecloths, etc., at one of the casinos (Maxim?) behind the Flamingo. Very nice and not really that expensive.

    The El Cortez had this HUGE steak dinner for $5.95, IIRC.

    LOL, at the Stardust back then, the front desk was at the front of the casino and it didn't open until like 1:00pm or so. There was a separate line for each window, so all of us in our party kind split up and got on line at various windows. Whoever got to the front first called the others over. :)

    Ya know, of all of my trips to Las Vegas over the decades, I can't remember a single encounter with any bona fide celebrity. My late aunt, however, tells of playing at a blackjack table and the substitute dealer was Dean Martin in person.

    I think of it as being casual during the day, but dressy at night. Shows and nicer restaurants were definitely nicer coordinates or a dress for ladies and jacket and tie for the guys.
     
  11. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Wow... I guess maybe I was just in the right place/right time, several times!
    Played at a blackjack table with Jack Nicholson at the Las Vegas Hilton, saw Mel Torme at the Riviera elevators, had Brooke Shields (and 'friend') in line right in front of me at the Stardust cage, saw James Garner at the check-in area at the Flamingo, and had encounters with a few others as well (mostly at the LV Hilton - all early-to-mid 80s).
    With the exceptions of Mel & Jack, I just gave a nod of recognition and/or said "hey" as I crossed paths with them.
    Actually had a 10 second conversation with Mel and a 1 or 2 minute exchange with Nicholson (during the course of play, before he left).
     
    Seems like forever from now, but the flights are booked, so it counts!
  12. jackincols

    jackincols Guest

    Ditto! I used to religiously pack a coat, dress shirt, tie, and dress pants until around 1980-1982. By then it was apparent that times were changing as to what people wore for evenings.
     
  13. AlwaysVegas

    AlwaysVegas Low-Roller

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    My first trip when I was of legal gambling age was 1991. Every time I think about what Vegas was back then...I shed a tear for those great times.
     
  14. redzone

    redzone Low-Roller

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