Wrecking ball keeps Las Vegas ‘booming’

Aug 13, 2002 11:55 AM

Las Vegas has always been a "boom" town, but not always because of the boom in population. Over the years I’ve seen the "booming" of old Las Vegas in the form of implosions.

And because I worked for Young Electric Sign Company, I can associate the demolished hotel with the entertainer that performed there.

For instance, boom went the Hacienda (Redd Foxx), which eventually became the site for Mandalay Bay. Then boom went the Dunes (Cab Calloway), which is now Bellagio.

Then boom went the Landmark (Roy Clark) ”” what’s left is a parking lot. The biggest boom was the Sands because of the Rat Pack (now the Venetian).

Boom went the old Aladdin (The Treniers), making way for the new Aladdin. It hasn’t exactly gone boom yet, but the Desert Inn (where Howard Hughes once lived) is probably next to fall in favor of Steve Wynn’s Le Reve.

Probably the most painful boom of all was when the old Silver Slipper was demolished, making way for parking and expansion of the Frontier.

There were great shows at the Slipper, especially those country hoedowns. But perhaps the most memorable was when I put the name "Christine Jorgensen" up on the marquee. It was billed as the "What Is It Revue."

If you don’t recall, Jorgensen was the first transsexual in the world, fresh from Copenhagen. It was the dawning of the "he-she" age! It was quickly afterward that I had to change the sign to, "All Star Revue."

Up the street at the Marina (now the MGM Grand) the legendary Pat Cooper rocked the house at night, and played the ponies all day. And no matter how much he won or lost, he always had some C-notes and 50’s to hand out to his pals.

I now work for a security company protecting most of the hotels that replaced the oldies. But they’ll never replace those great memories.