The over-the-top opulence here would make Henry VIII blush, but that’s what Vegas is all about – nothing in moderation; everything is sexed up to the extreme. Let’s take a walk down the Vegas Strip and check out some of the advertising, postcards, and other ephemera from Sin City from the 1950s through the 1970s. Let’s go!
The October 1963 issue of The Saharan, a magazine of the famed Las Vegas hotel/resort. Elvis played Vegas this year, and he’s throughout this issue. The caption to the cover picture:
“Voluptuous Valda Esau, former Sydney, Australia beauty now one of Hotel Sahara’s “Most American Girls in the World” introduces the resort’s famed official greeter – the Sha-Hara.”
This 1962 Tropicana advert definitely sells the sizzle. A golf course, superb pool, continental cuisine, health club, and dancing chicks in very little clothing…. who wouldn’t want to go there?
The Circus Circus resort dart toss booth may look a little lame by today’s standards, but in 1968 this worthy of a postcard.
It’s true, the glory days of Sinatra and the Rat Pack were over, but this 1968 Vegas promotion reminds us that Vegas is better than ever.
Featuring prime aged beef called “Madamoiselle” and “closed mouth vacationers”. I’m sold.
To have seen Dino and the Golddiggers at the Grand would have been amazing. The downside: the rest of your life would be an anti-climax.
And here’s the MGM Grand with a different lineup…
Sorry, but Dino and the Golddiggers trumps Roger Miller and Fabian any day.
The Sahara Presents: The ZARAS – S.R.O. in Las Vegas – 1971
(For those wondering, S.R.O. = Standing Room Only)
Personally, I’d rather see Buddy Hackett (featured in the sign above); but after a few Vegas cocktails, would it really matter?
Liberace at Caesar’s Palace 1971… wearing a pair of red, white and blue spangled hot pants! Apparently, they were designed by Liberace himself and cost $4,000 (a shit ton of money back then). Question: How was there any debate that Liberace was gay?
Fabulous Las Vegas was a magazine that ran from the 1940s through the 1970s. For Vegas nostalgia buffs and armchair historians, there’s probably no better place to go than this periodical.
A couple slightly less historically valuable Vegas magazines (but no less fun to look at).
The Frontier Hotel looks a bit…. well, average. It’s amazing how times have changed – where once this looked like the height of living large.
Another Frontier Hotel postcard. The back reads: “600 luxurious rooms and suites, Comstock Coffee Shop, Branding Iron Steak House, Day and Night Tennis Courts, Putting Green, Olympic Size Swimming Pool,…”
Again – a far cry from the insane level of “amenities” today. Note that this was a resort purchased by Howard Hughes in 1967. (Sadly, it closed its doors less than ten years ago.)
An interesting look inside the Circus Circus casino. The back of the postcard reads: “A death defying leap of 100 feet into a pad of foam rubber. This act begins in the ceiling and finishes among the Blackjack and crap tables. An unbelievable feat performed by Mr. Geriach.”
Vegas wasn’t all casinos and shows; it was also about quick-n-dirty marriages…. while inebriated.
Two competing “Parisian” shows at the Dunes and the Stardust.
Want to eat dinner in the mid-70s at the Sands’ famous Copa? Here’s your menu…
And while you eat Chicken Broth with Matzo Ball, you’ll be treated to the comic stylings of Danny Thomas and Peter Marshall…
Thomas would’ve been great; however, the Marshall segment, maybe not so much.
Nowadays, the night clubs are the main attractions in Vegas. Not in the 1960s-70s – it was about adult entertainment; namely shows, cocktails and gambling. From the back of the postcard: ” Certainly one fo the most glamorous views in the world can be obtained at the Top O’ the Strip Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge – 24th Floor. Never a cover or minimum charge. Name Band Dancing. Open daily from 12 noon to 4 AM.”
A couple Lido de Paris (Stardust Hotel) promotionals. Let’s face it, cocktails and Siegfried & Roy are nice, but it’s all about the showgirls…. at least it was back in the day.
Minsky’s at the Aladdin 1972. Feel free to use as your desktop wallpaper, and you’re welcome.
As I said, Sinatra, Dino, and Sammy had past their Vegas heyday by the late 1960s; but there was plenty of awesomeness that arrived in their place. The King, Wayne Newton, and, of course, the Playboy Casino.
Showtimes at the Dunes. The hotel/resort was another fixture on the Vegas Strip that, sadly, closed its doors in 1993.
A 1975 magazine advertisement for the Tropicana Hotel and Country Club, featuring a Folies Bergere showgirl.
“High stepping precision dancers and the world’s greatest stage productions are the order of the night for this 120 million dollar, 26 story hotel. Where else will you find 2100 rooms, two major show rooms, five entertainment lounges, and a movie theater.”
A nice look inside a typical Vegas lounge (the Silver Slipper). From the back: “Great shows and top entertainment starring picture, T.V. and nite club comedian Hank Henry. A must for visitors seeking fun and recreation. Four exciting shows nitely with never a cover or minimum charge.”
I’m not familiar with The Winners, one of a million acts playing in smaller Vegas venues. This legion of shmarmy lounge singers and leggy songstresses deserves an article of their own. Stay tuned.
Of course, Las Vegas wasn’t the only hot spot in Nevada. The northern region was home to the state’s largest slot machine. Top that, Vegas!