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Lost Vegas / Turning Back The Clock / Past Vegas / MGM Grand / EFX / Shows / Entertainment / Vegas History / → All Tags
Remember EFX? Back in MGM’s Wizard of Oz era, EFX was the spectacle of The Strip. Technical marvels KA and "O" didn’t exist and Cirque du Soleil’s first Vegas show, Mystere, was still brand new. MGM, not even two years old at the time, invested heavily in a special-effects driven show so ambitious that it dwarfed not only anything else in Vegas, but any other show in the world. Despite an eight-year run in a massive 1,800-seat theater, EFX seems to have been largely forgotten among the relics of Lost Vegas.
Reader Chris C. had some quality time with his grandma recently going through old photo albums and wondered if VegasChatter was still accepting submissions. Funny thing about the Internet is that our mailbox is always open and even more curious about the VC staff is that flipping through photos of Lost Vegas never gets old. That's what we love about Vegas pics: we get older, but they stay the saaaame age. Alright, alright.
So, Chris and Grandma C. dug out the western states album that captured an August 1968 stop in Las Vegas on the way back from a California trip. Chris writes:
She and my grandfather drove out to California in the summer of 1968 to visit relatives and stayed for a few days in Las Vegas on the way back, some time in August of '68. They stayed at the Flamingo, which these photos are from. They didn't do much gambling and they didn't even go to downtown Las Vegas until way later in the 1990s. They did spend a lot of time by the pool, which, as it is now, was the center of attention at the fabulous Flamingo. I asked her why she took pictures of the room, and she said that when she got back to New Jersey she wanted people to believe that they had stayed in the Flamingo. I think she was just waiting for Tripadvisor to post photos.
Closings / Clarion / Off Strip / Lost Vegas / Past Vegas / Vegas History / → All Tags
On the heels of the openings of Delano Las Vegas and SLS Las Vegas are we about to see the next implosion of a Vegas hotel? The off-Strip Clarion, just west of the Las Vegas Convention Center, marked its last day Tuesday.
We stopped by the property this morning and found security guards patrolling the grounds. The one we spoke to said there were no guests inside and that the property would be demolished. Over its history, the hotel has undergone more name changes than a former mobster in witness protection. The Las Vegas Sun recounts the various name changes here as well as the succession of owners, among which included Debbie Reynolds.
Employees had reportedly been warned of an impending closure and, over the weekend, stopped taking reservations past Labor Day. The hotel had been known as The Debbie Reynolds Hotel, The Paddlewheel, Royal Inn and the Greek Isles. It held the distinction of being the only Clarion with a casino.
Sahara / SLS Las Vegas / Lost Vegas / Name Changes / Sam Nazarian / Vegas History / Vegas Design / → All Tags
When we heard that SLS Hotels would be closing down the iconic Sahara Hotel back in 2011, one of our first thoughts was, "But what will happen to the Sahara door handles?" Seriously.
During our visit to the down-trodden casino in 2009, that was one of the design details that this writer adored the most. (It's probably because my last name begins with an "S.") We had hoped then that SLS would incorporate the door handles somewhere into the SLS and as it turns out, they have.
Johnny Kats uncovered the whereabouts of the door handles in his LV Weekly profile on SLS honcho Sam Nazarian.
Today, some elements of the property remain at the new SLS, where Nazarian has a design effect that he calls “Sahara-esque.” He has saved 50 or so S-shaped door handles from the old resort and turned them into a chandelier.
We looked high and low for the chandelier during the SLS Las Vegas' opening day but we could not find it anywhere. And it wasn't because our vision was hampered by gin cocktails. (Or tequila cocktails. Or vodka cocktails.) It turns out the chandelier hadn't been installed yet. But now it's up and here's what it looks like.
You can admire the chandelier for yourself when you walk in between The Sayers Club and the 800 Degrees pizza joint. Alas, the jewels in the door handles have been plucked out. We heard that some over eager folks pried them out of the door handles during the Sahara Liquidation Sale. It was probably for the better. Red, blue and yellow don't really work with the SLS color scheme.
The north Strip could be a whole new world come 2018. That's when the new owner of the old Frontier site expects to debut a new resort on the acreage.
On Sunday, headlines broke that billionaire James Packer had acquired controlling interest of the long dormant plot. The Frontier came down in a flash in November 2007, but plans to build a Plaza on the site -- what would have been a sister venue to the New York Plaza and not the Downtown Vegas one -- stalled.
It's the inevitable question when we talk about the quickly approaching debut of SLS Las Vegas, dreams for the All Net Arena and Resort, or even the coming construction of MGM's City of Rock and Genting's Resorts World. What about that blue hotel? Or, if you know your Vegas history, what about Fontainebleau?
The north Strip is officially awakening from its slumber. SLS Las Vegas debuts in just over a month (August 23) and may soon be bracketed by construction to the north, west and south. A Walgreens is already underway to the north (on the other side of Sahara Avenue) and will open next year. (Admittedly, not that exciting, but hey, we'll take it.) A City of Rock will soon rise on the west side of The Strip with a debut of 2015, too. Now, it looks like that long abandoned plot of land to the south of SLS -- you know, the one that once held the hottest place to cool off in town? -- may see some action of its own.
Once the site of Wet 'N' Wild, the 27 acres between SLS and the husk of Fontainebleau is owned by Sahara Las Vegas Corp., a subsidiary of Archon Group. Earlier this week, executives approached a local government board seeking use permits for everything under the sun. And, we're not exaggerating. Check it out for yourself:
Vegas History / Lost Vegas / Star Trek The Experience / Las Vegas Hilton / LVH / Westgate Las Vegas / → All Tags
No matter the name, whenever the off-Strip property that can be found next to the Las Vegas Convention Center is mentioned, its demise is inevitably traced back by many to the closure of Star Trek: The Experience.
The attraction -- which featured a museum, ride and replica of Quark's Bar -- debuted at what was then the Las Vegas Hilton back in 1998 and lasted ten years before it was shuttered. A failure to agree on a lease was blamed. ThemeParkInvestigator.com details the experience that once was:
Earlier this year, reader Howard F. shared his Vegas Collection with VegasChatter fans. A collection that started with a $1 chip in 1975 has since grown to include dice, matchbooks, playing cards, players' club cards, shot glasses, key chains and $1 payout vouchers. A collection that showcases long-gone casinos to Las Vegas' newest resorts, properties on and off the Strip as well as those downtown.
We all love to watch movies about Vegas, but as we watch them it always begs the question -- does that venue exist in real life or was it created just for this movie? This was a question brought to us by Vegaschatter reader Jim L. who wondered if the lounge in Last Vegas was really a venue inside Binion's or any other casino in Vegas or just another movie fabrication.
Having seen this movie a good few times, notably and ironically on a flight back from Las Vegas, that thought had crossed this writer's mind a few times as well. To see this question was no surprise, but warranted some investigation into the filming locations to find out if this awesome venue really did exist in Vegas.
When it comes to Future Vegas, if we're not talking about The Cromwell, we're talking about SLS Las Vegas. Both resorts will debut this year after complete top-to-bottom makeovers. And, just like we can't help but to think of Bill's and Barbary Coast when it comes to The Cromwell, we just can't quit Sahara when we hear something about SLS.
In true Griswold spirit, each of has explored the city of Las Vegas in their own way and many choose to remember those explorations in their own unique way. Some have savored the memories through lost Vegas letters while others have stapled together a lifetime of fun (books).
Howard F. is the latest reader to share his Vegas collection. His began on his very first trip to Vegas back in 1975. Howard was underage at the time, but wise enough to know he would want to remember each of the hotels and casinos he visited.