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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.
Not content with one moment of whoa (and who would be), VegasChatter readers demanded more. And, staff photographer Greg Clarke was happy to dive back into his archives. After sharing this stunner, he's found three more snapshots that define Las Vegas, circa 1989.
Above, a slightly different viewpoint from McCarran Airport looking towards the north Strip. Visible is the marquee for the iconic Stardust. Not visible? It's 32-story tower. The crane you see at screen left is working on that. Greg remembers the tower going up. And, its implosion in 2007.
The south Strip as viewed from McCarran Airport. The year? 1989.
It's hard to imagine this was the scene such a seemingly short time ago. Many of the now iconic resorts that comprise the south Strip of today weren't even in existence a mere 25 years ago.
The under-construction Excalibur seen in this photo opened the next year in 1990. Luxor didn't debut until three years after that as did the green giant, MGM Grand. And, New York-New York didn't bring the Big Apple to Vegas until 1997.
(PHOTOS: Greg Clarke, Justin S. on Foursquare)
Usually in Vegas, history drops away as fast as a few charges of TNT will allow. With the demolition of The Harmon, the center Strip condo-hotel that never opened due to construction defects, it will be a process covering many months. MGM Resorts execs have stated its erasure will take a year to complete.
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?
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:
Demolitions / Vegas History / Construction / The Harmon / The Crystals / The Cosmopolitan / The Light Group / Vegas Fails / → All Tags
While one Vegas hotel project proudly touts that it's on the fast track to completion another continues to quietly work towards its deconstruction.
As we first told you last week, demolition has finally begun of the failed Harmon Hotel, once destined to be a condo/hotel operated by The Light Group within CityCenter and now the site of disbelief as it slowly fades away into Vegas obscurity.
For the first time in a long while, a press release in our in-box had us doing a double take. The media announcement proclaimed a return for the famed Moulin Rouge. In its heyday, the west Las Vegas casino attracted the top African-American entertainers of the time, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, and others. These days, security guards watch to make sure what's survived of the landmark property doesn't attract squatters.
The site of a four-alarm fire in 2009, there's not much left of the Moulin Rouge today. For as significant as its role was in the history of Las Vegas, it's actual lifespan was short. It debuted in May 1955 as the first racially integrated casino in the country, but closed in November of the same year. The hotel rooms were later converted into rentals before it was officially shuttered in 1997.
Lost Vegas / Vegas History / Past Vegas / Photos / Sahara / Barbary Coast / MGM Grand / Caesars Palace / Circus Circus / → All Tags
It's official. We've always enjoyed turning back the clock on Las Vegas through stories, books and videos, but Lost Vegas is our favorite series as it provides a chance to relive "the good ol' days" through the lenses of our doubly amazing readers.
VC fans have been filling our in-box with personal Lost Vegas photos and we've proudly been featuring them here. The latest to dust off his prints and show off his Sahara is Chazzy Gator. This shutterbug even captured the Casbar Theatre marquee. Fun fact: Who was the first person to get married at Caesars Palace? If you guessed a 20-year-old Charo (to 60-year-old bandleader Xavier Cugat in 1966), you're not only wicked smart but maybe spotted our tie-in. Feel free to leave David Brenner trivia in the comments below.