Friday, October 11, 2019

The Landmark





The Landmark existed for 34 years, 1961-1995, and during that time, sat empty and unused for a 3rd of its life.  Make no mistake, the Landmark was a great idea.  It just never had the support it needed to reach its potential.  It resembles everything that is great about Las Vegas.  Any grand idea can live here, if only here.  Want to build Paris in the desert, sure; Recreate ancient Roman decadence, why not; put a casino in the sky, give it a shot.  The sobering reality is it takes much more than a visionary idea to succeed in Vegas and there are many examples to prove that.  Rather than lament it’s passing we should celebrate the fact that it had a chance. There are literally dozens of visionary projects planned for Las Vegas that never make it beyond the concept phase.  Currently north strip is home to 3 of them in various stages of incompletion.  Regardless of it’s inability to become a financial success, the Landmark was able to literally live up to it’s name, establish itself as one of the most memorable properties in the landscape of Las Vegas history.Hughes FingerprintThe PoolGalaxy HotelFall of a Landmark

For those of you interested in more information on the Landmark, I can’t recommend the Marc Wagner book “Above the All- The story of the Landmark Hotel and Casino” as well as their companion site www.landmarkhotelmemorial.com.  Possibly the best documentation of a single property I’ve ever seen.  Others sources include

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Luxor





Luxor changed my life.  It can be credited as the property that brought me to Vegas for the first time with a theme that made me say "I have to go see that". The inspiration for this show, my love for just about all things involving the city including becoming a student of it's history can all be traced back to this property.  While it’s true, over the years, I’ve not spent a lot of time at Luxor.  In fact, I haven’t stayed at the property since my first trip.  I can still say with no exaggeration that I love Luxor.  This is the story of the 1st pyramid built in the desert in over 6,000 years.


For more information on Luxor, Bill Bennett and Mandalay Resorts, check out



Saturday, March 2, 2019

Bill Bennett & Circus Circus





Looking at the same thing everyone else sees and seeing it in a way no one else before has is just one of the many reasons he took a property that failed almost the day it opened and turned it into the most successful gaming company in Vegas history.  Yet, despite all he accomplished, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never even heard of a man referred to by many as one of the most influential in the evolution of Las Vegas.  This is Bill Bennett’s story. 

Make no mistake about it, Bill Bennett was a genius; a true pioneer in gaming. While history will forever glorify the legacy of Steve Wynn and Kirk Kerkorian, Bill Bennett is the reason Las Vegas is as popular and diverse as it is today. Before him, no one in Vegas seemed to care about the majority of the people who listen to shows like ours. While some argue things have changed for the worst and lament for the days of old when tuxes and gowns were required attire for an evening in Las Vegas, Bennett saw that it was a place that should be enjoyed by all.   While he never cared much for self promotion or the kind of attention Wynn embraces, ultimately he did want credit for what he did.  While historians recognize him as one the most important figures in the cities history, we honor his memory by making sure you, the listener, die-hard lovers of Las Vegas, know this as well.


If your interested in learning more about Bill Bennett, check out "Forgotten Man"

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Howard Hughes

It’s a shame that the last 10 years of his life largely overshadows all he accomplished prior to his decent into madness.  Truth be told, Howard Hughes was a genius; an innovator in business, aviation, film and in his lifetime, was one of the most financially successful people in the world.  His work ethic was legendary as was his disregard for his own safety, especially when it came to his first true love, flying.  That disregard would eventually cause him to be involved in the plane crash of an experimental aircraft that almost killed him.  While he did eventually recover, he would never be the same. In chronic pain for the rest of his life, his over medication to address the issue pushed his struggles with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder into stratospheric levels, causing him to become the eccentric recluse most remember him for.  Despite all that, what Hughes did during his time in Las Vegas helped the market evolve from the seedy place run by mobsters to a respectable industry; even if that wasn’t his intention and resulted purely because it was his name attached to the legendary great acquisition of Las Vegas

Whatever you think you know about Howard Hughes, he was undeniably a genius by any definition of the word.  The Hughes family made their millions by creating a drill bit that dramatically improved the way oil was drilled for.  At the age of 19, after his father's death, Howard took over ToolCo and used his family’s wealth to revolutionize multiple industries.  With RKO Studios, he changed the way movies were made, introducing violence and sex to the cinema.  He was one of the leading innovators in aviation, setting multiple world records. That knowledge was so valued, Hughes Aircraft become one of the US government’s largest private contractors for military planes, and his commercial airline TWA was a leader in the evolution of commercial flight.  Sadly it was his refusal to be confined by the metaphorical walls he was told he had to operate within, in whatever he decided we wanted to do, that ended up causing him to be confined by the actual walls he would spent last 20 years of his life in, seclude from the world.  And even in those constraints, he was able to change, not only another industry but the reputation of an entire state, all while in constant pain, terrified of just about everything imaginable outside of that room on the 9thfloor of the Desert Inn.  Even if what he accomplished was nothing more than a symbolic shift in the gaming industry, Howard Hughes will forever be known as one of the most important people involved in the evolution of Las Vegas.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Imperial Palace




Imperial Palace.  Never have two words meant such polar opposites to people, depending on what side of the globe they live on.  To the Japanese, it is the elegant residence of the Emperor; a sprawling park like area with Edo (E-Doe) Castle as its centerpiece, originally build in 1457.  In the 1980s, it's value was greater than that of the entire state of California.  Also in the 1980s, the Imperial Palace came to be known as a hotel casino on the Las Vegas strip.  Unlike its namesake, while inflation would increase the monetary value of the property, time would give it the reputation as one of the worst kept properties in the market, competing for the title year over year with Circus Circus.  And just like the property it shared that dubious distinction with, Imperial Palace’s ownership didn’t care.  Why should they?  They knew exactly who their demographic was and how to cater to it and they didn't seemed to be complaining.  Seeking the approval of those that looked down at their customer base wasn’t part of the business plan.

Despite the companies well-documented investment mismanagement, LINQ is Caesars proof of concept, showcasing that a total transformation can be done without imploding and starting over.  Its success no doubt encouraged other such projects in the market, like the complete reimagining of Bill's Gambling Hall, better known as Barbary Coast, into Cromwell and Monte Carlo's transformation into Park MGM.  As much as we support the preservation of history, Vegas has shown it should never be done at the expense of progress.  Preventing an abandon, outdated building from being destroyed or replaced by something better suited for the needs of today doesn't honor its place in history, it sullies its memory (I'm looking at you Moulin Rouge).  The same way no one likes to say goodbye to a loved one, time comes for us all.  Honor their memory by allowing them to pass on with grace and remember them the way they would have wanted to be remembered, bathed in neon at 2:30 in the morning.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Thunderbird



Patreon.com/360Vegas
 
The Thunderbird is a property I've never paid much attention to, for no particular reason.  I wasn't offended by it's Native American theme, that's not really my style.  That being said, I will say the theme was about as interesting to me as the cowboy motif at the El Rancho or the Last Frontier.  Being a child of technology, harkening back to a day when it didn't have anything isn't my idea of a vacation, it sounds like torture.  One of the most fascinating things about Las Vegas is itunique ability to take things I normally wouldn't find interesting and make them appealing.  The Thunderbird might be the perfect example of that phenomenon. 

If you are interested in more information regarding the Thunderbird, check out...

lvstriphistory.com, Del Webb: A Man. A Company, The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream & Gambling on a Dream: The Classic Las Vegas Strip: 1930-1955
Battle Born Pins 
Vintage Vegas Shirts

Friday, December 22, 2017

Wayne McAllister



Patreon.com/360Vegas
 
Architecture, if done well, is much more than just the designing of a building; its creating a durable structure that is not only functional but beautiful.  Every building is designed by an architect however it takes vision and skill to transcend the steel, concrete and glass jungles of major metropolitan cities to create things that stands out in someone’s mind, and in some cases in history, as exceptional representations of the craft, inspiring future generations to take architecture to the next level; to continue to evolve with science and create something timeless.  While the best to ever live are often unknown to the public at large, their creations are known around the world and live on for decades and in some cases centuries after they are gone. 

While he had a hand in designing Binion’s Horseshoe, the Fremont is the only remaining resort Wayne McAllister was responsible for in Las Vegas.  Nevertheless, his legacy far transcends the buildings he created.  While most people have no idea who he is, Wayne’s work and influence on Las Vegas is unmistakable and timeless.  The Vegas vibe and all things cool about it can be related back to or somehow influenced by him, like a game of 6 degrees of Wayne McAllister.  So the next time you find yourself starting to tingle from the special Vegas euphoria, remember who invented that feeling, think of your favorite marquee and throw the dice. 

Battle Born Pins 
Vintage Vegas Shirts