Las Vegas Interesting FactsWritten by Iulia Pascanu
Las Vegas is capital of world gambling. Everybody knows that. The question is not only "how" but also "who" made it become what it is now.
The three kings
Many have had their days of glory in state of Nevada. But these three step out of crowd, as they gave name of game.
He is best sports handicapper in history of Las Vegas. He used to be called "Las Vegas King", "Guru", or something that he surely is: a genius. He inaugurated first sports and race book, at Stardust Hotel & Casino. Every casino in Las Vegas copied his invention afterwards. He used to run four casinos at same time, during 1970's and early 1980's: Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda, and Marina.
Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal inspired one of leading characters in "Casino" book and movie (performed by Robert de Niro), though story doesn't speak entire truth, he says. You can find Frank at his own web page
Partially, he has made his apprenticeship with Frank Rosenthal. Finally, he "dethroned" him. He is now chairman of Mirage Resorts, that includes largest hotel in world, MGM Grand. Some of his success is linked to name of E. Parry Thomas, known as only banker in town, at that time, who would loan money to build a casino. Rosenthal himself describes him as a "a very skilled mind".
The two "kings" were preceded by George Wingfield, a major figure in history of Nevada, since 1912. He used to be characterised as "the owner and operator of Nevada". Two businesses got him glory: mining and gambling. He moved to Nevada at begining of 20th century. As an active politician he struggled to get gambling and divorce legalised. Gambling was re-legalised in state of Nevada in 1931. The same year, famous six-weeks divorce law was approved. Ironically, nowadays, 230 marriage licenses are issued every day in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas & The MoviesWritten by Iulia Pascanu
Sunny Las Vegas hosted hundreds of movies or movie-scenes. Some of them got Oscar. Others got lost on way. But Vegas surely remains a classic attraction for film-makers since glory of Rat Pack days.
To be completely fair, early 60's weren't really first screen action days in Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra's first movie, Las Vegas Nights was set back in 1941. However, Rat Pack Days are always a good point to start.
The Rat Packs
Five gentlemen in Las Vegas: Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Frank Sinatra. Good friends. Loved to party. And of course, they had their own favourite place to hang out, that was Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (which was demolished in 1996, nowadays site of Venitian).
The Rat Pack Days begun in late 50's, somewhat as a reaction to Cold War early days; guys came up with ideea of having their own "summit of cool" in Las Vegas; it lasted seven years. As Sands performing scene wasn't enough for them, mighty five moved further to movies and recordings.
The seven years brought out seven films: Some Came Running, Ocean's 11, Sergents 3, 4 For Texas, Robin and 7 Hoods, Marriage on Rocks, and Cannonball Run II. Ocean's 11 (1960) is most famous one, and also benefited from a modern remake (2001), starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. The action in new Ocean's 11 involves robbery scenes at Bellagio. The Rat Pack, released in 1998 for cable TV, includes scenes from The Sands.
The good old days gave us classic Viva Las Vegas (1964), featuring Elvis Presley, who sings his heart out for beloved "sin city".
Later, in 1970, King starred a documentary filmed at International Hotel, nowadays Las Vegas Hilton (Elvis: That's Way It Is).
The 1979 Elvis, a memorabilia to The King, stars Kurt Russell. The story goes on in 1988 with Elvis and Me, inspired by Priscilla Presley's autobiography. The 1995 BBC documentary The Burger and King: The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley seems to have closed Elvis & Las Vegas series, up to this moment.