Remembering Las Vegas Lawman, Ralph Lamb

 For many Las Vegans, Ralph Lamb was the ultimate lawman. He was the sheriff during the heyday of the mob and moved Las Vegas into the big leagues with law enforcement techniques, equipment and policies. His word was often the last word and he was well-liked and respected by the people who elected him. When dealing with guys like Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, his word was the only one. He wasn't above reminding Lefty that unless a guest of Rosenthal's who was in the state's Black Book left immediately for McCarran Airport and caught the next flight out of town, Lamb would be back to deal with Rosenthal directly. Rosenthal complied.

Ralph Lamb died Friday afternoon at the age of 88 after a brief illness and with his passing goes another chapter of Las Vegas history.

A.D. Hopkins wrote about Ralph Lamb for the book, The First 100 in 1999:



Posted on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 5:01PM by Registered CommenterLasVegasLynn | CommentsPost a Comment

July 4th, 2015 Fireworks in Las Vegas


Our annual July 4th fireworks listings for Las Vegas and the surrounding Valley is one of the most popular non-history features we highlight and with long holiday weekend only a month away, we thought it was time to start gathering the information.

Remember, we will be updating this page between now and July 4th, so be sure to book mark us and check back often.

If you make Las Vegas your home, we have plenty of information for fun, family events to attend.  Or if you are planning a visit to the Bright Light City over the holiday, plan early as the town will be crowded with tourists! Check out our sidebar for great deals for hotels and shows!

Remember, the heat in Las Vegas (and especially down in Laughlin and Boulder City) can be deceiving. Wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated with water (not alcohol). If you do drink, do so responsibly.


Friday, July 3rd:


Annual Night of Fire at the Bullring  

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Features:  Fireworks, SMRA Supermodifieds 

 The Bullring, Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s NASCAR-sanctioned 3/8-mile asphalt oval, will kick off the Independence Day holiday weekend on Friday, July 3rd, with its annual Night of Fire. The night of family fun features fireworks and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stock car racing, a jet car and SMRA Supermodifieds.

Spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m. Fireworks are tentatively scheduled for 9:30 p.m. 
Stock car racing classes include: SMRA Supermodifieds (50 laps), MetroPCS Super Late Models (76 laps), Chargers, Outlaw Enduro Bombers (76 laps), twin Legends Cars features, Bandoleros.

Advanced Spectator admission: 
Adults: $15. 
Senior citizens and military personnel with ID: $15. 
Children (6-12): $8. 

Day of Pricing:

Adults: $20

Senior citizens and military personnel with ID: $15.

Children (6-12): $8.

The Bullring's concession stand offers a family-friendly dollar menu, including $1 hot dogs, $1 soda and $1 beer. For more information, please call the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 Saturday, July 4th:

Las Vegas 51's Baseball Game and Fireworks

 When: July 4th, after the game
Where: Cashman Field
Admission: $14
More info: 702-326-7200

Fireworks Extravaganza/Budweiser Dollar Beer/Adoption Awareness Foundation Night

The 51s will host the Albuquerque Isotopes, Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, at Cashman Field. The traditional post-game "Fireworks Extravaganza" will be presented! Also, Budweiser Dollar Beer Night is presented at every Thursday home game. Proper identification and wristbands are required.


67th Annual Boulder City Damboree

When: July 4th
Where: Boulder City
Fireworks Display - 9:00 pm

7:00 am


 9:00 am

PARADE BEGINS at Colorado St., down Nevada Hwy. to Fifth St., to Broadbent Memorial Park at Avenue B & 5th St.

*New Water Zone - The only location for water play on the parade route starts at Ave A to Ave B & Ave B to the end of the parade at 6th Street. If you want to engage in water play, you MUST be at this location. No water play will be allowed at any other location on the parade route.  ****NO WATER BALLOONS ALLOWED****

9:05 am

FLYOVER by the Boulder City Veteran's Flying Group

10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Located at 1301 5th St.
Food, drinks & games
Presented by non-profit groups

11:00 am

Flag Raising & National Anthem
Presentation of parade trophies & greetings by dignitaries

11:30 am


12:00 pm

COIN TOSS at the Pool (admission: price to the pool)
Games & Contests
Sponsored by the Boulder City Parks & Recreation Department

1:00 pm

Sponsored by the Boulder City Parks & Recreation Department


Located at 1650 Buchanan Blvd
$10 Parking


Live Music, DJ Mike Pacini, Food, Games & Water Park



Fireworks Festivities - Veteran's Memorial Park - 6pm
Visit the Boulder Dam Damboree online



Downtown Henderson Fourth of July fireworks & celebration

Saturday, July 4, 2015
Mission Hills Park
551 E. Mission Dr.
6pm to 9:15pm


Celebrate Independence Day in Henderson with great live entertainment and the time-honored traditional fireworks display! Pack your favorite blanket and come out and enjoy a night of family fun and concessions. Local high school clubs and groups will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, sno-cones and ice-cream, with all proceeds benefiting the school. Spend your July 4th holiday with us!

9:00  Fireworks Show!

Celebrate the 4th of July with the Phil at Symphony Park

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts

361 Symphony Park Drive


4:00 pm- 10:00 pm

There will be live music, entertainment and food and drink vendors. The Las Vegas Philharmonic Pops will perform a concert inside Reynolds Hall at 7:30 pm that will be simulcast in the park.  Entry to the park costs between $5-$10 and the concert is an additional $25-$75 but includes access to parking.

For tickets or information, call 749-2000 or visit

9:00 pm Fireworks Show!


Stars, Stripes & Sparks

Saturday, July 4th,

Knickerbocker Park

10695 Dorrell Lane


The Independence Day event kicks off with live music, contests and family activities at 6 p.m. Admission is free. Donations of new or gently used books will be accepted to benefit Spread the Word Nevada. For more information, call 216-2020.

9:15 pm Fireworks Show! 


Caesars July 4th Fireworks
Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015
Place: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV

As part of Caesars Palace July 4th Celebration, on July 4, 2014 Caesars Palace Las Vegas, will have an Independence Day fireworks display. Fireworks by Grucci will be shot from the hotel's Roman Tower beginning at 9:15 p.m. The best views will be from the Las Vegas Strip at the front fountains of Caesars Palace.

Fun on the Fourth at the Stratosphere
Date: Sat, July 4, 2015
Location: Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, Las Vegas, NV

This year, The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower will present its annual citywide fireworks display and "Independence Pool Party" on Saturday, July 4, 2015. The world-famous Fireworks by Grucci, Inc. will produce a display that will be launched from the Stratosphere's North parking garage and visible anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley. The display will start at 9 p.m.


Station Casinos Independence Day Celebration
Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015
Location: Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spas
2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89052

Best viewing: Backyard Pool Area

Station Casinos Independence Day Celebration
Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015
Location: Red Rock Casino Resort Spa
11011 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89135

Best viewing: Pool area and amphitheater

Station Casinos’ “We Love Locals” July 4th Fireworks Blast

The Station Casinos Las Vegas 2015 fireworks shows will go off on the east and west sides of town at Green Valley Ranch Resort and Red Rock Casino Resort. The fireworks show will last approximately nine-minutes.


Rockets Over the River

Location: Laughlin Riverwalk
July 4th

Times: Dusk / 9:00+ pm
Cost: Free for viewing


Just after dark on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4, the huge 25th annual Rockets Over The River fireworks display will be free for public viewing along the entire Laughlin River Walk and your favorite Laughlin hotel.  Typically, this extraordinary display is one of the most spectacular and exciting in the West as the pyrotechnic company shoots its rockets into the dark desert sky and the reflection of each exploding shell shimmers over the swift-moving Colorado  River.  Fabulous patriotic music will be choreographed to the show and simulcast over speakers by Laughlin hotels and local radio stations. You won't want to miss this all-American celebration and breathtaking event!



Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 9:14AM by Registered CommenterLasVegasLynn in | Comments2 Comments

Kirk Kerkorian has died


Kirk Kerkorian, one of the visionaries of the original Las Vegas Strip, has died. A middle-school dropout, he parlayed his common sense and knack of gambling at the right time in the right place, into a sizeable fortune.

He fell in love with flying in the 1939 and traveled to the Happy Bottom Ranch in the Mojave Desert to see if one time aviatrix Pancho Barnes would teach him to fly. In exchange for lessons, he shoveled cow and horse manure and milked the cows. Within six months, he had his pilot's license.

When World War II broke out, he went to Canada to help deliver planes for the R.A.F.

After the war, he used his savings to start a charter service to Las Vegas. He became a well-known figure on the developing Strip in those days. He had a knack for gambling but eventually gave up the gaming part.

From Ken Evans biography of Kekorian in The First 100:

In 1947, Kerkorian purchased a tiny charter line, Los Angeles Air Service. He later changed the name to Trans International Airlines, and offered the first jet service on a nonscheduled airline.

In 1965, Kerkorian took TIA public. Armenian-Americans knew of Kerkorian and bought his stock. It rose from a low of $9.75 to a high of $32.

"It brought the stock up to begin with, and then our earnings were great, too, and it kept going up until we sold to TransAmerica," says Kerkorian. In that 1968 deal, Kerkorian received about $85 million worth of stock in the TransAmerica conglomerate, making him its biggest shareholder.

In 1962, Kerkorian pulled off what Fortune magazine called "one of the most successful land speculations in Las Vegas' history." He bought 80 acres across the Strip from the Flamingo for $960,000. The price was low even then, and for good reason. A narrow band of property cut the 80 acres off from the Strip.

"It was landlocked," says Kerkorian, "We traded the owners four or five acres for all of this thin strip that they could never build on. Then I got a call from Jay Sarno, and that's how Caesars Palace got started."

Kerkorian collected $4 million in rent before selling the land to Caesars for another $5 million in 1968.

With the cash from the Caesars sale and his TransAmerica stock, Kerkorian was ready to build his first Las Vegas megaresort.

In early 1967, he had bought 82 acres on Paradise Road for $5 million and hired Fred Benninger.

"All I knew about Las Vegas came from the other side of the table -- the contributing end," Benninger recalled years later.

"I'm not a firm believer," says Kerkorian, "that you have to have 30 years of experience, if you've got good, common sense. I knew he could cut the mustard and he did. He helped, no, he built the International. He built the old MGM and he built this MGM. It was all Fred Benninger.

"I can't take much credit except for seeing the big picture; the amount of rooms, what kind of showrooms, I'm into that part of it. But when you get the nitty-gritty, I don't have the education to really get in there and dissect it."

Benninger suggested that given the size of the International, they should buy an existing hotel, and use it to train staff. The Flamingo Hotel fit the bill.

Benninger installed Sahara Hotel Vice President Alex Shoofey as Flamingo president. Shoofey then stole the cream of the Sahara's executives -- a total of 33 -- including casino manager James Newman and veteran entertainment director Bill Miller.

In February 1969, Kerkorian's International Leisure was given the go-ahead by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to offer the public about 17 percent of the company's stock at $5 per share. This was not a routine approval, though. The Justice Department was investigating the Flamingo's previous owners.

Justice Department officials had identified Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel's old partner in Murder Inc., as a hidden partner in the Flamingo. Skimming was suspected, and Kerkorian more or less proved it.

"The reason, I think, that they allowed us to go public," says Kerkorian, "was that I don't think the Flamingo ever showed anything more than $300,000 or $400,000 in profits. In our first year, 1968, we showed about $3 million."

The location Kerkorian chose for the International was criticized. It was off the Strip and, at 30 stories and 1,512 rooms, the biggest hotel in the world. Too big and too far out, they said.

"We had the same doomsday people when we were building the MGM Grand, same people, same doomsday," sighs Kerkorian. "You have to ask a lot of questions and listen to people, but eventually, you have to go by your own instincts."

The International had a "Youth Hostel," where kids could play and swim while their parents were doing grown-up stuff. The hostel organized field trips for the kids to Lake Mead, Mount Charleston and other local nongaming attractions.

"And that was before anybody's time," reminds Kerkorian.

"We opened that hotel with Barbra Streisand in the main showroom," says Kerkorian. "The rock musical 'Hair' was in the other showroom and the opening lounge act was Ike and Tina Turner. Elvis followed Barbra in the main showroom. I don't know of any hotel that went that big on entertainment."

One month before the hotel opened, International Leisure common stock, which had opened at $5 per share, was selling over the counter for $50. But Kerkorian had some expensive European loans to pay off. He was confident he could retire them with a second offering of International Leisure stock.

The SEC refused to allow the sale on the grounds that Kerkorian had failed to disclose financial information about the Flamingo's previous owners. Kerkorian's people believe this information was not important to the SEC, but to a Justice Department investigation. "They employed a form of economic blackmail to try and get information out of us," said a Kerkorian lawyer.

To pay off his debts, Kerkorian was forced to sell half of his own shares in International Leisure to Hilton Hotels. He got $16.5 million for stock worth $180 million only six months earlier.

Despite this, Kerkorian said he was proud of what he and his people had created in Las Vegas, and had no regrets. He sold his Las Vegas home, his private plane and his yacht. Colleagues were amazed at his calm during this time. But he had learned to always "keep a back door open." To Kerkorian, that means it's acceptable to lose most of what you have, as long as you can raise seed money for another enterprise.

At the same time he was making his splash in Las Vegas, Kerkorian was studying the Hollywood film industry and, in 1969 began buying stock in ailing MGM studios. By the end of the year, he would have working control of MGM, which he would operate, reorganize, merge, sell and resell over the years. Most recently, he repurchased MGM/UA in 1996.

He was at the helm in 1971, less than a year after the sale of the International, when MGM announced it would "embark on a significant and far-reaching diversification into the leisure field by building ... the world's largest resort hotel in Las Vegas." Now known as Bally's, it was originally known as the MGM Grand. Today's MGM Grand is a different property.

At its 1972 groundbreaking ceremony champagne flowed, celebrities mingled, and executives networked. In a corner, nursing a J&B Scotch and trying not to be noticed, was the man whose project was being celebrated.

The new $107 million megaresort was named for a 1932 MGM film, "Grand Hotel." At 26 stories, the MGM Grand had 2,084 rooms, a 1,200-seat showroom and amenities like a shopping arcade, movie theater and jai alai fronton.

When it opened December 5, 1973, it was the largest hotel in the world -- just as the International had been. Some saw a pattern developing, but Kerkorian denies he has ever built a hotel just for the sake of size. His hotels, he explains, are built on a grand scale to house a variety of diversions for guests.

The biggest hotel in Las Vegas was the site of the city's biggest disaster in November 1980, when a fire, ignited by an electrical problem, raged through the casino and upper floors of the MGM, killing 87 and injuring hundreds.

The great poker face softens and the brown eyes lower when the catastrophe is mentioned.

"It's something I rarely ever talk about, because how do you talk about it?" he says quietly. "I was in New York in a meeting with people from Columbia Studios, and I had an emergency call telling me that the hotel was on television, on fire, and in less than two hours I was at the airport and on my way to Las Vegas.

"The two people I really felt for at the time were Fred Benninger and Al Benedict, because they were on the front lines through everything that happened." Benedict was hotel president.

Benedict later told Review-Journal reporter Dave Palermo that when Kerkorian arrived a few hours after the blaze, his first question was, "Where do we start?"

"I figured there was no way we could come out of this." said Benedict. "I think the idea of walking away and forgetting about rebuilding the property was in the back of everybody's mind. That's what most people would have done."

But not Kerkorian. Eight months later, the MGM Grand re-opened.

"How could I walk away while that whole team was out there, taking the brunt from everybody? I had to be a part of it, I couldn't walk away, I just couldn't." In 1986, he sold the Las Vegas and Reno MGMs to Bally Manufacturing Corp. for $594 million.

The current MGM Grand, which opened in 1993, has 5,000 rooms, eight restaurants, a health club, a monorail, the 15,000-seat MGM Grand Garden and a theme park as big as Disneyland when it opened in 1955.

As for the health of the Las Vegas resort industry, Kerkorian remains as bullish as he was back in 1945.

"Personally, I wouldn't say it's headed for a fall," says Kerkorian, "except that there will be a leveling-out time, and the best hotels and the best operators are going to suffer less than the others."


Kerkorian built and lost and rebuilt a couple of fortunes over the years. HIs purchase of MGM Studios in Culver City, CA gave him access to the storied dream factory's assets but he ultimately sold the studio's assets to Ted Turner.

He will long be remembered as the father of the megaresort in Las Vegas. Kerkorian had just turned 98.


Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 2:43PM by Registered CommenterLasVegasLynn | CommentsPost a Comment

LIVE in, from and at Las Vegas!



We were asked the other day what is the one “Live from Las Vegas” album that best personifies the classic Las Vegas show experience.

That got us to thinking. There are some great albums that were recorded back in the day.

The Checkmates Live at Caesars Palace! is one of my favorites. My mother was the head waitress in the Circus Maximus showroom back when the Checkmates were the hottest group on the Strip. They had worked their way up from playing The Pussycat A-Go-Go to Nero’s Nook to the most prestious showroom on the Strip (at that time) and this album catches them at that transcendent moment. Needless to say, we wore the album out.

Louis Prima, Keely Smith and Sam Butera and the Witnesses’ Las Vegas Prima Style is a wonderful historic record of this ground-breaking group’s Las Vegas show. Recorded live at the Casbah Lounge at the Sahara Hotel, if you want to know why this group was the “hottest group in the country, in the world” as Sam Butera liked to say, this album provides the answer.


Other well-worth listening to live albums include both of singer Tom Jones’ live albums. One recorded in 1969, Tom Jones Live in Las Vegas and the other, Tom Jones Live at Caesars Palace in 1971. If you enjoy Sonny and Cher be sure to check out their Live in Las Vegas, Vol. 2 album recorded in the Congo Room of the Sahara Hotel in 1974. Motown lovers might enjoy The Supremes Farewell album, recorded live during their final two-week show at the Frontier Hotel in January, 1970. The album includes songs and highlights from the closing night show on January 14th.

To get a flavor of Las Vegas entertainment in the 1950s, take a listen to Noel Coward at Las Vegas, which was recorded during his first run of shows at the Desert Inn in 1955. Coward was under the weather with the flu but rallied to put on a terrific show the night this album was recorded.

At the other end of the spectrum is the wonderful Elvis: Live from Las Vegas (another one we wore out on the family turntable) recorded on August 24th, 1969 during the singer’s fabled comeback month long stint at the International Hotel. This is Elvis at the top of his game.

For mythic classic Las Vegas fans, the 2001 release of the Rat Pack: Live at the Sands gives listeners the opportunity to listen to the show that was the hottest ticket in town. Taken from recording at the famed Copa Room in the Sands Hotel, this compilation disc captures the rollicking, free-wheeling shows and feature Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford having a great time as is the audience.

But, for me, the live album that best captures not only the classic Las Vegas show experience but also the essence of the performer is Sinatra at the Sands with the Count Basie Orchestra. This live album was recorded in the Copa Room in 1966 (when Sinatra was still the biggest name on the Strip, Jack Entratter was still running the Sands and everything was it should be in Frank’s world) with arrangements by a then-young Quincy Jones, who was the band conductor for the show as well.

The album features many of the standards that are now part of the Sinatra songbook and our collective memory but it is wonderful to just put this on and be taken back in time to an era when live orchestras were the norm on the Strip and listen to a performer at the top of the pyramid. Here Frank is loose, joking with the audience, obviously having fun and enjoying himself. The Count Basie Orchestra provides the rhythm and tempo and as you listen, you feel as if you have been transported back to those mythic days when Las Vegas was the Entertainment Capital of the World and Sinatra was King of the Strip.

So put on your tux, pour yourself a glass of Jack Daniels and sit back and travel back in time.

If you want to continue your time traveling listening pleasure, be sure to get Live from Caesars Palace (available from Amazon), a compilation CD taken from recording tapes made during various performers stints at the hotel. Entertainers include a who’s who of Las Vegas entertainers including Sinatra, Davis, Andy Williams (who opened Caesars in August 1966), Lena Horne and Keely Smith.

Just don’t forget to come back to the 21st century when you are done!


Posted on Monday, June 8, 2015 at 5:42PM by Registered CommenterLasVegasLynn | CommentsPost a Comment


It kind of takes your breath away when you start to think of all the neon treasures we have lost over the years. And it makes us thankful for the Neon Museum for doing all they do to keep those signs from being lost to history.

Here are some of our favorite signs-Tell us what were yours!

Algiers sign that once graced the front of the small hotel and lounge.


The Desert Rose Motel that once sat on Las Vegas Blvd South. Luckily for all of us, it found a home at the Neon Museum and awaits restoration.


The little El Sombrero Cafe which was a power lunch hang-out for many years.


Glitter Gulch, the way it used to be- I miss that canyon of neon

Best place for frog legs in the Valley. Very old school and no longer with us.

La Concha Motel- the sign and Paul Williams designed building are part of the Neon Museum!!!!

The Last Frontier Village- early Frontierland!

Somerset Shopping Center

The galaxy exploded across the front of the Stardust

The Starlite Motel in North Town

The Swim-In-Pool Supply Company

Vegas Trailer Supply on Boulder Highway


Thanks to Allen Sandquist for allowing us to use some of his images.





Posted on Monday, May 25, 2015 at 4:50PM by Registered CommenterLasVegasLynn | CommentsPost a Comment