You can see that the showgirls and dancers wore clothes back in those days!
I was in the chorus with The Merriel Abbott Dancers at The Last Frontier Hotel during the Fall of 1953. We opened and closed the show. Xavier Cugat and Abbe Lane were headliners. What a great place it was. We stayed at The Desert Spa, which was an off-shoot of The Desert Inn, right across the street from The Frontier.
Seven hotels on The Strip. Facing North: El Rancho and Last Frontier on the left, and The Sahara, Flamingo, Desert Inn, Sands, Thunderbird on the right. The strip was a two lane highway! You know, today, it's a ten lane highway! Chuck Wagon cost a dollar for "all you can eat," and an entire show could be seen for the price of a drink. Big name stars were everywhere. It was a blast. The Mary Kaye Trio played in the lounge, but most of us weren't allowed in there or in the casino because we were underage. Our youngest was only 15! We went horse back riding during the day out on ranches. There were bramble bushes blowing and rolling down the highway late at night, and sounds of rattlers very close by in the empty land between hotels. I loved the desert and the feeling of wide open spaces.
I never noticed any rough characters when I was there, just a lot of Hollywood stars, like Jimmy Durante, Shelley Winters, Janet Leigh, Sinatra, the Ritz Brothers, Hank Henry from The Silver Slipper next door... like that... everyone was family back then. We all hung out together and did silly stupid fun things... to be so young and experience that... nothing like it.
I went back to Las Vegas in 1978 which was my 25th Anniversary of having first worked there, and I got a job as a Keno Runner at The Tropicana just for fun. I can tell you there were definitely mob people running things then, they seemed to be everywhere. I loved the outfits the men wore, those black silk shirts with the white satin ties. And those low, graveley voices that sounded like they had eaten cement.
The comedian on our show was Bobby Sargent, and when I went back in 1978, his picture was on the elevator wall at the Hilton. Really surprised me! He was still around.
When we had to leave on the train to go back, I didn't want to go. I cried and cried, wanting so much to stay. But I was under age, and had not much say in my life. By the time we were back in Chicago, I seemed to forget all about it, as other issues took over.
6 days ago