The iconic Vegas! The Las Vegas News Bureau opens a vault on 75 years of photo history
SEE THE LIGHTS
Before there were three television channels, before Ocean 11 and long before the Internet, there was the Las Vegas News Bureau. Founded in 1947 as a component of the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, the News Bureau has two jobs: to help the LVCVA market this city as a destination and to serve as a resource for national and international news organizations in their reporting on Vegas. . It does this primarily through photography, and for the past 75 years the Press Office has captured the sights of this city like no one else. To commemorate this anniversary, he is opening a one-of-a-kind photo archive (lvcva.com/who-we-are/75th-anniversary-gallery).
SWAN DIVING SAHARA
The Sahara Pool buzzes with activity in this June 1953 promotional photo. The town’s tourist slogan at the time was “Fun in the Sun.” And it’s always fun to be here, really, even on days when the sun is too much.
The city’s beloved institution rolls down Fremont Street on May 15, 1947. It was the Las Vegas News Bureau’s first assignment, and its employees lassoed it like real buckaroos. (Note the shadow of the photographer in the lower right.)
Showgirl takes stake in Jubilee, a glitzy production show at the old MGM Grand (later Bally’s, soon to become the Horseshoe) in July 1981. Showgirl photos like this remain visual shorthand for Las Vegas.
ROTUNDA OF THE LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER
The Convention Center rotunda opened in April 1959, and this photo is from June of that year. This 6,300-seat rotunda hosted concerts, boxing matches featuring Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali, and even a speech by President John F. Kennedy, before being torn down in 1990. The main hall of the the current convention center now stands at the location of the rotunda.
GRAND PRIZE OF THE CAEARS
The Caesars Palace Grand Prix roars down the Strip on September 25, 1982 The Las Vegas Grand Prix, a Formula One World Championship race, is due to take place on our streets next year – the first Vegas Grand Prix in over 40 years.
forbidden planet Robby the Robot tries his luck at the Sands blackjack table. The pioneering sci-fi film had been in theaters for two months when this promotional photo was taken in May 1956. Robby’s Earthside foray was made in the name of a great Vegas tradition: the bizarre photoshoot.
THE JACKSON 5 AT THE MGM GRAND
It’s true: Michael Jackson and his brothers had what we now call a “residency,” at the original MGM Grand from August 21 to September 3, 1974. This photo is from August 29 — Michael’s 16th birthday. Her family gave her a cake backstage.
MGM GRAND FIRE
The deadliest fire in Nevada history, the MGM Grand fire of November 21, 1980 killed 87 people. This tragedy, along with a less deadly but still destructive fire at the Las Vegas Hilton just three months later, led to greatly improved fire regulations.
SAMMY DAVIS JR. getting married
Sammy Davis Jr. married singer/dancer Loray White at the Sands, January 10, 1958. It was a marriage of necessity for Davis, who faced racist death threats because of his relationship with vertigo starring Kim Novak. Davis and White divorced after just a year.
No, not a sunrise. Reporters and photographers watch an atomic test above ground on June 24, 1957 from “News Nob,” a location by Yucca Lake at the Nevada Test Site. Reporters are stationed about 10 miles from the explosion.
VEGAS LOVES THE BEATLES
The Fab Four perform to a packed house at the Las Vegas Convention Center, August 20, 1964. Only one show was scheduled for the Sahara’s 700-seat Congo Room, but Beatlemania intervened. The average ticket price for the band’s two shows in Vegas: $5.
The Rat Pack makes headlines at the Sands on January 20, 1960. The classic heist movie Ocean 11 was released in August of that year – and that sign made a prominent appearance at the end of the film, when its stars walked up the Strip, coolly strolling under their own names.
FIRE IN PARADISE
While the iconic Mirage volcano doesn’t look much different today than when this photo was taken in January 1995, it’s good to have a great shot of this beloved Strip landmark. Chances are that once the Hard Rock Hotel takes over this property, this fire will die down.
HANG OUT WITH LIBERACE
Watch out up there, Lee. Liberace dangles above his enormous birthday cake in this promotional photo from May 16, 1967. The cake was so large that the extravagant performer had to hang above in order to cut the top tier.
Every once in a while, the valley’s monsoon season produces a real flood, like the one on July 3, 1975. While the Press Office’s main goal is to promote Las Vegas, it also documents historic events like this- ci: the day Caesars Palace became Venice.
THIS MAGIC OF THE OLD LOUNGE
That’s how it was done. Louis Prima and Keely Smith perform at Sahara’s Casbar Lounge, where they had a five-year residency, March 10, 1956. Vegas entertainment back then was close and intimate.
Siegfried & Roy bow out at Stardust on October 2, 1980. The professional partnership of Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn arguably defined an entire era of Vegas entertainment. They have a statue on the strip, and they deserve it.
Before Oscar’s Steakhouse, the Plaza had a pool overlooking the hotels in “Glitter Gulch”. This promotional photo was taken on August 29, 1972, some 23 years before Fremont Street became a semi-enclosed pedestrian street.
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