FLASHBACKS: THE KILLERS’ DEBUT AND DEAN MARTIN’S ROAST
February 22, 2008: Rita Rudner, one of Las Vegas’ most successful comedians, records her 2,000th Vegas show at Harrah’s for a PBS pledge drive special and comedy DVD. She began her Las Vegas run in 2000, moving to the city and rarely leaving to perform elsewhere.
February 23, 1857: Mormon missionaries who had struggled to establish a settlement at Las Vegas for two years receive a letter from leader Brigham Young summoning them back to Salt Lake City. They were plagued by poor crops, dissension and tough living conditions, and the fort is soon abandoned.
February 24, 1989: The Nevada Gaming Control Board fines Imperial Palace owner Ralph Engelstad $1.5 million for keeping a secret room full of Nazi knick-knacks and holding birthday parties for Adolf Hitler. Engelstad, who could have lost his casino license, apologizes and vows no more Hitler parties.
February 25, 2004: The Killers, a rock band that started in Las Vegas, come home for a show at the Ice House early in a lengthy world tour to support their smash debut album "Hot Fuss." The band's first live performance was at open mic night at the Café Espresso Roma across from UNLV, where they practiced on occasion and wrote music.
February 26, 1990: Cornelius Gunter, a key member of the doo-wop group The Coasters, is shot to death in his car in Las Vegas. Three years earlier the group, whose hits included Yakety Yak and Charlie Brown, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The killer is never found.
February 27, 1976: Dean Martin, usually the “roastmaster,” gets roasted himself at the MGM Grand on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, a popular series of NBC specials that runs from 1974 to 1984. Among those taking potshots at Dino are Don Rickles, Orson Welles, Muhammad Ali and Hubert Humphrey.
February 28, 2009: Siegfried & Roy appear in a gala reunion and farewell performance at the Bellagio with Montecore, the white tiger that nearly killed Roy onstage in 2003. The star-studded triumphant return, later televised on ABC, raises $12 million for a brain research institute.
— Researched and written by Mike Precker