FLASHBACKS: MANDALAY BAY TURNS 20, WAYNE NEWTON POSTS BAIL FOR TV STAR
March 1, 2005: Parents of fourth-graders at Mackey Elementary complain after Mayor Oscar Goodman tells the kids that the one thing he would want if marooned on a desert island is a bottle of gin. He says he was just answering a question, adding, “I'm the George Washington of mayors. I can't tell a lie.”
March 2, 1999: Dan Ackroyd, Jim Belushi and John Goodman lead a parade of bikers on Harleys into the Mandalay Bay lobby to celebrate the grand opening of the $950 million resort. Its 12,000-seat events center is christened a month later with a concert by Luciano Pavarotti.
March 3, 2001: John Ruiz upsets Evander Holyfield at the Mandalay Bay to win the WBA title and become the first Latino heavyweight champion in history. The triumph is clouded when tapes show Ruiz avoided a knockout by rolling around on the ground as if he were hit in the groin, when he wasn’t.
March 4, 1961: Gene Fullmer wins a 15-round decision over Sugar Ray Robinson at the Las Vegas Convention Center to retain his National Boxing Association middleweight title. It was the fourth and final bout in their storied rivalry and the 40-year-old Robinson’s last shot at a title.
March 5, 1991: Wayne Newton posts $13,000 bail for former Diff’rent Strokes star Dana Plato. Down on her luck and living in Las Vegas, she had been arrested five days earlier for robbing the Lake video store of $164 using a pellet gun. Her downward spiral ends in a drug overdose death in 1999.
March 6, 1957: Dean Martin debuts his solo act in Las Vegas at the Sands, before a curious crowd wondering how the crooner would perform without his former partner, Jerry Lewis. The enthusiastic audience includes Jack Benny and Lucille Ball, and the Sands quickly signs Dean to a long-term gig.
March 7, 1987: Mike Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion ever by winning the WBC title four months earlier, defeats James “Bonecrusher” Smith at the Las Vegas Hilton to add the WBA belt to his collection. He’ll hold the title until his shocking loss to Buster Douglas in 1990.
March 8, 1972: A bomb explodes in the cockpit of a TWA jetliner after it lands at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Passengers had left the plane and no one is injured. An extortionist planted bombs on two planes – the other is defused in New York – but TWA would not say if it paid a ransom.
—Researched and written by Mike Precker