FLASHBACKS: ‘FEAR & LOATHING’ THE MOVIE, SAHARA BOMB THREAT & BURLESQUE PAGEANT
May 22, 1998: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the long-awaited movie version of Hunter Thompson’s gonzo memoir, opens with a cast including Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz and Benicio Del Toro. Reviews are mixed and it’s not a big hit, but the film gradually becomes a cult favorite.
May 23, 1955: The Dunes Hotel opens at the southernmost point of the Strip and develops into one of the poshest resorts of its era, with a 35-foot-high fiberglass sultan guarding the entrance. Steve Wynn buys it in 1992, stages the city’s first spectacular implosion and builds the Bellagio on the site.
May 24,1955: The Moulin Rouge opens as the first racially integrated hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Previously, blacks were welcomed as performers, but not as guests. Moulin Rouge went bankrupt seven months later and was converted into an apartment complex. It burns down in 2003.
May 25, 1956: Silver Palace opens in downtown Las Vegas, featuring the city’s first set of “motor stairs” – as the newspaper referred to the escalator – connecting the upstairs casino to the downstairs restaurant. Today it’s called Mermaids and specializes in 99-cent fried Twinkies.
May 26, 1967: Two men are arrested for planting a bomb in a 12th-floor room at the Sahara Hotel and demanding $75,000 for instructions on how to find and dismantle it. The bomb doesn’t explode and the would-be blackmailers get five-year prison terms.
May 27, 2006: After 15 years in Helendale, Calif., the Miss Exotic World Pageant, also known as the Miss America of Burlesque, relocates to Las Vegas. Julie Atlas Muz takes the title, while Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey win Best Duo. The Burlesque Hall of Fame also moves to Downtown Las Vegas.
RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN BY MIKE PRECKER