FLASHBACKS: LARRY KING’S SIN CITY DEBUT, TYSON BITES HOLYFIELD’S EAR AND LAS VEGAS’ MOST FAMOUS ‘HANGOVER'
June 18, 2008: NFL star receiver Javon Walker is released from Sunrise Medical Center, one day after being found unconscious on a Las Vegas street. He admits he was drunk after a night of partying, got into a car with men he didn’t know, and was robbed and beaten. The attacker gets life in prison.
June 19, 2009: Talk-show legend Larry King, 75, makes his debut as a Vegas headliner, spinning show-biz yarns and telling jokes at the Wynn Encore Theater. His wife, singer Shawn King, opens the show and returns to the stage for the big finale: a duet with Larry of “Makin’ Whoopee.”
July 9, 1997: The Nevada State Athletic Commission revokes former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s boxing license and fines him $3 million for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear in their bout two weeks earlier. He gets the license back the next year and fights until 2005, but never regains his title.
July 10, 2000: The Imperial Palace settles with the last of six cocktail waitresses who sued for discrimination because they were removed from their jobs because they were pregnant. The deal ends a federal court trial that drew national attention over the industry’s right to enforce standards it deems sexy.
July 11, 2010: Jack Ury, a 97-year-old World War II veteran from Terre Haute, Ind., becomes the oldest person to play in the World Series of Poker. In his third and final WSOP, he lasts until the third day. He dies seven months later.
July 12, 2001: Baywatch babe Carmen Electra announces she has signed a two-year contract to star in Lumiere, a music-and-magic extravaganza with illusionist Hans Klok at the Aladdin beginning in early 2002. But the show never materializes because the hotel winds up in bankruptcy.
July 13, 2010: Las Vegas native and College of Southern Nevada star Bryce Harper wins the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the nation’s best amateur baseball player. The 17-year-old prodigy isn’t an amateur for long: He’s the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft and a Major League All-Star by 2012.
July 14, 1963: Elvis Presley arrives in Las Vegas to shoot Viva Las Vegas, checking into the Sahara with his entourage for two weeks of filming. He later admits to his girlfriend (and future bride) Priscilla that he had an affair with costar Ann Margret while making the hit movie. July 14, 1966: French film star Brigitte Bardot married German industrialist and playboy Gunter Sachs in Las Vegas. He had courted her by dropped 1,000 red roses from a helicopter on her home in San Tropez.
July 15, 2004: The Las Vegas Monorail, a 3.9-mile mass transit line stretching from the Sahara Hotel to the MGM Grand, opens. It eventually is planned to connect downtown Las Vegas with McCarren International Airport.
July 16, 2007: Lindsay Lohan, one day out of her latest rehab, makes a surprise visit to Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet. She had planned to hold her 21st birthday bash there two weeks earlier, sponsored by Svedka vodka, but had the good sense to cancel it.
July 17, 2004: Linda Ronstadt ignites bedlam in the Aladdin showroom when she praises filmmaker Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 911, which is critical of President George W. Bush. Amid boos and a few people throwing drink cups, the singer is escorted out of the hotel.
July 18, 1994: A powerful thunderstorm packing 78 MPH winds sends the 362-foot-high sign and marquee above the Las Vegas Hilton crashing to the ground. What had been called the world’s tallest sign was just six months old. Dogs search the rubble for victims, but there are no injuries.
July 19, 1966: Frank Sinatra, 50, marries 21-year-old actress Mia Farrow at The Sands hotel, the favorite hangout of Sinatra and The Rat Pack. Frank’s third marriage (there was one more to come) lasts two years.
July 20, 2005: Las Vegas-based magician Criss Angel premieres his TV series Mindfreak on the A&E network. The popular series of illusions, escapes and other amazing feats runs for six seasons and helps make Angel one of the Strip’s leading attractions.
July 21, 1984: Jay Sarno, who built Caesars Palace and brought the fantasyland theme to Las Vegas, and then built Circus Circus and brought the family-friendly theme to town, dies at 62. The lifelong gambler had sold both hotels but was on a casino outing at Caesars when he suffered a heart attack.
July 22, 1953: KLAS, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, signs on the air as the first TV station in Nevada. Owner Hank Greenspun, who also owned the Las Vegas Sun, sells it in 1968 to Howard Hughes, who wants the station so he can order up his favorite movies at night.
July 23, 2011: Ethan Bortnick, a 10-year-old piano and singing prodigy, wraps up a two-night gig at the Las Vegas Hilton to become the city’s youngest headliner ever. His sold-out show, complete with sequined jacket and Elton style glasses, keeps him up a couple hours past his usual 9 p.m. bedtime.
July 24, 1947: Club Bingo, whose sign features a giant neon bingo card, opens on Highway 91, one of the earliest casinos on the road now known as the Strip. It’s popular, but the owners figure it would do better if bettors could stay overnight. So it’s sold and torn down in 1952 to make way for the Sahara.
July 25, 2008: Jerry Lewis is detained at McCarron International Airport when screeners find a .22-caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. His manager says it’s a comedy prop, but Lewis says it’s real, a thank-you gift for doing his charity telethons. Either way, charges are dropped in December.
July 26, 1993: Kevyn Wynn, the 26-year-old daughter of hotel mogul Steve Wynn, is kidnapped from her Las Vegas home. She is released unharmed the same day when Wynn pays a $1.4 million ransom. The kidnappers are caught when the ringleader tries to a buy a Ferrari and get long prison terms.
July 27, 1954: Ageless bombshell Mae West premieres her lounge act at the Sahara, singing and making sexy wisecracks with 15 G-stringed musclemen in tow. The act runs on and off for five years. “Mae is the greatest ego booster to mature women since the invention of the girdle,” one critic writes.
July 28, 1978: Actor Mickey Rooney marries country singer Jan Chamberlin, his eighth wedding and the seventh in Las Vegas. Unlike all the others, this marriage lasts.
July 29, 1971: Christina Onassis, 21-year-old daughter of Greek magnate Aristotle Onassis, marries Los Angeles real estate developer Joe Bolker, 48, in Las Vegas. Her furious father demands they break up – which they do nine months later. She marries and divorces three more times before dying at 37.
July 30, 2008: In a live episode of his TV show Mindfreak, Vegas-basedillusionist Criss Angel appears to escape from an imploding building in Florida. Skeptical video analysts question just how dangerous the stunt really was, but his $100 million Luxor show “Believe” opens huge two months later.
June 20, 1947: Bugsy Siegel (born Benjamin Siegelbaum), the mobster whose Flamingo Hotel is regarded as the first luxury resort in Las Vegas, is murdered in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 42. The killing is widely believed to be a Mob hit, but no arrests are ever made.
June 21, 1950: Hank Greenspun publishes the first edition of his newly bought Las Vegas Free Press, vowing to “always fight for progress and reform.” He renamed the paper the Sun and becomes a Vegas power broker as a crusading journalist and real estate developer. He dies in 1989.
June 22, 2002: Unbeaten WBO Super flyweight champion Pedro Alcazar loses to Fernando Montiel in a 6th round TKO at the MGM Grand. Alcazar seems OK, but 40 hours later he collapses and dies of a brain hemorrhage. The long time lapse between injury and symptoms shocks the boxing world.
June 23, 2001: In his first fight in the USA, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Manny Pacquaio defeats Wethya Sakmuangklang of South Africa by a TKO at the MGM Grand. It’s the first of many bouts in Las Vegas for the Filipino megastar, who’s also a singer, actor and politician.
June 24, 2000: After a sold-out concert with her fellow Dixie Chicks, lead singer Natalie Maines marries actor Adrian Pasdar in a $55, post-midnight ceremony at The Little White Wedding Chapel. Then they go out to gamble with the other Chicks and win $740.
June 25, 2000: In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, 40-foot neon cowboy icon Vegas Vic celebrates his renovation by telling a reporter, “I’ve had more work done on me than Cher.” Usually Vic, who has graced Fremont Street since 1951, just says, “Howdy, podner!”
June 26, 1955: On a train trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Lauren Bacall dubs the Hollywood clique led by Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra the “rat pack.” The term sticks to Sinatra and buddies Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop in their Vegas heyday five years later.
June 27, 2002: John Entwistle, bass player for The Who, dies in his suite at the Hard Rock Hotel, on the eve of the legendary rock group’s latest U.S. tour. He had spent the night with a groupie, who woke to find him cold and unresponsive. A cocaine-induced heart attack did him in.
June 28, 1997: The second heavyweight fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield at the MGM Grand Garden Arena ends after three rounds when Tyson is disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ears.
June 29, 2005: Ivana Trump announces she’ll team with developer Victor Altomare to build an 80-story condominium complex on The Strip called “Ivana – The Supertower.” Ex-husband Donald, who’s building his own tower down the street, scoffs – and he’s right. The plan collapses just six months later.
June 30, 2006: Love, the Cirque du Soleil production featuring music of the Beatles, stages a gala opening at the Mirage. The unprecedented Beatles family reunion in attendance includes Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Cynthia and Julian Lennon, Olivia and Dhani Harrison, and George Martin.
July 1, 1976: Neil Diamond makes his Las Vegas debut with a concert at the Aladdin. He would not make regular visits to the city until two decades later.
July 2, 1958: Lido de Paris, a spinoff of the spectacular French musical revue, opens at the Stardust. It’s an immediate sensation, continuously one-upping itself with topless showgirls, an ice rink, spectacles ranging from waterfalls to the sinking of the Titanic to fireworks – and runs for nearly 33 years.
July 3, 2012: With three fives on the final hand, Antonio Esfandiari wins $18,346,673, the richest top prize in poker history, at the One Drop Texas Hold’em tournament at the Rio. The three-day event with a $1 million buy-in draws 48 players and raises millions for charity.
July 4, 1981: The Hole in the Wall Gang, run by mobster Tony (the Ant) Spilotro and specializing in robbing hotel rooms and homes of rich gamblers, is caught breaking into Bertha’s, a Las Vegas furniture and jewelry store, after one of the gang rats them out. The Mob has Spilotro killed five years later.
July 5, 2009: The Hangover, a crude, hilarious comedy about three friends who take their buddy to Vegas for a bachelor weekend – then can’t remember where they left him – opens to huge business. The worldwide gross tops $460 million, prompting a sequel set in Thailand.
July 6, 2007: Hal Lubarsky finishes 197th in the World Series of Poker at the Rio, winning $51,398 – and becoming the first blind player ever to cash in at the tournament. Two aides read the cards for him. When he finally busts out, the crowd rewards him with a standing ovation.
July 7, 2007: Thousands of couples eager for a lucky 7/7/07 wedding day jam Las Vegas wedding chapels, resulting in long lines, frayed tempers and group ceremonies. The Las Vegas Sun calls it “a bridal running of the bulls.”
July 8, 2008: Concern for Michael Jackson’s health spikes a day after the pop star is photographed with his children at a Las Vegas Barnes and Noble bookstore. He’s in a wheelchair, wearing pajamas, a wig, sunglasses and a surgical mask. Friends insist he’s fine. Jackson dies in California 11 months later.
--Researched and written by Mike Precker