Wednesday, Oct. 8, 1952 | midnight
Ray Bolger walked out on the stage at the Sahara Hotel last night and said: "a few years ago, nothing but desert, all of the sudden, bingo." Ray’s description of the Sahara “first night,” is typical of all the openings of the Strip hotels. Tommy Hull was at the ringside in the party with Gus Greenbaum. I can imagine the thoughts which must have gone through Tommy’s head as he watched the unveiling of Las Vegas’ newest and most beautiful hotel. Tommy is the chap who had the foresight which gave the Strip its start about 12 years ago when he built the El Rancho Vegas.
The Last Frontier followed, and in 1946, the Flamingo opened to what at the time was the greatest opening of any hotel in the history of the country. Then came the Thunderbird, followed by the Desert Inn — the opening to end all curtain raisers until last night.
The Sahara opening is the combination of the foresight of Milton Prell, the imaginative designing of Ragnar Qvale, the building knowledge of Del Webb,the architectural ability of Max Maltzman, the financial ability of a host of partners and the dancing ability of America’s greatest Ray Bolger.
In dollars and cents, the newest edition of the Strip means 500 more jobs for the people of Las Vegas, plus 3000 more tourists a week to add to the economic wealth of the community and the financial welfare of the state.
To describe the Sahara would fill many columns and would require descriptive phrases beyond my ken. The furthest home in Clark County is less than 50 miles away. It would pay every Southern Nevadan to make the trip, so their eyes can put into thoughts which words cannot do justice.
I prefer to tell about a chap who makes people laugh with his legs and feet. Biology tells us that no organ in the body could move without impulses sent from the brain. This fellow must have a king-size brain under his 6 7/8 hat, because no ordinary brain could send so many impulses at the same time to the furthermost part of his body, the feet.
There are many great dancers in the country who work hard at their profession and whose ability reflects the amount of work they put into it. Ray Bolger plays at it and you know something, it comes out much because of his faculty of not taking him seriously.
He makes you laugh till the tears roll and still there is no slapstick in his comedy. He sings mimics, is a complete one-man show, but when his feet are moving, that way greatness lies.
The opening show at the Sahara is excellent. Lisa Kirk can melt the stoniest heart with her singing. The Moro-Landis girls are all dolls who can really dance. The Trio Shyretto live up to their billing of “three wonders on wheels” and the Cee Davidson orchestra makes beautiful music. Producer Director Stan Irwin has put together an opening show to match anything Las Vegas has ever seen.
The men in the casino are all familiar faces from manager Bobby Gordon to Johnny Hughes, Eddie Moss, Sam Boyd, Frank Schivo plus dozens of more local citizenry who have been part of similar ventures around town these many years.
The Sahara is a welcome addition to Las Vegas. The town wishes it well.