Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 | 9:25 a.m.
Las Vegas history aficionados are long accustomed to beloved structures being imploded and cherished sites being repurposed, and a yet another transition this week will toy with memories.
Tony Roma’s, the Sahara Avenue site of the infamous attempted murder of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal in 1982, has turned into an adult store, Hustler Hollywood.
Tony Roma’s closed in 2014, and the building sat vacant until Hustler Hollywood’s arrival today. Larry Flynt, president of Larry Flynt Publications, owner of Hustler Hollywood, is scheduled to appear at the grand opening, set for 6 p.m. Dec. 10.
Hustler Hollywood sells novelties, apparel and sexual health-related merchandise in more than 20 locations throughout the nation. The first Hustler Hollywood opened on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The Sahara location is the company’s second in the valley.
Rosenthal, the legendary casino executive and mob-connected sports handicapper, survived a bombing of his 1981 Cadillac Eldorado in the parking lot shared by Tony Roma's, 620 E. Sahara Ave., on Oct. 4, 1982. Rosenthal was taken to a hospital with minor burns on both legs, his left arm and on the left side of his face, according to Sun reports at the time.
Police at the scene of the bombing said Rosenthal refused to sign a crime report or discuss the matter with investigators. Authorities credited a metal plate underneath the driver’s seat of Rosenthal’s Cadillac with saving his life by diverting the explosion. The Cadillac Eldorado had a balancing problem that was affecting the car’s handling, and GM installed the plate to correct the problem.
“As I drove by Tony Roma’s and Marie Callender’s, I heard this huge boom,” said retired journalist Myram Borders, who at the time was Las Vegas bureau chief for United Press International, according to a 2008 report in the Las Vegas Sun. “A guy was getting out of a car sort of smoky, and his hair was standing on end.”
As she approached, she said Rosenthal was shouting, “They’re trying to kill me, they’re trying to kill me!” But when Borders asked Rosenthal who specifically was trying to kill him, she said he immediately shut up.
The report goes on to say that former Nevada Gov. Mike O’Callaghan, then executive editor at the Las Vegas Sun, who had just eaten dinner at Tony Roma’s, walked up to Rosenthal and said something to the effect that Frank obviously was having a rough night.
No one was ever charged for the murder attempt. Rosenthal soon left Las Vegas and lived in California before settling in Boca Raton, Fla., where he continued sports handicapping and betting until his death from a heart attack in 2008.