Thursday, October 18, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas

[reposted more or less from 2004, in memory of Joey Bishop and the East Coast Sands]

When we were kids, an evening on the couch looking at the family slides was good for a hoot. You got to see yourself or your siblings or other relatives caught in grimacing facial gestures or bent over picnic tables. The occasional upside-down or sideways slide in the tray only added to the festive atmosphere.

OK, we were dull.

But one of the memorable chunks of my parents' slide collection was the set of pictures they took in Las Vegas when the lived there in the mid-50s. Those were the years when Sin City was still more than half a sleepy desert town, just beginning to flush full of mob money and sex and glitz. My dad was stationed in the Army near there. He was one of those GIs you see in the old "Dawn of the Atomic Age" newsreels. Their officers handed them sunglasses and said, "here, watch this nuclear bomb go off." Somehow, he still had enough sperm left after the irradiation to produce three children.

The slides I remembered would make a tremendous historical resource. You'd see the mobsters' cars parked by the side of the main street, and a local high school band parading down the middle of it. When I went through the slide boxes recently, I kept an eye out for those. But I found very few shots from my parents' days in the West. Perhaps they'll still turn up, but I asked my mom and my dad thinks they got moldy and he threw them away.

Here's a few that I did find. Click on the picture for a bigger version.

My mom in the car, somewhere on the California coast, probably near Monterey.

The house they lived in in Las Vegas.

This is one of the few Vegas pictures I found in the box of slides. The Sands, back in the Day.

Zoomed in on the entertainment billing at the Sands that day. "Page & Bray" were a dance team you'd occasionally see mid-show on Sullivan.