Frank Sinatra made Las Vegas history
The mega-known Las Vegas Casino Strip was not always the City of Lights it proudly presents itself as today. In the 1930s the place was a desolate watering hole and just 30 years later it was thriving with celebrities and tourists traveling from across the country for a chance at the big win. Built in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas became the center of American gambling during the 1960s.
Big names like Howard Hughes were willing to invest in Las Vegas and what’s more, found out how to cash in big from the Strip’s attractions. Corporations started sticking their nose into the development of the Strip and soon aspiring construction projects were popping up everywhere.
Five celebrities were actually responsible for making Sin City famous, sometime before Howard Hughes rolled into town. The Rat Pack, as they later became known, was composed of Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Dean Martin.
The Pack filmed the original Ocean’s 11 in Las Vegas and stamped their names upon the Strip, becoming forever entwined with the city’s history. The five celebs had a nightly show that advertised Las Vegas’ attraction and people from all over started pouring in. Obviously this also led to the slot machines being constantly occupied and the felt tables to be filled to the brim.
The Rat Pack was calling on all Americans to come enjoy the slot action, the blackjack dynamics, drink a cocktail and savour the show. Compared to the 1950s, Las Vegas was now insanely populated.
With the end of the 2nd World War an economic explosion did materialize, the problem was that Las Vegas was 60 miles away from the famous nuclear testing site and many people were uneasy to go gamble so close to the mushroom clouds formed form the tests. Apparently this really damaged the Strip’s reputation and patrons were looking elsewhere for casino entertainment.
Then, Frank Sinatra happened. He was already doing shows since 1951 but, with the Ocean’s 11 cast flooding the gates, business started picking up again. Alongside other major stars, such as Shirley Mac Lane, the Clan- as they affectionately referred to themselves, would film all day, get on stage at night, and pain the town red till morning.
The Nevada desert was overhauled by celebrities and the trend has not stopped since.