When you think of Las Vegas, you probably imagine flashy casinos, mesmerizing performances, rows of slot machines, but that wasn’t always the case. In the middle of the last century, the city was still a dusty desert changing into a citadel of riches and glamor. If you want to take a nostalgic journey back in time and explore stunning images of the classic Sin City, then keep reading.
1 El Rancho Swimming Time
In the 1940s, Las Vegas was transforming into a place for the rich and famous, as well as everyone who sought new ways to have a good time. This photo was taken in 1942 while the world was at war and depicted three ladies who afford themselves to relax in the swimming pool at El Rancho hotel.
2 Star Performances
Before new teenage stars started performing in Las Vegas, entertainment shows were dominated by male singers like Frank Sinatra. Their concerts were so popular that they managed to repurpose the city’s image and transform it into a destination for amusements.
This picture was taken in the 1950s at the Dunes Hotel with Frank Sinatra dressed like the Sultan of Swoon surrounded by a harem of Vegas beauties. In Las Vegas, as the city of dazzling performances, everybody could do what they wanted and put on any look they liked!
3 Sands Hotel Fun Times
In the 1950s, Las Vegas definitely reached its peak. Perhaps, the most popular amusement of those times was attending various shows. The picture captured a moment of the colorful dance show at the Sands Hotel in December 1952. The hotel hosted the most spectacular performances of that time. Thus, Sands and some other hotels enabled Las Vegas to become a significant site for pop culture, as you can see.
4 Levitating Nymphs
In this picture, you can see the Bluebell Girls during their mesmerizing city performance. These gorgeous ladies traveled from France to the USA to make their dreams come true. They were convinced that they could use their unearthly beauty to amaze guests at the Stardust Resort and Casino. Their shows fascinated audiences, and it was undoubtedly worth the trip to Las Vegas. The troupe performed on platforms attached to the ceiling of the Stardust Hotel, giving the impression of nymphs floating in the air.
5 Big Gamblers
Apart from classic shows, the Dunes tried to impress its guests with unique performances. The most engaging show was with an elephant named Tanya, who sometimes gambled with the visitors in the interim.
Today, however, everything has changed. Those who come to Las Vegas cannot gamble with elephants anymore. No matter how eccentric Sin City may seem, having fun with exotic animals is no longer possible.
6 The Mesmerizing Trio
Las Vegas has always been the venue for the most popular and talented performers. And this applied to female performers as well, resulting in numerous opportunities for women to fulfill their dreams. The famous Gabor Sisters were a trio of beautiful actresses and socialites who arrived from Hungary to Hollywood in hopes of starting film careers. Zsa Zsa was the oldest, Magda was the second sister, and Eva – was the youngest.
7 The King With His Fans
Elvis Presley valued spending time with his followers and making them happy. Despite his busy schedule, he never refused to sign autographs. Next to Presley is a lady who probably was a performer in one of the shows at Las Vegas hotels. In any case, it seems that everyone is thrilled to be standing next to the King himself.
8 The Beauty Walking Down the Street
Have you ever walked down the street meeting one of the most beautiful women in the world? That was precisely what happened when the stunning screen beauty, Brigitte Bardot, was captured in 1966 with her new husband, wealthy and courteous manufacturer Gunther Sachs Von Opel. The couple came to Las Vegas to marry in a startling ceremony, proving that Vegas is the city for quick and unforgettable weddings.
In 1954, the Sands Hotel came up with an exciting idea, giving a new meaning to the expression “fun in the sun.” Can you imagine a better combination in Las Vegas than gamblers betting and gambling in the swimming pool? Despite all the good, there was one significant drawback regarding simultaneous gambling and swimming: how did the guests manage to keep their gain dry?
10 Star Salon
If you were going to eat out in old Las Vegas, you needed to make sure that your hairstyle matched your gorgeous outfit. One of the most popular and best places for beauty routines was the Morocco Beauty Salon, located in El Morocco. This hotel was also famous for its restaurant Jack Denison’s Copper Cart, as well as its own branch of the Bank of Las Vegas that was eventually turned into a casino. Later the building was used for a Korean restaurant, several gift shops, and cafes until it was demolished in 2008.
11 Dining Together
Once in 1955, many greatest celebrities (Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and others) gathered at the Sands Hotel and shared the same table. The only thing other guests could do was to freeze in surprise.
12 When Luck Has Turned Its Back
This photo was taken in the 1950s. The man in the center of the picture is Jake Freedman, an owner of the Sands Club, whose major rival at the time was the Dunes. Freedmen aimed to find out more about his opponents, so he headed over to the Dunes.
The photo shows him trying his luck at the craps table. Unfortunately, that evening Freedman ended up losing $10,000 (around $92,000 for today).