Newspaper Articles from different sources
Gala Sands Opening Tonight
Monday, Dec. 15, 1952 | 6 a.m.
Universal opinions expressed by more than 10,000 people who viewed the new hospice yesterday afternoon from 4 o'clock until 7 were all voiced in highest degree of praise. The Sands is overwhelming in its architectural design, distinctly different in overall conception, yet warm and inviting - destined to become the most talked about hotel in the Western Hemisphere.
Greeting the thousands of well-wishers, principal owner Jake Freedman heard over and over again the word "breathtaking."
Commented the former Texan, dressed comfortably in sport short slacks and a five-gallon hat: "I talked to so many people I lost my voice. I didn't know so many people knew me. They all had good things to say about the Sands. I'm happy and I will try and do my best for everyone."
Jack Entratter, the big six-foot-plus general manager and producer for upcoming extravaganzas in the gorgeous Copa Room, was tired from the big push to having things ready for today's grand opening. "This is the biggest thing I have ever done," he said with a deep voice rumbling. "Tremendous, Most of all. I like Las Vegas. I want to bring in new productions, top names, new talent and surround the shows with the best supporting acts- and of course the most beautiful showgirls in the world. Many of the shows planned for next year will play for more than two weeks, some of them six. We'll create our own packages here, equally as good or better than New York."
A meander through the crowded casino lobby, Garden Room, Copa Room brought fourth some views of artistic innovations. The use of copper lighting fixtures becomes a neat color touch blending with the earth and nature tones of the carpet walls and ceiling. The bar mural, achieved in bas relief ceramic figures over panoramic Nevada scenes was created by Allan Stewart of Claremont College, California. And for the most unique treatment of materials forming tow dimensional murals in the Copa Room, and Garden Room, Tony Duquette depicted plastic forms in masks, musical instruments, and Carnival in Rio scenes.
Decidedly unusual is the way in which architect Wayne McAllister designed the imposing front with imported Italian marble and took his treatment into the lobby and casino. Instead of high polish, the grained marble is finished in rough-texture. Wide use of natural and stained cork is noted throughout, making for contemporary smartness in design and to quiet sounds in the various rooms.
The tour turned up some familiar faces, and some new friends. Just inside the front door, chief of security Bev Perkins kept traffic flowing easily. At various points throughout the building, ran into Hi Powell, assistant chief of security, Al Barnes, Tony Moskos, Roy Humphreys and Doc Martin. And, over at the front desk met the resident manager Doug Richard and head bellman Vane Weidenkoff. Mrs. Lee Bradley made the introductions of Judson Hughes, Betty Biehn, and Raymond Love. Larry Carro popped his head out from reservation cubby-hole of the Copa Room, and while we were gabbing, maitre de Joaquin Norriega, recently of the Mocambo, came by to check on tonight's listings. His assistant Joseph Benson was looking over table arrangements with captians Andre Penard and Glenn Lockwood.
Eddie Levinson eased through the multitude in the casino to shake hands, and while we were trading adjectives about the new spot, Karl and Betty Maier yelled a hello. Al Freeman, publicity chief, came pushing along with Desert Sea News bureau's Jack Pepper and Dave Lees.
Saw Virginia Hobbs of Life mag jotting down some ideas for her photog to cover when she sets up operations for tomorrow's clicks. Eleanor Roth, secretary to Jack Entratter, threaded her way through the mob looking for her boss.
Working my way past the casino and Copa Room through the arcade and t the Terrace Room, ran into an old school chum from Pasadena. Romaine Hixon, one of the Barker Bros' carpet men who put down miles of deep pile coverings. Said he, "I've been on plenty jobs and have laid plenty of carpet in the finest hotels, but this one tops 'em all. This guy Freedman went first class all the way." A quick handshake with Sy Devore, who will operate the mens shop and howdy to Steve Perlow, former musician with Elliot Lawrence, now with Devore's Sands haberdashery. Eileen Tegeler rushed through the arcade flashing a greeting and invite to stop by Shkey Toushin's Jewel Box where she's doing some selling behind the counter.
Nothing but excitement all over the place as Las Vegans turned out en masse to see the superlative Sands. In all of their comments and expressions, I seldom have heard such panegyrics. And if Mr. Greenspun cannot find that one in his dictionary, here is the definition: "Speech or writing which bestows high praises upon some person, thing, act, or achievement."
An era ends with Sands closing
Friday, June 28, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
There's one sure bet in Las Vegas this weekend: Tears will be flowing at the Sands on Saturday night.
It's the last night in the life of the fabled resort that personified Las Vegas' glitter and glamour from the '50s through the '70s, creating millions of memories for generations of gamblers.
"We have people who were married 30 years ago at the Sands, and they want to come through here one last time," said Don Prunty, vice president of finance for the hotel-casino that closes forever at 6 p.m. Sunday.
In its place, a few years from now, will stand a 6,000-room, $1.5 billion Venetian-themed resort featuring canals and gondolas and a brand new name, all part of Sands owner Sheldon Adelson's bid to stay competitive in the new age of mega-store gaming.
But the promises of tomorrow will give way to remembrances of yesterday for most of those at the Sands this weekend.
"We've had so many requests from so many people," Prunty said. "Many didn't know when the exact closing date was, just that they wanted to be here it whenever it was, to be here for the last night, to walk through here one last time."
Many will be drawn by memories of the Sands' glory days, when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Ed Sullivan, Nat King Cole and Danny Thomas appeared in the hotel's Copa Room, sparking the first period of truly explosive growth for Las Vegas.
It was partly the chance to rub shoulders with the rich and famous that drew people from middle America and transformed Las Vegas from a dusty desert byway into what today ranks as the world's most popular tourist destination.
The Sands opened on Dec. 15, 1952, with just 200 garden rooms and a small casino. But entertainer Danny Thomas packed the showroom, and the Sands soon became one of the most popular spots on the Strip, attracting national figures such as Harry Truman and John Kennedy.
In 1965, the 500-room tower opened, and during the next three decades the Sands went through a series of owners including Howard Hughes, the Pratt family, Kirk Kerkorian and, since 1989, Adelson.
It was the opening of Steve Wynn's Mirage across the Strip that year that ushered in a new era in gaming and sealed the fate of the Sands, an aging dowager whose drab facade and dingy quarters proved no match for the glittering new resorts nearby.
On Sunday morning the final exodus begins. Fewer than 600 of the Sands' 1,450 employes will work that last shift, still dispensing that personal touch that typified Sands service during the resort's heyday.
State gaming regulators will watch as the last cards are dealt, the last coins deposited in slot machines until the Sands seals up the doors that have not closed in 43 years.
The last workers will file out, some lingering a bit for a last look around. Some will go to another resort to mark the Sands' closing with friends.
"Some of the other hotels have coordinated with us to have parties for our workers, but on property there isn't going to be any celebration," Prunty said.
"It's a sad thing for most of us. It's not really a time to party. A lot of people will be remembering how the place was."
During the next few weeks, a handful of people will be exhuming time capsules buried at the Sands, hoping to recover artifacts such as a pipe from Bing Crosby and other memorabilia, much of it from the days when Sinatra and the Rat Pack were roaming the Strip.
Sometime late in July, Prunty said, "There will be an auction in which we'll be selling gaming equipment, furniture, pretty much everything that won't be used at the Sands Expo and Convention Center," which will remain open during construction of the new resort.
"There's a lot of interesting stuff from the time capsules, and we don't know yet whether we'll sell it or keep it for the new property," he said.
Time set for Sands implosion
Monday, Nov. 25, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
The circular tower of the hotel once dubbed "A Place in the Sun" will be erased from the Las Vegas skyline as a demolition crew implodes it early Tuesday.
Law enforcement officials are advising people to stay in their homes and hotel rooms and watch the 44-year-old Sands hotel-casino's tower, scheduled to be razed between 2 and 3 a.m., live on television.
Metro Police and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers are closing off Las Vegas Boulevard from Spring Mountain Road to Harrah's hotel-casino north of Flamingo Road, said Trooper Steve Harney. The hotel sits on the east side of the Strip just south of Spring Mountain Road and across the street from the Treasure Island hotel-casino.
For those who feel they must see it firsthand, they'll be forced to stay behind barricades set up by police, said Metro special events Officer Steve Meriwether.
Because the Strip will be closed off to motorists and pedestrians, spectators won't be able to stand directly in front of the hotel to watch the implosion, Meriwether said.
"There will be barriers to keep the public out," Meriwether said. "My advice would be, it's better to watch it live on TV than to be there. It's cleaner, safer and it'll be much warmer. It will be broadcast live on almost every TV station."
It's the third Las Vegas hotel in recent years to be imploded.
The first was the Dunes hotel-casino on October 27, 1994, at the Strip and Flamingo Road, which was replaced with the Bellagio hotel-casino, scheduled to open in 1998.
The second was the Landmark's 356-foot concrete needle at Paradise Road and Convention Center Drive. It was imploded Nov. 7, 1995, to make way for a convention center parking lot.
But unlike the Dunes and Landmark, which were imploded while also being filmed for movies, the Sands is not being demolished in conjunction with special effects or films.
"There's nothing associated with it," Meriwether said. "There's no filming. There's no pyrotechnics. It's simply, push the button and seven seconds later it's over with."
While the Strip will be closed to pedestrians 45 minutes to an hour before the implosion, motorists will be blocked just five minutes beforehand, Harney said.
If no debris is left on the Strip, the street will reopen 10 to 15 minutes after the demolition, he said.
"We've done this before," Harney said. "It's just another implosion. This is just basically bringing it down. No fireworks. No major fanfare. No filming."
In place of the Sands, which was a 1950s hangout for the Rat Pack's Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., a $1.8 billion Venetian-themed mega-resort will be built. Construction is set to begin in 1997 with an anticipated grand opening in 1999, said Kurt Ouchida of Las Vegas Sands Inc.
The next hotel to be demolished to make way for a mega-resort is the Hacienda hotel-casino at the south end of the Strip next to the Luxor hotel-casino. The Hacienda is set to be imploded, with much fanfare, at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve.