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Miss Atomic Bomb to Ali: Las Vegas’s 75 greatest photos presented

Updated June 12, 2022 - 11:41 am

Forgive the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for hoarding. They’ve socked away our city’s history snapshots.

Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal shaking hands with Frank Sinatra on Rosenthal’s talk show at the Stardust in August 1977.

The Jackson 5 headlining the old MGM Grand, today’s Bally’s, in August 1974.

Muhammad Ali at the weigh-in for his bout against Joe Bugner on at Caesars Palace on Valentine’s Day, 1973.

Elvis on the Las Vegas Hilton marquee (with Kenny Rogers and The Sweet First Edition in the lounge) in January 1972. Louis Armstrong with Marlene Dietrich at the Riviera in February 1962.

An atomic mushroom cloud in the distance, with the Las Vegas Club and the Pioneer Club in the foreground, June 1957. And a photo of “Miss Atomic Bomb” from May 24, 1957, the most-published Las Vegas News Bureau photo ever.

Those are just a sampling of the Las Vegas News Bureau’s photos of Las Vegas’s past, collected and indexed by the LVCVA. This year the LVCVA Archive celebrates its 75th anniversary. The top 75 photos dating to 1947 are now available in an online gallery, just now available to the public. Go to lvcva.com/who-we-are/75th-anniversary/ to flip through the city’s scrapbook.

The photos were selected from those that have been most requested for publication.

“If it were not for the Las Vegas New Bureau, essential elements of the visual history of Las Vegas starting in the late 1940s would not have been recorded and, just as important, preserved,” says Bob Stoldal, retired television news executive and Las Vegas historian. “History comes alive thanks to the Las Vegas News Bureau.”

The first photo in the series is a a shot of Helldorado Days from May 15, 1947. Nearly every photo is in classic black-and-white. The series is to continue over the coming months. Galleries titled Celebrities, Entertainment, Downtown, Then & Now, Sports and (naturally) Implosions are among the themed collections being planned.

A roundtable of Las Vegas historians is also being enlisted to speak to the collection, and the history of the city, likely in November. There is much to discuss. In all, the collection encompasses more than 7 million images, 11,000 pieces of film and video, and 1,300-linear-feet of manuscripts and artifacts.

The archive is the largest single collection of post-World War II images in the world. As LVCVA CEO Steve Hill says, “We are thrilled to showcase the iconic images that have become synonymous with Las Vegas.”

Locking him up

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman awarded superstar Barry Manilow a Key to the City of Las Vegas and a proclamation making June 10 Barry Manilow Day, during Manilow’s show at Westgate Las Vegas on Friday night. This was a hand-off performed behind the scenes.

Manilow was said to be too humble to make a big thing of his key award in front of his International Theater crowd.

The Key to the City of Las Vegas is different from the Key to the Las Vegas Strip, awarded by the Clark County Commission (the Strip is actually in Clark County, do not forget it). Katy Perry received a Strip key and proclamation Wednesday at Resorts World.

On Friday, Manilow’s teeming-with-Fanilows audience rejoiced in “Copacabana,” the Donna Summer arrangement of “Could It Be Magic” and, yes, Manilow’s rendition of the State Farm Insurance jingle, “And like a good neighbor, State Farm is theeeere!.”

“My greatest hit!” he calls it.

The mayor and Oscar Goodman took in the show. “He’s still singing his heart out to standing-room-only crowds after 40-plus performing in Las Vegas,” the mayor said in text.

Manilow was to close his run Saturday, returning Sept. 16-18. His 79th birthday is Friday.

Fostering the superstars

David Foster and Katharine McPhee have been added to the “Up Close and Personal With Andrea Bocelli and Friends” Keep Memory Alive fundraiser at Spago in Beverly Hills. The event is 6 p.m. Friday. Money raised at the $10,000-per-guest event benefits KMA, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s charitable organization; the Maria Shriver-led Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. Go to keepmemoryalive.org for info, and to support. Cleveland Clinic co-founders Larry and Camille Ruvo are the event’s co-hosts. Longtime Cleveland Clinic supporter (and Spago chef) Wolfgang Puck is running the kitchen.

Cool Hang Alert

Yo, another pop for Gatsby’s Supper Club Gambit Henderson. This place is coming on, especially if you are a fan of trombone bands. I know you are out there. The Las Vegas Boneheads are the trombone-heavy outfit of Curt Miller, Nathan Tanouye, Ilai Macaggi, Falph Pressler, Nate Kimball, Elaine Vivacde Miller, Larry Ebermanm, Ili Geissendoerfer and Steve Flora are bad to the bone at 6 p.m. (doors), 8 p.m. (show). The gig runs to 11 p.m. A $30 F&B minimum per person is the cover. And remember, cocktail-attire dress code enforced. Go to gambithenderson.com for info.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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