Las Vegas might be a young city when compared to other great cities from around the world but it has already built up a huge history behind its name.
Here’s an amazing look at vintage Las Vegas through the ages, from the 1940s up to the retro-tastic 80s. Let these videos transport you to a different time on the famous Strip.
Las Vegas as the city we all know and love is considered to have been born in the 1940s when the Flamingo Hotel and Golden Nugget Casino were both built in 1946.
This video shows how a number of other clubs were starting to help grow the reputation of the city as an entertainment destination.
Venues such as the Eldorado Club, Boulder Club, and the Monte Carlo appear in this video to give you a real taste of vintage 1940s Vegas in its infancy.
Gambling became legalized in Las Vegas during 1931. It was during the 1940s that things started to really get going though.
The Las Vegas Army Airfield was activated in 1941 and this brought a lot of custom and tourism to the city.
The mob played a key role in helping set up the foundations of Vegas as a gambling haven. Gangsters such as “Bugsy” Siegel and Benny Binion invested heavily to get the industry started.
Siegel is documented in this video along with other key Vegas icons of the decade such as actor Bruce Cabot and restaurateur Michael Romanoff.
In the 1950s, the Vegas boom continued. The population rose to 24,624 at the start of the decade.
This video highlights the growing appeal the city is enjoying with entertainment prevalent both during the day and at night. It was a decade that saw Binion’s Horseshoe Casino opened in 1951, Sands Hotel and Casino established in 1952, and the Fremont Hotel founded in 1956.
The buzz surrounding the city during this time is encapsulated perfectly here.
The vibrant colors and razzmatazz of the neon lights that lit up Las Vegas during the 1950s is captured here. Downtown Las Vegas is caught on camera in its pomp here. If you have never understood the fuss surrounding the Downtown region then this video will show you exactly why it was so highly revered. The Stardust, Sahara, and the iconic neon cowboy sign of the Pioneer Club capture the mood of the place at this time.
This is a very personal and intimate video that was taken by a tourist visiting Las Vegas during the 1960s. Its focus on the emotions of the people visiting Vegas is mesmerizing. It interprets the impact the city had on people visiting. For so many it is seen as this wondrous place and it can be forgotten that is has created a lot of fond memories for those that visit.
Las Vegas had always been about the Downtown area of casinos until the 1960s when the Strip began to take on an identity resembling the one that is so famous today as seen in this video. Caesars Palace opened up in 1966 and this was closely followed by Circus Circus in 1968. One of the godfathers of Vegas, Kirk Kerkorian purchased the Flamingo Hotel in 1968 and would go on to become one of the most influential men in the city’s history.
Footage shown in this video was initially taken by director Ray Dennis Steckler in an effort to pad out his movies. However, it also gives an authentic impression of what Vegas was like in the 1970s. This was a city that had truly found its feet. The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino had opened in 1973 and the Strip was now world renowned. The casino magnate Steve Wynn also bought his first casino when he invested in the Golden Nugget Las Vegas in 1971.
Is there a more iconic show man that symbolizes Las Vegas than Elvis? The singer is one of the greatest recording artists and performers to have ever lived. He made his name in Sin City and never forgot it. Here he is rehearsing for a show at the Las Vegas International Hotel in rare footage. This was a man at the peak of his powers and this video shows how he revelled in it.
On 21st November, 1980, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino was engulfed in flames. It took the lives of 85 people and remains one of the most tragic days in the city’s history. It is the third-worst hotel fire in terms of loss of life in the history of the US. This video gives you a gut-wrenching feel of what many experienced on that terrible day. The venue was eventually re-opened and now operates as the iconic Bally’s Las Vegas resort.
The Las Vegas Strip is Las Vegas for so many people. During the 1980s, the Strip took the next step on its evolutionary journey. This video is a tranquil drive along the iconic road at a time when things were just starting to get bigger and grander. The inclusion of the Tropicana and Marina high rise resorts sums this expansion in size. The Mirage also opened its doors in 1989. You can feel the modernization of the city starting to take hold in what turned out to be a golden era for the US just as the Cold War was drawing to a close and the economy was booming.