So, this blog post is posting on Monday (April 30, 2012), even through I’m writing it at 1:04 am on Sunday (April 29, 2012) about how I spend my day today…er…yesterday, Saturday April 28, 2012…got all that?
I’m writing this particular post because I watched a LOT of Vegas television Saturday (henceforth: today), 98% of which was not intentional. I started my day like any other, the wife and I had breakfast, watching the Today Show, drinking coffee. Round about the 11 am marker, I stumbled across “Saved By The Bell: The Vegas Wedding” and thought to myself, “Hey, I’ve never seen this, I guess I’ll watch it to check out what Vegas looked like in 1994”! So I caught half the movie and was amazed at how different the landscape looked in 1994 (the year the movie was made), compared to 2012. Well, maybe just 2007. The movie was shot on location, almost exclusively at the Stardust. The Stardust is one of those casinos I didn’t get to on my first trip to Vegas (circa Oct, 2006) so I never got the luxury of checking it out. There were some stellar shots of it, the Desert Inn, Westward Ho, Silver City and the like. It made me nostalgic for vintage Vegas. The other area the movie devoted a considerable amount of time to was Downtown. It’s funny, but it blew me away to see cars driving down the road where the now Freemont St. Experience is now. At first I didn’t even know where they were because I’ve never known a Vegas to allow driving between the major casinos of downtown.
So that movie wrapped up around Noon and my wife and I napped on our respective couches in the living room until about 3 o’clock, when what does my heart discover but Vegas Vacation! So, unable to ever pass that movie up, I made her watch it from 3-5. Again, it was neat to see what the Strip looked like in 1997 when the movie was filmed, almost exclusively at Mirage and MGM Grand. It was amazing what 4 years between one Vegas themed movie and the other brought to my favorite city. But, despite the new casinos (Mirage, TI) there were still quite a few greats still around (Frontier, Sands, Klondike Inn). The funny thing about watching this movie is it made me so sad to think that so many of the hotel-casinos which made Vegas “Vegas” are gone.
Once that movie finished around 5 pm, the wife and I ordered dinner and napped again (lazy Saturday, I’ll concede). I awoke around 8 pm just in time for a 3 hour marathon on Planet Green (soon to be renamed Destination America) of old Vegas/gambling documentaries. The first was High Rollers Vegas, filmed in 1998 and set almost exclusively at the Rio (oh, how the mighty have fallen) and Desert Inn. Next was Vegas Cheaters Exposed (filmed in 2002) and Top Ten Ways To Win (origin unknown). Again, during this 3 hour trip down memory lane (because any self-respecting Vegas-ite will have seen each episode at least 6 times) I again found myself sighing that “old Vegas” was no more.
But then I had a thought, and that’s part of the reason why this post is posting on Monday (4/30). Because on this day, at Noon PST, the O’Sheas casino will be giving the bum’s rush to the last of its patrons. No doubt you know by know, the LINQ is causing a great deal of middle Strip to go through a fair amount of change and with that change comes the loss of O’Sheas. But I’m not going to miss O’Sheas and let me tell you why. My very first experience with O’Sheas was on my first trip out to Vegas. I went out with my then girlfriend, as well as, a great female friend of mine from college and her fiance. We sat down in the back of the casino at a bar to play video poker (and I think it’s where the beer pong tables were eventually set-up) and the place smelled like vomit. I’m talking, just got projectiled before we got there, vomit. It was terrible. We looked and looked to see where the vomit was, but none of the four of us could find it. But it was so bad, we drank the one drink and got the hell out of O’Sheas and I never looked back. But that’s when it occurred to me to wonder: I don’t give a shit that O’Sheas is closing down…did other’s feel that way about the Sands, Dunes, Frontier and Stardust? Did these aforementioned locations become such dumps that by the time the wrecking ball got to them, they were well past their heyday?
It makes me wonder if I would have gotten out to Vegas in 1998 when I first turned 21, would I have come to loathe the casinos of yesteryear as I do O’Sheas? I wonder if it’s simply because I never had the chance to experience them that it makes me want them that much more. Sure, it’s easy for me in 2012 to sit here and curse the powers-that-be that have left a huge gaping hole where the Frontier and Stardust once stood. But if I’d have had a chance to have checked them out, would they simply have been another O’Sheas in my mind? Now, that said, I did get a chance to check out the Frontier before it got imploded in 2007. Sure, I’ll concede it was tired but it wasn’t anywhere near as gross as O’Sheas.
More so, I wonder if in 20 years from now when my kids are watching Oceans 11 & 13 if they’ll want to know about Bellagio, Mirage, etc and ask me if those were the “good ol’ days of Vegas”?
I guess it’s all relative.