July milestones

Here are the hot historical happenings in Las Vegas in July through the years.

On July 1, 1909: Clark County is officially organized after being created by the Nevada Legislature by splitting off a section of Lincoln County. Can we squeeze 110 candles on the birthday cake?

On July 1, 1950: Hank Greenspun publishes the first edition of the Las Vegas Sun under the name the Las Vegas Morning Sun. Sixty-nine years hence, the Sun still shines.

On July 2, 1973: What will become Harrah’s Las Vegas opens as the riverboat-themed Holiday Casino. It will shift to its Harrah’s identity in 1992.  Today, the anchor show for the 46-year-old resort is, fittingly, Menopause the Musical, a hilarious hot flash of fun.

On July 6, 1958: Imported from France, the classic Lido de Paris production opens at the Stardust, with the original cast of all foreign-born performers flown directly from Paris. Nearly 33 years and 22,000 performances later, the show came to a close, but not before ensuring that showgirls would be the forever embodiment of Las Vegas.    

On July 8, 2018: Think of it as “Daredevil: The Next Generation” as action-sports star Travis Pastrana jumped the fountains at Caesars Palace. In what was billed as a tribute to the late Evel Knievel, Pastrana pulled off what almost killed Knievel by re-creating his stunt of vaulting over 52 flattened cars and 16 buses in a lot behind Planet Hollywood, then successfully jumping the fountains. (It was the “successful” part that didn’t quite pan out for Knievel when he attempted it on New Year’s Eve in 1967.)

On July 15, 2004: The Las Vegas Monorail opens to the public. Since then it has ferried more than 80 million passengers. It is overdue for its pop-culture moment: Getting hijacked, then rescued by Bruce Willis in our suggested sequel, Die Hard: It’s Vegas, Baby!

On July 16, 2018: A ceremony heralds the groundbreaking for Caesars Forum, the $375 million, 550,000-square-foot conference center behind the Linq Promenade. Set for a 2020 debut, the forum commenced construction with more than $70 million in conference business already booked. And with its creation, it was projected to generate 1,000 local construction jobs and more than 450 permanent jobs, giving Las Vegas another reason to declare that this is where the world comes to do business.

On July 22, 1953: Las Vegas’ first commercial television station, KLAS-TV Channel 8, is launched by Hank Greenspun and a group of investors. Finally, what happens here is broadcast to those who live here.

On July 26, 1969: Elvis Presley begins his immortal shows at the International Hotel, where he is signed for four weeks of performances, twice a year, at $125,000 per week. Las Vegas entertainment is forever transformed, gifted with both a legacy and a means of employment for impersonators the world over.

On July 31, 1981: Vegas razzmatazz gets its signature show when producer Donn Arden’s Jubilee! opens at the old MGM Grand. That kicked off a remarkable, nearly 35-year run of showgirls (and boys), glittering costumes, opulent sets and sumptuous spectacle, from the sensuous gyrations of Samson and Delilah to the stupendous nightly staging of the sinking of the Titanic. Along with the Rat Pack, Liberace and Elvis, it remains one of the historical tentpoles of Las Vegas entertainment.

— Steve Bornfeld


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