November milestones

On Nov. 1, 2006 …  The iconic Stardust Hotel-Casino shutters after 48 years of twinkling on the Strip skyline.  Yet that famous sign lives on, both at the Neon Museum and in the legacy of Las Vegas.

On Nov. 5, 2014 … Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak celebrates the Planet Hollywood residency of Britney Spears, declares “Britney Day” and presents her with the “key” to the Strip. And now the “Oops I Did It Again” superstar has announced her new Vegas residency, to kick off in 2019 at the Park Theater. Yes, we’ll say it: Oops, she’s doing it again.

On Nov. 7, 1995 … We witness the implosion of the Landmark Hotel-Casino, but fear not — the footage of the event lives on in cinematic glory (or is it infamy?) by being featured in director Tim Burton’s campy 1996 cheese-fest, Mars Attacks!

On Nov. 9, 2010 … The Tropicana Hotel-Casino implodes a wing of the resort housing its oldest rooms. Fortunately, people don’t renovate the way hotels do, otherwise they’d blow up their noses before they got a schnozz job.

On Nov. 11, 2008 … With a price tag of $662 million, the Aliante Hotel-Casino opens with a party featuring a performance by Sheryl Crow. And with its debut, North Las Vegas gets a glossy upgrade.

On Nov. 13, 2007 … It was only the second hotel to open on the Las Vegas Strip. Sixty-five years later, the New Frontier Hotel-Casino is imploded. Formerly known as the Last Frontier and just The Frontier, its good-bye leaves Vegas frontier-less.

On Nov. 15, 1950 … Mobsters feel the heat when in Las Vegas, Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver opens a five-month probe into organized crime. Sixty-two year laters, the Mob Museum opens in the former federal courthouse where the hearings were held.  Now that’s marketing genius.

On Nov. 15, 2001 …  Give a warm welcome as the off-Strip Palms Hotel-Casino opens its doors. Soon it’s a celebrity magnet. You can’t swing an Oscar, an Emmy or a Grammy without hitting one.

On Nov. 15, 2007   Vegas hosts the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion. Not to give away any spoilers, but some guy named Obama wound up on top.

On Nov. 15, 2011 After 41 years downtown, the Western Hotel-Casino shuts down, part of Jackie Gaughan’s casino lineup that also included El Cortez, The Gold Spike, The Plaza and The Las Vegas Club.  

On Nov. 18, 2012 … Jerry Lewis performs a live PBS special at the Orleans Hotel-Casino celebrating 75 years in show business. That’s a whole lot of Hey Laaaaaaady’s. And telethons.

On Nov. 20, 1963 The Las Vegas Sun newspaper office burns down. The paper itself, however, is like the actual sun — still showing up every day in Las Vegas.

On Nov. 21, 1980 On a tragic night, The MGM Grand hotel fire leaves 87 people dead and around 700 more injured. And a city mourns.

Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), left, vs. Floyd Patterson in the first of two North American Boxing Federation heavyweight professional boxing matches at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Referee Harry Krause looks on at right. (John Cook/Las Vegas News Bureau)

On Nov. 22, 1965 … Cassius Clay scores a 12th-round knockout of Floyd Patterson in pugilistic heavyweight combat at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Cassius Clay would later become Muhammad Ali and the rest is indestructible sports (and cultural) history.

On Nov. 22, 1989 That isn’t a mirage, it’s the opening of The Mirage Hotel-Casino at a cost of $630 million, which triggers a Strip building boom that propels modern Las Vegas toward becoming the megaresort mecca of today. Among its distinctions: gold windows thanks to actual gold dust used in the tinting process. That led to the coining of the famous expression: “There’s gold on them thar window sills!”   

On Nov. 24, 1922 Along with six other states — California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico — Nevada signs the Colorado River Compact, governing the allocation of water rights. Ninety-six years later, water shortages remain an ever-present concern.

On Nov. 24, 1944 In what will kick off a long, legendary career that will elevate him to iconic status in the city — and the world, for that matter — 25-year-old Liberace makes his Las Vegas debut at the Last Frontier. And the world will never look at 150-pound mink capes the same way again. 

On Nov. 26, 1970 After conquering our city in nearly every way that matters here — as Nevada’s largest private employer, casino owner and property owner — Howard Hughes leaves Las Vegas. He also leaves behind a legacy as one of this city’s larger-than-life figures — if not THE largest.

On Nov. 26, 1996 … A glittering chapter of Las Vegas history — or at least a physical manifestation of it — comes tumbling down when The Sands Hotel-Casino is imploded, wiping out the playground of the Rat Pack after a 44-year run as this city’s Headquarters of Cool. But, as its famous sign noted, it will always have “A Place in the Sun” in Las Vegas lore.

 — Steve Bornfeld

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