Stardust Memories

It happened in the dead night.  The end came for another grand dame of the Las Vegas Strip.  The Stardust Hotel had a date with the wrecking ball in the wee small hours of the morning on March 12th.

 It's towering neon sign had been dismantled and sent to the Neon Museum boneyard where it was reunited with its original Jetson Age letters.  The Kermit Wayne designed original neon galaxy that once promised all the luck in the galaxy just another memory.

Other memories that I have:

Donn Arden's Lido de Paris with its line captain Fluff LeCoque, dancers Marty Gavin, Valerie Perrine and others.  The sinking of the Titanic was first staged by Ardenn on the showroom stage by Ardenn.  It would be so successful he would turn it into an art form at the original MGM Grand with his production of Hallelujiah Hollywood!  He would hire two talented but not then known magicians, Sigfried and Roy.

The Aku Aku Restaurant.  Back in the early 1960s, when everything Polynesian was all the rage this was the Las Vegas equivalent of Trader Vic's.  Before Don the Beachcomber settled into the Sahara Hotel, we went for frosty island drinks, scorpion bowl drinks and tangy sweet and sour food at the Aku Aku.  With its giant Miori tiki god out front on Las Vegas Blvd beckoning visitors, it was paradise without the humidity.

 The Stardust Drive-In.  This was the old Motor-Vue Drive-In that sat on the back of the Stardust property approximately where the Boyd corporate offices are today.  It was a great way to see a movie on a hot summer night when I was a kid.  My dad took us to see Viva Las Vegas there.

The original Royal Nevada Hotel that opened before the Stardust but closed shortly after the Stardust opened.  It was next door to the Stardust on the south side of the building.  The Stardust would annex the property and it would become part of the Stardust Auditorium and Convention Center.  The crown that was the logo for the Royal Nevada was replaced by the letters SA for Stardust Auditorium.  The Crown is now in the Neon Museum boneyard as well.

See our Then and Now Gallery for photos of the Stardust from back in the day!