"Liberace would fill a hotel, Sinatra would fill the town."
Don Payne, former Manager of the Las Vegas News Bureau.
For over thirty-five years, Frank Sinatra's name on a hotel marquee was a guarantee of sold-out shows. Just word that Sinatra was coming would spike airline reservations and hotel reservations. In the era before the Internet and Youtube, if you wanted to see Sinatra in concert, Las Vegas was the place to be.
Las Vegas was good to Sinatra at time when he needed good luck badly. In the early 1950s, when his voice was said to be shot and his love affair with Ava Gardner was on the rocks, Wilbur Clark hired the young singer when others wouldn't return his phone call. He played the Desert Inn and once quipped:
"Wilbur Clark gave me my first job in Las Vegas. That was 1951.
For six bucks you got a filet mignon dinner and me.".
Frank Sinatra, 1992
As his fortunes improved, he moved from the Desert Inn to the Sands Hotel where he would film "Ocean's 11" and the Rat Pack on-stage antics would help put the Las Vegas Strip on the map.
After a well-publicized brawl with Carl Cohen that resulted in broken windows and the loss of his two front teeth, Sinatra moved over to Caesars Palace where he continued to weave that old Sinatra magic.
It was major news when Steve Wynn managed to steal him away and bring him to Fremont Street to play the Golden Nugget.
There have been many entertainers who left their mark on the Las Vegas Strip but none who did it quite as stylish as the Chairman of the Board.
Happy Birthday, Frank!