It was announced this morning, the venerable Sahara Hotel, one of the last of the original ladies of the Las Vegas Strip still standing (the Riv and the Trop the other two), is closing May 16th.
Once home to the swinging sounds of Louie Prima, Sam Butera and Keely Smith, the Sahara was where not only Louie and the gang hit the big time and ushered in the era of the "Las Vegas Lounge" but Buddy Hackett and Don Rickles also got their start. Johnny Carson used to headline the Congo Room.
The Beatles would have played there but, by 1964, Beatlemania was in full bloom and the concert had to be moved to the larger Las Vegas Convention Center's Rotunda. But, John, Paul, George and Ringo stayed at the Sahara during that concert weekend.
Built by one of the Strip's best visionaries, Milton Prell and with Stan Irwin as the Entertainment Director, the Sahara was the happening place on the Strip for all of the 1960s.
But that was then and this is now. Time and various owners have not been kind to the regal lady of yore. For the last ten years, she has struggled to find her footing on the changing north end of the Strip. Wynn and Encore provided a striking body blow that the Sahara has never really been able to recover from.
But, if you remember the old girl as fondly as I do, then you can read about the history of the Sahara here.
Any one remember the Club Bingo?
Yeah, I thought you might.
And all you Mid-Century Modern fans, how about Don the Beachcomber?
It's all part of the Sahara's history.
And thinking of staying at the Sahara, read my review from last year before making that reservation: