Request for photos and info on the Pussycat A-Go-Go

This is an old post from our original blog and one of our readers asked if I could post it here:

Any photos and history. I was a bass player with Don Corey and the Camps in 1966 at this club.

August 1, 2013 | Bob Ruppell 8/1/2013

The Pussycat A Go Go was opened in 1964 by Garwood Van, a
longtime musician and bandleader on the strip. The Pussycat (had NOTHING to with the Pussycat dolls!)was the first live rock and roll dance club on the strip. It featured two stages, a back-bar stage, for smaller musical groups and/or Go Go Dancers that alternated with the larger bandstand on the dance floor. The club wouldn't really start kicking till after 2:00 AM, when the dancers, showgirls, musicians and those who worked the strip would arrive. By 1965, the Pussycat had earned its reputation as "THE" place to go for dancing and socializing. It was not unusual to find many of the strip headliners such as Johnny Carson, among many others, bumping and grinding on the dance floor. The Pussycat was also the hottest place in town to hear and see the newest, up and coming groups and artist, such as Sly and The Family Stone( who played the Pussycat beginning in 1967 as a six piece group) The Checkmates LTD ( with Bobby Stevens ) played their first Las Vegas gigs at the Pussycat. The Pussycat started the trend of dance clubs the major hotels now enjoy. The success of the Pussycat was quickly copied by other venues elsewhere on the strip as well as downtown, but none captured, then or now, the excitement of the Pussycat.
The Pussycat also featured a small restaurant and a tiny casino, 2 or 3 Blackjack tables and a couple of dozen slots. The Pussycat survived until the late '60's. The Wynn properties now occupy the area where the Pussycat and the Colonial House ( with it's Pussycat-style club) once stood. The Pussycat A Go Go was truly the first, and some would say the hottest, dance club Las Vegas ever had. Anyone who had the experience of visiting the Pussycat in it's heyday, would agree. (Ask Sonny Charles, he was there!)

October 21, 2013 | Basse B

Nice article Basie B. My band, Stark Naked and the Car Thieves began playing at the Pussycat in 1966. Very improbably, we got an audition for Caesars to open Nero's Nook lounge, along with Checkmates, Ltd. only at the last moment they changed our name to "The Big Spenders" to help promote Sweet Charity that started a little after we did. There was a certain amount of controversy over all that and we returned to the Cat to play with bands like Sly Stone, Gary Pucket & the Union Gap, Six the Hardway, Fifth Cavalry, Tom Chase's great horn band. Jim Morrison had driven over from Orange County, Ca, to see us the night he got so badly beaten there, Unfortunately, it was our night off so we were no help. We were also there when Sly was chased off the stage and out of town. We went on to play the Flamingo Skyroom and the International Hotel's Crown Room, the second time Elvis was there and occupying the 17 bedroom suite next door. I'd enjoy talking with anyone who has information or memories of these days, especially as it relates to the band. I'm working on a memoir of the years between 1965 and 1971 called THINGS WE LOST IN THE NIGHT. You can see more about it athttp://larryjdunlap.com. Please contact me through the site. Best wishes to all.

June 8, 2014 | Larry J Dunlap

Hi Larry. I also played at the 'Cat' with our group The Orange Colored Sky in 68-69 three times I think.We had Morrison forced on us by the entertainment director Jack I think his name was (short guy bad toupe) Jim was so drunk (as usual) I had to hold him up on stage by the scruff of his jacket while he tried to sing a song. I remember thinking to my self at the time, that Im holding a dead man here.

May 26, 2016 | Tony Barry

The Poor Boy's played the Pussycat 1965. A great dance club and was packed all of the time. Loved playing there!

May 20, 2017 | Bob Allen

The entertainment director at the Pussycat in the mid-late 1960's was Jack Turner. (This was in his pre-toupee days)! Have often wondered what became of Mr. Turner, as well as another headliner (and Lana Turners last husband) Dr Ron Dante/ Ron Pellar, who played the Pussycat in 1966/67.

August 26, 2017 | Tony Barry

Hi stagemates!
I appeared at the "CAT" the summer of 1964 or 65 (can't recall) with a group out of Saginaw, MI called The "Estyles." The other group was, of course, the Checkmates. I wonder whatever became of them??
I remember Lana Turner and especially. Dr. Dante who taught me a lot about Hypnotism (a whole book could be written about what I did with that info.😄
I know that Dante was for real cos he put my close friend Danny under and made him do a bunch of stuff totally out of character for Danny. In case you ever wondered,it was 4 real!!!
Anyway,good to reminisce after all these years. Interestingly,that Devil's music--R&R-- Helped pay my way to a law practice now in its 41st year.the bass player became a PhD in Psychology and guitar player/lead singer a Civil Engineer. Much more in music accomplished, but solid careers backed it all.

Best,Richard. (State Bar of Michigan #P-27181)

September 30, 2017 | Richard Dumas

My band, The Estyles played the Pussy Cat in 1996. The Checkmates were the house band and we were a traveling band out of Saginaw, Michigan. We met a lot of movie stars as we played. Guys like Bobby Darin sat in with us. Dr Dante did a great intermission show. That was the hottest club on the strip. Since we played until 6 am in the morning, the entertainers came to dance to our music after their performances were over. It was a great club and we had a great time playing there.

April 17, 2018 | Dr Don Steele

Gambling on a Dream Presentation and Book Signing: Dec. 8th

Book image.jpeg

If you live in Las Vegas or visiting there, I am happy to announce that I will be doing a presentation and book signing for my newly published book, Gambling on a Dream: The Classic Las Vegas Strip 1930-1955 on Saturday, December 8th at the Nevada State Museum (at the Springs Preserve).

I’ll be talking about the early days of the Las Vegas Strip when it was better known as a pot-holed. two-lane highway that connected the small town to southern California, how it began and how it grew.

It all begins at 2:00 pm and I hope to see you there!

The Midcentury Las Vegas Stage exhibit opens on Dec. 4th!

Please be sure to add this to your to-do list. You don't want to miss this terrific exhibit that looks at why Las Vegas became the Entertainment Capital of the World!

I was asked to write the text for this terrific exhibit that opens on Thursday.

Hope you will check it out!!!  

December 4, 2014 – February 14, 2015:

Mid Century Las Vegas Stage


Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush Street, Las Vegas, 702-229-6383
For more information, please call 702-229-1012
Free and open to the public
The new exhibit at the Charleston Heights Art Center Gallery titled The Midcentury Las Vegas Stage: Acts that Built the Entertainment Capital of the World explores both legendary and obscure stage acts from the perspective of the archives at the Las Vegas News Bureau and the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas. Rarely seen photographs combined with video footage and stage costume tell the distinctive story of Las Vegas' original hotel lounges and showrooms.

The midcentury Las Vegas entertainment scene was extraordinary, remarkable and singularly unique to the city. The unlikely pairing of Barbra Streisand with Liberace on a 1963 Riviera bill or the arcane combination, on the Sahara stage, of film legend Mae West with 1954's Mr. America are enduring examples of why Las Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World.


About Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas
The Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, actively engages people in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage. The museum is one of seven managed by the Nevada Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the
grounds of the Springs Preserve, a 180-acre cultural institution with museums, exhibits, gardens, interpretive trails, event space and more, built on the site of artesian springs that once nourished desert life. Visit the museum at 309 S. Valley View Boulevard or on Facebook. Adult admission is $9.95 and includes entrance to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.

About Las Vegas News Bureau
For more than 65 years, the Las Vegas News Bureau has captured the sights and sounds of the world’s leading destination like no one else, and has played a unique role in promoting Las Vegas by documenting unforgettable images on film. The News Bureau was created in 1947 as part of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s marketing efforts to promote Las Vegas as a tourism destination. Today, the Las Vegas News Bureau plays an important role in supporting
the marketing efforts of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.