Howard Hughes and the Silver Slipper

Another of Las Vegas' most iconic landmarks belonged to the Slipper Silver Gambling Hall. Originally opened in 1950 on the property of Last Frontier, it was called the Golden Slipper because the name Slipper Silver had already been taken, but soon after they opened, the Silver Slipper folded and the name was moved to its new home on the Las Strip Vegas. The Silver Slipper was never a large casino, but due to the central location of the Strip and its proximity to the Front Front, it was very popular with families and offered the best 49-cent breakfast buffet in town.

I find it interesting from a marketing perspective that most of the Strip hotels used desert or pioneer themes for their casinos: Hacienda, Sands, Aladdin, Dunes, Frontier, Sahara, Desert Inn, Stardust, El Rancho Vegas, and Bonanza. Some hotels even referred to their Cuban and South Florida roots: Flamingo, Tropicana and Riviera.

Given that hotels and casinos on the Strip didn't start to flourish until the late 1940s with Flamingo El Rancho Vegas and Bugsy Siegel, it's interesting that they all chose to stay within a particular set of topics, but then again the mafia doesn't were known for their creativity or risk-taking, unless the risk-taking involves a new and improved style of killing or extortion. I think they were less concerned about the design prices and more interested in the scheme.

Riding his Trans World Airways sales for $ 546,549,171, Howard Hughes came to Las Vegas with an eye for the future and a load of cash, but Hughes wasn't convinced Las Vegas was where he wanted to be. set up shop. After two years of jumping back and forth between the East Coast and Las Vegas and a careful study of Las Vegas' financial potential, Hughes decided to stay and move to the top two floors of the Desert Inn with the determination to reshape the Las Vegas landscape. Why? Who knows, but Howard Hughes found enough intrigue to keep him an active participant in the growth of Sin City, and with a billion-dollar bankruptcy, he was an immediate force. In fact, his name was so big, the Nevada Game Commission all but crashed when it came time to consider his request to own a casino. Something that took the most likely owners months and years to complete, with Howard Hughes, the paint was dry before his aides left the session.

So, what about Silver Slider with Howard Hughes? It seems fair to say that since Hughes moved to Las Vegas, his apparent bi-polar behavior and shock paranoia were well established. Hughes moved to the Desert Inn with the agreement stating that he would stay for no more than 2 months. This arrangement was okay with ownership, but the rooftop apartments on the first two floors were designated for the high-rolled hotel stables that came to play during the Christmas holidays, and the Hughes staff who were all Mormons, not gamblers, not -Prinkers, and they just weren't spending money at the casino or bar. Hughes was asked to leave and when the push came to a close, Hughes wrote a check for $ 13.2 million, took ownership of the Desert Inn, and began a spending spree unlike anything he'd ever seen in Las Vegas.

But Hughes was not pleased and as his neurosis and paranoia grew. Memories of McCarthy's anticommunist hearing also began to weigh on his psyche. This was reinforced by the fact that his suite faced the Silver Slipper Game Room across the street and the rotary slider rotating on the Strip marquee would reflect the light in his room. Not only did you freeze it at night, he got the idea that hidden in the toe of the shoe were cameras with the sole purpose of photographing the Desert Inn, its suite and hotel entrance, all in a bid to chronicle arrivals and actions his . So angry at the sign, Howard Hughes sent a telegram to his chief aide, "I want you to buy that place, that damn sign I'm going crazy. On April 30, 1968, Howard Hughes bought the Gambling Hall. of Slipper Silver for $ 5,360,000,000, and rumor has it that his first edict was stopping the rotating Silver Slider and filling it with concrete. Surveillance cameras or not, Howard Hughes would finally get a night's sleep. OK, maybe.

The Hughes Corporation was owned by Slipper Silver until June 1988, when it was acquired by Margaret Elardi who owned the Hotel Frontier and Casino next door. The Silver Slider was destroyed shortly thereafter with plans to extend the Border, but a merger strike and difficult economic times put an end to it.

Today, the iconic orange Slipper sits above Las Vegas Boulevard at the Neon Museum just north of the city of Las Vegas. The slipper is available for viewing 24/7, but the museum is open by appointment only. Go to their website for more information on their tours and costs. For anyone who enjoys the nostalgia of "Old Vegas," a trip to the museum is well worth the trip.

Howard Hughes moved to Las Vegas on November 24, 1966 and died April 5, 1976 at the age of 70. His influence in Las Vegas in the '60s and' 39s is monumental and came at a time when mafia interests were fading and Wall Street corporations were growing in interest. We will look at this fascinating time in the history of Las Vegas in future posts.