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Transcript of interview with Darrin Bush by Claytee White, June 30, 2016






In 1948 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a camera-girl-turned-cocktail-waitress and a casino credit manager welcomed the birth of their son, Darrin Bush. After attaining his education at St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Bishop Gorman High School, Bush earned his Bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Bush credits his love for photography to his mother’s influence and his study of journalism. Bush’s first job after college as a room service waiter at the Sahara Hotel eventually grew into the coveted position of room service swing captain. His swing shift duties included the entertainers' dressing rooms, which meant taking care of the entertainers, getting them what they needed, and stocking their favorite foods and drinks nightly. Through his work, Bush eventually formed close friendships with several celebrities of the day. He enjoyed his work, but he never stopped honing his skills as an amateur photographer. In the mid-1980s, Bush left the Strip to become a professional photographer for the Las Vegas News Bureau. Throughout his News Bureau career, Bush photographed the casino buildings made famous by Las Vegas-the construction and the architecture of Southern Nevada’s gaming palaces-as well as iconic events in Las Vegas history. Darrin retired from the News Bureau in about 2014, but his work recording the building of and events of Las Vegas lives on in the News Bureau archives. He continues to be an avid photographer.

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Bush, Darrin Interview, 2016 June 30. OH-02740. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH DARRIN BUSH An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2016 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editors: Stefani Evans, Franklin Howard Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Interviewers: Stefani Evans, Claytee D. White Project Manager: Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the University for the support given that allowed an idea and the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE In 1948 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a camera-girl-turned-cocktail-waitress and a casino credit manager welcomed the birth of their son, Darrin Bush. After attaining his education at St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Bishop Gorman High School, Bush earned his Bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Bush credits his love for photography to his mother’s influence and his study of journalism. Bush’s first job after college as a room service waiter at the Sahara Hotel eventually grew into the coveted position of room service swing captain. His swing shift duties included the entertainers' dressing rooms, which meant taking care of the entertainers, getting them what they needed, and stocking their favorite foods and drinks nightly. Through his work, Bush eventually formed close friendships with several celebrities of the day. He enjoyed his work, but he never stopped honing his skills as an amateur photographer. In the mid-1980s, Bush left the Strip to become a professional photographer for the Las Vegas News Bureau. Throughout his News Bureau career, Bush photographed the casino buildings made famous by Las Vegas—the construction and the architecture of Southern Nevada’s gaming palaces—as well as iconic events in Las Vegas history. Darrin retired from the News Bureau in about 2014, but his work recording the building of and events of Las Vegas lives on in the News Bureau archives. He continues to be an avid photographer.v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Darrin Bush June 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Claytee D. White Preface………………………………………………………………..………………………….iv Darrin remembers his childhood in Twin Lakes, Las Vegas; describes divorce practices in Las Vegas, Nevada and Reno, Nevada; attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Bishop Gorman High School; started to play golf; attended the University of Nevada, Reno; describes his beginnings as a photographer; remembers his first job in room service at the Sahara Hotel; explains the role of a swing captain; met celebrities; recalls shopping for Sonny and Cher Bono; met his wife; discusses his favorite photos and scenes of Las Vegas; explains the process of documenting hotel construction; describes his father’s career; worked in other casino jobs; started to work at the News Bureau; remembers some of his favorite photographs he took; explains how he photographs implosions and which ones he photographed; describes implosions at the Dunes Hotel and the Landmark Hotel; remembers his favorite projects for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA)…………………..………………......……..…1-19 Darrin describes the LVCVA offices across the United States; explains the process of photographing celebrities and political figures in Las Vegas, Nevada and how to obtain credentials for each photo shoot; discusses the impact of mobile technology on his work; filmed the Rolling Stones in concert; remember Robert Goulet; describes the hotel marquees after national tragedies and celebrity deaths; explains how he navigates the Las Vegas Strip to arrive at each location to photograph; recalls professional sports in Las Vegas, Nevada; remembers his baseball hero Willie Mays; photographed boxing matches and famous boxers Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield; discusses the game of basketball; retired from the News Bureau; remembers cruising Fremont Street as a child; discusses the history and evolution of Fremont Street; remembers the Helldorado Parade; remembers his favorite performers to work with and pranks they would play; discusses importance of entertainment to Las Vegas growth and development……….………………………………………………………………………....20-40 Darrin explains how technology has changed photography; describes his role in the LVCVA; discusses the future of Las Vegas, Nevada and the challenges the city faces; remembers the opening of the Paris Hotel and New York New York; remembers the boxing match between George Foreman and Alex Schulz; photographed Ringo Starr; photographed the Bellagio opening; discusses his most famous photograph; shows his past credentials to film concerts and shows; discusses the impact of Facebook on the field of photography; remembers roller skating at the Convention Center in the 1960s; remembers the Beatles, Neil Diamond, and Sammy Davis, Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada; golfed with Sammy Davis, Jr. on the Strip; remembers Foxy’s vi Jewish Deli; discusses race relations in Las Vegas, Nevada; remembers the Moulin Rouge, elephants loose from the circus, the Green Shack Restaurant; discusses the horse race track; remembers Joey Bishop…………………………………………………………...………….41-60 Darrin shows photographs of celebrities; remembers Jimmy Durante; describes Helldorado Village, Elvis’ wedding, and Ronald Reagan performing at the Frontier Hotel; formed a Little League baseball team; remembers Rhonda Fleming; shows more photographs of celebrities; describes LVCVA photographer Don English photographing the atomic bomb tests; remembers various performers and shows on the Strip; describes snow in Las Vegas; describes awards he’s won; describes more shows and Las Vegas attractions; shows hotel ephemera and press passes; discusses the Las Vegas centennial and the Rose Parade float; remembers having coffee with Dorothy Lamour……………………………………………………………………..……….61-82 Appendix: Photographs provided by Darrin Bush………………………………………....82-871 This is Claytee White. It is June 30, 2016 and I am at the home of Darrin. I want you to pronounce your name and spell it for me and we will get started. My name is Darrin Bush. D – A – R – R – I – N B – U – S - H Thank you so much. First thing I want to know about is I want you to tell me about Twin Lakes, growing up in Twin Lakes, and how much fun that was. I wouldn't trade growing up in Twin Lakes [a neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada that opened in 1955] for growing up in Beverly Hills. Twin Lakes, my mom and dad bought their first house there in 1955, brand new, and they paid $12,500 for it and the payments on that house were $120 per month. Twin Lakes was a big complex, now known as Lorenzi Park, and it was all green and beautiful and we had activities for kids. They had horseback riding. They had these great stables with horses and wagons you could rent, real covered wagons. They had two giant lakes, thus they called it Twin Lakes. In these lakes they had fishing and paddle boats. They stocked it with fish, trout. And they had big fishing tournaments that came in nationally. They had spear fishing tournaments. You could spend all day on the paddle boats. The big thing at Twin Lakes was the swimming pool. It was the largest pool in the state. It was also the coldest. [Laughter] But it was good to cool off in the summer. I remember joking with my friends, we were all very young at the time. They had an island in the middle with a waterfall that would shoot up in the air. It was an island that we could actually stand on and you became a man the day you could swim from the side to the island, (it was about 40 yards) and swim back. In those days they have high dives and lower dives and of course, now a days, because of liability, none of the swimming pools around here have high dives, especially, and most of them don't have low dives. In fact all of the hotels have taken out their diving boards 2 because of law suits. At Twin Lakes you could watch people do swan dives. I knew when I became a man when I swam to the island that I could actually go jump off the high dive. So how old were you? I was born in 1948, so probably eight or nine, I was a pretty good swimmer. Around the pool they had these big grassy areas with these big, giant, probably cottonwood trees. They were huge and I don't think they allow them anymore because cotton comes off and it looks like it is snowing. They had a little snack bar there and it was just a wonderful place and I think the reason they built that area is because in the 1950s you either had two choices for divorces, either Reno, Nevada, or Las Vegas, Nevada. People would come here and establish their residency, probably six weeks, I'm thinking, and they had to have some place to stay, so they stayed in these. They had fifteen to twenty little cabins around there and there are few left today if you go over there. Maybe one of the lakes is still there. They call it Sammy Davis Junior Plaza, which is where the swimming pool use to be and it is still a nice place and the city of Las Vegas put a lot of money into it in the last few years and upgraded it and it is beautiful. It has some baseball fields. It was so family oriented, so great in those days. I became a cowboy overnight, just by riding horses. It was just so fun. I was just thrilled to live in the desert as I still am. I love the ocean. I go to Newport Beach, California, constantly and take pictures of the pier, people fishing. It is probably one of my favorite places, but I am a desert rat at heart, born and raised here. I will always remember Twin Lakes. Today if you tell somebody you grew up in Twin Lakes they will tell you they don't know what you are talking about, except the old timers do. But if you say Lorenzi Park, they know. 3 Tell me about Bishop Gorman. Tell me about going to school and downtown during that time. I started out at Twin Lakes elementary, for the first two years. But my parents always had me on a waiting list for Catholic school. By the time third grade hit, we got a call from St. Joseph's Catholic School [closed in August 2013], which is over by the Huntridge Theater, now it is some kind of a specialty school. The diocese, about three years ago, sold the property. Then it became a matter of busing. How do you get your child to work when he used to walk two blocks to the public school and now you are going to go ten miles? So my mom got involved in carpooling. There were maybe three more kids in the neighborhood and every other week a mom would take a turn driving all the kids to St. Joe's. My parents were disciplinarians but nothing like they were in parochial school. We had the nuns and yes, they had their big steel rulers and if you were bad they would give you, they called it, a love tap. Of course I never got one; I was one of the good guys, but I saw plenty of it. It scared me enough to know I never wanted one. St. Joe's was a good education in manners and respect. I went from there to Bishop Gorman High School. I was accepted there, and I knew a lot of the kids there because some of them came from St. Joe's with me and some of them came from St. Anne's Catholic School, which is next door to Gorman. We kind of all merged, and even though it was a small school, I liked it being a small school. You knew each other and it was safe and we had, again, manners and respect. We had to wear khaki uniforms at St. Joe's and the girls had to wear plaid, usually Catholic school girls wear plaid. At Gorman the girls still had to wear a uniform and the boys had a dress code. I wore slacks and a nice shirt. It wasn't necessarily a uniform but we still had to dress nice. I don't know if you want to continue or do you want a quick story on St. Joe's? Do you want to go back to the stories later? 4 No, I want to do it all at the same time. Tell me the story about St. Joe's. When I was probably in seventh grade, maybe 1960, 1961, I was kind of a sports nuts. The boys were collecting autographed baseball cards like they do now. They were showing me and I thought it was really nice and I thought what can I do to top that? I know; I am going to get an autograph from the Pope. I wrote to Vatican City in Rome and a few weeks later I got the Pope's card and there it is right there. So which Pope is this? That is Pope John the twenty-third. You can see, it looks like it says “Johnny twenty-three” in Roman numerals with his signature there. It was bigger than theirs. So not only was it more powerful it was bigger than theirs. So what did the kids say? They thought that was pretty neat. [Laughter] I was surprised I even got it. We played baseball. We had an instructor named Sister Joseph Anthony. She was everybody's favorite teacher because she taught us baseball. She was a real tomboy and she knew her baseball. She gathered a team and we all got our positions and we practiced and practiced and practiced. For the big game against our rival, St. Anne's, we were going to have it on our field and everything was set. They made me pitch but I was not a pitcher, I was an outfielder. They ended up beating us pretty good. That was our big shot and we lost it. We loved the teachers. Both schools, Gorman and St. Joe's, taught us a lot of respect and manners which we hopefully will carry with us through our lives, in our work and in our home life. Tell me about golf. When did you start playing golf? I started playing golf pretty early because we lived in Twin Lakes by a municipal golf course, on Washington [Avenue] and Vegas Drive. I like it because it was something athletic, and baseball 5 was kind of seasonal. You could play in minor little league teams in the summer, but golf you could play pretty much anytime. In those days they would charge juniors, very young kids, probably less than fourteen years old, fifty cents to play golf. My friend and I would walk up there with our clubs. It was only five blocks. Every Saturday and Sunday and in the summer almost every day. We could literally putt all day for free so it didn't cost anything, and maybe at three o'clock we wanted to play, after three in the afternoon it was fifty cents to play. We would give them the fifty cents and play golf. I played it more and more and I liked it. I got my own hand-me-down clubs, I didn't care if they were raggedy. When did you get your first set? My dad gave me his hand-me-down sets when I was about eight. I played on the Gorman golf team and not only was it fun and kind of prestigious, you made an athletic team in high school, but you got to play all the best courses in town because every high school had their own home course. You were going to play an away game or a home game. Our home course for Gorman, at the time, was the Stardust. The Stardust sold it to the Sahara and the Sahara sold it to somebody else and it is now called the Las Vegas National Golf Course on Desert Inn Road, by the hospital. That was originally called the Stardust and then the Sahara Golf Course and it hosted a lot of major, big-time, professional events, as did the Desert Inn. I played golf for Gorman and that was just wonderful. You are going to go and talk about Reno. In those days UNLV [University of Nevada, Las Vegas], which I dearly love, was called Nevada Southern University. I said most everyone is going away so I think I will go away to school also, so I went to the University of Nevada Reno. It was one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen. It is old and traditional with the big pillars and the red brick buildings and swans on 6 the lake. I just fell in love with it right away. I really liked going to school in Reno, although I was not prepared because the Reno winters are extremely cold, nothing like Southern Nevada. All I had were a pair of cowboy boots and an old corduroy coat, and that lasted about six months and they really got soaked. The Reno campus is even beautiful in the winter time because of the snow; it is just a spectacular place. I changed my major a couple of times. I was still trying to figure out what I wanted up there. What was your major? I majored in accounting and that really didn't go well with me; I just didn't like it at all. I changed it to journalism. I liked journalism, I liked thinking about capturing the moment and that spurned my interest in photography. So when did you start photography? I always had a camera and I think it is inbred with me because my mother was into photography. Did you want to talk about that too? Yes, please. My mother came West on a troop train in the 1940s, what she called a troop train, during the war. So her and her friend Patty, came from Leechburg, a little town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvia. They hid their money in their hair. In those days, in the 1940s, they had the high hair and beret so they hid their money in their hair, and the troops treated them pretty good. They came out West and she got a job in the NBC Commissary serving food during the day, but at night she would work at Trocadero and the Brown Derby, as a camera girl. She took pictures and she liked photography. She photographed all her favorite movie stars, and the Trocadero story will come about later when we talk about Bugsy Siegel later. I think it is just inbred in me that I like photography. I like capturing the image in the moment. Then I went to work twenty years on 7 the Strip doing other things but photography was always a hobby. One day, when I got tired of everything, after twenty years on the Strip, an opportunity for me to make a career out of my passion came up at the News Bureau and I interviewed for it and got the job and I spent twenty-six years promoting Las Vegas through my images. Before that, I want to talk about some of the other jobs you did on the Las Vegas Strip. What was the first job, was it at the Sahara? Yes, it was. So what was that? I started in room service. Del Webb owned the hotel and at the time he also owned the New York Yankees, and he was a major builder from, I think they were headquartered in Arizona. Mr. Webb was a very powerful man and his wife was very beautiful. They were around the hotel a lot when they had corporate meetings, they came in from Arizona. I started there and worked my way up from a waiter and room service. I needed the money because I was working summer jobs while I was going to school in Reno. Then I came back and thought I actually like this, I like Las Vegas. Although there were other opportunities, I [decided] to stick with this for a while. I was treated very well at the Sahara and the chef took a liking to me. I worked my way up from a waiter to a swing captain, on swing shift, and that's where all the celebrity thing started. Your duties, as a room service swing captain, were the entertainers' dressing rooms. Every night you had to have in stock exactly what they wanted. I had the personality to mix with the entertainers. They liked me and I liked them so it was easy going. Whatever they needed I took care of them. I formed a lot of friendships. I want to talk about some of those friendships. A swing captain, what exactly is swing? 8 There are three shifts in a twenty-four hour cycle. There is the day shift, maybe from 8am - 4pm, and swing would be 4pm - midnight, and graveyard would be midnight to 8am. I was really running a twenty-four [hour] restaurant in room service. Swing shift was the busiest and also the most prestigious because you had to look nice and smell good and look good because you were not serving ham and eggs, you were serving steak, prime rib from the House of Lords, and we had some gourmet restaurants. Although we had a room service menu, the entertainers could eat at any restaurant, they could eat whatever they wanted. So tell me about some of the entertainers. I like some of the stories about Sonny and Cher. Although we had a stable of entertainers, I don't know how they booked them, they were mainly comedians, Johnny Carson, Jerry Lewis, Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles. They were our main stay. They worked two weeks at a time, then they would go away and do their travel. Rickles would go play somewhere else. Then they would come back and do two more weeks. They probably played there six times a year. Monday the show room was dark that means it was closed. They would polish the silver, and do the chandeliers. The band took Mondays off. The entertainers could got to eat. Sonny and Cher, I have so many good stories, they were not part of our stable of entertainers, because they only came a few times. For some reason I hit it off with them right away. Sonny and I saw each other and we had instant friendship. They started trusting me and I trusted them. They knew how I worked and they were health nuts. Sonny and Cher were health nuts. They liked raw cashews and certain juices. The Sahara hotel didn't carry any of that, none of it. I went out of my way and said I will get it for you. I will go to the local health store; give me a grocery list and I will go. In fact that was how I met my wife, she was a guest in a hotel, came up to a wedding. I was working the wedding. It was in one of the suites and I had to make sure the wedding was alright then I had to run down and take care of them, and I said, "Why 9 don't you come with me?" I said, "This will be a nice first date." She said OK. I said, "We are going shopping for Sonny and Cher." So we went to Vegas Village, at the time, I don't think it is called Vegas Village any more. Where is that? That is on the corner of McCarren [now Russell Road] and Eastern [Avenue]. I forget what it is called now [Editor’s Note: McCarran Marketplace], if it is even opened. It was a commercial shopping center. Vegas Village, everybody shopped there. In those days there weren't many malls. It was either downtown or that. It was between shows, so it was about 10:30 at night and I was knocking on the door. They had already closed Vegas Village. I told them I had to get something for Sonny and Cher. They said "What?" I said, "Please, it is for Sonny and Cher." They opened the door and they let us go in. We bought the Orange Crush and certain things they wanted to drink. We went back and I said, "Go on, help me carry it back upstairs to the dressing rooms." The Sahara was notorious for having steep stairs up to the dressing rooms, which is right above the stage. She helped me carry them up. She couldn’t believe her eyes because Cher was standing by the bar and Sonny was over here doing something. "Oh, hi Darrin, come on in." I said, "Here is da, da, da, da." Anyway we became friends, really good friends. Sonny was one of the happiest people I ever met. He was our rally point during the dinner rush. He would come by. At the Sahara, the entertainers had to walk from their rooms, take the elevator down, and walk pass room service (room service was part of the kitchen), so they come in the kitchen door to get to their dressing rooms. Sonny would always stop and talk to everybody and then he would make his rounds in the kitchen, talk to the chef, the waiters, saying, “How are you doing?” Everybody looked forward to it. During the stress of the dinner rush, in the showroom and the coffee shop, they looked forward to Sonny coming in every 10 evening and saying hi. Because he was kind of a healthy person he would say, "Come on Darrin, get me into the Butcher Shop, I want to weigh myself today." They had a meat scale and he would jump on that meat scale and weigh himself. People don't know he was a great gun collector. He never fired his guns, he just collected them for the beauty of whatever wood it was made out of. One time he ordered these Forty-four magnums, they were the same thing as in the Dirty Harry movies. I said, "I will go pick them up for you." I went down to this gun store, Circle Park, by the Huntridge Theater, and they had a gun store in there. That's where everybody went. I picked them up for Sonny Bono and I got them and went and took them to Sonny and he said, "These will never be fired. It is just a collector's item, a work of art." Sonny and I we were such good friends. He said, "Why don't you leave this hotel and come and work for me." I said, "I would like to, (this was probably early 1970s, 1972, because I got married in 1975)." I asked him, "What are you offering?" He said, "We have three houses. We have the big one in Bel Air and we have two others. I would like you to be our house manager. You can hire and fire the gardeners and the maids and take Chastity to the studio every day (they were recording the Sonny and Cher Show). I said, "There would be nothing I would like better than to work for you, but I am getting married in a few months and I don't know if that is going to work, because I need some stability." After talking about it for a few months we settled and it is probably better than I didn't take the job. One time we were in Los Angeles, California and I just wanted to see their house and I drove up to this massive mansion. It was one of those mansions, that whoever at that time can afford this, they had many owners, as most of those Bel Air houses do. We go up to these big gates and I said, "Is Sonny or Cher here?" This voice comes out of nowhere and says, "Who is this?" I said, "Darrin from Las Vegas. Is Dennis there? Is so and so there?" They knew what I 11 was talking about. So they said, "Come on. They are not here yet but come on." This big gate opens and I went in there and they said Cher is on her way home from Vogue magazine. She was doing a shoot. I said OK and we waited. Sure enough, five minutes later Cher comes up with these big sunglasses and this little red sports car, and says "Hi Darrin, how are you doing?" I said we were just driving by in town. We talked for a while. It was a nice visit. You just dropped in. Yes, I just dropped in. They lived on Carolwood Drive which is the same street that Rowan and Martin lived on and in the same area where Jerry Lewis lived. He lived on St. Cloud but they were all within walking distance of that Bel Air section. Sonny was a great guy. Years later I ran into him at the Sahara coffee shop. I was just walking through, like thirty years later, and he was walking in. He was with Mary, his wife at the time. I asked him what he was doing here and he said I am just showing Mary where I use to work. In between, he had become the mayor of Palm Springs, California, then he moved to Los Angeles and became Congressman Bono. My favorite Sonny Bono story, one night we were up in his dressing room and he started laughing. I asked him what he was laughing about. He said, “I just got kicked out of the pool.” I asked him to tell me about it. He said, "I went down there to take a swim before the first show (the dinner shows were at eight o'clock). I put on my trunks. The pools close at 6:00PM and it was about 6:30PM.” He jumped into the pool and the life guard said, "You, out of the pool." He said, "But I work here." He said, "That's even worse. Employees are not allowed to be in the pool at all." So Sonny didn’t tell him who he was; he just got out and went back to his room. We laughed about that all night. If you would have been a photographer in those days, tell me some of your favorite scenes you would have shot in the Sahara. 12 I always had my camera in my locker. I took some pictures of Nancy Sinatra on stage. Of course, I always asked them first, if I could. I guess every entertainer that came there. Flip Wilson doing his female character. He was just hysterical. Some of these people that would make me laugh so hard the tears would come. Don Rickles. I would probably take a picture of all of them if I could. I was so busy working. I did take a lot backstage with Sonny and Cher and with some of the people there, my favorites. And you own those, right? Yes, I do. I have the negatives stashed away somewhere. One night, Cher knew I kept my camera in my locker. She said, "I am going to have a visitor tonight. You have access to my room but this person, he will never allow anyone to take his picture." It was Bob Dylan. He came to visit backstage and I said hi to him. Even to this day, when the News Bureau puts in credentials to photograph Bob Dylan, they get turned down. He will just not let any press at all, take his [photo] that we know of, unless he has his private person. He just doesn't like his picture taken. What is your favorite scene of Las Vegas as an artist? What is your favorite place? Even though Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world and I photographed all the entertainers, the real stars of the show are the hotels. It is the architecture, and for me to take a picture of that Luxor pyramid at night or some of these great hotels, especially at night, Las Vegas comes alive at night, with the lights, the neon, New Year's Eve with the fireworks on the Strip. When I am on top of these hotels, on eye level with the fireworks, and below is the city, that is pretty impressive. My favorite is the architecture. That is the story of Las Vegas, these great hotels. 13 Is there any particular hotel that you saw from the ground up? Did you follow any of them, photographically? Yes, I did. Give me an example. The Luxor. You can see them start to break ground and build the pyramid and then bring in the face and painting it. I was constantly photographing it and I was constantly photographing the MGM because I felt it was my duty to do this because it was my hometown. The MGM had a lion that had a big banner around the whole front that said “Watch Us Roar in 1994”, which is when it was supposed to open. I think it opened a month early, maybe. I started photographing the different levels of that and the day it opened. The openings and the closings, I photographed most of them. The Luxor was really fun to photograph the construction of. Even the Desert Inn, I was here when it was built and I was here for the implosion. It lasted fifty years. I was born in 1948 and the Desert Inn opened in 1950. We had a history together; besides my dad worked there. What did your father do there? My father was the credit manager for Wilbur Clark, Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn. Wilbur was one of the front men for the financing. My dad told me that Wilbur was the kind of guy who would walk through the casino and he would talk to some security guard and he would say, "How are you?" He would say, "Well my wife is in the hospital." He would pull out a twenty dollar bill and say, "Here, go buy her some flowers." He really loved his employees and because of that, it filtered down through everybody. The Desert Inn was a great place to work. It was just a wonderful feeling. How my dad got his job. In those days, I don't even think they had Human 14 Resources (before Human Resources they called it Personnel), even before then. It was the early 1950s so they may not even of had that. My dad was having a cocktail at the bar with his Air Force uniform on, from Nellis (not sure if he had his uniform on). He got into a conversation at the bar with Wilbur Clark. He said, "How are you? What are you doing?" He said, "I just got out of the Air Force and I am looking for a job." He said, "What do you do?" He said, "I have a degree in accounting." He said, "How would you like to be my credit manager?" He said, "I would love that." The credit manager is a fancy name for the head cashier. You hire and fire the cashiers in the cashiers' cage and you fill out the payroll. You are also the credit manager. When the casino extended credit to somebody you had to sign off on it because they may not pay it back. There were many times when my dad had to go to Texas or some other state and testify in court that this is, in fact