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Transcript of interview with James Bonnell by Gerald L. Conner, February 22, 1977

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Date
1977-02-22
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On February 22, 1977, James Bonnell interviewed Gerald L. Connor (born 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts) about his experiences in Nevada and his work in education. Connor first talks about his move to Nevada while he was a member of the United States Air Force. He then discusses his education, including that at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and also describes his church membership. Connor later talks about changes in the schools and school district, the growth of gambling and properties located in Downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip, and the early atomic tests at the Nevada Test Site. He also describes in detail his political activity and involvement with the Democratic Party, including his work with candidates for the offices of Nevada Governor and United States Senator. Towards the end of the interview, Connor talks about events such as Helldorado, the growth of the city over time, and his thoughts on the future of Las Vegas.

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OH_00411_transcript
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OH-00411
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Bonnell, James Interview, 1977 February 22. OH-00411. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Digitized materials: physical originals can be viewed in Special Collections and Archives reading room
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English

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36.17497, -115.13722
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UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor i An Interview with Gerald L. Connor An Oral History Conducted by James Bonnell Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas Special Collections and Archives Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada, Las Vegas UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2017 UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor iii The Oral History Research Center (OHRC) was formally established by the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada System in September 2003 as an entity of the UNLV University Libraries’ Special Collections Division. The OHRC conducts oral interviews with individuals who are selected for their ability to provide first-hand observations on a variety of historical topics in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. The OHRC is also home to legacy oral history interviews conducted prior to its establishment including many conducted by UNLV History Professor Ralph Roske and his students. This legacy interview transcript received minimal editing, such as 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. The interviewee/narrator was not involved in the editing process. UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor iv Abstract On February 22, 1977, James Bonnell interviewed Gerald L. Connor (born 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts) about his experiences in Nevada and his work in education. Connor first talks about his move to Nevada while he was a member of the United States Air Force. He then discusses his education, including that at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and also describes his church membership. Connor later talks about changes in the schools and school district, the growth of gambling and properties located in Downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip, and the early atomic tests at the Nevada Test Site. He also describes in detail his political activity and involvement with the Democratic Party, including his work with candidates for the offices of Nevada Governor and United States Senator. Towards the end of the interview, Connor talks about events such as Helldorado, the growth of the city over time, and his thoughts on the future of Las Vegas. UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 1 Mr. Jerry Connor. The date is February 22nd, 1977 at Red Rock Elementary School, Las Vegas, Nevada. Time is 1:20. Collect, Jim Bonnell, 6387 West Washington, Las Vegas, Nevada. Project is Nevada History Project. Mr. Connor, were you born in Southern Nevada? No, I’m a product of Boston, Massachusetts. I was raised in a little town of Dedham, which was incorporated in 1636. And as a matter of fact, as a boy of six, I helped celebrate their tercentennial there, 300th anniversary. I first came to this part of the country, Las Vegas/Henderson, Clark County area in January of 1950. Why did you and your family come to Nevada? Well, actually, I didn’t come with my family. I came by myself. At the time, I was a member of the United States Air Force, was stationed Fort Francis E. Warren in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and had requested a transfer to Alaska, of all places—had a friend who had been reassigned to Alaska and had asked to join him. Well in the process, I went home on leave, and with a mix up in orders, overstayed my leave and arrived back in Cheyenne to find out that they had sent someone else in my place to Alaska and that I was being sent a place called Las Vegas Army Air Base. Well, I had never heard of Las Vegas, so I went to the closest library and got an encyclopedia and found that Las Vegas was a small desert town approximately 450 miles from Reno. But my first understanding of Las Vegas was from an encyclopedia, quite by accident, and it was simply a matter of the United States Air Force—or at that time, it was called the Army Air Force—transferring me to the section. You mentioned being stationed at Nellis Air Force Base; do you remember any changes from then and now? UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 2 Oh yes. I guess that’s about twenty-six, twenty-seven years ago, and I can remember the first day I arrived in Las Vegas, getting off the train—the area’s now the area where the Union Plaza Hotel now stands, was the old train depot, and right next to it the bus station—and I proceeded to go across the street to one of the clubs that was there then that’s still remaining: the Las Vegas Club, and gambling away every penny I had. So, my first day in Las Vegas, the first night in Las Vegas, was spent in the train station. But going back to your question about how Nellis has grown or any changes, in those days, the mode of aircraft, the most common was the P-51, the old propeller job that had done so well during the Second World War. And of course, during my time stationed at Nellis, or Las Vegas Army Base—it was later renamed Nellis—we saw the advent of the F-80s and the 81s, and the different kinds of jets. A couple of significant events that I remember at Nellis, in 1950, I was probably 4- or 500 yards away, and a P-51 coming in for a landing lost control and crashed directly into the coffee shop at base operations, killing quite a few people and really creating havoc. Other than that, change at Nellis, its buildings have been modernized, of course. I had an interesting experience that my brother, who is a 26-, 27-year veteran of the Air Force, retired from Nellis. And maybe the only other part of history connected with Nellis that I might share with you is that Nellis, somewhere during the fifties, developed a sister base called Lake Mead Base, and it was directly to the north of Nellis. It was manned and stationed by Marine and Navy personnel, and the rumor that prevailed around town was that this was a place where atom bombs were stored. So, although it was never disclosed or was proven to many of us, we went for years thinking that Lake Mead Base, which was probably within five miles of Nellis, was the home of atom bombs, and we would wonder that, in the event of an attack or something, would this be a logical spot for retaliation—an interesting feeling. UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 3 Were you educated in Southern Nevada? Yes. My early training, I mentioned I was born and raised in the Boston area, attending Boston English High School, which some people claimed was the first public high school in the United States. But my formal education, my college training, took place here in Las Vegas. Back in the early 1950s, under the leadership of Professor Jim Dickinson, a university was started, and it was named Nevada Southern. Classes were held at Las Vegas High School. And my first classes that I can remember attending were in Frazier Hall, classes in physical geography and something—I think the course I ever dropped, shorthand, as I remember. But the interest was so great that the class extended over to the Las Vegas High School auditorium, and classes were held in the upstairs classrooms of the auditorium, and soon after that, as the interest continued to grow, I attended classes at what is now the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Interestingly enough, it took my thirteen years to get my first degree, never going as a regular student—always going in the evenings or on Saturdays or in the last year or two when I had begun teaching, going during the summer. I also hold a master’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and thankfully, that one only took two years. So I’ve seen the university grow from a group of anxious people, probably numbering somewhere between thirty and forty, to its present size, and I would imagine we must have 8- to 9,000 people attending out there now. You mentioned it took your thirteen years to get your master’s, or finish school. What was the occupations that you had during those thirteen years? Well, I mentioned how I got to Las Vegas—I did mention that on one of my trips at Nellis, or during one of the evenings at Nellis, I met a girl from Henderson, Nevada who later became my wife. Her maiden name was Carol Koch, K-O-C-H, and so we were married in May of ’51, and raising a family and being married accounted for the long years in between. I held numerous UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 4 jobs, everything from a lab technician at the chemical plant (Unintelligible) in Henderson, insurance salesman, I worked for a finance company—very interesting job, I remember one time, we drove to Searchlight and repossessed two bicycles. We also had, at that time that I worked for the finance company, it seemed like the fad was to raid the local houses of prostitution; on several occasions, we had to go in and tie up their furniture so they could borrow money for bail for some of their employees. Worked for the Superior Tire Company and the Goodyear dealer who are, or were, affiliated with Clark County wholesales—some of the oldest, one of the oldest concerns in town. Also sold life insurance, worked in the construction industry for almost ten years, sold coffee for Farmer Brothers Coffee Company, worked for the Standard Brands people who make (unintelligible) and the Chase & Sanborn Coffee. So I had a variety of experiences. Are you active in church, and how do you feel about church? I guess I would say that I’m fairly active in the church. Las Vegas, we hear several comments about Las Vegas and church. If the comment is coming out of Las Vegas from the chamber of commerce, we don’t hesitate; we rush to say that Las Vegas has more churches per capita than any other community of its size, so we’re saying to the world, “Hey, look at us, we’re not a bunch of sinners. We have an awful lot of churches.” But if you’re talking with people from outside of Nevada, Las Vegas, Clark County, they seem to express some surprise you have churches. And my experience has been that the residents of Las Vegas from Clark County, as a rule, are as much churched as anyone else. I personally had the experience of starting with what is called a mission congregation, meeting in an abandoned furniture store with a group that became known as Mountain View Lutheran Church, and then proceeding to help build a church edifice, which now stands on Decatur Boulevard and has grown. And so I’ve had a chance to UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 5 have a good, full, rich church life here in Las Vegas. But that’s one thing that wouldn’t be much different if I lived anywhere else. Are you a member of any social club or other special interesting group? I’m kind of on the retired list—you know, they say there are three kinds of people: there are the tireless, there are the tired, and there are the retired. I think I’m at the point of life where I’m fairly well retired. I am active in my professional associations, having served as president of the Classroom Teachers Association. I’m a past president of the Elementary Principals Association, I’ve held state offices. At present, I’m very active in the legislative program of school administrators, but as far as Eagles, Elks, and the more common variety, I only had one experience, and that was with the Optimist Club, and I joined the Red Rock Optimist Club about four or five years, mainly because as being an elementary school principal, I felt I needed to get out into the community and take more of an active part. But I enjoyed my affiliation with the Optimists, found them to be a great group, and the experience was rewarding. I dropped out of it mainly because I found that I didn’t have the time to put in to the activities that were required. Most of the other Optimists were able to give much more time, and I found that I wasn’t able to keep up with them. You mentioned that you were in a lot of school clubs. Could you tell me how the school district changed since 1950 to now? I guess the two biggest changes in Las Vegas in the last twenty-seven years: one, of course, would be the gambling, the growth of the hotels. The second would be the growth of the school district. In 1950. There were a few schools here. There were places like Blue Diamond, Goodsprings, Searchlight, Whitney, and in the Las Vegas area, the old Fifth Street School, John S. Park, North Ninth, Sunrise Acres, and Paradise. There were only two high schools: Boulder UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 6 City and Las Vegas High School. Basic High School came on to being just about in the 1950s, so there were very few schools. Now if you look today, we have over seventy elementary schools. So, the growth and the number of schools had just been tremendous. And my own children, in their six years of elementary school, attended four different schools. It seems that every time we turned around, they had opened a new school because of the way the population was growing. And one of the problems it caused was that all of the money was used for construction of classrooms and things like multipurpose rooms or cafeterias or developing adequate athletic fields; things like this weren’t affordable, so we had just the basics and put up rooms. Today, we look at it differently and we’re trying to play catchup, I guess. So, I’ve seen a lot of change for the schools. Now, the other change with schools: back in 1950, every section was a school district in itself. You know, Whitney had its own school district and Paradise had its own school district and Goodsprings had its own school district. And some farsighted individual, I don’t know who by name—what had happened, they had asked for more money for schools—schools were in trouble—and somebody said, “Fine, the states will give you some money for schools if you reorganize.” So, all of the school districts were merged into seventeen school districts, one for every county. So now all of these school districts that had been separate entities with their own superintendents and so forth now became the Clark County School District. People like Lyal Burkholder in Henderson, who would have been one of the Henderson School District, now becomes one of the top administrators in the Clark County School District, and so forth—a move that I think proved to be a good one. It helped the school district to grow. Other areas around the country are plagued with problems that Nevada doesn’t have, and I think having seventeen distinct school districts would be one of the reasons. UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 7 You mentioned about gambling and how it’s grown—since the 1950s, how has gambling in casinos and hotels grown? I guess progress, and progress (unintelligible), you know, I like it the way it was. In 1950, the only places that were Downtown that are still there would be the Golden Nugget, the Pioneer, and the Las Vegas Club. And it was not uncommon to go into the Boulder Club, which is now gone, and sit down and play ten-cent blackjack or ten-cent craps. The drinks were free, it was very down to earth. I suppose the most interesting thing, and I don’t know too many people that seem to remember this part, but one of the clubs Downtown was the Westerner Club on Fremont Street. And it had a unique innovation; it had penny roulette. And I guess most of us are familiar with a standard roulette table, but this was a long—the entire length of the Westerner Club was a glass countertop, and marked in front of where each player would sit was a roulette layout. And they had one large electronic wheel that would spin the roulette number and would light for the whole board. And chips were available at a penny apiece, so if you really felt like gambling, you buy a hundred chips and you contrast that today—I think the average casino has a minimum price of a roulette chip is twenty-five cents, if I’m not mistaken. But you can have fifty people standing in line, playing roulette, spinning the wheel for a penny—I’m not even sure if they had minimum of two or three chips that had to be bet. But it’s quite a contrast from what we see now. The town pretty well ended at Fifth Street, Sears & Roebuck, and the El Cortez on Sixth Street were about the strongest things going, I guess that would be going east. Then when you got going south, all the activity started on the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Boulevard South, the old South Fifth Street—two places: the most important being the hotel El Rancho. A little further out, there was the hotel Last Frontier, complete with a Western motif. The general manager at that time was Bob Cannon, whose wife is Helen Cannon, president of the school board at UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 8 present. And to the best of my knowledge, in 1950, those were the only two structure of any sort or size on the west side of the so-called Strip. On the left side, Milton Prell had built the place he called the Club Bingo; he and his manager Alex (unintelligible) ran that. That later turned out to be what we now know to be the hotel Sahara. And then proceeding south direction, there were two more establishments of any size, one being the Thunderbird, and the other being the Flamingo. Of course, the Flamingo, I supposed, has had more notoriety than all of the other hotels put together with Bugsy Siegel being one of the people trying to dump syndicate money and then finding a way to be legitimate and so forth. I think the Green Felt Jungle and other books have discussed this. And then as the years went on, the Desert Inn, Riviera, and other hotels came up. They were run by gamblers, and some people said the underworld (unintelligible), whatever you wanted to, but they were not run by giant corporations and run by people, in most cases, that have been involved in illegal gambling in other states—they knew gambling—and it was pretty hard to cheat on them. And the Riviera, for instance, when it opened, they paid Liberace $50,000 for a week’s appearance, and at that time, that was just virtually unheard of. And of course, it was a gimmick to attract attention. All that glitters is not gold; part of the Stardust Hotel occupies land that was once the Royal Nevada, a hotel that went broke. Riviera just about went broke. The Dunes Hotel just about went broke. We had an experiment with a multiracial kind of hotel. Back in the fifties, Black people did not frequent the White casinos; they were not welcome. There were even problems with entertainers. And then someone decided that on the fringe of what is today called the Westside, a hotel was called the Moulin Rouge, and it was catered to Black and White in a kind of cosmopolitan affair. And it failed, and I don’t think it failed because of the cosmopolitan effect—simply not having the right kind of gambling people behind it that would keep somebody from stealing (unintelligible). So UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 9 when we look at the hotel, it’s changed; I saw it’s changed for the worse and that, of course, everything is expensive. I can remember going to a hotel and talking to a buyer when the corporations (unintelligible)—when the corporations took over, and asking if they would like to buy a fifty-pound drum of white pepper. And with the use of a calculator, they could tell me how long it would take them to use that amount of white pepper, how much they would save buying it in bulk, and whether it would be worth their while to do that or turn their money over a different way. So, big business had arrived, and the hotels were looking at everything in terms of dollars and cents. My favorite hotel in those days was the hotel Thunderbird, was owned by Marion Hicks. One of the things I liked about the Thunderbird was that the showroom was adjacent to the coffee shop, and if you were in the coffee shop at 8:30 in the evening, could sit down and have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake at a cost of maybe fifty or sixty cents and watch such entertainers as maybe Carson or the Les Paul trio, or whoever was big in show business at that time. Another interesting thing of the Thunderbird, Barney Rawlings was the master of ceremonies, and Barney Rawlings later became the manager of the Las Vegas Convention Authority. One of the girls that danced in the line of the Thunderbird—I think it was Christina Carson—Gail Robins was—anyway, Christina Carson danced with them—one of the dancers later became my PPA president, so it’s a small world when you live in an area like this. So I’ve seen the hotels grow and prosper and make jobs, but I would much rather see it as it was in the early fifties. Speaking of gambling, I’m sure you remember the old horseracing where the convention center is located now. What do you think about that? Well, there has always been a lot of talk that the hotels didn’t want horseracing. And I was present in Carson City in the halls of the legislature when two lobbyists, one of them Mr. Bell UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 10 and the other was Nick “the Greek,” (unintelligible) as I remember, but anyway, a couple of people that Howard Hughes had supposedly paid and sent for the express purpose of defeating any attempt to get legalized dog racing in Nevada. Howard Hughes was supposed to be against it and was going to keep it out. They were successful; there were all kinds of claims about people that were not here when the vote was taken, people having been sick or passed away and they were out of town for funerals and so forth—not question that Mr. Hughes did play a part in keeping the racing out. But prior to that, a man by the name of Joe Shmoot engineered a racetrack by the area where the convention center now stands, and like so many venture, one has to wonder if the objective was to raise money for someone to put in their pocket, or was it really to get money for a project. Well, the money was gathered, but enough wasn’t, and it went into receivership and bankruptcy, and Joe W. Brown, who owned what is now Binion’s Horseshoe Club—I guess that was the main force in buying it out of receivership and starting racing, and it raced (unintelligible) I guess behind the Thunderbird Hotel, and I’d have to say the racing did very well—the horseracing in Las Vegas. They finally got to the point where they said that the pari-mutuel betting and so forth was not enough to carry it on. We do know that racing is legal in Nevada now and the plans are moving forward to having racing just beyond the city of Henderson, and hopefully within the next year, we’ll find out if the people in this area do want horseracing. I mentioned, too, Steve, about the El Rancho hotel—that was a place that was owned by a man named Beldon Kattleman; it was one of the first hotels. And it was the typical Las Vegas hotel, very Western-oriented, very small when you go back and think in terms of hotels today. It was destroyed by a fire, and the land, I believe, after the fire and everything, I believe the land eventually was bought by Mr. Hughes and still lies vacant to this day, an excellent site. Another exciting event in the early fifties that some of these things (unintelligible) UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 11 was what I know to be the only earthquake that I’ve ever experienced, and that was in 1950, I believe. And late in the afternoon, standard earthquake with the tremors, feeling the building move, jars and dishes falling off the shelf and things, and the explanation that was offered was that there had been such a tremendous shift of water at Lake Mead that the result was a geological displacement causing the earthquake. But for a place like Las Vegas that wasn’t used to earthquakes, it really shook people up. Speaking of earthquakes and all that, what do you think about the Test Site and the early atomic tests? Oh, I guess that’s kind of a fun one. I know that right now, the people of Southern Nevada are concerned whether President Carter would laterally decide to stop atomic testing and mainly displace a lot of people from work. You know, Mercury is the more commonly (unintelligible) area important to this area. Back in the early fifties, it was the source of much excitement. It would be announced in the newspapers and the radio that an atomic test would be forthcoming. They were always held just before daybreak, and I guess everyone in town would get up, look toward that direction in the pitch black and wait. And all of a sudden, it was as if you were looking into the sun—the brightest flash that a person could imagine, not lasting very long. And then, we could look and see these additional mushroom clouds coming up and pulling on over. And then many minutes later—I don’t know how many minutes, someone could tell you the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound, but it’s, I recall, probably in the neighborhood of twenty minutes or something—the sound and the concussion would first reach Las Vegas. It was a weird effect. That was the kind of social thing the people in the casinos would stop gambling and go— [Recording cuts out] UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 12 As the tape was finishing, Steve, I was saying that it was not unusual to see people gambling and just stop the gambling, walk outside the casinos, and then look toward the direction where the blast was anticipated and half of the explosion, walk back in, and continue gambling (unintelligible). Many stories in Las Vegas of the fires and so forth where people wanted to gamble while the fires were being put out—some of it could probably be attributed to overzealous press. I think that’s been one of the things that people like (unintelligible), some of these people from the Las Vegas press bureau [News Bureau] have just, have done, over the years, a tremendous job of building the image of Vegas where so many people want to come here. You mentioned that—well, you are a principal and worked for the school district, and I’m sure that it’s politically active—are you politically active? Yes, I guess I’m a political animal. I got my indoctrination politics way back in 1950, ’51, and several things were going on at that time that got me interested. For one, I was living in the town of Henderson, and Henderson was an unincorporated town, and work with people like Mr. (unintelligible) and George Rudiak, who is a prominent Las Vegas attorney, and other people from Henderson—we organized the paperwork and went about the process of incorporating the town of Henderson, or the city of Henderson. And one of the most interesting battles that erupted at that time, of course, was whether to include the lucrative tax-based plant, the chemical plant, the Basic Magnesium institute, but it actually would be within the city limits or out. And naturally, the young activist in politics thought that the large plant should be within the city confines and afford the fire protection and so forth and lend its tax base to help provide services. Things weren’t any different then than they are now; needless to say, with the jockeying and maneuvering that went on, the Basic Magnesium institute, at that time, was left outside of the UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 13 boundaries of the incorporated city area of Henderson, affording them some kind of tax advantage. At about the same time, in the state of Nevada, there were some changes going on. This was McCarran country, and Senator Pat McCarran, who is the author of the Alien and Sedition Act and probably the most powerful man in the state of Nevada, was getting ready to step down and, I guess, had picked a handpicked candidate—it seems to be it was Alan Bible, but my memory may be (unintelligible) does more research on this can go back. But anyway, at that time, there was a young man who had come from back east by the name of Tom Mechling, M-E-C-H-L-I-N-G. And Tom had married a rancher’s daughter, and she came from somewhere in Nevada, somewhere upstate, one of the smaller counties—it eludes me now. And Tom Mechling decided that he wanted to be the United States Senator from Nevada. So he got a trailer, and he and his wife started knocking on doors and travelling the length and breadth of the state of Nevada. They enlisted people like my wife and myself, who were political novices, and defeated Pat McCarran’s Democratic handpicked candidate. So, Tom Mechling was the candidate in the senatorial election. In those days, the Democrats had a song that said something like, “You helped to make it, don’t let them take it away,” referring to Republicans, “they’ll promise you the sun, they’ll promise you the earth, but what’s a Republican’s promise worth? So when Election Day appears, do what you’ve done for forty years. Don’t let them take it, you helped to make it. Don’t let them take it away.” That record was provided by the Democratic National Committee, and my job was to have it played on local radio stations. Going back to this young Mechling, he had incurred the wrath of Pat McCarran and, I guess, almost every member of the Democratic Party. And there was a wealthy man by the name of Cord who lived in the north, and he and some of the other so-called (unintelligible) makers were supposed to have lured Tom Mechling into a meeting and then tape that meeting, and then over the radio came a UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 14 message where it would appear that Tom Mechling was offering to throw the election for a bribe. So needless to say, those supporters of Mechling, we were very much dismayed. And as I remember, Ernie Cragin, who was the mayor of Las Vegas and a member of the group that I worked with at that time, we had an emergency meeting, and that night, we took tapes of Senator McCarran, edited the tapes, and played the tapes back showing how we could have the same man who was denouncing out candidate get up and make a speech and endorse him. So, the point that we were trying to get over to the public was, “Hey, these tapes have been doctored. If you listen, you can hear the clicks, there’s no truth to it. Discount it.” Well, the election was finally held, and Tom ran against a man by the name of George Malone, the Republican. This was the year of the Eisenhower landslide, and Mechling lost in the senatorial election by several thousand votes. That was one of my first experiences in politics; I don’t know if there have been any that have been more exciting. I have done some show business work prior to coming into Las Vegas, so on occasion, I act as master of ceremonies at different Democratic functions. And one, I got to meet a gentleman who was running for district attorney, and got to like the gentleman and know him and ended up working on his campaign; his name was Oscar Bryan. And many, many years later, I guess in the summer in the late sixties, I found another young man that somebody introduced me to that asked me to support him. And this man took time out of his busy schedule to set up an appointment, come in and talk with me, and share his political philosophy, and I liked what the man had to say and became a member of his camp and try to promote his candidacy. And that man’s name was Richard Bryan, who I wound out later was the son of the Oscar Bryan that I had worked with. So, it’s kind of a small world. Nevada’s a place where you can know your congressmen and your senators on a first-name basis. Two years ago, I wrote a letter to Governor Mike O’Callaghan and commented on some issues that were facing the government and the state UNLV University Libraries Gerald Connor 15 at that time. And one afternoon, I was home for lunch, telephone rang, my wife said it was “For you,” for me, rather, and I answered, and he said, “Gerald, this is Mike Callaghan.” And I said, “Governor Michael[SIC] O’Callaghan?” And he said, “Yes,” and he just wanted to let me know that he had received my letter, that he does read letters, that he liked the honest straight forth approach with what I had to say. And I think the fact that the governor of the state, like Nevada, will read mail that a person sends, take time to get on the phone, call that person and say, “Hey, you know, I’ve got my problems, too, and I’m gonna tell you some things you don’t know, why I can’t maybe do what you want,” I don’t know where else that could happen but in Nevada. As far as politics goes, after that Mechling thing, I kinda licked my wounds. I was a member of the Democratic Central Committee was city attorney of Las Vegas and Howard was a member of that same group. And I think the most interesting thing that happened at that time was a man who was lieutenant governor of the state of Nevada was a man by the name of Cliff Jones. And Cliff Jones was then and later an