Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Transcript of interview with Jillian Hrushowy by Joyce Marshall, September 26, 1995






Jillian Hrushowy arrived in Las Vegas in 1959 as part of a company hired to appear at the El Rancho Vegas Hotel in a production called La Nouvelle Eve. She has remained here (other than three short-term contracts in Reno, Nevada) until present day. She is now the production manager for Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace Hotel. She was an only child, born in Rhodesia to English parents and raised in a home with servants and tutors. Her mother exposed her to the arts at an early age. Jillian took dancing lessons from the age of three years until she began dancing professionally. When she was fifteen years old, both parents agreed it was time for her to leave Rhodesia and finish her education in England. Living alone was difficult and lonely, but it afforded her a wealth of opportunities otherwise unavailable. She worked as a dancer in small, local productions while still in high school. When only eighteen, she got a job dancing in La Nouvelle Eve in Paris which eventually came to Las Vegas. This interview focuses on the years from Jillian’s arrival in 1959 until she retired from dancing in 1979. It follows her transitions from dancer, to principal dancer to production manager. [The first twenty minutes of the tape is warped and the text is garbled. The transcriber has lightly edited the transcript.]

Digital ID


Physical Identifier



Hrushowy, Jillian Interview, 1995 September 26. OH-00901. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

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





An Interview with Jillian Hrushowy An Oral History Conducted by Joyce Marshall ____________________________________ Las Vegas Women in Gaming and Entertainment Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas 1997 ii Production of An Interview with Jillian Hrushowy was made possible in part by a grant from Nevada Humanities Committee © Joyce Marshall, 1997 Produced by: Las Vegas Women in Gaming and Entertainment Oral History Project Department of History, University of Nevada, Las Vegas 89154-5020 Director and Editor: Joanne L. Goodwin Text Processor: Joyce Marshall iii iv This interview and its transcript has been made possible with the generosity of the Nevada Humanities Committee, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The History Department of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas provided a home for the project and a wide variety of in-kind services. The department, as well as the college and university administration, enabled students and faculty to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the NHC and UNLV for its support which gave an idea the chance to flourish. The text has received minimal editing. These measures include 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 (housed separately) accompany the collection as slides or black and white photographs. The following interview is one of nine conducted as a pilot project for the Las Vegas Women in Gaming and Entertainment Oral History Project. Additional transcripts may be found under that series title. Joanne Goodwin, Project Director Associate Professor, Department of History University of Nevada, Las Vegas v Preface Jillian Hrushowy arrived in Las Vegas in 1959 as part of a company hired to appear at the El Rancho Vegas Hotel in a production called La Nouvelle Eve. She has remained here (other than three short-term contracts in Reno, Nevada) until present day. She is now the production manager for Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace Hotel. She was an only child, born in Rhodesia to English parents and raised in a home with servants and tutors. Her mother exposed her to the arts at an early age. Jillian took dancing lessons from the age of three years until she began dancing professionally. When she was fifteen years old, both parents agreed it was time for her to leave Rhodesia and finish her education in England. Living alone was difficult and lonely, but it afforded her a wealth of opportunities otherwise unavailable. She worked as a dancer in small, local productions while still in high school. When only eighteen, she got a job dancing in La Nouvelle Eve in Paris which eventually came to Las Vegas. This interview focuses on the years from Jillian’s arrival in 1959 until she retired from dancing in 1979. It follows her transitions from dancer, to principal dancer to production manager. [The first twenty minutes of the tape is warped and the text is garbled. The transcriber has lightly edited the transcript.] vi An Interview with Jillian Hrushowy An Oral History Conducted by Joyce Marshall 1 Today I am going to be interviewing Jillian Hrushowy. She is production manager for the Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace, a former dancer and a long time Las Vegan. It is October 11, 1995 and it is 12:00 p.m. [We are seated in her living room, have both reviewed the release agreement and it has been signed.] I would like to start by asking you a little bit about your early life; where you were born, when, how you grew up, that sort of thing. I was born in Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia which was, or should I say now it is Zimbabwe, but, British Colony. I lived there fifteen years with my mom and dad. Fantastic upbringing. Only child, treated well, not overly spoiled but I had pretty much most of what I needed. Six servants. You know, all that kind of colonial living. I had nothing but just wonderful memories of my life as a child. Went through school. My mother and my father, actually, were both amateur, kind of a show business. My mother especially. She sang and she did dance a little bit. I don't know why, but they sort of pushed me to that ballet class. It was a tiny town, 6,000 white people, 18,000 blacks. What was it called? Umtali, at that time. It is now called Mutali, since it's become Zimbabwe, in Africa. That's a, yeah, they pushed me into the show business and I went to lots of ballet classes. People from England came out and we had the exams and went through that kind of a situation. Anyway, I don't know why they thought, “oh, we have to get her out of Rhodesia. She's got to go and expand. She cannot just marry,” quote-unquote, “a tobacco farmer or a miner or whatever,” you know, “she's got to go.” Actually, it was a wrong move at the time. It was my last year in high school and I had all my academic credits going good and they decided to send me to a performing arts school in England and I was going to go to a boarding school. I was fifteen, just fifteen. So, they sent me over there and it was a big shock. It was a wonderful boarding school. It was, almost all academics, afternoon into the night, dancing, singing, the piano playing, the dramatics. It 2 was a great, great experience but I was terribly lonely, never been away from home. Mom and dad took me to England, dropped me off, you might say and I think, I'm not sure, then, what happened but they stayed for a while and then they went back to Africa. Anyway, to cut a long story short, academically, it was the worst thing I could have done, because all of it was new. South Africa, or should I say Rhodesian credits didn't go in the English school. So, I was very lost and I only like finished school with minimal credits. I wish I'd just stayed one more year in Africa and then come. It would have been much better, but anyway, it turned out that way. I finished school when I was sixteen because you could do that. You could go on to a higher level, advanced, and then finish at 18, but you can actually leave school at sixteen, minimal credits. I did that and I went home to Africa. Visited there and they sent me back to London on my own. So, I was sixteen, in London, alone, into the school that was the performing arts school, but the London branch, not the boarding school in the country that I went to at first. So, after leading a very sheltered existence, home life, I was out in the world but I think it was the best thing that ever happened. Anyway, basically, I continued on with my classes. I got a job in a small company for the Christmas season. It was what we called English pantomime and it was Cinderella. That started my career. A couple of Christmas seasons and, in between, I was always doing classes, getting exams both in ballet, and I did everything. I think at that time, mom and dad sort of said, we're going to sell out and we're going to come back and live in Britain. Came back, hated it. Cold, miserable after that wonderful African weather. But, I was glad that they came. I was working lots of little jobs and had a chance to go to Paris. How old were you when you went to Paris? Eighteen. So, I was gone. I got hired for a show and I was in Paris and I was there in 1956. There were twelve dancers, four boys, six Americans, two Italians and a lead dancer, a lead singer and that was it. 3 What was it called? La Nouvelle Eve . It was The New Eve in English. It was very much like the Lido, but not as well-known. But it was much, quote-unquote, appealing to people who wanted exclusivity. It was beautiful. It was a gorgeous little club and we were asked to come to America. Were you excited at the prospect of coming to America? Oh, yes, for all of us, I think it was the epitome of doing something was to come to America. It was wide open, free country, you know. So, you left Paris and came directly to Las Vegas? No stopping anywhere? Yes. And what kind of a shock was it? Well, we landed at the old airport, Hughes Airport it was then, or no, I can't remember. When you say no stopping, it was the most horrendous trip. We stopped in Iceland somewhere. It was like, I don't know, it probably was four engines then, but it was pretty ghastly. Violently ill most of the time. When we got to New York, we got on like a two- engine plane, with all of our luggage and we had to get all dressed up and look good when we'd been up in the air for hours and hours. I think it took us like 48 hours. But, we arrived and we had to be all dressed and made up for photographs. Joe E. Lewis was there at the airport to meet us. Lots of press coverage, cameras and such.1 What time of year was it? It was January. Cold? Of course, for us, coming from England and France, it was warm. Had you ever seen desert before? 1 The company had been hired to work at the El Rancho and Joe E. Lewis was a popular headliner there. 4 No, but it was very exciting. Coming down the steps from the plane and actually being in America. We were just thrilled. I don't know, I think we expected, we got everything we expected. [tape garbled.] We got to Las Vegas. We saw as we came down, I think it was the Stardust and I remember the big marque. Pearl Bailey was at the Sands, I think. Joe E. Lewis was at the El Rancho and of course there was the Old Frontier, Silver Slipper, Sands, Stardust was, of course the Lido[de Paris] that opened six months prior. It opened in '58, in June. So, it was, you know, wonderful. Where did you live? We lived right there at the El Rancho in bungalows in the back, $10 a week. We made $150 a week and that was tax-free because we only stayed ten months. We were under the year. So, in those days it wasn't too bad. I remember saving a lot. What do you mean, you only stayed ten months? The show only ran ten months and then we would go back to France. We came with The New Eve. During that time we worked up a new show. It was just a different, because it was the same people, but somehow they worked out some kind of a deal. We did different numbers, but basically, it was the same people. [tape garbled.] So, you came in January, stayed ten months, you went back to France for two months, then came back and did another ten months? Yes, and then I went back to Africa. My parents went back to Africa because they couldn't stand it in England. So, I went home to visit. Then, I got recruited from a company in Los Angeles, so, that opened up and I came to Lake Tahoe and opened for Red Skelton in 1960, '61. [tape garbled.] What exactly did you do? There was a line of girls, chorus girls of which six where girls from the Sahara. Anyway, we went to Tahoe and opened the big room. The stars changed but we stayed. It was a great experience. I should give you a resume, would that help? 5 Yes, I would like that, thanks. After, Red Skelton, there was Ray Bolger, Liberace, Marlene Dietrich. It was about the time of the Olympics in 1962. We were right there. So, you know, it was at Harrahs. It was just three months, that's all we were there and drove back down to Vegas and got a job at the El Rancho again with Betty Grable. We were sort of a little line of girls in front of her. She had two girl dancers and her boy who accompanied her and we got fired and then, of course, it burned down. Why did you get fired? I just got tired, I wouldn't mix. You know Beldon Katleman, he prized his girls. They were under age, but a group from Europe, so prized. When we came the first time, being under age and protected, of course, we wouldn't drink anyway. We were not allowed to get into casino life. But, when we came back to the El Rancho, it was different. We were required to mix. By mix you mean after you did your show you would be required to mingle in the casino? Yes. At that time, you were required to mix almost after every show. Most of the girls did. The Minsky girls, that was the Dunes, did. It was part of your job? Yes. And they, quote-unquote, made a lot of money. They would entertain the clients but it was all above board. You know, that movie Showgirls? It was such a rotten movie. But, you know, there were those kind of girls. Were there girls who crossed the line and became what we would call, prostitutes? There was a bit of both. But none of my particular group would mix. And Beldon Katleman, when we refused, we were fired. You know he had his little harem. Definitely. Have you kept in contact with the other girls from this original group? Are any of them still here in town? 6 I know of five that are still here. One of them became a company manager long before I even quit dancing and one stayed dancing well into her fifties and then became a real estate broker. [tape garbled] . . . . When you got fired, you all got fired? All of us that had been hired at that same time. [garbled] . . . . You were all dancers, but were there any of you who were showgirls as well? Do you go topless? Yes. At that time, I didn't. I was still very young and I wanted to dance and there wasn't much dancing as a showgirl. But, it was just a job. Right away we went right over to the quote-unquote, Blue Bell Girls and got hired. Wonderful, so, we weren't out for very long and that was a whole other ball game. So, jobs were out there if you knew your job and could dance. Yes. We were tall and had good figures. They had taller girls than us, but we fit in nicely. What about living conditions. Was it easy to find a place to live? No. When we came back to the El Rancho, we rented an apartment over on Cleveland and when I look at it now, it makes me very sad. It was all strip people. Boston, New York, Philadelphia [Streets] and such, many apartments. It was all performers and now, oh my god, it's scary. We roomed two or three girls together. How about days off? You danced every night and never had a day off? We had, this is what is another amazing thing to me, is what we did, how much we did. We worked three shows a night, seven days a week. Ok, yes, when I first came over, as you know, I've told you, we were there a matter of ten months and we had a break in between, but, yes, we had no thought of a day off. We didn't even think there should be something like that. We worked three shows a night and hard shows, loved every minute, went socializing, were wined and dined by the, quote-unquote, big-wigs. These were the people who ran the hotels, owners, managers and such. 7 Yes. You know, we were a pretty group of girls, English girls. We were taken to the lake on the yachts and on the big boats and we were good, you know, really good. Yes, we were all looking for quote-unquote, husbands to be, but we were taken care of, we really, really were. We were not expected, of course it could have happened, but we were not expected to do anything else. We were just taken care of. Never slept. Immediately go to the pool at the El Rancho and spend all day, you know, going downtown to Fremont Street, buy these huge bouffant dresses with masses of petticoats underneath and just swishing around. Oh god, they were wonderful. Those beautiful crinolines, for days. High heels, it was, we were pretty. Old fashioned now, but pretty. But, we didn't ever consider that we worked too much, never, or that we needed extra money. You never felt that you were harassed, sexually harassed? No. Never. Oh, I was offered several times fifty bucks at the bar, you know, to go out, but, you know it didn't bother me. That wasn't what I considered sexual harassment. Our perception has changed considerably. I think I even said, oh, that's not enough money. [laugh]. In those days, we worried when they stopped asking. Am I getting grey or something. Being asked was a kind of being flattered. The casinos? Were they very busy? Yes, they were booming. They were exciting, you know, a lot of money because you got all of the high rollers. At the El Rancho, as you know, was, that and the Sands, were the Sinatra groups and the, you know, I didn't really know too much about the other hotels. Yes, we would go, but we spent most of our time in our little hotel, it was our place, you know. We got free food, all the chuck wagons we could eat. The Thunderbird, across the street, we would go over there quite a bit and the Riv[iera] and all that kind of thing. But, we didn't have cars. Did buy my car a little bit later. I had a bicycle and would cycle out to the Trop[icana] and up and down the strip. Down to Fremont Street with the basket on the front, buy my clothes and come back. Did a lot of the girls do that? 8 Yes. You couldn't do it today. It was a small town then. We did a lot more walking then. Why is it that it wasn't so hot? Because even the young kids today say, oh, it's so hot. . . . You did three shows a night and they supplied all your costumes? They came from Europe. The costumes came from Europe? Yes. How were they kept up? Well, you know, we had wardrobe people and they were beautiful, beautiful costumes. They really were. Lots of feathers. We did have about six, maybe, topless dancers. We were twelve of us, twelve dancers. Then, of course, the Lido was exquisite. That really hit Las Vegas in force. That was when my girlfriend and I went over there, it was really, really wonderful. That was the beginning of what I consider my life in show business. Yes, before, it was, but I met my husband only a month after I started at the Stardust. He was a boy dancer, a male dancer I should say, but we called them boy dancers. You both were working there? And we went, after that, from the Stardust to the Tropicana. Spent five years at the Trop[icana]. Went off to Europe and at the Trop[icana], Lean Rennow came into town at the Dunes. But, we happened to live off the Tropicana Golf Course and -- You were married now? We were married at this time and she lived -- Steve Wynn rented his house on the golf course -- we lived in our own little condo and they still are backing on the car park, now, of MGM. If you look, if you turn up Koval Lane, there are four poor little buildings now. 9 One of them was really beautiful. But, that's where we lived. We would sort of see Lean. We got to meet like just kitty corner and this started this big friendship. 2 But, we were actually working at the Tropicana in the Folies Bergere for Fredric [Apcar]. Then, basically, after that we went to Europe with Lean Rennow. Spent two years with her in France, Casino de Paris. Anyway, came back to the Dunes in 1968. I want to get back to your costumes a little bit and ask you about makeup. I'm wondering, if you did three shows a night, how did you keep yourself together? Makeup was very different in those days, but we kept ourselves together very well. We really looked quite pretty. That's my point. You all looked so beautiful and perfect and I'm thinking with such a demanding schedule and doing three shows, how do you manage to keep that persona? You know, nowadays everybody wears, in a lot of shows, their own hair. Whereas, in that day we had to have it right back off the face, very classical time, with headdresses. We wore a lot of headdresses. It was small or large, so, therefore, there was no messy hair. The makeup, we had the basic pancake make-up, which, nowadays, has gone out a little bit. It was heavy, darker, but it was a matte finish, it wasn't a greasy makeup. It was a very dry makeup. So, it was easy to maintain. We had a set color that we all had to use and a set color lipstick that we all had to use. Eyelashes? No, I never did. I had very big eyes and very big eyelashes. We had what was called beading then. It was a black thing that you melted, real thick, and you put it on with a brush. No, we didn't have eyelashes. That came in a little bit later. You all had your own costumes, your own headdresses and you had a backstage area where everything was kept? 2 Lean Rennow was the featured dancer at the Lido de Paris. Jillian lives in a condo that is owned by her. 10 Yes. They repaired them for us as needed. The feathers were sent from France. How often did the costumes change? They didn't. Once they came, that was it. They replenished anything that got broken and it got fixed, but, no, there was never any new costumes. Someone said to me that you wore them until they were threadbare. Basically, that's right. But, you know, now today, or shall I say, I'm going to go back to the past. The shows were short. They lasted a year, I mean, it wasn't until the mid-seventies when things started to prolong and then, all of a sudden, they're going into ten and eleven years. Now, they are maintained and refurbished. But they're still the basic costume. So, it was not necessary in the old days to change costumes. Each Tropicana show that I did, I did a Folies Bergere show every year, costumes came every year. They were brand new and, yes, they lasted one year very well. Maybe, at the end of the year, the feathers were looking a little gray, but, no, they were fine. It sounds to me that three shows a night was very demanding but, I guess, when you love what you do -- And that's another thing that's amazing to me, is that we wanted to get better. And, in those days, too, you would have your principal girl, or your principal girls, and there was something to aspire to a little bit. Nowadays, in many, many of the shows, there isn't so much of that anymore. There are a few. Jubilee still has that. Stardust has the principal girl, but, still it's not as much as in those days. The prestige is not there. So, you wanted to work for that. So, if you were given a spot as an understudy, even one little small segment, or the whole thing, you were just happy to do it. You would never have thought of being paid for it. Now, you do nothing and the first thing you're asked, in my position as production manager is, how much do I get paid. So, it was not that. We were just so ecstatic if we just grew from a chorus girl to being able to understudy something, and eventually, to become a principal. That's what happened to me but it was hard work. 11 It takes a lot of dedication and you have to love what you're doing. There were some who were happy just doing what they were doing. Oh yes, we didn’t expect any more. We were happy. Did they have people to cover you, though, when you were sick? You know, not really. They would just readjust. Shift the line. That came later, where there were some days off. I remember at the Folies Bergere, being a Florence and Fredric Ballet, we were a group of dancers in the Folies Bergere but we were not the Folies Bergere dancers. We were like an act. There were four males and eight females and we had our own separate routines, our own separate choreography. We were like a dance package. Then, I remember having that extra girl and we would get three days off a month, but we would wait 21 or 24 days and then we would get three days. But, that was the first time that came into being. That was in the early Sixties. But, a lot of places, you didn't get that. You just made a straight salary. There was no overtime? No, and happy to get it. I don't know what the, quote-unquote, normal person's job was, pay wise, at that time. I'm going to say in the Sixties, it was $200 bucks a week. I remember going to the shows and envying all of you on the stage. You were all so glamorous, tall and thin. So, there wasn't really a big turnover. Girls didn't come and go. Once you got a job -- ? No, not at all, because, in the European field, no, you came for one year, that's it. That's what you were coming for. So, that mentality stayed with you through your career. Yes, absolutely. There was no thought of, now today, where we are, there's no contracts. We can give people notice in two weeks or they can give us notice in two weeks. You had contracts? 12 Yes, we did and I can't remember whether it said “run of show” or it just said Folies Bergere or Fredric Apcar dancer, I can't remember. But, I remember doing wonderful things. Going to the Silver Slipper for breakfast and then getting on a horse and riding up to probably, I would say Valley View [Street] which would be a long way, and coming back. We did a lot of that. There was no lack of leisure activities for you? It sounds like you went to the lake, and you rode horses, etc. Other people had planes, small planes. We would go to the airport and got to know a couple of pilots and we'd be taken to Apple Valley [California] and even to L.A., coming back in the day, you know. You were in a circle of very wealthy people. It was fun, really fun. Which brings me to the question of the mob. This was the time of questionable eastern interests. Were you aware of that at all? Yes. People did talk about it. We knew, possibly when we were first at the El Rancho, we knew it was, quote-unquote, a little bit of a dicey place. We did know that. There were the big-wigs, there was the mob, there was, but we were kind of very sheltered as a group of young dancers and our man, he was called, instead of like Blue Bell, it was Charlie and he kept a very evil eye on us. We weren't allowed to do anything. We were really scrutinized. So, we didn't get into that too much. But, later on when I came back to the Stardust and things like that, yes, we'd see Frank Nitty and all of the, quote-unquote, body guards. So, that it was definitely prominent. We knew that people that we knew had dealings with these people, but it didn't bother us and because life was so good, it was so much more open and so much more money. You were treated better, you were not a corporation. You were not just a nothing. This Charlie at the El Rancho that you talked about, what was his position? 13 Producer. He was a Russian Jew that was French, that had come to France. I think he had a hell of a life, but he was in France. He was a fanatical man, absolutely awful, but terribly, terribly creative. It was really pretty stunning to be part of his group. We were definitely on a par with the Lido, which was number one. Beautiful, Beautiful girls. Did he try to manipulate the dancers? Yes, we were really, you know, we were young. We were asked out a lot by stars. We got a call from Nat King Cole to come over to the Sands. There was just three of us. Nat had a little bit of a thing for me and so, we would go to the bar, we were under age, but we would go to the bar anyway. We were wined and dined and I remember being told, “this is not what you do. I don't want to ever see you do this again.” Who told you that? Charlie told us that. And was that because he was black? Yes, oh yes, that was in the days of the westside and segregation. Were there quite a few black performers by this time? There were the Sammy's and the Nat King Cole's and Johnny Mathis, of course. It was those people that were such, at the Sands. It was the big place for them, for the blacks. At the El Rancho, when we worked there, and I came back later with my friend, before the Betty Grable scene, then we went to Steve and Edie's, the Joe E. Lewis's were always there, the Betty Grable's, those sort of things were going on more. The big starts, the Frank Sinatras -- they were always at the Sands. You said you were at the bar with Nat King Cole. He was allowed at the bar? Yes. He was in the Sands in the lounge. This was early -- 1959. I don't think the lounge was opened at that time. But, it didn't seem like any big deal to me at the time. I was just excited that this phenomenal vocalist would be even interested 14 in three little British girls, especially me. But, it was very innocent. We went over, we had a drink and that was it. That brings home the point about the way Las Vegas was run at the time. You were under age and were served a drink in the lounge. Were you ever asked for identification? No, it didn't seem to matter. Nobody ever questioned us or asked for i.d.'s. Never. We never had to worry about that at all. It was a different town then and that's one of the things that has changed now. Very much so. Many dancers were under 21 then? Yes, and you had that too. Gosh, Joyce, you know, there are babies coming up, some of the kids are fifteen and sixteen in shows, even today. My daughter started, she was seventeen. She did very well in high school, her last year of high school, working every night. She has a little of her father and I in her. We were never off and we were never sick, we were there. You can do it. I think when you are really young and you are involved with the older girls and you want to party, I don't think it's a good atmosphere. I think eighteen is a great age to start. Finish your school and then do it. Most kids that are dancing today are in school, at the university. A lot of them are going into other lines of business because they, they know that this business doesn't last forever. I'm surprised at the age, honestly, even today. I guess I assumed they were all eighteen. What about injuries? It was a very demanding job that you did and three shows a night, how big a factor were injuries? Yes, there were injuries and as soon as you could possibly make it, you never even, I mean, you'd be back. If you were sick, you worked anyway. There was no compensation, there was nothing, no help? No insurance, no. 15 It seems inconceivable with the health care plans we have today. I can't fathom now, and I can't remember that far back, if somebody got really hurt, how they managed. You know, I remember breaking my foot at the Dunes and I was out for a month. No, there was no compensation. It was just get back as quick as possible. Because of that, I imagine that a lot of you went back too soon. Yes. You needed the money and you needed to work. Sure then you end up twenty years down the road you end up with joints that really hurt. I have aching bones and I never even danced. You mentioned that you drank a lot, liquor was free? It was, also, it was hard liquor. I remember that. I mean, we were always drinking at the bar. It was the thing to do, right after the show. Smoking. Did you smoke? Yes, most everyone did. This is off the wall, but, I never smoked until I was 46 years old. My mother was to blame. I would go home to Africa to visit her, you know, and she was a smoke freak. And, coffee, after dinner with her, just sitting there talking about the past and my wonderful childhood, you know, how you go into all that, and I started. And then, when I was not a dancer anymore and gave it up and went into an office and started to smoke. I smoked for eight years and I decided, no, no more. Anyway, smoking, yes, there was a lot. And hard cigarettes, Camels. My dad smoked English Ovals, terrible things. What about other drugs? Were there any out there? No, I can't think of any. Yes, there was marijuana. I do remember that. But, you know, I was not into it, at all. The alcohol was fine. Now I do remember a couple of parties with a joint being passed around and that's in the early Sixties. No other kinds? No cocaine or -- ? 16 A lot of pills, uppers. Uppers, definitely. I remember that very, very clearly. You know, rehearsing long, long hours and I remember being given things like that and getting things like that. That I do. But, the harder drugs, no. I'm sure there were things like heroin but I never saw it. . . . . I want to get back to Nat King Cole. The whole process of integration, you must have been here when it was all going on? I think they were so, so badly treated. Yes, and when you're saying to me, “he was allowed in the lounge?” yes, he was and I can't tell you any more about it than that, but I do remember being invited to a barbeque on the Westside. I cannot remember who it was, but it was very like, oh, you shouldn't be going. So, it was very, very bad. But, you went and were there other white people there? Yes, lots. It was all entertainers. It was definitely, because the entertainment field doesn't have barriers, I don't believe. You're an entertainer and that's what you are. It was in the normal, quote-unquote, life that the barrier is so much more prominent. You were an artist. It doesn’t matter what color you are. It's like in the sports, it doesn't matter. But, even in those days when it was definitely taboo. I don't think that all of them, Nat, Sammy, who I also knew quite well, I did a lot of work with Sammy. They would all have to go back to the west side to live. They were not allowed to stay on the strip. They did come