sky002019. Hotel Last Frontier Photograph Collection, 1942-1981. PH-00168. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1sj1b508
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Page 6 - HUGHES NEVADA PREVIEW - August 1972 They Call Him "MR. FRONTIER " - Mort Saiger marks his 30th year — on the same spot he began in 1942. His name is Mort Saiger — but they call him "Mr. Frontier." On September 1, 1972, Mort Saiger will be some-where in the Frontier Hotel - marking his 30th year in casino operations in Las Vegas. On September 1, 1942, Mort Saiger stood on ap-proximately the same spot he will this September — and began his career as a casino executive by celebra-ting the opening of the Last Frontier and Casino. Despite the fact that Saiger will be standing on the piece of real estate he occupied 30 years ago — the veteran casino executive has come a long way from the wild and wooly days of the Last Frontier to the plush, luxurious appointments which mark the present-day Frontier Hotel and Casino. Mort Saiger was probably one of the last Pony Express riders in history. One of his duties in the early days of the Last Frontier — was to ride downtown to the 3rd Street post office and pick up the mail. On a horse. With a cowboy hat, boots and the other trap-pings of an American cowboy. In case that chore became dull, Saiger had other duties, like — stage manager or light man. One of his duties called for him to go downtown daily, and hire, "instant" labor — men who wanted to pick up a day's pay — to clean the casino area and prepare for the eve-ning rush of customers. A GENE AUTRY MOVIE? - No, just a couple of Last Frontier cocktail waitresses on a slow day. The cowgirl outfits were the cocktail waitress uniforms. Note the outfit worn by Mort Saiger. "Mr. Frontier" Saiger also took over the hotel's stables, taking care of the horses and the customers who wished to ride. He used to take customers' children on horseback rides. Saiger recalls, "Those kids are grown now, and as customers of the Frontier — come in to see me whenever they visit Vegas." Saiger abandoned a promising stage career in 1942 when he left Los Angeles for Nevada. A baritone, Saiger had lead roles in operatic productions at the Wilshire-Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles — starring with some of the brighter lights of the Metropolitan Opera. His love of opera did not desert him when he left Calif-ornia. He is a past president of the Las Vegas Opera Association. Saiger originally came to Las Vegas to help open a place called the Colony Club which was to be at Fremont and Charleston. "Charleston did not go through in those days," Saiger says, " i t was just a riverbed then." Shortly after his arrival in Las Vegas, Saiger was contacted by Dallas businessman R.E. Griffith. Griffith was building the Last Frontier on "Hi-Way 91,"which was later to become world-famous as "the strip." Saiger took Griffith's job offer and literally rode it to the position of success and respectability he enjoys today. MORT SAIGER — was probably one of the last Pony Express riders in history. One of his duties in the early days of the Last Frontier — was to ride downtown on horseback and pick up the mail. Mort Saiger has many colorful, interesting stories to tell. He recalls sitting on the front steps of the old Last Frontier and watching the Dl being dive-bombed from the air by U.S. Navy fighter planes. "Where the Desert Inn Country Club is — was then a sand mountain — which served as an Army-Navy target range," he said. "These planes would come diving out of the sky - shooting at targets on that mountain." How does today compare with yesterday? "Compe-tition is much greater now," Saiger says. "And opera-tions are much more sophisticated. The planning and organization is much more business-like than when I first started in." Maybe so, Mort Saiger. We can't help but wonder though, that as this distinguished casino executive drives to work in some 5,000 pounds of air conditioned comfort — is he REALLY HAVING more fun than when he swung up into the saddle and began his open-air ride to the post office?