In 1976, Jacqueline "Jaki" Baskow was an aspiring actress when she and a friend accepted an invitation to worked in a movie studio in Las Vegas. She had three-hundred dollars to her name, a dream and lots of dynamic energy. Though the movie studio offer did not quite materialized as she hoped - the invitation had come from Batman co-creator Bob Kane - Jaki's trajectory into Las Vegas, working with talents and planning events became an over forty year career. In this interview, she talks about growing up Jewish in Camden, New Jersey where her father was a murder victim; her tenacious effort to find the perpetrator included the help of celebrity detective Joe Schillaci. She shares stories of the colorful array of A-list entertainers she has worked with to build her successful business, Baskow and Associates. She has built a niche of handling large corporate events, hiring talent and attention to details for exciting events. She reflects on the people and moments that impelled her on; mentors such as Bobby Morris and Frank Sinatra and Jilly Rizzo.
Jacqueline Baskow oral history interview, 2016 October 24. OH-02874. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1x34qt7m
AN INTERVIEW WITH JACQUELINE BASKOW An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Amanda Hammar iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. 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 University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea 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 with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE In 1976, Jacqueline ?Jaki? Baskow was an aspiring actress when she and a friend accepted an invitation to worked in a movie studio in Las Vegas. She had three-hundred dollars to her name, a dream and lots of dynamic energy. Though the movie studio offer did not quite materialized as she hoped?the invitation had come from Batman co-creator Bob Kane?Jaki?s trajectory into Las Vegas, working with talents and planning events became an over forty year career. In this interview, she talks about growing up Jewish in Camden, New Jersey where her father was a murder victim; her tenacious effort to find the perpetrator included the help of celebrity detective Joe Schillaci. She shares stories of the colorful array of A-list entertainers she has worked with to build her successful business, Baskow and Associates. She has built a niche of handling large corporate events, hiring talent and attention to details for exciting events. She reflects on the people and moments that impelled her on; mentors such as Bobby Morris and Frank Sinatra and Jilly Rizzo. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Jacqueline Baskow October 24, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface??????????????????????????????????..iv Jewish roots are discussed; Congregation Ner Tamid and Rabbi Akselrad; move from Camden, New Jersey to Las Vegas in 1976 with $300 ; job with a local movie studio for Bob Kane, the creator of Batman. Talks about various jobs she had and how she opened a talent agency. Victim of anti-Semitism; growing up Jewish; attending Miami Dade Junior College; her parents; becoming a big star broker for Italian TV shows?????????????????.1 ? 4 Opened Las Vegas Speakers Bureau; her father?s murder was a cold case, led her to celebrity Detective Joe Schillaci and results of that investigation; her first impressions of Las Vegas; her local competition troubles and more about anti-Semitism?????????????..5 ? 10 Friendship with Bobby Morris who became her mentor; Eleanor Roth; Telly Savalas; David Brenner; Jilly Rizzo and Frank Sinatra work; meeting more celebrities all by the age of twenty-three. Jackie Presser story at Caesars; forty years in business in Las Vegas; story of her housekeeper???????????????????????????????11 ? 19 Places for live music; booking entertainment for corporate events as a growth industry; ubusiness opportunities; describes her typical work day?????????????????...20 ? 24 Talks about civic organizations she has worked with, such as National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; Arthritis Foundation; importance of charity organizations ADL and leading Jewish people of Las Vegas; movies about Jews??????????...??????25 ? 34 vi Today is October 24th, 2016. This is Barbara Tabach and I am sitting with Jaki Baskow. Jaki, spell your name for us. And how would you like it on?would you like it Jacqueline or?on the book? You can put me Jacqueline; it's J-A-C-Q-U-E-L-I-N-E. Baskow, B-A-S-K-O-W. My nickname is Jaki, J-A-K-I. Usually I like the start the interview with getting an understanding of your Jewish roots. What do you know about your family's heritage? My Jewish roots...My mother came here from Poland on a boat during the war, during Hitler's engagement. The whole family came here from Warsaw. My dad's parents came here from Kiev, Russia. My grandparents were Orthodox Jews; I was not. We didn't have enough money to go to synagogue. In those days if you didn't pay, you did not go to pray. So I was blessed to have a successful business here and enjoy Congregation Ner Tamid, and I'm rediscovering my roots at the age of sixty-five, and I love our rabbi. [Rabbi Sandford Akselrad] That's a good summary statement. We have an amazing rabbi and cantor at Ner Tamid. I love the services and I feel like a little girl reinventing herself. So you were raised where? I grew up in Camden, New Jersey, but my teenage years I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. My mother worked for a wholesale meat house for thirty-five years. My dad owned a bar in Camden, New Jersey, was robbed and killed when I was sixteen years old. So I have been working on the cold case. I came out to Vegas in 1976 with three hundred bucks to work for a movie studio. A 2 friend of mine and I met a gentleman named Bob Kane. Bob said he was opening a movie studio, he and gentlemen named Russ Gerstein and Sid Josephs. We came out here and we were here for two months and Bob Kane sold his movie script, moved to L.A. It is called Batman. Oh, wow. He's the creator of Batman. So I looked in the paper. I used to work at Big Ben's car lot in the mornings, trying to get people to sell their cars. I worked at...Oh, my God, I worked a couple of jobs. I used to put my hair in a ponytail at night and glasses so nobody would know that I wanted to be an actress and that I was opening a talent agency and I called bingo at the Silverbird Hotel at night. I took a job part-time with Telly Savalas (Kojak) as a secretary. I couldn't really even type, but I would find everything they needed in the city, like caterers and locations. And they were like, "Why don't you open a talent agency?" I had come out here as an actress. There was one company here, Nevada Motion Picture Services, and she would not hire me, and one of the reasons she would not hire me was because I was Jewish. So this interview is very appropriate for me to tell my story. It is, my goodness. And I broke a monopoly that was here for twenty-five years; I opened a talent agency. I had threats on my life, bullet holes in my car. FBI was involved in it. My competitor and somebody involved with my competitor was involved with the Nazi party. Yes. And here I am a kid that came here from New Jersey at twenty-two years old to make money so I could hire a detective to help me with my dad's murder case to be able to find out who killed my father, and I come here to all this drama. Well, let's go back to New Jersey where you grew up. Was it a predominately Jewish area? Yes, it was. 3 Were you aware that you were Jewish? Yes. All my friends were Jewish. Because my dad got killed at a young age and my mom worked two jobs to support my brother and I, I would go to my friend Ann's, who was orthodox. I used to spend the night there and her mother used to scream because she'd wake up and I had put the milk dishes and the pesach (Passover) dishes together and her mother would be burying the dishes in the backyard. I was a bad Jewish girl. But I sort of held on to a lot of my roots. Ann's dad helped me get a scholarship for college through the Jewish Federation in New Jersey and Jewish Family Services there. Where did you go to school? I went to Miami Dade Junior College. A lot of people from the northeast go down to Miami. Yes, all the Jersey Jewish people went to Florida. What did you go to study? Radio, television and broadcasting. So from a young age you knew that you wanted to get in this field. Yes, yes. I never completed. We partied at school. Most of my friends went to the University of Miami and I snuck in for the concerts. I had two fabulous parents. I had a traumatic childhood because of what happened with my dad. But I have to tell you that from crisis and things that happen to you, I think it makes you stronger in life. My mother was always working; she was a great businessperson and she taught me to be the person that I am today. What kind of business was she in? She worked for a wholesale meat house, selling the meat and also doing the books there. So she 4 was a salesperson and the accountant. So you got a lot of her personality traits. I did. She loved people. She was always for the underdog. I am always: if you have two of something, give one away. Always paying it forward. I love helping people. I'm involved in a lot of charities. And I think that we're so involved?we start with nothing?as a child we had nothing. Then all the sudden we became very rich. Then my dad got killed and my mother just gave everything away. We were in trauma mode. I went from living in a one-bedroom apartment with my mom and my brother to moving out here with three hundred bucks. I'm in business here?I'm going to knock on the table, on wood?forty successful years and I've lived my dream here. This town has been really good to me, thanks to other Jewish people, like Jerry Gordon who worked at Caesars. He introduced me to a gentleman that was doing TV shows for Italian TV and they said, "Can you produce TV shows?" I said, "Yes." I didn't know what the hell I was doing. And I called a guy named Don Jacobs who had a company called...I forget his company; it was a production company. He did Entertainment Tonight second unit, which means the on-location stuff here. We turned around and we went all over the world producing TV shows for Italian TV. And then I became one of the big star brokers, bringing movie stars over to Italy for Italian TV shows, including arranging Sylvester Stallone to go over. And Silvio Berlusconi, who became the bad boy prime minister of Italy, gave Stallone a forty-million-dollar check to produce his movies. Oh, my goodness. So I have many stories. Oh, yes, you've got... Oh, yes. I took Michael Douglas over and Andy Garc?a and Sharon Stone. I sent Jennifer Lopez 5 over. Kevin Costner, who I've become dear friends with, I arranged his honeymoon for him over there. Tom Selleck and so on and so on. Then I came back here and I opened Las Vegas Speakers Bureau. I was going to do it fourteen years ago and then the people I was going to do it with, nobody really wanted to do it. Then people started calling me for speakers, twenty years later. So I thought, maybe I'll open a speakers bureau. So I opened a speakers bureau and I've had the pleasure of booking, like, General Schwarzkopf and Michael Lewis, who wrote the movie The Big Short, and Magic Johnson and Richard Branson and people that are amazing and amazing storytellers that people don't even know who they are that have written a book that have great stories to tell. I've gotten to not only live my only dream, but when you book entertainment and you book interesting speakers, you deliver new memorable experiences to other people. So I feel like I've given back to other people, also, which is a lot of fun. Wow. There's so many ways to go with that. So when you say?your father's cold case, you were on a mission to solve that before you came here? I really didn't understand how to solve it, but I wanted to make money so I could hire a detective to find out who murdered my dad. The Camden Police Department...The file kept disappearing on and off for fourteen years. Finally they found the file. Then they said the file was lost in a flood. I got a wonderful detective named Jim Pisano a few years ago that found the cold case file and he happened to be coming here for a wedding and he brought me the file, a lot of things that I didn't know that happened were revealed. As God works in strange ways, I was bringing celebrities to Florida to the Boys and Girls Club and I'm sitting next to a guy that a friend of mine brought as a celebrity; his name is Joe Schillaci; he's on The First 48, A&E. He's a retired detective who has solved seventy cold cases. 6 He was with the Miami Police Department. So at the end of the week, I left a little note for him and said, "If you give a chance, Google Martin Baskow, Camden people." I started looking up these websites for Camden and I found a reporter that was writing about Camden and I put up a reward for my dad's murderer, many years later. The guy told the story for me to keep my dad's spirit alive, and we found out a lot of information. Then Joe started working on it. Then I did an event here for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and I met a man named Lenny DePaul from the United States Task Force that overlooked New York and New Jersey. So Lenny and Joe got together and they started working on my dad's cold case, and we're very close to closing it. But I have a funny feeling that I cannot say on this transcript that there were people higher up that knew what was going on and what happened and the case may never be closed. But I've taken it for forty-nine years and I think my dad would have been proud of me continuing his legacy here. It sounds like you're relentless. I'm relentless, oh, yes. I want you on my side. We actually know who killed my father and the guy is still alive. There were three men. My dad opened a bar in a very bad neighborhood in Camden and people in those days were running numbers and he was throwing them out. Maybe they got arrested. Who knows? Who knows what the heck happened? It was a crazy time; it was 1967. But all I know is that I was letting go of it. Got it. And so when you came here you said you only had three hundred dollars. Three hundred dollars. And that was what year again, 1976? 7 Yes. First job?what did you do?your first impressions? Had you been to Vegas before? Why Vegas? We went to the Catskill Mountains. I had a boyfriend I was with for a long time that was cheating on me, and my neighbor and I went to the Catskill Mountains to like run away. I thought maybe he'd come running with the white horse after me. We met a man named Bob Kane there, and he goes, "I'm opening a movie studio." And I said, "I'm an actress," which I was trying to be. I was back and forth to New York. I'm like, "Oh, cool." So we flew out to Las Vegas and they took us to this office on Desert Inn Road and Pecos, which was the old electric company or something. They said, "We're building a studio here." We were wet behind the ears. What the heck did we know? We packed up. My boyfriend continued his bad-boy-ness. We drove cross country and we moved out here. We lived in a little apartment on Pecos and Desert Inn. My neighbor down the hall that I moved out here with went on to California to work for the director Sydney Pollack for thirty years. I stayed here. When the TV studio of Las Vegas fell apart, I became instrumental in the acting world here and I opened my talent agency. I was instrumental on helping get the film commission funded through an airline, Western Airlines at the time. I went up and lobbied. Who did you lobby? How did you do that? I worked with a guy named Barney Roens. He was lobbying for funding for the film office and they weren't going to give it to us. Probably I'm ADD and don't know it. I'm sitting there reading a Hollywood Reporter Magazine while they're up there lobbying. They're up there doing their government thing and I'm sitting there reading. And I see on the back page, Western Airlines 8 took out an ad promoting Utah. And I raised my hand and I said, "Excuse me. I know we need funding, but why aren't we going after the airlines for this funding? Here is an ad on Western Airlines promoting Utah when I just did their commercial for Las Vegas and their new hub is here." And they ended up getting, I think it was, a penny-per-dollar sales tax and it funded the film commission. That's great. Yes, it was great. It was fun. Now we have a film office here. They encourage movies and TV shows. I've cast over seven hundred movies, TV shows, commercials, infomercials and got to bring these fabulous celebrities to Italy. Once a month I was going to Italy and everything is paid for. I got to bring friends, employees. It's been a lot of fun. Your enthusiasm is contagious here. So you mentioned there was a little bit of competition from the...Nevada Motion Picture Company? Yes. That was the first real extra casting; that's background casting, people here in Las Vegas. When I opened my talent agency here, they did not want any competition. I don't know if it was somebody affiliated with her or the person that owned it, but I had bullet holes in my car, "Go home, Jew." Then I found out that they were absconding with union funds on the movie extras. They would have somebody come register as a movie extra and they would say, "You have to pay Screen Extras Guild." It was Screen Extras Guild in those days. And they'd have to pay a fee. And then if they didn't use them on three movies, they would take that fee and keep the money; they weren't even giving it to the union. So being pro for the actors, I opened my mouth. And next thing I know my car was shot up. It was like a Bugsy Siegel movie. Was that investigated thoroughly? 9 Next thing I had a knock on my door; it was the FBI, and they were all over it. They knew what was going on. There was a lot of other things, anti-Semitism going on. And they were involved in a big way. A guy named John Bailey and Burke Smith; they're like my heroes. At that time I lived in a little apartment in Las Vegas Country Club and they actually got in there and they ransacked my apartment. Oh, yes, they wanted to know what I knew. Very scary days. Anti-Semitism is so negative anyway. I mean, we're all born the same and bleed the same. It's just a very terrible thing. I see it rising again in this city and throughout the country and the world. I would hope one day that we would have world peace and we live to see it. That would be nice. So at that time, in the seventies when you moved here, in the late seventies, were there other anti-Semitic events going on? Yes, the Imperial Palace. In fact, I had a friend that was an entertainment director there. They were holding Hitler parties; that was documented and it was the truth. People were being discriminated against being hired. They had Hitler's touring car up there. There was a lot of stuff going on up there, very scary. Were you involved in any of the protests at the Imperial Palace? One day. I did it one time. I went out with a Jewish organization that called me to come out and protest and I did. I really didn't care if I got business there or I didn't because you have to stick up for what you believe in. Yes, yes. It seems like the Engelstad name has been turned that around, anyway. They've distanced themselves from their father's parties. Well, I think the family now has been very big in philanthropy with Opportunity Village. I have been on their board and they've been very generous to them. I don't know a lot about the father. I just know people that worked at the hotel and told me what was going on there, pretty scary. 10 Yes, it was pretty unnerving. Yes. Just staying with the idea of anti-Semitism, today do you feel it personally the same or how do you observe it today? I see a lot of anti-Semitism. It's funny. I have a housekeeper that I adopted that's eighty-six years old; she's worked for me for sixteen years. She's from Argentina and she doesn't know if her grandmother was Jewish or not Jewish and her father was German. It doesn't matter where you're from or who you are, it's how you believe and how you portray it, because we're supposed to all love one another. It's funny because sometimes she'll say, "My grandmother told me to never hang around Jews and I can't believe I'm working for a Jewish..." I have adopted her and taken care of her. It's a long story. She was worth a hundred and forty million dollars, lost everything, came to Las Vegas and opened a paper. I found her through Nannies and Housekeepers. She's really a lovely person. She's almost ninety years old, four children that don't really care about her since she lost her money. I think I've taught her a little bit because I do eight days of Hanukkah with her and teach her a little bit about the religion. We only know what we're brought up with as children and what people tell us, and people are very impressionable. I've always wanted to know about everybody's religion because I think it's beautiful. Everybody has to believe in what they are brought up as or what they feel that they have in their heart. So I've never been prejudice or anti-Semitic even after my dad was killed, people were like, "Are you prejudice because your dad had a bar in an all-black neighborhood?" I said, "I know that one of my best friends is Afro-American and I love her dearly." I mean, you can't hold malice in your heart. 11 So with the Jewish community, at that time when you first moved here, did you plug into a temple or did you wait for a while to do that? I did. I did. I used to go to the temple on 15th Street. And I hate to say it, but I snuck in because I didn't have money to go to shul in those days. So I would sneak in after the service started and sit in the back. I always loved it. Then I went to the one on Emerson Avenue and then they moved to Green Valley. I love the people there. I had a man named Bobby Morris who gave me my second office and he let me run my talent agency downstairs. There was a lady, Eleanor Grosso, who was also Jewish. Eleanor Roth Grosso ran the Sands for Jack Entratter. She was a very interesting story. She's the person that really booked the Rat Pack and brought everybody there and introduced Peter Lawford to Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy and a lot of stories here in the Naked City. So Eleanor asked Bobby to give me a job. Bobby is also Jewish and I started going to temple with them. He's become like a father to me. He gave me my first office. So I would answer one phone, "Bobby Morris Agency," and I'd answer the other phone, "Baskow." And I never booked any music entertainment for ten years because I never would cross the line or bite a hand that fed me. I think it's important. I've hired a lot of people. I've hired thousands of people through the years in this city. What I do see, not only here, but in the world is people have lost...It's people climbing over each other. It's a whole new world out there. There's no respect for people that mentor you or?how can I say it??crossing lines and barriers. Integrity is everything to me. If you don't have your integrity, you don't know who you are. Talk a little bit more about Bobby. I did do an interview of him. Oh, did you? 12 Yes. He's a lovely man. Fabulous drummer. Great father. He was a great agent. He was a great talent agent. He still does it and occasionally he'll call me now. He says, "You have my permission to book talent." And I say, "Thank you." We book a lot of talent for corporate and now we're doing some of the stuff for casinos all over the country. Bobby is an interesting man. He's a legend here. And I really have him to be thankful for that he took me and gave me an office when nobody else would. Never even charged me. In fact, he paid me to be his front desk secretary. He's a good guy. Yes, he is a good guy. So what did you learn from him about the business? I learned to always get your money up front. He was a tough cookie businessman because of these acts and he'd make these acts thousands of dollars and they'd take forever to come in and pay him. I'd collect the money for him at the front desk. And none of them were ever loyal, very few. He was the agent guru here; he really was. I learned a lot about the musical part of the talent, how to see a good act, how to tell what's a lounge act from a main showroom act. I also learned a lot about the music world. He taught me what's a show band and what's just a band. He taught me different things about the different realms of music, a little bit about jazz, which I knew nothing about. Just he taught me how to be a good businesswoman. That's wonderful. He gave me a couple of his albums. I loved it. It's fun. And I love percussion anyway. Yes. He's just an amazing person. He will be in my heart forever. He's like a father to me. 13 I can see how that would happen. So when you came here?it sounds like there's all the flurry of activity in your life. I know. So when you do this time line of your life, what were the steps you took to be here in your own business? I'll try to give you a little bit of industry of it. 1976, I came here to work for the movie studio. Movie studio did not work out. Took a job with Telly Savalas. Went on to open a talent agency. Went to work for Bobby. I also worked at a couple of other little offices before I hit Bobby's office. I also worked for an advertising agency, Dale Edwards Advertising. Then as my company started growing little by little, I put a man in a commercial named Spider. I did a commercial with David Brenner, Schmidt's Beer. I had no idea who he was. He happened to lift the glass of beer in the commercial, which made him an extra to a principal. He made over thirty-five thousand dollars in royalties. One day I'm sitting in my office and he says to me, "I want you to come to Caesars Palace. The old man wants to meet you." I said, "Who is the old man?" And I called my mother crying and I said, "I think the Mafia is trying to steal my company." I was making maybe seventy-five dollars a week, maybe a hundred. I go to Caesars Palace and I walk into the coffee shop and there is a man named Jilly Rizzo and a man in a black satin NBC peacock jacket named Frank Sinatra. And he turns around to me and he said, "Hey, kid, I hear you're the new Sue Mengers in town." I said, "Please don't kill me, Mr. Sinatra. I don't know who Sue Mengers is." He goes, "Sit down; we're having lunch." 14 And they introduced me to a man named Jerry Gordon. I had a modeling and talent agency in those days. So they asked me if my models can work the golf tournaments and there were all these Alan King tennis tournaments. They walked me into the convention office and they said, "Use this girl's talent if you can." And they asked, "Do you do parties and events?" And I said, "Sure." And I became the biggest party and event planner, doing every high roller party and every event at Caesars Palace. And I'm still a preferred member with them, forty years later. Isn't that marvelous? Yes. Caesars is in my heart. They're my start. I've worked as an out-of-house vendor for them. Frank invited me to his show and I went to his show. They wanted me to see a girl named Marlene Ricci that Jilly, who was his best friend and bodyguard, had discovered at the Aladdin Hotel. Am I dating myself, the Aladdin? And she was in the lounge. They found her. And they did a TV show on here, which I did some of the casting for, called "Cinderella at the Palace." Gene Kelly and Sammy Davis and all these people were in the show and I'm meeting these people and my head is spinning. As a little girl, I saw them on TV. Well, how old would have been at that time? I was about twenty-three. It was like very soon after I had opened my company, they asked, "What can I do for you?" Blah, blah, blah, blah. And I said, "Nothing, Mr. Sinatra." But I had told Spider about the threats on my life, and I don't know who he called. I think Frank may have called the Teamsters and said, "Find out who's threatening this girl's life and it's got to come to an end." And I never had a bullet hole in my car ever again. That's the only thing I ever asked them, only thing. I went to every one of his shows every time he was here. I sat at his table. I went to his 15 big anniversary at Caesars and I was sitting with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum and Jack Lemmon; I mean, people that your parents used to watch on TV. It was amazing. Well, that's star-studded, to put it mildly. Oh, it was star-studded. I never asked him for anything. It was very funny. When I went to see him the first time, at the end we're sitting?they used to rope off an area outside Caesars where the baccarat pit is. They had a little bar area and they would rope it up and there was security all over. And he said, "Kid, what did you think?" I'm sitting and there's a whole table full of people, like Angie Dickinson and all these people. I said to my roommate, "Is he talking to me?" So I walk up and I go, "Mr. Sinatra, please don't be mad at me, but"?he wanted to know what I think of Marlene Ricci, the singer that he invited me to come see. I said, "You can't open for Mr. Sinatra"?and I'm talking to him like this?I said, "In gold Spandex pants." I said, "But her voice was like Barbra Streisand." He said, "You're her new agent." I had no idea what I was doing. She wouldn't move to California, so they needed an agent here. So I became her agent. I had put her in The Jerry Van Dyke Show and a couple of other shows. Then she ended up never paying Jilly his commission and I think they dropped her. They had put millions of dollars into her. And I became their dear friend. I was like their little kid. I was invited everywhere here. How did it feel to be around that kind of celebrity? It was so over my head. When you hear Frank Sinatra and you hear these people, but to meet them and all the sudden they take an interest in you...And I didn't know why they wanted an interest in me until I met Marlene. And then they would call me and they would say, "So-and-so wants to be in the movies." "No problem." I think I hired every dealer at Caesars Palace every time we did a movie or TV show there, and at the Desert Inn. 16 There was a man named Jerry Gordon and I really have to thank Jerry for walking me into the convention department or I probably wouldn't be sitting here because that was the beginning of the big part of my business because you can't make a living on movies and TV shows in Vegas; there is a movie here and then there's not one for five months. The other thing I started doing was the corporate world and I started doing the little parties, which became the big parties. Then the convention people wanted to know, who did that party? I'll give you a funny story. They called me up and they said, "Listen, we have a client in and it's the Teamsters and we need to bring somebody into the general session. What can you do?" And I'm like, "Oh, I don't know." There weren't many choices in those days and I said, "Well, why don't we get a golden litter like they carried Caesar in on? We'll get some grapes and we'll have Caesar and Cleopatra and these gladiators and we'll carry them in. And we'll have like camels and things like walk in front of it." "Okay, fine; that sounds good; client wants to do it." So they do it. Next thing I know, front page of national papers, "Teamster Boss Jackie Presser Gets Carried in as Caesars in Caesars Palace." I said, "Who is Jackie Presser?" And they said, "He's a big mob Teamster boss." I said, "Oh, my God." Oh, that's great. Yes. Then we did all the entertainment for that convention and that was the beginning. I remember hiring The Imperials for them and then people asked me if I could hire a speaker. I didn't even know what a speaker was. The rest is history. I did like hundreds and hundreds of events there and high roller events and people that owned Twin Towers in Japan. I met the richest people in the world. I used to see people drop millions of dollars at the tables there. It was 17 a very interesting experience. For a girl from New Jersey who came here with three hundred bucks, it was a real education. You adapted well, it sounds like. Yes. It was crazy. But I was never affected by it. I was never affected and I never was a gambler. Occasionally I'd g