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Stardust Resort and Casino Records (MS-00515)

Abstract

The Stardust Resort and Casino Records (1950-2006) contain materials of the Stardust Resort and Casino, which operated in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1958 to 2006. The collection contains materials on events hosted by the Stardust, the resort and casino's corporate history, interior and exterior building design, and performers. The collection also includes photographs, negatives, and slides that document the history of the resort and casino. Newspaper and magazine clippings, advertisement and marketing materials related to the Stardust's venues, shows, entertainers, and events are also present in the collection. The collection also contains a significant amount of audiovisual material, including VHS tapes, audio cassettes, optical discs, film reels, and cassette tapes containing footage and audio recordings of Stardust show promotions, news broadcasting clips, interviews, and commercials featuring the Stardust.

Finding Aid PDF

Date

1950 to 2006

Extent

367.98 Cubic Feet (390 boxes, 1 folder (shared box))
127.55 Linear Feet
2,592 digital_files (11.827 GB) JPG, PDF/A, MP4

Related People/Corporations

Scope and Contents Note

The Stardust Resort and Casino Records (1950-2006) contain materials of the Stardust Resort and Casino, which operated in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1958 to 2006. The collection contains materials on events hosted by the Stardust, the resort and casino's corporate history, interior and exterior building design, and performers. Materials focus on shows and events, such as Lido de Paris and Enter the Night, Wayne Newton, Siegfried and Roy, B. B. King, The Temptations and The Four Tops, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Chicago, the National Finals Rodeo, holiday celebrations, and gambling tournaments. The collection also includes photographs, negatives, and slides that provide a visual history of the resort and casino, including the building at various times throughout its history, capturing the sign, hotel towers, and pools, as well as the interior of the building with various restaurants, bars, and casino floors throughout its operation. Newspaper and magazine clippings, advertisement and marketing materials related to the Stardust's venues, shows, entertainers, and events are also present in the collection. The collection also contains a significant amount of audiovisual material, including VHS tapes, audio cassettes, digital files, film reels, and cassette tapes containing footage and audio recordings of Stardust show promotions, news broadcasting clips, interviews, and commercials featuring the Stardust.

Access Note

Collection is open for research, with the exception of materials that are restricted to protect personally identifiable information. Restrictions are noted at the file level of this inventory. If use copies do not exist, reformatting/production of use copies is required before access will be granted; this may delay research requests. Advanced notice is required.

Publication Rights

This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. The donor of the collection, Jim Seagrave, transferred all right, title and interest they had in the Stardust Resort and Casino Records (MS-00515) to UNLV. However, the material 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 reproductions and use or contact us at special.collections@unlv.edu.

Arrangement

These records are organized into four series:

Series I. Corporate materials, 1959-2006;

Series II. Event promotional material, 1980-2006;

Series III. Marketing and advertising, 1950-2006;

Series IV. Photographs and audiovisual materials, 1950-2006.

Biographical / Historical Note

The Stardust Resort and Casino operated in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1958 to 2006. Conceived by Tony “The Hat” Cornero (1899-1955), the Stardust opened as one of the largest hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. The casino held several connections to organized crime into the 1970s, a trait made infamous through controversial news coverage and popular media representation, such as its operational history serving as the base for the fictional hotel and casino Tangiers in the 1995 film Casino. The Stardust hosted many shows and entertainers including Lido de Paris, Enter the Night, Wayne Newton, Siegfried and Roy, B. B. King, the Temptations and the Four Tops, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Anthony Cools, Rick Thomas, Chicago, and Kansas.

In the early 1950s, Cornero first conceived the name “Starlight,” but later changed it to Stardust. In 1954, after seeing the growth of hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, Cornero paid $650,000 for thirty-six acres on the Strip’s north side, between the El Rancho Vegas and the Hotel Last Frontier. Governor Charles Russell prevented Cornero from obtaining a gaming license due to his criminal past, forcing him to lease the casino to the United Hotels Corporation, headed by Desert Inn Hotel and Casino investor Moe Dalitz. On July 31, 1955, after personally spending three million dollars on the Stardust’s construction, Cornero suffered a heart attack and died while playing craps at the Desert Inn. His death delayed construction for two years until Jake "The Barber" Factor arrived from Chicago, Illinois to take over the project.

The space-age themed Stardust opened on July 2, 1958. The original sign, built by the Young Electric Sign Company, stood as the largest cantilever in the world at opening, with nighttime visibility reported three miles away. The hotel contained over one thousand guest rooms, regarded as a world record, and possessed the largest swimming pool (105 feet long) and casino (16,000 square feet) in Nevada. The Stardust also included Horseman’s Park, a rodeo complex with corrals for 300 horses. The Café Continental Stage, considered the most technically advanced stage in Las Vegas at the time, possessed the latest lighting and sound equipment along with hydraulic lifts to raise performers ten feet above and thirty feet below the stage. The Stardust also imported the cabaret and burlesque show, Lido de Paris, staged by Donn Arden from France. The troupe arrived in Las Vegas on June 20, 1958, and performed at the grand opening of the Café Continental on July 4, 1958.

In the late 1960s, the U.S. government blocked billionaire Howard Hughes from purchasing the Stardust from Dalitz to prevent Hughes from gaining a monopoly on Las Vegas hotels. Instead, Delbert Coleman and his Recrion Corporation purchased the Stardust, and later sold it in 1974 to Argent Corporation, headed by California real estate investor Allen Glick. During this time, former Chicago bookmaker Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal became the unofficial boss of the casino. Under Rosenthal’s management, the Stardust became the first casino to include a sports book. The Stardust later developed into the center of a major scandal when accusations of organized crime syndicates siphoning money alerted taxing authorities. In 1983, a federal grand jury indicted fifteen people in a conspiracy to skim at least 1.6 million dollars from the Stardust. This resulted in several convictions and the Gaming Control Board banning Rosenthal from all Nevada casinos for life.

In 1984, Las Vegas businessmen Allen Sachs and Herb Tobman attempted to purchase the Stardust from Argent and failed. The State of Nevada then offered ownership to Sam Boyd and his son, Bill, who later were known as the Boyd Group. They continued day-to-day operations at the Stardust, and officially purchased the property in 1985. Boyd replaced Lido de Paris with Enter the Night in 1992, and altered the futuristic lettering on the Stardust’s 1967 sign. The Stardust continued with varied success, bringing in entertainers for recurring shows, such as Wayne Newton, George Carlin, and Andrew Dice Clay. The resort and casino closed in 2006, and was imploded on March 13, 2007. Genting Group later bought the Stardust site for the construction of Resorts World Las Vegas.

Sources:

Balboni, Alan. “Tony Conero.” Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 7, 1999. Accessed February 14, 2019. https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/tony-cornero/

Burbank, Jeff. "Stardust Hotel." Online Nevada Encyclopedia. March 20, 2009. Accessed November 8, 2018. http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/stardust-hotel.

Koch, Ed and Mary Manning. “Mob Ties.” Las Vegas Sun. May 15, 2008. Accessed February 14, 2019. https://lasvegassun.com/news/2008/may/15/mob-ties/

Schwartz, David G. "The Stardust Hotel, Longtime Cash Cow For the Mob, Debuted 60 Years Ago On the Las Vegas Strip." The Mob Museum. July 2, 2018. Accessed November 8, 2018. https://themobmuseum.org/blog/stardust-hotel-debuted-60-years-ago-las-vegas-strip-dream-gambler-checkered-past/.

Sun Staff. ”Gala Stardust Hotel Opening Today.” Las Vegas Sun. July 3, 1958. Accessed February 14, 2019. https://lasvegassun.com/news/1958/jul/03/gala-stardust-hotel-opening-today/

1954
Tony "the Hat" Cornero purchases thirty-six acres of land on north side of the Strip for future site of Stardust.
Cornero leases property to Moe Dalitz of United Hotels Corporation.
1955
Cornero died of a heart attack at Desert Inn Hotel and Casino.
1957
Jake "the Barber" Factor took over Stardust construction.
1958
Stardust Resort and Casino opened.
1960s
Stardust sold to Delbert Coleman at Recrion Corporation.
1974
Stardust sold to Allen Glick at Argent Corporation
1983
Federal grand jury indicted fifteen people in connection to Chicago mob-controlled profit skimming at Stardust and other Argent Corporation properties.
1985
Stardust purchased by Boyd Group.
1992
Lido de Paris is replaced with Enter the Night.
2006
Stardust closed.
2007
Stardust imploded.

Related Collections

The following resources may provide additional information regarding the material in this collection:

Stardust Hotel and Casino Convention Information Cards, 1960-1970. MS-00463. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stardust Resort and Casino Photograph Collection, 1960-1979. PH-00319. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Valda and Esper Esau Collection on Lido de Paris, 1958-1991. MS-00520. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Greg Cava Photograph Collection, 1971-2003. PH-00399. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Stardust Resort and Casino Records, 1950-2006. MS-00515. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Acquisition Note

Materials were donated by Jim Seagrave in 2006; accession number 2006-017.

Processing Note

In 2019, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Jimmy Chang and Billy Marino rehoused the collection, wrote the finding aid, and entered the data into ArchivesSpace. In 2021, Sarah Jones ingested files off of 80 optical discs. Access copies were created at the time of ingest.

Physical Description

Some materials are stored in the Lied Automated Storage and Retrieval Unit (LASR). Advanced notice may be required to access these materials.

Resource Type

Records

Collection Type

EAD ID

US::NvLN::MS00515

Separated Materials

Two oversized aerial photographs of Las Vegas, Nevada were removed from this collection and placed in the Special Collections Inner Reading Room.

Finding Aid Description Rules

Describing Archives: A Content Standard
English