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Christmas in Vegas: 1958

Christmas in Vegas: 1958

Looking up Fremont Street in Las Vegas from South Second toward the Fremont Casino & Carnival Room around Christmas 1958. 35mm Kodachrome slide taken by my late father with a Kodak Retina 1a camera. View full size.

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In Vegas with my parents in early 1960, enroute from Paraguay to California via every relative's house and tourist attraction between Battery park and the Santa Monica Pier, I took an educational sabbatical from my roulette-playing adult guardians and got in a little slot action at the Fremont, even snagging a free hi-ball from a passing hostess.

Then I won a small jackpot and a rather somber adult appeared, looked me up and down and asked my age. "Seventeen," I replied. "Out," was his reply.

Once on the sidewalk, I realized that to join my parents I'd have to make my way back through the casino, doubtless to be apprehended by the quiet gentleman with the strong grip ... perhaps even arrested. Lacking the makings of a disguise but having a few illicitly gained coins in my pocket, I headed across the street to this very Rexall to sit at the lunch counter and watch for my parents to emerge.

Sipping coffee and supplied with a few illicit cigarettes by some attractive and provocatively dressed ladies, I had a most educational hour or two, exchanging pleasantries but mostly soaking up their animated discussion of the vagaries of the world's oldest profession.

I was a much wiser 17-year-old by the time we left Las Vegas.

Current View

Can anyone provide a current view of this location? I'd love to see the way the same view looks today. That would be an interesting mission for a lot of Shorpy photos. Thanks!

[Here you go, believe it or not. -tterrace]

Normal downtown

One tends to forget that back in the day, before air conditioners and before certain business elements came to town, Las Vegas' downtown was pretty normal for a western city with just a few casinos in the mix. I remember being there as a child in '63 on our way to California, stopping to eat at that Rexall Drugstore. At that time it was about 2/3 casinos downtown.

Now Playing

Both "The Last Hurrah" and "Ghost of the China Sea" were released in the last quarter of 1958.


Nice pink 1959 Chevrolet Sport Sedan. Thanks.

[That salmony color was usually called Coral. - Dave]

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