Talking With Gary Lewis – September 27, 2012

This week, Ira spoke with Gary Lewis. To listen to the interview click below.

Gary Lewis and The Playboys will perform their greatest hits at the Suncoast Showroom, September 29 and 30.

Gary Lewis was about as close to being an “overnight success” in the recording field as anyone can get. In this case, show business lightning struck twice in the same family. The comedy antics of Jerry Lewis skyrocketed him to fame when he was just barely out of his teens – and his No. 1 son, Gary, achieved comparable success in the music field, also at a young age.

The son of a famous father – in any field – is often faced with serious problems in finding and maintaining his own identity. But when Gary Lewis and The Playboys auditioned for their first job at Disneyland, no one there knew Gary was anybody but a thin drummer. The entertainment director of the park merely liked what he saw and heard, and hired Gary and the boys on the spot – much to their surprise. They were soon playing to packed houses every night.

It was the summer of 1964 when Gary Lewis and The Playboys were discovered by producer Snuff Garret. Before long, with the producer/arranger team of Garrett and Leon Russell behind them, they took their first single, “This Diamond Ring,” straight to number one. After their second hit, “Count Me In” went to number two, Gary and the band proved that they would be a continued success. They followed with more Top 10 songs including “Save Your Heart For Me,”  “Everybody Loves A Clown,” and “She’s Just My Style.”



QuickTalk With Mark Brandenburg at the Golden Gate – September 20, 2012

In Las Vegas, there’s always an opportunity for Ira to have a quick conversation with a celebrity, entertainer, writer, or personality at a special event or spontaneous encounter.  Since these conversations don’t fit the standard time format of Talk About Las Vegas, we created QuickTalk.

The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas’ original casino, is celebrating the completion of its first major expansion and renovation in 50 years.  The landmark boutique property, opened its doors at One Fremont Street in 1906.  Its operation spans decades, from the roaring 20s through Prohibition and the Rat Pack era, to today’s resurgent Downtown.

Take a stroll through Golden Gate history:

(Part of that history:  When Golden Gate partner Italo Ghelfi introduced shrimp cocktail to the casino scene in 1959, he started a Las Vegas tradition.)

The new expansion, marked by  a press conference and a toast on Thursday, September 20 by Golden Gate President and Co-owner Mark Brandenburg, CEO and Co-owner Derek Stevens, Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Bob Coffin, was followed by a celebration on Fremont Street..

Some of the property’s new features:

*A new 35,000-square-foot, five-story luxury addition boasts 14 hotel suites designed as a tribute to notable guests like Frank, Sammy and Dean

*Two vintage-showgirl-inspired penthouses encompass the entire fifth floor;

*An expanded casino floor features a new 1920s flapper-inspired high-limit gaming room, complemented by Golden Gate’s playful dancing dealers;

*A new lobby is lit by a vintage “Hotel” sign that previously adorned Golden Gate’s Main Street exterior, and features hotel artifacts including original 1907 gaming ledgers, an authentic model of Vegas’ first telephone and Prohibition-era whiskey bottles found in the walls during construction;

*The building’s original façade has been restored with the addition of a modern digital marquee and contemporary LED lighting accents representing pinstripes from the roaring 20s.

*The new porte-cochere offers convenient parking in downtown Las Vegas.

I talked with Mark Brandenburg about the expansion just before press conference.

To download the interview in its entirety, right click on the following link and select “save target as” or “save link as” INTERVIEW LINK.


The Las Vegas News Bureau: 65 Years On Film

For 65 years, the Las Vegas News Bureau (an arm of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority), has captured the sights and sounds of the entertainment capital of the world.  The bureau has played a unique role in marketing Las Vegas by documenting unforgettable images on film.

On a regular basis, Talk About Las Vegas will present some of these images.

Here are some photos from the opening of the Tropicana in April 1957:

Tropicana Aerial – Known as the “Tiffany of the Strip,” the Tropicana Hotel and Casino is seen at the bottom of the image with the Tropicana Country Club under construction – January 14, 1961

Tropicana Porte Cochere – When it opened in April 1957, the Tropicana Hotel was the most modern hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It represented the latest in high architectural Mid-Century Modern design and set the standard for many of the resorts that came after it – July 27, 1957

Slot Machines at the Tropicana – A rare interior image of casino prior to the hotel opening to the public in April – February 28, 1957

Tropicana showroom interior – Home to the Follies Bergere spectacular, the showroom at the Tropicana represented the best entertainment venue Las Vegas had to offer at the time. Today, a remnant of the original showroom can still be seen in the casino.– May 20, 1957

For a listing of exhibitions featuring photographs from the Las Vegas News Bureau’s archives in Las Vegas, visit



Talking With Rich Little – September 20, 2012

This week, Ira spoke with Rich Little . To listen to the interview click below.

Rich Little, a master mimic of more than 200 voices, is headlining his one-man show, “Jimmy Stewart & Friends,” at the LVH.  The show, an adventure through the life of the famed Jimmy Stewart, features more than 30 celebrity icon voices, including Cary Grant, George Burns, Ronald Reagan, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne.

Famous for his skewing of political figures, Little entertained at both of Ronald Reagan’s presidential inaugurations and spent much of 2003 touring the United States with his show “The Presidents.”

According to Little, “an impression is what you think a person sounds like. It could be an exaggeration or a cartoon. It’s your impression. I think of an impersonation as more of an exact copy. Knowing the person personally is not important; it’s knowing the speech patterns and mannerisms [in order] to imitate the person the way the public sees him.”

Little was named “Comedy Star of the Year” by the American Guild of Variety Artists. He has recorded nine comedy albums and three HBO comedy specials, as well as the Emmy-award winning special “Rich Little’s Christmas Carol” with “W.C. Fields” as Scrooge, “Humphrey Bogart” as one of the ghosts and “Paul Lynde” as Bob Cratchit.


Talking With Jarrett & Raja – September 13, 2012

This week, Ira spoke with Jarrett & Raja . To listen to the interview click below.

Jarrett and Raja, billed as “Master Illusionist & Piano Genius,” are celebrating their 10th anniversary in show business.  They recently competed on NBC-TV’s “America’s Got Talent” in San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York.

The duo, now residents of Las Vegas, has performed on stages in New York, Las Vegas, Far East Asia and Europe. They recently returned to Las Vegas following a two year engagement in Singapore.

Jarrett was trained by legendary magician Harry Blackstone Jr. Raja studied for five years as a classically trained pianist at the world famous Juilliard School in New York City.

The duo met in Manhattan when Jarrett was booked at the legendary Friar’s Club. He discovered that there wasn’t a sound system but there was a great piano. Jarrett was aware of Raja’s accomplishments at Juilliard and invited him to accompany his magic.  The two were an instant hit and have performed together ever since.


Las Vegas Notebook for September 10, 2012


September 10, 2012                                                                                                          Vol. 16   No. 34


Bally Technologies will launch its new “Pawn Stars” slot machine at the Global Gaming Expo next month.  If no casino buys them, can they be pawned?


All the Sports Halls of Fame in the area will merge in a new facility at the Luxor called Score.  With that name, sounds like all the pick-up places should be there, too.


The Las Vegas City Council put off making a decision about whether to have a food truck buffer zone around restaurants.  The council needs more time to make a decision… food for thought.


Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins apologized to his constituents for shooting at a tree on his property.  If he also wanted to get the environmentalist vote, he should  apologize to the tree. 


Did you hear about the Bed Bug Summit held at Red Rock Resort?  Who knew the bed bugs were that organized?

Edited by Lisa Mogel. Copyright 2012 IDS Creative Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.






Talking With Norm Clarke – September 6, 2012

This week, Ira spoke with Norm Clarke, “Vegas Confidential” columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To listen to the interview click below.

Norm Clarke’s popular  “Vegas Confidential” column is featured six days a week in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  He regularly breaks news about celebrities or personalities that are reported around the world.

Clarke is a Montana native, whose background includes more than 15 years in Denver as a baseball writer, sports journalist, and man-about-town columnist.

He had a 12-year stint with the Associated Press (with stops in Cincinnati, San Diego and Los Angeles) and has written two books, “1,000 Naked Truths” and “Sinsational Celebrity Tales.”

On Twitter:  @Norm_Clarke