Dick Taylor

Dick Taylor's Memories Bayley/Frontier

For more of Dick's Memories please go to his site Las Vegas History Books.

"Doc" Bayley, CEO Hacienda Hotel, was given conditional approval by the Gaming Control Board to operate the New Frontier Hotel.

The entire deal Bayley had negotiated was right there on the front page of the October 22, 1958 Review Journal newspaper.

The sellers, headed by Maurice Friedman, had given the Hacienda team, headed by Warren Bayley, a ten-year lease with option to buy. The price was $25,000 per month rent, rising to $35,000 a month later, during the least term. Bayley was given the option to buy the entire New Frontier property for $2.5 million!

Flush with tremendous success at the Hacienda, Bayley had extra cash in his coffers to finance the deal. He agreed to pour $750,000 investment money into the Frontier deal with $450,000 as casino bankroll. Little did he know what troubles were ahead!

The Hacienda was sitting on top of the mountain because of its "average man" appeal ... its girls on the freeway to Barstow ... and its very successful Hacienda Champagne flight program.

Bayley had the confidence he could win all bets and he forged ahead with new ideas. His most exciting idea was 30 years too yearly. At that time (1958) the word "condominium" was just beginning to appear in the business sections of the dailies.

Many had a hard time pronouncing it. But Bayley caught the concept immediately and announced to his board of directors he wanted to build the world's largest hotel by selling 2,500 rooms to individuals under the new condominium idea.

All he needed, he said, was 2,500 people to invest $10,000 each (the cost of constructing one room in those days) and he could accomplish his goal. Then the hotel would rent the rooms for the owners and send owners their income dividends quarterly. The fee to book and service the rooms would be reasonable as Bayley was only interested in owning the casino and profiting from it ... not the rooms!

The front page story announced Bayley's team: Shields B. Craft, an owner operator of a small feeder airlines was to be the first vice president; and myself was to be the managing director.

Well known movie star Preston Foster was to be the "front man" greeter at the new New Frontier. Preston Foster had a record of 116 feature films to his credit and was recognized everywhere he went. He always played a friendly role in his films and his personality fit Bayley's method of operating (Bayley would talk to anyone, anytime, unlike many CEOs today).

It didn't take long for trouble to surround the new operators. The New Frontier was in the center of the Strip and had an entirely different type of customer.

It soon became evidence that the type of employees here were different from those who worked at the Hacienda. so what the Hacienda had developed out at the end of the Strip so successfully, could not be duplicated at the New Frontier Hotel.

It was my responsibility to take some of the Hacienda's lifeblood (cash) from the Hacienda casino cage down to the New Frontier cage weekly ... sometimes daily ... when losses there could not be turned around.

Even with the smash hit show ("Holiday in Japan"), we could not make any money. In fact, the cost of the show policy just exacerbated the problem.

Even with well-known and respected casino executives like Eddie Hughes running the pit, we had a hard time paying our bills. Our purchasing agent Larry Rovere had his work cut out for him. He had to keep the hotel supplied while out bookkeeper Leonard Markson couldn't pay the bills.

After almost two years of fighting an uphill battle, Bayley finally decided that the constant drain on the Hacienda finances was hurting the Hacienda and had to be stopped.

The cost of rehabilitation of the old section of the hotel and installed a moving sidewalk to the adjoining operation we called "The Last Frontier" in memory of the original hotel, contributed to our problems.

The town was shedding its image of the Old West and the "Last Frontier" failed badly. We had even imported and installed the fantastic bar from the old Arizona Club, but no one was interested in the past.

The new and modern drew the customers as the Sahara and Riviera changed the scene in that part of the Strip.

So, even with powerhouse lounge acts like Billy Eckstine and a smash hit show, Bayley finally walked away from his investment and returned to the very successful Hacienda Hotel.