The Frontier advertised six tennis courts, three of them lighted for night play. The resort offered a pro shop and equipment was available. A tennis pro was on duty. The Frontier maintained continuing memberships for guests who wanted to play golf.
The shops included Frontier Jewels located in the lobby, H.B. Burnett for women's apparel located adjacent to the lobby, Monte Factor/Jerry Rothschild for men's furnishings located near the lobby, and the Newsstand, Gift and Tobacco Shop. The resort also included a barber shop located on the main floor and a beauty shop located on the second floor.
Restaurants included the Cabaret for gourmet dining, Frontier Steak House for steaks, chops, chicken and seafood, Buffet, and Pioneer Room which was a 24 hour coffee shop.
In January of 1970, it was noted that Casino Floorman Carlo A. Bianca had previously worked for Joe W. Brown for 18-1/2 years until Brown died. Born on April 25, 1915 in New Orleans, he was married to Rose Mary, and had two daughters.
In January, 1970, it was noted that Les H. Boder was appointed Vice-President of the Las Vegas Monte Factor operations in the Stardust Men's Shop and the Hotel Frontier Shop. Boder was born in Chicago, IL, and he and his wife Grace had three children, Patricia, Floria and Tony.
Candy Valentine was selected to grace the cover of the Valentine Day's issue. Valentine first appeared on the cover of Fabulous Las Vegas magazine in 1964 as a pre-teenage sweetheart. A graduate of Rancho High, she decided on a show business career as a result of the earlier cover exposure. A singer/dancer, Valentine just returned from the Orien and was appearing at the Frontier.
Employee Pat Hardy's favorite statement was "Would you like to ride in my little red wagon?" The employees decided to take her up on the offer and bought Hardy a little red wagon. Pictured with her are Pat Lichtenberger and Priscilla Alexander.
Charlotte Ellsworth, Frontier's Reservations Manager, was married to Riviera Officer Elmo Ellsworth. She is pictured receiving her commission as an Admiral in the Nebraska Navy from Dr. Theodore Koefoot during a convention.
Frontier and International Rodeo Management hosted its 1970 Miss Rodeo America Pageant. Some of the representatives were Luann Jean Corn - Kansas, Janet Guenther - Washington, Virginia Hunter - Nevada, Ann Miller - New Mexico, Susan Summers - Oklahoma, Eunice Kay Alexander - Texas, and Wendy Courchaine - Wyoming.
On January 14, 1970, at 11:54pm, Frontier had the honor of hosting the last performance of Diana Ross & The Supremes which was recorded on Motown Records. The last performance included 22 minutes of Ross & The Supremes performing T.C.B.; Medleys of Stop! In the Name of Love/Come See About Me/My World is Empty Without You/Babylove; and The Lady Is A Tramp/Let's Get Away From It All; Love Is Here And Now You're Gone; I'm Gonna Make You Love Me; Can't Take My Eyes Off You; Reflections; My Man; Didn't We; It's all Right With Me; Big Spender; Falling In Love With Love; Love Child; Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In; The Impossible Dream; and Someday We'll Be Together.
In the Spring 1970 Newsletter, Frontier described the celebration of sorts as 1. The departure of Diana Ross from the renowned vocal group, Diana Ross and the Supremes; 2. The establishment of Diana Ross as a single star in her own right; 3. The creation of a new "Supremes," combining the talents of two of the former group - Cindy Birdsong and Mary Wilson - with that of a newcomer to the group, Jeanne Terrell.
Motown, the company which supervised the bookings, recordings and other activities of the Supremes, and many other superstars was at the resort in force, headed by the firm's President, Barry Gordy, Jr. Stars of TV and the legitimate stage, of nightclubs and motion pictures, press representatives, and VIPs of stature converged upon the Frontier to observe the final performance of Diana, Cindy, and Mary as a group.
Nevada Senator, Howard Cannon, wished Ross & The Supremes success in future years, and read a telegram of salute from Ed Sullivan stating "Tonight one of the greatest attractions of the sixties becomes two of the greatest attractions of the seventies."
Frank Sennes presented gifts on behalf of the Frontier.
Frank Sennes congratulated the girls on becoming the first act to be entered into The Frontier's newly formed Hall of Fame. They were joined in the picture by Jean Terrell, Diana's replacement.
Many celebrities in the audience couldn't resist and jumped on stage to sing for the last time with Ross & The Supremes: The pictures depict Smokey Robinson and his wife Claudette; Bill Russell; Marvin Gaye; and Lou Rawls.
Steve Allen went on stage during Ross' closing performance and serenaded her.
Ross leaving stage as Supreme
"It's generally thought that I 'discovered' Diana Ross and The Supremes. Strictly speaking, that's not quite true - They discovered me. They were just teenage girls then, still in high school. They were shy and a little uncertain about how to proceed - but they were determined and strictly all together. They were also talented and beautiful. And They walked into my office in their bobby-sox and discovered me.
Within a few years they were one of the foremost musical attractions in the world - a dozen or so gold records, close to two dozen successful albums, record-breaking engagements on four continents, concerts, television, nightclubs. The best of the best.
Yet, if you were to ask what the girls mean to me, I would answer in one word - family. That's the way it was at first, that's the way it's always been and that's the way it will always be. Success has been meaningful to all of us - but it has never been as important as what I felt for Diana and Mary and Cindy and they felt for one another and me. Love, respect, concern, faith - they're the things that make a family. And they endure. There are separations, marriages, births - changes of all kinds. But the basics remain. Things will change, but feelings won't. Diana Ross will be a great star. Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong and Jean Terrell will keep The Supremes supreme. Things will be different but they'll be the same. We'll be together - still." - Berry Gordy, Jr.
Frontier claimed May 7, 1970 as D-Day - Diana Ross Day as Ross made her first solo appearance at the resort.
In May of 1970, some patrons of Vic Damone's show were a little disappointed. While on stage, Robert Goulet strolled out and ad-libbed with Damone. Unfortunately, Goulet didn't sing with Damone which was what people were hoping for.
Frontier's Music Hall showcased Al Alvarez Orchestra; Teresa Brewer; John Byner; George Carlin; Jimmy Durante; Frank Gorshin; Robert Goulet; Phil Harris & Harry James; Eddie Jackson; Happy Jesters; The Kids Next Door; Abbe Lane; Leonardo; Vega Maddux; Al Martino; Bob Melvin; Bob Newhart; Wayne Newton w/Jackie Kahane/Jerry Newton/Tommy Amato; Pearce Sisters; Ann Richards; Diana Ross w/Sammy Shore; Ronnie Schell; Glenn Smith/The Fables; The Supremes; and The Unusual We. The Maitre d's was Jerry Sheutz; and Roy McNeely.
Diana Ross/Sammy Shore; Post-opening party at Cabaret: Berry Gordy, Jr., Diana Ross, Jim Brown, and Red Buttons (who was playing at Hughes' Landmark. It was reported that parts of George Carlin's live album was taped at his September 19, 1970, appearance at the Frontier. During one of his shows Wayne Newton received three standing ovations and hadn't even gone through three quarters of his show.
In July, Jimmy Durante was hospitalized and could not perform. Frank Gorshin was called in to substitute for the superstar. Gorshin, an impressionist, amazed the audiences with Van Heflin, Alfred Hitchcock, Burt Lancaster, Rod Steiger, Bela Lugosi, Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau, Tony Franciosa, and Lon Chaney among others. Helping Gorshin was Vic Damone, Jack E. Leonard, and Teresa Brewer (who was scheduled to appear with Durante).
The Circle F Theatre showcased Angel Brothers, D'Andrea & Angel, Ray Anthony, Kay Ballard, Beverlee & Sidro With The Sneakers, Dick Contino, Vic Damone/Linda Price & The Pipers, Diana George, Handbags & Glad Rags, Bob Sims Trio, Bobby Bryan, The Inner Circle, Leland Four, Lyrics, Ltd., Barry Monroe, Jana Mitchell & The Paris Brothers, Bob Sims Trio, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Sound Concept, Three Cheers, Tsaif Sisters Five, Jerry Vale, Tokyo Happy Coats, and Cherry Wainer. The Cabaret showcased Dave Burton, and Bob Sims.
Frank Sinatra, Jr., was surprised with a trophy presented by Frontier's Administrative Director, Keith Hanna. Frank was stopped onstage during a performance in the Circle "F" by co-star Phil Harris, who in turn introduced the Mayor pro-tem of Vegas, Hank Thornley. Thornley read a proclamation of appreciation from the Vegas community, commending Sinatra for a TV special filmed in and around Vegas entitled Frank Sinatra, Jr., with Family and Friends.
Apollo 13 astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise stayed at the Frontier after their experience en route to the moon. Managing Director Richard Danner is on the left.
The Howard Hughes Invitational Tennis Tournament took place at the Frontier's courts where 16 tennis greats vied for their share of $50,000 in cash prizes. In addition to the professionals who competed, 12 prominent citizens joined in the for Funtime Celebrity Tournament. Participants were Ed Ames, Earl Buchholz, Cliff Drysdale, Roy Emerson, James Franciscus, Andres Gimeno, Pancho Gonzalez, Charleton Heston, Ron Holmberg, Kirk Kerkorian, Alan King, Rod Laver, Robert Maheu, Doug McClure, Ray Moore, John Newcombe, Dennis Ralston, Tony Roche, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Segura, Sammy Shore, Neil Simon, Ted Stauffer, Fred Stolle, Roger Taylor, Torben Ulrich, Robert Wagner, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Winners in the Tournament were Neil Simon, Tony Roche, Pacho Segura, and Ed Ames. The presentation was made by tournament host Alan King.
At the Awards Banquet clowning around took place between Chief of Operations of Hughes Nevada Operations Robert A. Maheu, and Tournament Host Alan King.
A group picture of players at the Frontier's tournament included Dennis Ralston, Robert Wagner, Sammy Shore, Diana Ross, Ed Ames, and Pancho Segura.
Charities for this year were the Easter Seals with Honorary National Chairman Jimmy Durante, and Las Vegas area's Easter Seal child for 1970, David Lawrence, with Frontier's Richard Danner and the American Cancer Society.
Frontier's Director of Sales, Hal Chandler received an award which read "In grateful acknowledgment of outstanding service to the cause of cancer control during the Society's annual crusade." In the picture are Hal Chander, Chairman of the American Cancer Society Seminar Dr. Hugh Folmer, and Executive of Hughes-Nevada Operation & Clark County Chairman of the Cancer Crusade Peter Maheu.
On July 5, 1970, Circle F caused a first for the Strip with its closing to Sunday audiences. Never before had a main lounge gone completely dark on one specific night.
On November 1, 1970, Frontier's Music Hall presented a free concert featuring the Lou Rovner Big Band. Entitled "New Directions in Jazz", the concert showcased original jazz compositions and arrangements by the 24 year old Rovner. The concert was sponsored by the American Federation of Musicals, Local 369, and the Frontier Hotel.
During this year the Circle F Lounge, Steak House Bar, and Bar None advertised $.75 drinks from 5:00 to 6:30pm, plus free hot and cold hors d' oeuvres.
The Frontier also served two buffets for $1.95 for adults and $1.50 for kids. The weekend brunch offered chilled fruit juices, assorted fruit delicacies, juicy melons, pastries, scrambled eggs, domestic and imported cheeses, fresh baked breads and rolls, lox and bagels, hash brown potatoes, and a daily selection of braised beef tips, beef stroganoff, corned beef, chicken saute, and other fish, meat and poultry dishes. The weekday Businessman's Lunch offered cottage cheese, macaroni salad, seafood salad, marinated herring in sour cream, potato salad, cole slaw, cucumber salad, health salads, assorted breads, rolls and pastries, crown round of beef, Kosher lean corned beef, southern fried chicken, and hobo beef stew.
The Frontier sponsored the Frontier Hotel Belles fast pitch softball team. As second year members of the Copperstate Women's AAA Softball League.
Some of the guests pictured at the resort were Erskine Caldwell (God's Little Acre), Laker's star Egin Baylor w/Casino Manager Harry Goodheart, and Los Angeles Rams Myron Pottios and Roman Gabriel w/Goodheart. Governor Paul Laxalt w/his family spending Easter at the resort, syndicated columnist Eve Starr celebrated her birthday at the resort w/Director of Public Relations, Hank Kovell, and Bill Kennedy, columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner (Starr's husband).
Jimmy Durante greeted the Torque Pawnbroker at the Frontier with its driver Dwane Ong. This was advertised as a new radical 220 plus MPH ear-engine dragster. The unique car was unveiled at the Pacific Automotive Show held at the Convention Center, and was sponsored by Torque, an oil additive manufactured by Casite Division, Hastings Manufacturing Company.
At the "Undeclared" candidates for Governor function held at the Frontier, a surprise candidate threw his hat in breaking up the function. On the opposite side of the sign declared "See You At The Midnight Show". Frontier also decided to name their Playmale of the Month.
In December of 1970, more than 700 children of Frontier's employees attended the annual Kids Christmas party in the Music Hall. Comic Jackie Kahane emceed the entertainment portion, but was upstaged by Santa Claus.
The Frontier advertised Boneless Spencer Steak for $4.96 and steak and lobster combination plate for $5.25. Both entrees were served with a cheese tray, Boston bib lettuce salad, potatoes, onion rings, vegetable du jour, and broiled tomato.
During 1970, the Music Hall showcased Al Alvarez, Jimmy Durante/Eddie Jackson, Robert Goulet, and Bob Melvin. The Cabaret showcased Dave Burton, and Bob Sims.
The Circle F showcased Vic Damone.
In the January of 1971, Las Vegas experienced one of the coldest spells ever recorded in Clark County. The fountain in the Frontier's courtyard took on a very special artwork. It was gone by the afternoon though when temperatures climbed to 65 degrees.
In March of 1971, it was reported that Horst G. Frank was appointed General Manager of the resort succeeding Richard D. Danner who became Vice President for all of Howard Hughes hotel properties.
Also in March of 1971, Anita Laurie was chosen to represent the resort in the Miss Nevada/Universe pageant at Caesars Palace on April 18th. Laurie was in her freshman year at UNLV and planned to major in P.E.
Also in 1971, Territorial Manager for Renault Corporation Jacques Renaud came from Paris to attend the Allis Chalmers Convention. While inspecting the Frontier's Cabaret, Renaud discovered he had two fellow countrymen in the Food and Beverage Department.
Jimmy Durante had a very busy time while at the Frontier. Following one of his regular dinner show performances, Durante had gone directly from the Music Hall to the Frontier's convention hall - The Americana Room, where more than 500 local citizens were gathered for a Chamber of Commerce dinner, and proceeded to do another show especially for them. Less than an hour later, he was back in the Music Hall to do his midnight show. During this engagement, he was also available for radio, television and newspaper interviews, to work as National Chairman for the Easter Seals campaign, and to lend his many talents and famous physiognomy to a dozen other charities and civic events - all without pay.
As Durante took the mike in the Americana Room, he was surprised to see his two co-stars Eddie Jackson and Sonny King in the audience.
"We've got to see the people who have helped to make this the best town in the world! This town hasn't even scratched the surface yet. It's grown from nothing and you people, God bless you, are making it into one of the finest towns in the world." - Jimmy Durante, 1971
Picture depicts Sonny King/Durante, Eddie Jackson, Jack E. Leonard/Durante/Sonny King, and Durante giving Peggy Lee one of his hats.
Also in 1971, comments were made about the front of the resort. There were hundreds of red roses of one variety blooming like the pattern of a Persian carpet. People were stunned at the beauty of the roses on this desert road. Additionally, Frontier General Manager Richard Danner left his post to become staff Vice President for the Hughes Corporation. Hughes Corporation appointed Horst G. Frank to replace Danner. Frank was with the Hilton Hotels for nine years before taking this position.
In July of 1971, Frontier made a daring move by reducing its showroom minimum to $8.50. The resort also had a no-admission arcade where children can play and listen to their favorite music on a juke box, all with qualified supervision.
Also in 1971, Frontier held its Miss Rodeo America. The contestants were Susanne Tellier - Arizona, Margaret Surplus - Washington, Sandra Roubique - Louisana, Cheryl Lee Whitlock - Arkansas, Lana Dee Brachenbury - Idaho, Rosemary Veigel - Missouri, Susan Di Biase - Nevada, Linda Sheehan - Wyoming, Dee Watt - Northern Canada, Deborah Jean Deerman - New Mexico, Janet Donley - Colorado, Diana Drummond - Southwest International, Lee Ann Bowman - Southern Canada, Cathy Moon - North Dakota, Kay Wilson - Nebraska, Kathy Kirkpatrick - Oklahoma, Christy Eakin - Texas, Jennifer Gould - Oregon, Sharon Sinse - Utah, Bonnie Lee Stockdale - California, Kristi Osbourn - Kansas, and Kathy Norman - South Dakota. Lana Brackenbury, age 19, was crowned Miss Rodeo America by Wayne Newton in the resort's Music Hall. Besides extensive wardrobes, Brackenbury was awarded a scholarship and a hand tooled buckle and saddle. Her travels in 1971-1972 were expected to take her more than 80,000 miles to fairs, rodeos and conventions.
Also in 1971, pictures from the casino cage, keno cage, and inspecting the produce were taken for their magazine The Frontiersman.
The year 1971 was a big one for Frontier. In the audience of Wayne Newton's show were Astronauts Walt Cunningham and Jack Swigert of Apollos 7 and 13 respectively; Senator Leroy Johnson from Georgia presented the Supremes - Cindy Birdsong, Mary Wilson, and Jean Terrell, Frontier's contract stars, with a gold record for their recording of Up The Ladder To the Roof, in the middle of their show at the Music Hall; Bill Kennedy sponsored Frontier's Publicity Director was initiated into the prestigious Vikings, made up of prominent business leaders; Frontier Gaming Supervisor Jerry Seible kidded around with Sugar Ray Robinson, with Glenn Nelly, Managing Director of the Silver Slipper holding Robinson back; Casino Manager Harry Goodheart (middle) plays host to Otis Taylor of the Kansas City Chiefs (left), and Ollie Gates, well known restaurateur from Kansas City; Creek Tribe member Mahaley Anderson and two UNLV escorts were treated to the Wayne Newton Show (who is part Cherokee).
In August of 1971, Universal models Marlene Pratt, Judy Brown, Sandy Mortensen and Pamela Mason met with Robert Goulet backstage following a dinner show at the Frontier.
Celebrities taking in some shows at the resort include Nancy Sinatra seeing Jimmy Durante and Abbe Lane, Phyllis Diller seeing Durante's show (show with Frontier Maitre d' Roy McNeely, and Edie Adams and her husband Marty Mills at Jack E. Leonard's show.
Effective advertising is, naturally, the aim of everyone who advertises. But the management of the Frontier was understandably surprised when it received a call from an affiliate of the State Department in Washington, D.C. in response to one of its ads.
The ad, carrying the headline "Send this ad to a Friend Cambia," made reference to the fact that the Frontier Hotel has hosted guests from "every country from A to Y." It went on to say they'd like to make it "A to Z." The ad ran in a Western edition of the Wall St. Journal.
The surprise phone call came from an official of the African-American League in Washington, saying that the Carnegie Corporation of New York was sponsoring a State Department subsidized trip around the U.S. for Miss Dinah Khonje, a producer and performer for the Zambian National Radio Network. The trip was on a Department of State Educational Travel Grant.
Since her itinerary included Los Angeles and San Francisco, the caller suggested that the Frontier Hotel might be interested in hosting Khonje for an over-night stay in Las Vegas. The Frontier was interested, and arrangements were made for Khonje to stay at the Frontier during which she was hosted at a performance of the Wayne Newton show and saw the sights of Las Vegas. Seen are Lt. Governor Harry Reed welcoming Miss Khonje to the Frontier.
Also during 1971, Frontier decided not to use the familiar leather trimmed yellow and blue cocktail uniforms worn by the waitresses. Modeling the new uniforms were Delores D'Alessio from Las Vegas, and Margaritha Haefliger from Lucerne, Switzerland.
It was noted that both the Frontier and Silver Slipper excluded Nellis Air Force servicemen from minimum charges in their showroom.
It was noted that Valerie Miller who was one of the four dancers/singers with Ray Anthony's show was just 15 years old when she started dancing at the Fountainbleau and Eden Roc in Miami Beach.
In December of 1971, some additional employees included Roy McNeely - Maitre d'; Fred Fredricks - Assistant Maitre d'; Jack Beaulieu/Eddie Collins/Mike Fields/Paul Franks/Billy Kravenko/Al Monte/Tony Paduano/Armando Perez - Captains.
In 1971, Music Hall showcased Edie Adams; Al Alvarez Orchestra; Tommy Amato; Ray Anthony; John Byner; Jimmy Durante; Jack Eagle; Robert Goulet Show; Phil Harris/Harry James/Kids Next Door; Eddie Jackson; George Jessel; Jackie Kahane; Sonny King; Abbe Lane featuring costumes by Bob Mackie; Peggy Lee; Vega Maddux; Bob Newhart; The Wayne Newton Show w/Jack Eagle/Jackie Kahane/Jerry Newton/Don Vincent/Bobby Thomas; Frank Sinatra; Jr./Jack E. Leonard; Diana Ross; Sammy Shore; The Supremes/Herb Eden; and Jerry Van Dyke. The Maitre d' was Roy McNeely.
It was reported that Robert Goulet, Carol Lawrence and their children postponed their vacation trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in order to attend their son's school exercises in California. That delay saved their lives. The fatal commercial flight they cancelled out on was the one that collided with an army jet.
Phil Harris was not only appearing at the Frontier but had another full time job with Disney. He "starred" in such animated movies as The Aristocrats and Junglebook. Harris had to leave the Frontier to star in Disney's movie Robin Hood.
The Circle F Theatre showcased Ray Anthony; Eli Astone/Lucia Christy Show; Beverlee & Sidro w/the Sneakers; Four Amigos; Brother Love; Brothers Keep; Roy Clayborne; Dick Contino; Vic Damone; Loree Frazier; Diana George/Phil Lenk Trio; Hassell w/Wisdom; International Set; Leland Four; Jack E. Leonard; The Love March; Barry Monroe; New Establishment; Tony Page; Johnny Ricco; Anne Simmons; Bob Sims Trio; Frank Sinatra, Jr.; Jana Mitchel/Vaccaro/Jerry Vale. The Cabaret showcased Mariano Moreno; Dave Burton; Jan Mills; Bob Sims.
Jerry Vale was the only lounge act that called for 20 men in his orchestra. During one of Vale's act, Robert Goulet appeared onstage in bluejeans and with broom in hand, swept his way to the opposite wing. During Vale's next song, Goulet swept his way back. When Vale sang My Love, Forgive, Goulet joined in on an offstage mike. The audience ate it up!
During Vic Damon's closing night at the Circle F, Marty Allen jumped up from the audience, went on stage with Damone and told a laughing audience that he was actually the "Love Child" of Phyllis Diller and Buddy Hackett.
Toward the end of one of his shows, Frank Sinatra, Jr., was startled when four men walked out of the wings, bearing flowers that bannered a Welcome Home. The Welcome Committee were Johnnie Ray, Joe Delaney, Forrest Duke, and Jack E. Leonard. Leonard then commenced Sinatra into one of their famous exchanges of barbed wit.
In 1972 it was stated that Casino Shift Manager Johnny Dixon was also an authority on the artifacts and projectiles of men who lived in the Southwest 11,300 years ago.
The gift shop was owned by Joe Breen, Jr. His dad was the last censor the movie industry had before all the stop gaps were pulled. The Senior Breen was also the original of the (follow) "The Bouncing Ball" community theatre singalongs. Joe, Jr., was a screen producer before he and his wife moved to Vegas.
When Eddie Jackson was ill, Jimmy Durante took out an ad wishing him well. When Jimmy Durante performed on February 24, 1972, he was surprised to see Jackson in the audience with his family. The well-kept secret came as a great surprise to Durante, who responded beautifully when he spotted his partner of many years doing a face-to-face, instead of side-by-side. The show went on, part from the stage and part from the audience.
In 1972, Frontier Music Hall showcased Edie Adams; Nancy Adams & The Deer Creek Do-Gooders; Al Alvarez Orchestra; Ray Anthony; Dave Barry; Teresa Brewer/Jack E. Leonard; Foster Brooks; Norm Crosby; Phyllis Diller; Jimmy Durante w/Sonny King/Pearce Sisters; The Establishment; Robert Goulet; Phil Harris; Gunilla Hutton; Harry James; Bob Newhart; Wayne Newton w/Dave Barry & Musical Conductor Don Vincent; Frank Sinatra, Jr.; The Supremes; Jerry Vale. The Maitre d' was Roy McNeely.
The Winners Circle showcased Billy Kay w/Pam Egbert & Baby Rae; The Social Workers; and Toni Thomas Trio. The Bar None showcased the Gus Bivona Trio.
The Cabaret showcased Mariano Moreno; and Leonard Stanley.
In early 1972, the decision was made to close the Circle "F" Lounge. Before it closed, it showcased Ray Anthony Show, Judy Bell, Billy Kay & Chapter One, and Johnny Ricco. The last show which was on March 8, 1972, featured Jack E. Leonard. To say goodbye to the lounge, some members in the audience were Jimmy Durante, Frank Fontaine, Robert Goulet, Sonny King, and Frank Sinatra, Jr.
After one of their shows, Jimmy Durante and Eddie Jackson were telling stories about the Club Durante which Jimmy owned in New York. One story overheard was about "hiring a kid who did the Charleston" back in 1924, for $35 a week. He was George Raft who eventually became one of Hollywood's most popular stars. Another story was that the Club Durante was operating during the prohibition era and was one of those "Joe sent me" clubs. One night, two fellows phoned Durante and "pleaded" with him to get past the guard. Good natured Durante said "Aw, let 'em in!" The two fellows turned out to be government agents who took one look at the liquor and "closed the joint."
It was announced that the Frontier will be opening a new lounge in June of 1972 with Billy Kay being scheduled as the very first star, but I have no further details.
Robert Goulet had been on loan to the Sands and the Frontier held a Welcome Home Party on his return. All the guests wore pseudo Goulet moustaches when the singer walked in and Goulet quickly fell to the floor laughing. At the party, the staff and management of the Frontier included General Manager Horst Frank, presented Goulet with a framed sheet of music of The Star Spangled Banner. Later on, Rich Little and Goulet did a double Goulet-voiced duet, with Little cautioning his partner to "lower the register." When Goulet mentioned his throat was a bit raw Hugo Granata threatened to throttle any doctor who dared to give him medication.
In March of 1972, people on the got a surprise when then saw Robert Goulet standing in the afternoon sunshine outside the resort in a tuxedo. It turned out Goulet was on his way to the wedding of Robyn Telfer and John Sheib at the Little Church of The West where he was giving the bride away.
The buffet during 1972 and 1973 cost $1.95 for adults and $1.50 for children under 12.
During this time Norm Crosby was performing at the Frontier when he told this story.
"I was between shows at the Frontier and I was hurrying to get next door to watch the fights at the Silver Slipper. We all used to catch the weekly fight cards there. So I'm really dashing and just as I'm about out the front door, this little old lady grabs my arm. You're wonderful she says, Can I have your autograph? Now I'm running late and wondering whether I should just bolt out the door but I thought, Hey, if this is not why I'm in the business, then what's it really for? She was a genuine fan. So I say, Do you have a pencil? No she says. Do you have paper I ask. No she says. Then how can I give you an autograph I say. Just a minute she says and turned to her friend - Mildred give me a pen and paper. I'm about to get Tony Bennett's autograph. I about fell over laughing. I signed it God Bless You, Tony Bennett, and dashed out the door."
Frontier's Gold Room hosted a surprise birthday party for Frank Sinatra, Jr. Exchanging ad libs were Phil Harris, Harry James, Sonny King, Vido Musso, and Sinatra, Jr., proved equal to the masters. Attendees were Vicki and Jack Pieper, Frank Rino, Lee Karsian, John Dadas, Sam Hogan, and Jim Mahar. Photographer Chet Kranz recorded the proceedings for Sinatra's scrapbook. The opening of gifts left Sinatra with a vast collection of toy cars, which he immediately turned over to the Variety Club for its Nursery and School for Handicapped Children. The gag was pointed at all the cars Sinatra had in the driveway of his home. After returning from an out-of-town date, Sinatra would head for the cars, even if it was four in the morning, to start each one. Frontier Catering Manager Sid Dropkin created a special decorated buffet and delicacies for the party.
At 2:30am on March 20, 1973, Jerry Vale completed the final sequences of his 26 week series filmed at the resort. Among the celebrities to appear on the show included Marty Allen, Lynn Anderson, Johnny Cash, Pat Cooper, Norm Crosby, Stu Gilliam, Robert Goulet, Harry James, Tommy Leonard, Phyllis McGuire, Al Martino, Johnny Mathis, Mills Brothers, Jim Nabors, Buck Owens, Don Rickles, Dick Roman, Frank Sinatra, Jr., O.C. Smith, and Barbra Streisand.
Also in March of 1973, the audience as well as Harry James was surprised when Walter Kane and Frontier chef Jack Pieper went on stage with a birthday cake for the star.
On June 9, 1973, Frontier hosted the wedding reception of Frontier casino executive Bill Peccole's daughter Laura.
In 1973, Frontier's Music Hall showcased Nancy Adams/The Deer Creek Do-Gooders; Al Alvarez Orchestra; Dave Barry; Foster Brooks; Jack Carter; Roy Clark; Norm Crosby/Abbe Lane; Phyllis Diller; Billy Eckstine; Bobbie Gentry; Robert Goulet; Robert Goulet/Carol Lawrence; Phil Harris/Harry James/Frank Sinatra, Jr.; Sonny King; Carol Lawrence; Wayne Newton w/Musical Conductor Don Vincent; Patti Page w/Musical Director Bob Alberti; Spurlows; and Diana Trask. The Maitre d's were Roy McNelly, Fred Fredericks, and Bob Wilson.
It was noted that Wayne Newton was classified as the "Frontier's fair-haired boy" as he had turn-away crowds at every performance. Singer Robert Goulet was paid $3 million by Howard Hughes for a three year contract to perform at the Desert Inn, Frontier and Sands.
When Roy Clark closed out at the Frontier, he gave the employees six and half gallons of popcorn and left with a fat contract with the Hughes Corporation.
Stars rallied when Robert Goulet had to bow out of his opening night at the Frontier on March 12, 1973. Phil Harris, Bob Newhart, Norm Crosby, Sonny King and Dick Roman stepped in so the audience wouldn't be disappointed. It was reported that Goulet was in his dressing room waiting for a doctor. A man appeared and ordered Goulet to lie down on the floor. The man twisted and snapped Goulet's neck until he was weak from the pain. After the man left, the real doctor appeared. No one had any idea who the false doctor was. At the closing of the show, Sally Struthers and Leslie Neilson were seen backstage chatting with the star.
Goulet drew a lot of laughs as he strolled through the audience, casually asking smokers their brand of cigarettes, then pitched the packs across the room to the stage. It was a lot of fun, but very few observed the serious note in Goulet's manner, as he displayed his fine pitching form. A few years before, Goulet visited the late Hal March, then hospitalized for lung cancer. The cigarette that Goulet smoked in the hospital room that day was soon discarded, so was his smoking habit.
Goulet's wife, Carol Lawrence wanted to make sure the backstage crew was strong enough to fly her moon properly so she made a huge platter of spaghetti, meat balls and sausages for them. Word spread and everyone wanted to taste the sauce. It was rumored that Goulet hired a special security guard just to keep watch over that freezer, which has been converted into a vault.
During one Goulet/Lawrence's finales, when Goulet removed his coat, he and Lawrence called for David Leland to come for it. This time, Leland took it for all its worth and he stretched the bit into a feature, with a drum roll greeting his finger that appeared eight feet off the ground slowly drifting downward to claim the coat. It appeared it was the first time in Las Vegas that a faceless finger received a round of applause from the audience.
The Winner's Circle showcased Judy Bell; J.C. Curtiss; The First Impression; The Jets; Lottie Jones/Billy Barzie Quartet; Billy Kay/Pam Egbert/Baby Rae; Billy Kay; Sonny King; The Links; Linda Lintz Show; Mercer & Palmer; Cork Proctor; Dick Roman; Sounds of Holly; Sundi & Adelaide; Johnny Vanelli/Linda Leigh; Mickey Wayland.
Nancy Sinatra, Sr. was seen in the Winner's Circle watching Johnny Vanelli/Linda Leigh perform. There aren't many artists who sing My Way in front of the Chairman of the Board's ex-wife but Linda Leigh did, and Sinatra applauded excitedly at the end.
In the end of March/beginning of April, Artie Palmer of the Lounge act Mercer & Palmer died of a fatal heart attack at the age of 39. On top of that, the resort sustained another blow when old-time Frontier performer and Durante pal Jack E. Leonard died.
In 1974, Music Hall showcased Foster Brooks, Teresa Brewer, Roy Clark, Robert Goulet, Phil Harris, Gunila Hutton, Carol Lawrence, Jan Murray, Bob Newhart, and The Sparrows. The Maitre d' was Roy McNeely, and the Assistant Maitre d' was Fred Frederics. The Winner Circle Lounge showcased Judy Andrews Revue, Apple Jack, Sonny King, Frank Ricci, Cheryl Grainger, Dick Roman, Johnny Vanelli & Amy.
Also in 1974, Perry Lieber, General Manager of the Landmark, was transferred to General Manager of Public Relations for Howard Hughes' Nevada Corporation. Lieber also acted as consultant to the Desert Inn, Sands, Castaways, Silver Slipper, Frontier, and Landmark Hotels.
From December 1-7, 1975, Wayne Newton was recorded live for an album entitled "Summa Corporation Presents The Howard Hughes Wayne Newton Limited Edition, A Festival Week at the Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada. A part of this album cover contained a 10 page booklet with pictures of Newton's appearances as well as pictures of him with other celebrities, and at his ranch. The booklet stated:
"You can take of a man's money, but when it's all said and done, you've only taken his money. But when you take of a man's time you've taken a part of his life. I'd like to thank you for giving me a part of your life tonight." - Wayne Newton
"My Dear Wayne, This program and this week are dedicated in your honor, and they epitomize the deep affection that your associates and I have for you. As a resident of Nevada, you display an enduring, compassionate love for your community. Particularly, you have given support and strength to our youth. You are the heartbeat of show business. You have been an entertainer for 26 years and have played more than 600 week in Nevada showrooms - given more than 13,000 performances and entertained more than 6,000,000 people. You have never failed to make a scheduled appearance. You have demonstrated that you are true believer in the tradition of the theatre, 'The Show Must Go On!' You have been awarded every honor that can be bestowed upon a musical performer. In all my years in the world of show business, I have ever known a greater entertainer, a finer gentleman or a better friend than you." - Walter Kane, Director Entertainment, Summa Corporation
"Seeking excellence and perfection, it is indeed most satisfying to us in Summa Corporation to be associated with Wayne Newton. His status as a super showman is unexcelled in the world of entertainment. If there is a bigger Wayne Newton that the one you see in performance, it is Wayne bringing strength and pleasure unselfishly to the people in his private life. There are many words to describe our sentiments regarding Wayne: Pride, Gratitude, Admiration, and sincere Affection. Tonight we share with you great moments with the man who today most exemplifies entertainment at its cleanest and finest." - Summa Corporation
In 1975, Frontier showcased Roy Clark; Robert Goulet; Wayne Newton; Debbie Reynolds.
In 1976, Music Hall showcased Roy Clark/Barbara Fairchild; Bobbie Gentry/Larry Storch; Robert Goulet/Foster Brooks; Rowan & Martin. The Maitre d' was Roy McNeely, the Assistant Maitre d' was Fred Fredericks. The Winner's Circle Lounge showcased Billy Kay, and Glenn Smith.
From 1978 to 1981, Frontier had a role in various episodes of the TV show Vegas starring Robert Urich.
In 1978, Music Hall showcased Roy Clark; Robert Goulet; Robert Goulet/Joan Rivers; Sergio Franchi; and Juliet Prowse/Foster Brooks. The Lounge showcased The Goofers; Billy Kay; and Glenn Smith.
In 1979, Music Hall showcased Tony Bennett/Norm Crosby; Roy Clark; Lola Falana/Shields & Yarnell; Sergio Franchi; Sergio Franchi/Dana Valery/Nipsey Russell; Robert Goulet; Ray Price; Debbie Reynolds/Norm Crosby; Bobby Vinton/Foster Brooks; and Mel Tillis/Tammy Wynette. The Maitre d' was Bobby Miranda. Dinner show was $23.50; dock shows were $20. The Winner's Circle Lounge showcased Patti James; Billy Kay & the Goofers; and Glenn Smith.
In 1980, the Little Church of the West was moved to the Hacienda resort. Showcased during this year were Glen Campbell/Norm Crosby, Roy Clark, Steve Lawrence/Eydie Gorme, Barbara Mandrell/Pat Henry, Wayne Newton/Dave Barry, Juliet Prowse/Norm Crosby, Bobby Vinton/Joan Rivers, and Bobby Vinton/Pat Cooper. The Maitre d' was Bobby Miranda.
The Frontier as well as Las Vegas was in mourning when they learned that Jimmy Durante died on January 29, 1980, at Santa Monica, California of pneumonia.
In 1981, a few of the celebrities showcased in the Music Hall were Roy Clark, and Jody Miller. The Maitre d' was Bobby Miranda.
Also during this year Siegfried & Roy debuted at the Frontier's Music Hall in Beyond Belief. The Maitre d' was Bobby Miranda. Beyond Belief was the creation of Irvin & Kenneth Feld, and also starred The Hsiung Family, King Charles Troupe, Bernie Yuman, and Lynette Chappell.
This was a big year for the magic duo: Cary Grant presented the pair with The American Academy of Magical Arts' Magicians of the Year award, and they were paid visits by Liberace, Elizabeth Taylor, Merv Griffin, and Muhammad Ali.
Other significant individuals to this show were Crandall Diehl, Jerry Bilik, Don Foote, Ken Billington, William Belling, Reid Carlson, and Arnold Bramow.
Diehl was the dance captain of the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady. He had since directed and/or choreographed 15 major productions of musical theatre at home and abroad. His staging credits ranged from Die Fledermaus for the Colon Opera in Bueno Aires to Hello Dolly in Tel Aviv. He had directed/choreographed Grease, Camelot, Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, and The Sound of Music. He is also one of a trio of stager/choreographs who annual put together Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; Bilik was the composer, conductor, musical coordinator and arranger. For 10 years he was Professor of Music at both Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. Conductor-musical director of the Jackson Michigan Symphony from 1976 - 1979, one of his many compositions Block M was voted one of the hundred greatest marches of all times. He was also musical coordinator for the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and People's Choice awards. His Trumpet Concerto, a commission from the U.S. Air Force, written especially for Doc Severinsen, was performed by the Boston Pops, Minnesota Symphony, and Atlanta Pops. He was also the musical director for Ice Follies, Holiday On Ice, and Disney's World On Ice; Foote was the costume designer. Foote had overseen a large staff of costumers working year-round in both New York and Florida on many Feld and Feld productions including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney's World On Ice, Ice Follies and Holiday On Ice Combined Shows; Billington was the lighting designer and had created and executed lighting for over 35 Broadway productions including Sweeney Todd, Working, Side By Side by Sondheim, and On The Twentieth Century. He had designed the lighting for Ann-Margret, Shirley MacLaine, Juliet Prowse and was the principal lighting designer for New York City's Radio City Music Hall; Belling was the scenery designer. He had previously worked on Ice Follies and Holiday On Ice Combined Shows. He annually collaborated on design of the massive floats and scenery for each new Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; Carlson coordinated the scenic effects. He was director of the Theatre Arts Department at Walt Disney World, and coordinated Disney's World On Ice; Bramow was in the special projects. He joined the Ringling Bros. - Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows' staff in 1971 after his graduation from Lehigh University. He supervised the award-winning Souvenir Programs for the Feld and Feld shows.
During this year the resort advertised The Cabaret specializing in American cuisine, Branding Iron Steak House, Comstock Room, and her guest rooms within walking distance of the casino, showroom, restaurant, and creational facilities.
Beginning in October, 1982, Frontier showcased Siegfried & Roy in Beyond Belief for $22.50.
In 1983, Governor Richard Bryan congratulated Siegfried & Roy when they were named Entertainers of the Year by the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. The two were honored not only for their superior performing abilities, but for their many contributions to the Las Vegas community as well. Boxing great Muhammad Ali visited the two backstage after one of their shows.
It was advertised in 1983, that Producers of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Irvin and Kenneth Feld created the background for the show. The Felds also produced Holiday On Ice, and Disney's World On Ice. Also in Beyond Belief were the King Charles Troupe, and the Hsiung Family.
Siegfried & Roy's Beyond Belief was hailed by critics as one of the finest, most spectacular shows ever presented in Las Vegas." In 1999, I was told that the stage that the elephant was brought down on in Siegfried & Roy's Beyond Belief is still housed in the basement of the Frontier.
In 1983, the Music Hall showcased Wayne Newton and Jack Eagle. The Maitre d' was Roy McNelly, and the Assistant Maitre d' was Fred Fredericks. The Circle F Lounge showcased Jerry Vale, and Bobby Sims Trio.
In 1984, the Music Hall showcased Frankie Avalon. The Maitre d' was Bobby Miranda.
In 1985, Frontier celebrated her 43 birthday. A newsletter was issued in September, 1985 to help celebrate.
Doug Michael, Vice-President Financial Operations wrote an article titled "11 Successful Years With Summa and Still Counting"
"My compliments and continuing support to the hard-working employees who dedicate their time and talent to this publication. I was honored when asked to contribute this article to the September issue. Like so many people before me, I was lured to Las Vegas by the warm climate and the never-ending momentum of the westward migration. I am originally from the Detroit area and having traveled many times to the West Coast on visits, I was no stranger to Las Vegas. AFter my first year of college at Western Michigan University, I decided to move. Friends and relatives helped convince me that Las Vegas was the place. I finished school at UNLV with a Bachelor of Science in accounting.
My career in the gaming industry began in 1974 at the Landmark Hotel, then under the ownership of Summer Corporation. I worked in different areas of the Accounting Department gaining value experience over several months. Eventually I was promoted to Staff Accountant. In 1977, I was transferred to the Desert Inn as the Chief Accountant. That was during the reconstruction of the Desert Inn. I became an Assistant Controller and spent several years at the Desert Inn.
During 1983 I worked as part of a team that managed the Sands Hotel during the reorganization by Summa Corporation. This was on a temporary basis. Shortly after returning to the Desert Inn, I had an opportunity to interview for a job at what would become my fourth Summa property - the Friendly Frontier.
That was two years ago this month, and the Frontier continues to live up to its reputation - a real tribute to all the employees who make it work. I am happy to be a member of this successful team!"
Service Awards were listed as follows:
15 Years - Beulah Blanchard - Food Server; Cleotha Collins - Pantry Person; Donald Harold - Cook's Helper; Loretta Quinn - Head Host Person; Juan Romero - Showroom Beverage Server; Willie Williams - Gardener; Archie Young - Broiler Cook.
10 Years - Jesus Artiga - Showroom Bus Person; Helena Hamm - Paymaster Assistant; R.H. McKinnon - Blackjack Pit Manager; Shirley Miller - House Person; Paul S. Paxton, Jr. - Craps Dealer; Deon Stenson - Keno Writer; Nancy Thibodeau - Slot Floor Supervisor; Ronald D. Brown - Cage Cashier Assistant; Joyce M. Drase - Food & Beverage SAles Manager; Rosa Kendrick - Guest Room Attendant; Arthur M. Menno - Blackjack Dealer; Donald Scharer - Craps Dealer; Pamela Stengel - Blackjack Dealer; Richard J. Whelan - Engineer Chief; Earl W. Bowes - Craps Dealer; Alfred De Falco - Cook's Helper; Roy Henderson - Cook's Helper; Herschel T. Hudson - Craps Dealer; Marleen L. Simon - Data Process Clerk; Carol Wallce - Data Process Clerk.
5 Years - Linda P. Eyman - Insurance Administrator; Thomas F. Gourley - Window Cleaner; James Haddad - Card Room Pit Manager; Maria Jacobs - Guest Room Attendant; Robert F. Kosek - Security Corporal; Hector Rodriguez - Blackjack Dealer; Baynes Simpson - Stage Hand; Rita Therrien - Carousel Attendant; Daniel Capraru - Porter; Charee Harvey - Cage Cashier; Kazimierz Rogalski - Bellhop; Fred L. Dunn - Blackjack Dealer; Maria Arriga - Guest Room Attendant; Wesley Cameron - Laborer; Charles Green - Casino Inspectgor; Jose Martinez - Porter; Jose Morales - Kitchen Worker; Bonnie Palmira - Food Server; Miriam Sanchez - Guest Room Attendant; Jim Seagrave - Publicity Director; Hilda Torres - Guest Room Attendant; Gloria L. Castiblanco - Card Room Dealer; John Ranieri - Security Officer.
Executive Chef Henry Cohen was born in London, England. He started as an apprentice chef at the Cumberland Hotel in England. Frm there he went to the Grosvenor House. His apprecenticeship was interrupted by two years' military service for Her Majesty. When he was 24 years old he worked in the Channel Islands and in 1964 came to the U.S. Before arriving in Vegas, he worked at Coopers Town, New York, Tavern Club in Chicago, Breakers in Palm Beach, and Catalina Island Club in California. He also worked on a Caribbean cruise ship for three years. Cohen had been with the Frontier for eight years, was married 19 years and had three children.
Cohen stated his most embarrassing moment was when he was with the cruise line and the Captain was holsting a party for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. His last dish was to be a dessert called Souffle Surprise. It was to be served flaming. The lights were turned down, the brandy on the desert was lit, and nothing happened. Total Darkness! Cohen investigated the matter and found out that the cooks had drunk all the brandy and had substituted iced tea. Cohen did agree to share one of his recipes for Frontier's 43rd Birthday.
|4 oz butter||4 oz flour|
|1 pint milk (half & half)||1 oz orange juice|
|1 cup sugar||7 egg yolks|
|Peel of one (1) orange||2 oz Grand Marnier|
|7 egg whites||7 egg yolks|
Make roux (flour and butter). Heat milk and sugar. Mix into roux and cook for two minutes. Leave to cool. Add egg yolks slowly. Then add orange peel, orange joice and Grand Marnier. Whip egg whites to solid foam. Beat in half the egg whites to the mixture. Then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites. Cook in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes at 325 degrees.
Longhorns softball team receive 2nd place tropy for the league championship game and the large trophy for 1st place in the post season tournament. Kneeling l-r Phil Braudus, Ricky Tatum, Tim Cook, Roy Bailey, John Corso, John Pokrzyk; standing l-r Dave Patton, Wes Martin, Charles Hall, Erwin Harvey, Tracy Jackson, Tommy Anderson, Kenny Glasper, Dan Mosholder, Al Howard.
Employees' Children Safety Poster Contest winners l-r Melissa Skivington, age 6, daughter of Peggy Skivington, Data Processing Supervisor; Brandon Hadland, age 9, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Hadland, Head Gardener; Curt Thompson, Executive VP of Hotel Operations; Elif, age 8, and Devrim, age 5, Ozkan, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Erdal Ozkan, Blackjack Dealer. The winners received complimentary family passes to Wet 'N Wild.
Simba Tallent Development Center provided the entertainment for the Frontier Children's Summer Festival. Shows - Tumbleweed Dolls dancing to Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
The following employees participated in a grand tour of the newly refurbished hotel rooms.
Sylvia & Steve admiring
the new living room center parlor
Living room balcony suite,
Jerry Langman Asst. Chief Eng.
Irene, Portia & Maureen relaxing
in a king suite bedroom
Portia, Steve, Maureen, Irene & Sylvia
relaxing in the new living room center
Living room balcony suite
Irene Dominguez, Gift Shop Clerk;
Maureen Coulter, Hair Salon Mgr;
Portia Smith, Asst. Exec. Housekeeper;
Sylvia Walton, Asst. Hotel Mgr.
Steve Kwasneski, Bell Captain
Steve checking out
the new living room center.
Todd Dougall was the Frontier Hotel Stage Manager. For nearly nine years, it was Dougall's stage expertise and good nature that had been contributing factors to the success of the entertainment at the resort. In 1977, Dougall transferred from the Desert Inn as Head Flyman/Carpenter to the Frontier. His father, William Dougall was a top man in botht he Hughes and Webb organizations. One of his major accomplishments was the renovation of the Music Hall showroom. Dougall was responsible what was being called the Beyond Belief showroom. Working closely with Chief Engineer Dick Whelan, Dougall implemented all production values. He set into motion the construction of a new stage with the capacity to support the weight of a six-ton elephant, doubled the lighting capabilities and increased the sound system two-fold. A passerelle was also added.
The Royal White Tigers of Nevada were direct descendants of a rare breed of Indian white tigers bequeathed to this country from the Maharajah of Rewa in 1958. Neva and Shasadee were two of only a few dozen white tigers in the world. Zenza Sitarra, the snow white tiger, is one of only three all-white tigers kown to exist in the world today.
The left picture was taken in 1983 showing the tigers are four months old. Barely weighing 30 pounds each. The right picture was taken in 1985 when the tigers were 200 pounds each. The tigers lived very comfortably in their spectacular home that was complete with dens for sleeping, a swimming pool and waterfalls.
The following pictures were also in the Anniversary magazine:
Generation dancers is common in Vegas. Janet Smith Kravenko is on the left and Alison Kravenko is on the right. Janet was one of the Bluebell dancers (shown in Moulin Rouge in Stockholm, Sweden, 1958). Alison was one of the eight featured dancers in Beyond Belief.
This photograph depicts back row l-r: Bill Kravenko (Janet's husband/Alison's father); Mike Fields, Tony Paduano, Al Monte, Armondo Perez, Seymour Merrin, Ed Collins. Front row: Jack Beaulieu, Maitre'd Roy McNeely, Paul Franks which was taken on New Year's Even in 1969.
The Beyond Belief captains in 1981 were back row l-r: Mike Fields, Bill Kravenko, Preston Thornton, Tony Paduano, Al Monte, Jeff Jones. Front row: Armondo Perez, Jack Beaulieu, and Maitre d' Bobby Miranda.
In 1985, the Wild Horse Lounge showcased Edwards & Wilde, The Last Band, with Smith Brothers/Sari & Stacy.
During this year the resort contained lighted two outdoor tennis courts. Hotel guests paid no fees. The general public paid $5. The hours were 8:00am to 10:0pm. Cocktails were served as the season permits. Racquet rentals were available for $5.
The Bonanza Buffet was $3.95 for breakfast, and $4.95 for lunch which included complimentary champagne. Children under 10 received a $.50 discount.
The Branding Iron Restaurant specialized in steaks, lobsters, stone crab and lamb chops. Prices ranged from $9.95 to $23.50.
The casino held eight poker tables with Jim Haddad as Manager, and a sports book with Leonard Del Genio as Manager.
In 1985, 46 year old Pat Mason, an automobile salesperson from Hallandale, Florida pulled the handle on the Frontier's three-reel dollar carousel. She watched as three 7s appeared on the bottom line. The machine, which played music after every jackpot, broke into a computerized version of The Washington Post March. Her prize was $1,023,631.
Mason received $500,0000 immediately. She received $50,000 a year for the next ten years.
"I kept playing the dollar carousel because it kept paying off. I remember hitting three $100 jackpots and one $50 jackpot. When I hit the million dollar jackpot, it didn't dawn on me right away what I had done. I was hoping for the $1,000 jackpot. I wasn't even thinking in terms of $1 million. The people around me were more excited than I was." - Pat Mason
"We're very happy for Pat. It's especially gratifying for us to award this prize to one of our own hotel guests. We knew we were taking a big risk by putting a million dollar jackpot on a three-reel carousel. Most of the six-figure jackpots in Las Vegas are on four-reel carousels. But we wanted to provide an extra measure of excitement for our customers. Giving away a million dollars doesn't bother us. We've already paid back more than $151 million to our slot customers this year. This payoff shows that we're offering our customers a real chance to win." - John Miner, Frontier President
Also during this year, 51 year old Charles Flanner was doing maintenance work at Siegfried & Roy's home when he was attacked by a white tiger named Magic. He suffered slashes on his neck, back and throat. After the attack, Flannery underwent surgery at University Medical Center. Flannery suffered paralysis from his waist down. The tiger, which was taking medication for a kidney ailment, was quarantined for 10 days and later died from the illness.
In 1986, Flannery sued Siegfried and Roy, saying in court papers the tiger attacked him from behind while he was working outside the entertainers' home. The lawsuit argued Siegfried and Roy were responsible for the injuries because the tiger was walking free and unsupervised in an area where there should not have been any animals. In a statement released after the lawsuit was filed, Siegfried & Roy's manager, Bernie Yuman, said the accusations were without merit.
"It is regrettable that efforts are being made to sensationalize and exploit the tragic accidental injury of Chuck Flannery. No one cares more deeply about his welfare than Siegfried and Roy, who have been his close friends for many years." - Bernie Yuman
Flannery stated his lawsuit went nowhere, and he has never received money from Siegfried and Roy.
In 1988, the Wild Horse Lounge showcased Randy Anderson, Fabulous Chevelles, Joe Cool & the Rumblers, Hot Lava, Party Dolls/Randy Anderson, Ricky & the Redstreaks, Ronny & the Classics, and Smith Brothers. Ziegfried and Roy left the Frontier in June of this year.
Margaret Elardi, a past owner of the Pioneer Hotels in downtown Vegas and Laughlin, bought The Frontier from a company that was once owned by Howard Hughes. On September 21, 1991, the second lady on the Strip became a focal point for controversy when Elardi encountered problems with the unions. A 6 year strike ensued with 550 union workers. It became an eyesore of the Strip with strikers picketing and at times bothering people on the sidewalk as well as patrons of the hotel.
The property's last collective bargaining agreement was negotiated in 1984. The Frontier strike began when hotel and casino workers represented by four unions left their jobs charging the hotel had cut hourly wages, slashed hotel and welfare benefits and eliminated contributions to their pension plan. Union workers from Culinary Local 226, Bartenders Local 165, Teamsters Local 995, and Operating Engineers Local 501, walked a picket line around the clock. Among those who had walked the picket line on the Strip in support of the workers were AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
In October, 1997, Wichita businessman Phil Ruffin purchased the Frontier for $167 million and agreed to a five year contract ending the strike. Ruffin's deal included an additional $3.5 million that went for the payment of wages owed to striking workers. In addition Ruffin decided to create a "New Frontier holiday" to be included in the holidays that the employees had off. This extra holiday is the day that the strike ended and is called "Labor Peace Day".
At a union rally in Las Vegas after the Frontier sale was announced, Wilhelm called the epic labor dispute "the greatest strike of the 20th century." He told the strikers that their perseverance had upheld the standard of living for working men and women in Las Vegas and across the country "for generations to come."
In addition to the 986-room Frontier, which sits on 26 acres near the center of the Strip, Ruffin holds an option to buy a neighboring 16.5 acres of vacant land that was once home to the Silver Slipper Casino. Ruffin, who also owns 12 Marriott hotels, a Wichita truck-dolly factory, and was buying a Wichita greyhound track, said he will spend at least $20 million to renovate the Frontier, and is considering options for the renovation and expansion of the property.
In 1999, the name was changed back to the New Frontier.
After the remodeling was completed, the New Frontier stated:
The standard guestrooms were 377 square feet and are located in both the Lanai and Frontier Towers. These rooms featured oversized closets with mirrored closet doors, new remote control television, selection of 28 television stations, pay for view movies, and King size or two double beds. The Deluxe Atriums are 600 square feet, featuring separate living room and bedroom areas, wet bars complete with mini refrigerators, full size iron and ironing boards, two remote control televisions, selection of 28 television stations, pay for view movies, in room coffee service, and king size or 2 double beds. The one and two bedroom Penthouse suites offer the ultimate in luxury. The suites are equipped with a big screen television, dining room with a formal dining table, jacuzzi tub, terry cloth robes, walk-in closets, full size iron and ironing board, and a large wet bar with refrigerator.
The restaurants include Phil's Angus Steak House which serves choice beef in a vintage steakhouse atmosphere. The Orchard Cafe and Buffet, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, features choices from the coffee shop menu, or a selection of buffets including daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight prime rib buffet Friday and Saturday, weekend champagne brunches and a Friday night Seafood Buffet. Margarita's offers a wide selection of appetizers and entrees. Freshly made tortillas are served with salsa, bean and tomato dips. Choose from a standard size margarita to a 45-ounce Grande Margarita served in a souvenir glass or a $.99 margarita. The Frontier Deli offers coffee, assorted baked goods, deli sandwich, or a pretzel and a beer. Tin Cup located in the General Store features Starbuck's coffee products.
Frontier also has Gilley's with Gilley's All Star Band which performs Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9:00pm to closing and Fridays and Saturdays 10:00pm to closing. Dinner is served from 4:00 to 10:00pm, and DJ and music videos being at 4:00pm daily. Appetizers & limited menu are served 10:00pm to 1:00 am. There is no cover charge.
The Race & Sports Book contains a new $1 million video wall. The Sports Wall allows a patron to watch any of 20 or more televised sporting events simultaneously. Individual monitors have been installed on the new "corals".
The Navajo Room is the 10,000 square foot event center for the resort. It has been set up for events for up to 500 for executive boardroom meetings, banquets, theme parties, or poolside events. There is also a convention staff located inside the resort.
The following are pictures of the resort taking on June 20, 1999.
On January 5, 2000, it was announced that the second lady of the Strip was to close her doors forever. Ruffin announced that he is going to implode the Frontier and build a replica of San Francisco, California - a casino named City By The Bay which was to be completed in September, 2002, containing 2,500 rooms at a cost of $700 million. Ruffin had 13 other hotels and he planned to use their cash flows to support the new project. Plans for the new resort included replicas of Chinatown, the Coit Tower and Lombard Street. There was to be a walk-through Chinese pagoda, on to the Golden Gate Bridge which then went to Fisherman's Wharf with boats in the water. There was also to be the Alcatraz Restaurant and a Napa Valley winery.
Since the Fashion Show Mall is next door, Ruffin planned to build a walkway between the resort and the Mall so the resort won't have to contain any retail shops. This meant that all 25 acres could contain rooms and the planned 120,000 square feet for the casino.
The 900 employees working at the New Frontier was supposedly to have dibs at the jobs in the new resort which was expecting to employ 3,000 people.
Mark Advent of Advent Communications and Entertainment who created the concept for New York-New York took legal action against Ruffin. Advent stated that he has been working with Ruffin for the past two years to create a San Francisco-themed megaresort, and copyrighted detailed plans, designs, concepts and other proprietary information with Ruffin, and Ruffin's agent Craig Dudley. Ruffin dismissed Advent's complaint stating "city themes are in the public domain."
It was sad to think that the second lady of the Strip was to be no more. Even though this Frontier is actually the daughter of the original, with the original being torn down years ago, this property signifies the beginning of the Strip since the El Rancho Vegas burned to the ground in 1960. This also meant that there will be more Hughes owned resorts on the Strip (with the exception of the wing of Desert Inn that Wynn preserved). A big part of the Strip's history will be gone once this fine lady closes her doors.
On February 6, 2000, I found out from Frank Wright that the Joss House is kept unassembled in the Nevada State Museum. If the funding ever becomes available, the Joss House will be reassembled for viewing.
The plans for the City by the Bay Casino and Resort can be found off the Frontier's Index Page by clicking the back button.
On May 3, 2000, I learned that the New Frontier is still open and doing business. I spoke with a lady at the reservations desk who told me they are taking reservations into 2001. She said the resort is still closing but not until later on in 2001. It looks like there is a financing problem.
"We're still looking for the money at a decent price. The capital markets are very hard, and money's very pricey. We're not in any great hurry to jump off on a deal where the number don't make sense. When you borrow $800 million, the interest rates make a heck of a difference." The closing "will absolutely not be this year. It is delayed until I don't know when. The Frontier will continue to operate as is." - Phil Ruffin
Ruffin is climbing a very big mountain in that he has never developed a Strip resort from scratch before. He doesn't carry the financial credibility that Steve Wynn, the late Bill Bennett, and Kerk Kerkorian created over the years.
Another problem is that Mark Advent has filed a $900 million lawsuit against Ruffin claiming Ruffin stole his idea for City by the Bay.
Ruffin estimated that it would take four months to prepare The Frontier for implosion, and another 30 months to build the new resort. The Strip won't see the resort open until late 2003 at the earliest.
In February 2001, I got a picture of that painting above the registration desk.
On September 14, 2001, Frontier observed one minute of silence at 12:00pm, in observance of the national day of remembrance in honor of the victims of the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.
In 2001, the Main Showroom showcased Legends of Comedy, All Shook Up, Illusions & Beyond featuring David Darkstone/Will Roya, The King In Concert, Thunder from Down Under, andOl' Blue Eyes, Memories for a Lifetime.
On May 20, 2002, Danny O'Neil died. O'Neil was the announcer for the shows at the Frontier in 1949.
In 2002, Roundtable Showroom showcased Legends of Comedy; Illusions & Beyond featuring David Darkstone/Will Roya; Rock n' Roll Legends, and Thunder from Down Under. (Additional pictures of Thunder can be found on the Riviera's page.
In February of 2003, I took picture of the Gilley's race car parked outside the resort.
In January 2005, it was announced that Donald Trump Phil Ruffin will build a second 64-story tower behind the Frontier across from the Fashion Show mall. The addition of a second Trump high-rise to the 41-acre Frontier site comes as Ruffin said he would divest from his real estate holdings in the Bahamas and use the proceeds to redevelop the 986-room hotel-casino portion of the parcel without a partner. Ruffin said he hopes to begin reshaping the site in 2006 into a 3,000-room resort-casino.
Trump said groundbreaking for the first $300 million tower had been pushed up to April because almost 1,000 of the building's 1,282 units had been reserved by buyers who paid between $10,000 and $20,000 in refundable costs. He didn't say when sales would begin for the second tower, which will also have 1,282 rooms and cost $300 million. Units in the Trump International range from 600 square feet for a studio to 3,000 square feet for a three-bedroom with prices of $500,000 to more than $1 million.
"Sales have been phenomenal because people like the product we're offering. With sales going so well, we're moving ahead with plans to build an exact twin to our first tower. It will be just as spectacular as the first building. Phil has become a good friend and I think he's going to do a marvelous job on the Frontier site. It's a tremendous location." - Donald Trump
Trump said the second tower would use another three acres, giving him a total of six acres for the Trump International, which also includes a hotel element, leaving Ruffin about 35 acres in which to redevelop the New Frontier.
The Trump International, which is modeled after one of his New York high-rises, was given prominent play during the season finale of NBC's "The Apprentice," when it was one of two job choices Trump offered to the winning contestant. The property was given two minutes of prime-time exposure, including an animated sequence that depicted the 645-foot tower rising out of the ground.
July's announcement that Trump and Ruffin would enter a 50-50 venture for the high-rise was the first tangible event in his quest to redevelop the site. Ruffin said Monday he would sell two hotels and an island in the Bahamas he has owned for the past 11 years to finance the Frontier project without a partner.
"We've danced with a lot of different people, but I'd much rather do this without a partner. Adding a second Trump tower just increases the value of the land. Development on the Strip is heading north and the New Frontier is in a great location." - Phil Ruffin
In April of 2005, I went over to the Frontier and found the announcement billboard for the tower.
On April 11, 2006, it was announced that the "Montreux" will be replacing the New Frontier. Montreux is the name of the Swiss resort town with a famous annual jazz festival. Owner Phil Ruffin says he is close to announcing a financing package. "These things take time," Ruffin said. "It can take nine months to do an architectural plan and five months to come up with parking plans." "I'm trying to do something nobody's ever done before, which is develop a resort without any help or partners. It's very hard to do," he said.
To capitalize on the resort town's brand, Ruffin said he's also working on plans to bring the internationally known Montreux Jazz Festival to the new property, which is scheduled to break ground sometime next year and open by 2010. The New Frontier would be closed and demolished before ground is broken on the Montreux. The new hotel would have about 2,750 rooms, including about 750 suites, and cater to customers who patronize high-end properties such as the Mirage or Paris Las Vegas, Ruffin said.
Perhaps the most-talked about feature would be an "observation wheel" that would be positioned in front of the property and facing the Strip. Ruffin said the wheel, tentatively called the "Las Vegas Eye," is modeled after the famed London Eye. It would enable tourists to take pictures of the Strip from slow-moving, temperature-controlled cabins that rise to more than 450 feet in the air. The wheel was approved in February by the Clark County Commission along with plans for the new resort. "I rode on the London Eye, and it was just packed with people," Ruffin said. "It should do very, very well in Las Vegas." Ruffin wouldn't be the only Las Vegas resort owner to flirt with the idea of a giant Ferris wheel. The owners of the now-closed Wet 'n Wild amusement park, the redevelopers of the Westward Ho site, the Rio and developers with a site next to the Aladdin have all pitched plans that included observation wheels. To date, none has been started.
Bill Thompson, a professor of public administration at UNLV, said the observation wheel sounds like a "neat idea." "It will be noticed. And I suppose if you're building something across from Steve Wynn, you've got to do something to stand out," Thompson said. But the resort will also need a full complement of upscale restaurants and shopping to attract discriminating customers, he said. While the Montreux name might not mean much to consumers, the resort town could be a hit if it uses the association with the jazz festival to create a niche for jazz musicians and performances at the property, Thompson added. "We don't really have a Strip casino that advertises good jazz music," he said. Rising construction costs have pushed up the price tag for the resort to around $2 billion. The design is also more upscale than originally planned, Ruffin said. Wall Street has awaited Ruffin's redevelopment impatiently, attributing his inaction to financing problems stemming in part from a desire to contribute relatively little in equity and a lack of management expertise. Others reject that idea, saying Ruffin has plenty of money to finance the project and can hire resort management expertise. He is one of America's richest businessmen but is known as a conservative investor. Forbes has estimated Ruffin's net worth about $1.3 billion.
Ruffin said business partner Donald Trump will not be involved in the resort. Jack Wishna, a minority partner in the nearby Trump International hotel-condominium tower under construction, said Ruffin and Trump had discussed branding the redeveloped New Frontier as a Trump property, but that Ruffin has decided to put his own stamp on the resort instead. "Donald would do it tomorrow," Wishna said. "But Phil doesn't need a financial partner and is creating, in essence, a legacy for his family." Financing has never been a problem, although Ruffin previously was reluctant to put up other assets as equity to redevelop the New Frontier, Wishna said. Now that the land underlying the New Frontier is worth much more than it was a few years ago, Ruffin can finance the project with a combination of equity from the value of the land as well as cash. "Financing is not the problem," Wishna said. "The decision (to redevelop) rests with Phil Ruffin. He doesn't feel any pressure whatsoever from the market. He's not going to let the zealousness of development along Las Vegas Boulevard influence him." Ruffin said he will likely sell some bonds to help finance the resort. Not counting the land for the two neighboring Trump towers, the 35-acre resort site could be worth at least $700 million, he said. That land, plus $150 million from the sale of a resort in the Bahamas and other cash on hand will allow him to finance a resort priced at $2 billion or more. The 1,282-unit Trump tower, the biggest condo project under construction on the Strip, is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2008. The county has yet to approve plans for a second, identical tower. Ruffin is a 50-50 partner with Trump in the first tower, which has nearly sold out.
In early June of 2007, it was announced that Phil Ruffin "is closing the most expensive land sale in Las Vegas history, selling his mid-Strip resort - its main attraction is bikini night at a bar with a mechanical bull - for a jaw-dropping $1.2 billion. Not bad work for an unassuming businessman whose biggest business claim was owning the nation's largest manufacturer of two-wheel hand trucks. He'll need a few of them to cart his moolah to the bank." How did he pull off the deal? A combination of stubbornness and foresight, he says.
It was stated that not long after buying the Frontier, which had barely survived a rough-and-tumble labor strike, he was rejecting purchase offers. Ruffin didn't sell to Wynn or other gaming companies interested in purchasing his property years ago, nor did he sell to a newer wave of private investors, including hedge funds and Australian billionaire James Packer, descending on Las Vegas with money to burn. Instead, he was content operating a humble property, its casino carpet held together with masking tape and a marquee advertising $1.99 margaritas and $9.95 steak and shrimp dinners. But Ruffin had a plan. He simply stood by as the value of Strip land skyrocketed beyond expectations, partly by his own posturing. Ruffin rejected offers from more than two dozen potential buyers, setting his sights on how to wrangle the biggest possible deal.
It was Ruffin's unwillingness over the years to part with the New Frontier - a property always destined for redevelopment, and always seemed to escape closure - that has done more to raise the value of Strip land than any other project or transaction. "He deserves much of the credit and the blame for rising land prices," said David Atwell, who brokered the sale for Ruffin. "It's becoming very hard to put a price on land. "It's hard for us locals to believe these prices after watching the Strip sit dormant for years," said Atwell, who has been a Strip broker since 1979. "But this deal is a no-brainer because it's a unique opportunity."
It helped that the shrewd Ruffin didn't need the money. His hand truck, hotel and other businesses were generating a steady flow of cash. In 2005 he sold his upscale Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino and the Nassau Beach Hotel in the Bahamas - a tax-free transaction that allowed him to sock away even more money. "I had the ability to hold until the market got to where I wanted it to go," Ruffin said. And just where, exactly, did he think the market would go? He was rejecting offers that some pundits, at least privately, considered outrageously high. He claimed his 34 acres were worth at least $20 million per acre, then $30 million . Each announcement boosted Strip casino stocks as Wall Street analysts and casino accountants calculated how much nearby land might be worth based on Ruffin's latest assertions. Those prices, Ruffin says, reflected what the most astute buyers of Strip property were willing to pay.
While some casino experts couldn't see past the New Frontier's forlorn interior, out-of-town buyers were drooling over opportunities that weren't contemplated even a few years ago, such as multiple hotels and expensive condos. (El Ad Properties, which is buying Ruffin's New Frontier, may sell up to $2 billion in condos, partly defraying its project's $5 billion price tag, Ruffin says.) So Ruffin exploited those plans, basing the property's value not on current land uses but on new developers' more ambitious projects. He didn't care what land along the Strip had sold for in the past. That history, he said, was growing more irrelevant by the month. And he dismissed comparing the value of his property with that of other Strip sites, even those with the most luxurious resorts. "Comps? What comps?" he says. "There's only one location like this."
In his nondescript, second-floor office in the New Frontier, a sparsely decorated space with furniture that looks as old as the casino itself, Ruffin sketches squares on a white board to represent new Strip developments. "Nobody would have thought that all this would be built," he says, citing the billion-dollar-plus Echelon Place, Encore, Palazzo, Fontainebleau and CityCenter. Ruffin declared an end to his waiting game when concern grew that Democrats in Congress would raise the capital gains tax above 15 percent. Selling the property after a tax increase could cost him millions. It was finally time to sell. Luckily, one of his latest offers was also the most promising. New York real estate investors El Ad Properties, whose principals are worth billions of dollars, presented a plan to redevelop the New Frontier into the Las Vegas version of their storied Plaza Hotel in New York. It would fit nicely into the increasingly gentrified neighborhood happy to distance itself from mechanical bulls. The sale to El Ad is expected to close in August, with the New Frontier shutting its doors in mid-July. Ruffin says he has no regrets about cashing out - even if it means walking away from land that will be worth still more in a few years.
"Ten years from now the Strip is going to be like Fifth Avenue in New York, where land is held in trusts and people don't sell their ground anymore," Ruffin said. "What I sold this for is going to be like nothing." As for those folks still reeling from sticker shock, Ruffin says they're not worth doing business with. "This is a big - money game now," Ruffin said. "These guys with a few hundred million can't make this work. We were talking to guys worth at least $1 billion." And then, walking through the casino, he reached down to the worn carpet and picked up a wayward nickel.
On July 10, 2007, it was reported that after rejecting workers' requests for severance pay last month, Ruffin announced that he would indeed award separation packages to as many as 850 employees, union and nonunion alike, who stay until Frontier closes on July 15, 2007. "We're happy to do it, and the people who have been here a long time will be very happy," Ruffin told the Sun in a brief interview Monday. He was right.
"I love my Culinary," Mary Dean Burns, a uniform attendant who worked at the casino for 35 years, said in an interview Monday. Terry Lemley, a cocktail waitress for 20 years, said: "I think he's setting an example for the whole city to follow. I'm very happy and I'm dancing and I'm ecstatic."
Ruffin estimated the deal will cost more than $1 million, or about one-tenth of 1 percent of the sale price. The Kansas industrialist sold the property for $1.2 billion, the most expensive land sale in Las Vegas history. He bought the New Frontier nine years ago for $165 million. Workers with 20 or more years of service will receive $8,000, with payments declining on a sliding scale to $300 for those employed less than a year.
The deal is similar to one Boyd Gaming Group Chairman Bill Boyd gave his workers after the Stardust was closed to make room for the $4.8 billion Echelon Las Vegas development. Stardust employees with 20 or more years of service received $10,000, with the amounts diminishing to $1,000 for the more recent hires.
The New Frontier's new owners, a group of New York real estate investors, plan to demolish the property to make way for a replica of that city's storied Plaza Hotel. Ruffin said Monday that he always intended to award severance pay. Last month, as the Sun prepared a story about the plight of the soon-to-be-jobless employees, Ruffin said in an interview that he had fulfilled the terms of the union contracts, which do not include severance clauses. He rejected the severance requests of four unions representing New Frontier workers. Furthermore, Ruffin said he awarded back pay to workers when he took ownership of the New Frontier in 1998, after a six-year labor strike, and made the casino's payroll by siphoning profits from his other businesses for the first few years of his tenure.
For their part, labor leaders were mum about how both sides had come to an agreement. "There were discussions held and we resolved the issues," said D. Taylor, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, which represents more than 400 employees at the property. "I felt very confident that based on Mr. Ruffin's work over the years with his workers and with us that we could resolve it." Still, there was more to Ruffin's reversal than a simple change of heart. Mike Nelson, director of human resources for the New Frontier, said Ruffin changed his mind about awarding severance after a meeting in Las Vegas late last month with John Wilhelm, co-president of Unite Here, the Culinary's parent union. Wilhelm played a key role in the New Frontier sale talks in 1997 and, along with Taylor, had overseen the local's rebuilding effort for much of the previous decade. Wilhelm was traveling Monday and unavailable for comment.
Labor relations experts interviewed by the Las Vegas Sun said the union had little remaining leverage because Ruffin was a lone operator who was expected to leave the Las Vegas casino market. However, Ruffin said he was exploring future business ventures here. Before the severance deal, the New Frontier hosted a job fair for employees and was working with the state to provide additional training for other careers.
"I'm going to pay my rent up, and pay my lights up, so I can keep my head up until I can get a job," said Burns, the uniform attendant. She said she believes her boss was influenced by the Sun's story examining the morality involved in Ruffin's original decision not to grant severance pay. "I think he probably read all those things in the paper, or his lawyer took it to him and showed it to him." Lydia Joffrion, a cashier for 17 years, said Ruffin "has always been kind to me. He always said hi to me, stopped and talked with me, and introduced me to whoever he was with. He has never been at any time the type of man to look down on anyone." For the Culinary, the Frontier workers stand as a defining symbol of union solidarity.
On July 15, 2007, it was reported that Ruffin has plans the famous stage that featured performers such as Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Wayne Newton, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and Siegfried and Roy.
Ruffin and local dealmaker Jack Wishna will return next week to tear up the stage floor and salvage the wood to create commemorative plaques for Nancy Reagan, Lisa Marie Presley, Newton and Siegfried and Roy. A buffet coffee shop was built over the stage in the late 1990s when Ruffin purchased the historic hotel and casino.
At 12:01am on July 16, 2007, the Frontier closed her doors. The hotel estimated that 3,000 people were on the property at 11pm on July 15, 2007, an hour before it was to close. Approximately 1,000 continued to mingle at 12:01 a.m. today, when an alarm sounded signaling the end of the Frontier.
Earlier, longtime employees and customers, mixed with curious onlookers, shared the final minutes. Strip lounge legend Norman Kaye stopped by to take a final look at a property he first played at in 1947. Kaye sang two songs with the Dry Martini Orchestra in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people. He said it was his first Las Legas performance since 1966.
Co-workers Neil Bush and Ed Phelan helped closed the sports book at 6pm by serenading the four customers and various passers-by with karaoke renditions of Frank Sinatra and Joe Cocker. "We were out last night 'til the sun came up," said Bush, dressed in a tuxedo with cocktail in hand, explaining Phelan's off-key interpretation of Cocker's classic cover "With a Little Help From My Friends." "We're a little hoarse today," Bush said. Sandy West, a regular customer since 1966, said she has so many friends at the hotel-casino that her house was used to host Frontier Christmas parties over the years. "There is a lot of good people here," said West, who counts 20 current employees as good friends. "It's the last place, if you think about it, where families could afford to stay on the Strip." She said seeing Siegfried & Roy eight times during their seven-year run at the New Frontier is among her fondest memories. "I preferred them here," said West, who saw them only once at The Mirage. "They got too mechanical. It wasn't as good (at The Mirage)."
Jill Crees, a cocktail waitress at the hotel-casino for 21 years, said the closing is more than losing a longtime job. "I have a lot of friends and a lot of customers who are more like a family," Crees said. "A lot of customers like it here because it is like a family. It's been like my home." She said she plans to take a three-month vacation, but is worried she is too old to find another cocktail waitress job on the Strip.
Ruffin was absent for the final night, scheduled to return to Las Vegas on Wednesday, according to general manager Najam Khan. Khan and his team have until Aug. 7 to clean out the property before handing over the keys to El-Ad.
Jimmie Johnson, a security guard for 21 1/2 years, said the hardest part is severing the relationships formed during the years. "We might see them from time to time in passing," said Johnson, who has an orientation Wednesday to start a similar position at the MGM Grand. "It's not like I know you're going to be here so I'm going to see you and that's the sad part." Johnson said he was scheduled to work until 2:30 a.m., making sure everyone gets out of the hotel. The New Frontier's 16-story Atrium Tower was reduced to a four-story-high pile of concrete, steel and glass in 18 seconds early Tuesday morning with the implosion of one of the most troubled hotel-casinos to ever have a Strip address. From Las Vegan Meg Bertini's eagle-eye vantage point, it was quite a show. "We had a great view from the balcony," Bertini said after watching her first implosion from her 35th-floor condominium at Sky Las Vegas nearly a mile north. "It was amazing. You could hear what sounded like the floors coming down before the outside imploded in." She added that the five-minute implosion-preceding fireworks display, produced by Fireworks by Grucci, was "true Vegas form." When the fireworks ended, a series of detonations moved through the building, followed six seconds later by a louder series of explosions that brought the building down in a large cloud of dust. The implosion marked the end of the second hotel-casino to be built on the Strip. It opened as the Last Frontier in 1942 with 105 rooms. The Atrium Tower was added in 1990. In its 65-year history, the resort, which was partially built with mob-backed funds, was the scene of several notable local events: It was the site of Elvis Presley's unsuccessful Las Vegas debut in 1956; it was once owned by Howard Hughes; and it was the site of a 2,325 day strike by Culinary union workers. The New Frontier's 34.5-acre site will be the home of a new $5 billion mixed-use project being developed by Elad IDB Las Vegas, a joint venture between New York-based Elad Group and Property & Building Corp., a subsidiary of Israeli-based IDB Holdings Corp. The project will include a megaresort modeled after New York City's Plaza hotel. Las Vegas native Ed Stiglitz, who said he's photographed every Las Vegas implosion since the Dunes was brought down in 1993, said he is not upset about seeing older properties go because something better always takes their place. "Everybody says it's sad to see the old stuff go," he said from his vantage point under the Desert Inn Road overpass on Industrial Road. "Look at the Wynn, the Bellagio, The Mirage; they're gorgeous. Destroying the old does have a point." However, he is unhappy that all of the new upscale projects being built are pushing middle-class customers off the Strip and down to Fremont Street. "I've eaten once at the Wynn and I haven't been back," said Stiglitz, former president of the Nevada Camera Club. "I can't afford to go back." Stephanie Gatas, who moved to Las Vegas a year-and-a-half ago, was out Tuesday morning to watch her second local implosion. She witnessed the Stardust's collapse in March, watching it all from the New Frontier. "It's the anticipation of the building coming down," she said. "It's also knowing it was once there but now it's totally gone. And now there's new life." Tuesday morning's implosion was broadcast in Israel for investors of Property & Building and IDB Holdings Corp., both of which are publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Israeli billionaire and Elad Group owner Yitzhak Tshuva and IDB Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nochi Dankner ceremoniously plunged the detonator. The event was also filmed by National Geographic, which is working on a documentary about Controlled Demolition, the Phoenix, Md.-based company which has brought down every local hotel tower since the Dunes. The New Frontier was brought down using 1,040 pounds of explosives placed in 6,200 locations throughout the building, Controlled Demolition President Mark Loizeaux said. The site will be cleared over the next few months by Lakeside, Calif.-based Clauss Construction. Elad IDB Las Vegas is planning a mixed-use development with a 3,500-room hotel with 300 private residences. The Plaza will be complemented with convention space, retail and restaurants. The project, which has not yet received county approval, calls for a groundbreaking in late 2008 with an opening by 2012. Elad IDB took over the property in August from Wichita, Kan.-based businessman Phil Ruffin for $1.24 billion. Ruffin bought the Frontier for $167 million for the property in October 1997. He renamed the property the New Frontier and ended what had been a bitter six-year labor strike between the Frontier's former owners and the Culinary union
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