Stan Irwin, 1946

Stan Irwin was born into a show business family that dated back to vaudeville. Irwin, well established as a pioneer and innovator in all area of show business, was the producer of the Johnny Carson "Tonight Show" for two years and for almost two decades Vice-President and Executive Production of the Sahara-Nevada Corporation. His vast experience in the entertainment world has included being a comedian, actor, and special material writer, as well as an impresario.

Donated by Dee Alwes

Known as a creative thinker and discover of talent, he initiated major performance practices in Las Vegas: he introduced "name acts" in Strip hotel lounges as well as production shows, inaugurated the "double-star" policy for concert performances, and was the first to present Broadway theatre attractions. Some of his accomplishments include:

The following article written by Stan appeared in the July, 1950 Fabulous Las Vegas magazine:

"Did you ever try to change a baby's diaper? It is only then you realize how inadequate two hands are. If you hold the baby in one hand and the diaper in the other . . . what's left to hold the pin? If you hold the pin in one hand and the baby in the other . . . the diaper is left out of the running. And, believe me, if a diaper is left out of the running, it can be compared to the running--well, vicera-versa! Someone should invent an automatic diaper changer. Drop the baby in, press a button, and out of a puff of powder emerges the freshly diapered child. Of course, if you put the baby in wrong end first . . . the kid will be left in the DARK.
It's been a few weeks since we tampered with headlines, so here we go:
  • "SOME NERVE! CRY 14 LADIES PINCHED AT POKER" - who said a policeman's lost is not a happy one?
  • "GIRLS LOST ON FLIGHT JUST FORGOT TO REPORT" - I wonder if they have to stay UP after school?
  • 'DANISH PRINCE WINS DIVORCED NIECE OF QUEEN" - I wonder what he would have gotten if he lost . . . the NEPHEW?
  • "NIAGARA TO HEAR CENTURY OLD GUN" - betcha it sounds the same.
  • "HEAR PRINCESS MARGARET MAY WE SCOT" - wonder if she'll take her SCOTCH straight, or with soda.
  • "BRING PLANS TO TAKE DIXIE ON NEXT VOYAGE" - any musician can tell you that DIXIEland is becoming more and more popular.
  • "TWO SWIPE PLANE, POLICE FAIL TO LAND THEM" - looks like they flew the COoP.
  • ROYAL BABY DUE IN AUGUST" - here's at least one thing that wasn't borrowed from the U.S.

"When the state legislature last convened, Clark County happily sent Irwin, a young gentleman who would shiver the timbers of voters in Des Moines or Philadelphia, or most anywhere. Irwin is short in stature, long in antic energy, a sort of human Benzedrine tablet, who would seem to first glance about as unlikely a candidate to assess the weight conduct of state as anyone this side of end man at Minsky's. Mr. Irwin was one of many who proved out for the gambling interests in helping to push through a sales tax, first of its kind in the state that long had proudly boasted that it 'has no state income tax, no inheritance tax, no gift tax, no corporation tax, and no sales tax.' Its passage did not prevent a hike in gambling taxes too, but it kept the inevitable bite from hurting the state's number-one industry to an uncomfortable degree." - Katherine Best/Katherine Hillyer, 1954 or 1955

In 1956, Irwin and Louie Prima wrote the song Banana Split For My Baby which Prima recorded. In October of 2003, Irwin told me that Prima had asked for him to write a song. Irwin said "Give me a title" and Prima responded "Banana Split for My Baby". The lyrics are as follows:

Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Dispenser man, if you please, serve my chick a mess of calories
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Flip back the lid, scoop everything in sight
Make it a rainbow of red, brown and white
Chocolate chip and everything that's nice
Tutti-Fruity once and spumoni twice
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Spray the whip cream for at least an hour
Pile it as high as the Ifle Tower
Load it with nuts, about 16 tons
Top it with a pizza, just for fun
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Stack her up with crazy goo
Cause that's the stuff she likes to wade right through
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Now add the cherries, the kind she likes to munch
Skip one banana, use the whole darn bunch
Drown it in fudge, six or seven cans
Give her two spoons, she'll eat it with both hands
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me
Separate checks
It must be
Charge the split to her
The water to me
Banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me (ain't got no money babe)
The glass of plain water's for me

In the 1950s, Irwin joined the acting crowd when he starred in an episode of action drama series M-Squad starring Lee Marvin entitled Man With The Ice along with Jean Willes, Joe Flynn, Jimmy Cross, and Al Hodge.

In 1964, the Strip resorts rejected the idea of bringing the Beatles to the Strip. The Fab Four had a target audience of teenagers in a city that lures patrons over the age of 21. The Flamingo was the first to turn this offer down and as all the other resort representatives were turning the offer down, Irwin was thinking just the opposite. Irwin took the chance and had the Sahara host the appearance. Irwin stated he just knew that it would be benefit the Sahara, the Strip, and ultimately the City of Las Vegas.

When the crowd was much more than expected, Irwin decided to have the Beatles play at the Las Vegas Convention Center instead of the Sahara's Congo Room. The Beatles did stay at the Sahara though. The pool area was overrun with teenage girls, yelling "I love you Ringo!" as they tried to get a glimpse of the stars up in their room.

Irwin was told that the Convention Center could hold approximately 7,000 people. Irwin rearranged the stage so it was surrounded by the audience instead of just having the audience in front of the stage thereby accommodating 8,408 people.

Irwin stated that when the Beatles were going to the car to go to the Convention Center from Sahara, he and other Sahara personnel locked arms forming a human barrier between the fans and the Beatles. Irwin stated that the gravity of the situation was made all too clear when he realized that if any of the human barrier tripped and fell, they all could be trampled to death by the over-abundance of fans that were on the scene.

Since Irwin was a comedian he saw the value of humor. After a fire occurred at the Sahara, Irwin put slogans on the reconstruction walls such as "We've heard of hot dice, but this is ridiculous", and "Dealers and ladies first". Burned menus were given away to guests as souvenirs.

"Stan Irwin, busy with all his new production projects, is responsible for many firsts, but it is doubtful many are aware of how many performers he brought to the Sahara for their first Vegas stints. Check these for starters: Ray Bolger, Lisa Kirk, Lauritz Melchior, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jeannette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Jose Greco, Marlene Dietrich, Kathryn O' Connor, Dan Dailey, George Burns, Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, Eleanor Powell, Eydie Gorme/Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Eve Arden, Vaughn Meador, Bob Newhart, Sergio Franchi, Maury Wills, and Shari Lewis." - Jack Cortez, 1965

In 1968, Hanna-Barbera studios planned on creating the cartoon Bully For Lou starring Abbott and Costello. Since Lou Costello had died in 1959, they needed someone who could imitate Costello's voice. Irwin was hired to record Costello's voice. Others included Bud Abbott playing himself, Janet Waldo, Mel Blanc, Hal Smith, John Stephenson, and Don Messick. The release date was April 20, 1968.

Irwin wrote the lyrics and Lan O'Kun wrote the music "That's What God Looks Like to Me" for Frank Sinatra. In October of 2003 I asked Irwin about this song and he said he wrote it as a gift to Sinatra after Sinatra's mother had passed away. Sinatra took his mother's death hard and Irwin wrote the lyrics for the relationship they had. The lyrics are as follows:

One day as I walked with my son hand in hand,
He said, there are things that I don't understand,
How high is the sky? what makes it so blue?
And tell me, dad, what does God look like to you?
I said, He looks like a rainbow, just after the rain,
He's as golden as wheat dancing over the plain.
He looks like the star when the night's crystal clear,
He looks like a baby when mother is near.
His face is the moonlight reflected on snow,
His hair like garden where all flowers grow,
He's heavenly eyes are as true as the sea,
My son, that's what God really looks like.
His heart like a mountain so vast and so strong,
That's why all his children have room to belong.
His smile is the morning we waken to see,
But you, my son, you are what God really looks like to me.

Beyond his many theatrical enterprises, which include acting as personal manager for the late Pearl Bailey and concert manager for Johnny Carson, Irwin was involved in civil and political life. He served for two years in the Nevada State Legislature and earned the title "Toastmaster General of Las Vegas." In the latter capacity he officiated for every civic, religious and charitable organization in Southern Nevada. Enjoying performing, he toured the world as the comedian on the late Pearl Bailey's USO shows.

He is presently involved in satellite communications, children's books, television productions, home video productions, legitimate theatre special event programming and entertainment gaming consultation.

Presently Irwin is consultant/coordinator of the American Heart Association and Stan Lee Media Project of Education through entertainment teaching children ages 6 through 17 on how to prevent heart attacks.

In September, 2000, I had the honor and pleasure to speak with Mr. Irwin and we compared the past and present Strip. I explained to him that this website was dedicated to all the ladies on the Strip but only a few keep me updated and seem interested in the site. Mr. Irwin stated that if the internet and this site existed in the past all of the resorts would be jumping all over each other contributing to this site. Not only the resorts, but Las Vegas as well, would benefit from the publicity the site gives. Back then all the resorts worked together. Now they are only for themselves.

In Jack Cortez' magazine he would often have Stan's name with the initials P.A.D.E.C.P. after it or he would state "Remember Stan P.A.D.E.C.P." I had asked Stan what the initials meant. He didn't remember but he had me write them down and he put the paper on his desk so every time he sat down he would see it. About six months later, Stan called me saying he was going to bed, saw the paper, and remembered what it meant. Cortez always used a title after everyone's name. He figured Stan's would be too long so he just used initials - Producer, Assemblyman, Diplomat, Executive, Comedian, Pilot. In addition to the above, Irwin held the following titles: Vice President, Executive Producer - Sahara Hotel; Vice President, Executive Producer - Sahara Hotel Lake Tahoe; Vice President, Executive Producer - Mint Hotel; Vice President, Executive Producer - Aladdin Hotel; Vice President, Executive Producer - Thunderbird Hotel; Vice President, Executive Producer - Telstar Satellite Corporation; Consultant for TV Specials - Lorimar Pictures; Entertainment Consultant and Executive Producer - Bossier City Hotel, L.A.

Stan Irwin/Larry Sloan
Stan Irwin & Larry Sloan, June 18, 2003

Lark Williams, Stan Irwin & his son Lanny Irwin

On May 1, 2011, Stan was inducted into the Las Vegas Rock Reunion Hall of Fame for bringing the Beatles to Las Vegas in 1964. The above picture was taken shortly after he received the certificate. (This information and picture was donated by Michael Selinsky)

"This tribute was for Stanley bringing the Beatles to LV, Aug. 20, 1964, for two shows. I attended the second show, with $4.40 tickets, which I spent the night in line for, age 12, in Feb. of that year. Herb McDonald, Stan's Sahara colleague, was also inducted for his role in bringing the Beatles to LV." - Michael Selinsky

Stan died on January 21, 2015 at the age of 94. Rest in peace my friend.

Copyright©1999 - , Deanna DeMatteo - All rights reserved. The contents of this website, in whole or in part, may not be copied or duplicated in any manner without written permission from the owner. The aforesaid information and pictures were used with the permission of Stan Irwin