Friday, June 10, 2016

Talking Vegas 06-10-2016 - The Neon Museum


The Stardust sign at the Neon Museum.
At the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard lies the resting place for a few hundred neon signs that over the decades have graced all manner of hotels, casinos and businesses in Las Vegas. Dubbed the Boneyard, this two-acre lot has evolved into what we now call the Neon Museum. To tour the Boneyard is to take a step back into Las Vegas history because every twist of neon tubing evokes an era and every sign has its own story to tell.

I was at the Neon Museum recently to see those famous signs and hear some of those stories. I spent time with Dawn Merritt, the Neon Museum’s public relations and marketing director. Afterwards, I ventured out into the Boneyard with the Museum’s collections manager and historian, Maggie Zakri. Please welcome Dawn and Maggie to the show. We’re Talking Vegas.

An old Golden Nugget sign at the Neon Museum.

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By Tim Callaway

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Talking Vegas 06-08-2016 - Haunted Vegas with Robert George Allen


Entertainer and ghost hunter
Robert George Allen.
Spooks and spirits, ghosts and other unexplained phenomena—every city has its stories to tell and Las Vegas is no different. As Robert George Allen, my guest today, will tell you, the big difference is most of Las Vegas’s ghosts are famous. Whether they’re celebrities said to haunt the homes and hotels they used to frequent, or even the occasional mobster who met an untimely end, these tales have worked their way into Las Vegas history and lore. Are they true? Maybe. Maybe not. But one way to decide for yourself is to accompany Robert on one of his Haunted Vegas Tours that depart five nights a week from the Royal Resort on Convention Center Drive. They promise—and I’m quoting here—a guided paranormal investigation of Las Vegas' most haunted locations.

Robert’s story isn’t just about delving into the supernatural, though. He’s a longtime singer, musician and comedian who has spent over 30 years in show business, a good deal of that time performing on the Las Vegas Strip. He’s got plenty of stories to tell about what goes on behind the scenes in the world of Vegas entertainment and he’s going to share a few of those stories with us today. Please welcome to the show, Robert George Allen. We’re talking Vegas.

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By Tim Callaway

Monday, June 6, 2016

Talking Vegas 06-06-2016 - The Mob Museum


Welcome to the premiere episode of Talking Vegas. It’s a new kind of Las Vegas podcast.

The Mob Museum
This isn’t a show where I’m going to sit around in my basement or some empty studio somewhere and tell you what’s going on in Vegas. I live in Vegas. So, I’m going to be out and about in the city, spending time at cool Las Vegas places and talking with interesting people. I think you’re going to like it.

Today, we’re dropping by the Mob Museum downtown and talking with their director of content, Geoff Schumacher. Now, it’s no secret that Las Vegas has a colorful history and many stories to tell about organized crime in the city. If you’ve ever seen movies like Bugsy with Warren Beatty or Martin Scorsese’s Casino, you might think you know a little bit about Las Vegas’s mob history. But those are just movies. And they occasionally take liberties with the facts and romanticize them. The Mob Museum is here to set the record straight, not just about Las Vegas mob history, but also the history of organized crime in America.

The original brick wall from the site of the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Inside the museum’s 17,000 square feet of exhibition space are the stories of Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Sam Giancana, Joe Bonanno, Lefty Rosenthal, Tony Spilotro, John Gotti and Whitey Bulger, just to name a few. But the museum doesn’t glorify these criminals, because right alongside them are the stories of the law enforcement agencies and the work they did to bring these people to justice, assuming other mobsters didn’t get to them first. It’s a fascinating story about a unique chapter in American history that‘s still being written today.

Las Vegas played a significant role in the history of organized crime.

So, let me make you an offer you can’t refuse. Please join me and the Mob Museum’s Geoff Schumacher. We’re Talking Vegas.

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By Tim Callaway