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The Desert Inn Celebrates 50th Birthday

10 May 2000

The Desert Inn in Las Vegas celebrated its 50th birthday with a weeklong celebration the week of April 24, 2000. The festivities began with a celebrity golf tournament Monday afternoon, followed by an invitiation-only private dinner that featured the same menu that was served 50 years ago on opening night. Some of the celebrities at the dinner were Toni Clark, wife of Wilbur Clark, Rich Little, Dick Van Patten, Vincent Van Patten, Tony Curtis, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Hercules Kevin Sorbo. At the gaming celebrities table were Jean Scott and her husband Brad, Jeffrey Compton, and yours truly. One of the speakers at the dinner said that, for a change, Las Vegas was celebrating its history instead of tearing it down. Dinner was followed by one of the best fireworks displays I have ever seen.

The party continued Tuesday with the burial of another time capsule on the Desert Inn's property. This one is right in front of the casino entrance. Some of the items in the time capsule are: a videotape of Vega$ television show; employee photos from 1950 and 2000; gaming chips; menus; 50th birthday edition of DI Details, the player newsletter; a players club card; postcards from 1950 and 2000, and current photos of the property.

The time capsule burial was followed by champagne and birthday cake in the casino. In the afternoon, one of the bars featured a milkshake station for anyone wishing a change of pace from the usual casino beverages. The Desert Inn served birthday cake and champagne and milkshakes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, too. The Desert Inn also had prize drawings for Players Club members throughout the week.

Here are some pictures I took of the birthday events.

Time capsule

The plaque reads:

THE DESERT INN RESORT
Vegas. Done right.
Since 1950.

TIME CAPSULE BURIED
ON APRIL 24, 2000
TO COMMEMORATE
THE DESERT INN RESORT'S
50th BIRTHDAY.

TO BE OPENED 50 YEARS LATER
ON APRIL 24, 2050.

DI staff

Some of the Desert Inn staff was able to join the crowd at the time capsule burial. Host Ressa Powell can just barely be seen at the far left. From left to right in the foreground are: Byron Tidwell, the DI's emcee with the photographic memory who makes every DI event memorable; Tony DeFelice, the DI's Director of Slot Operations, wearing the blue shirt; and BJ Brown, Desert Inn Players Club Manager, with his hands behind his back.

Marilyn Monroe cuts cake

One of the Desert Inn's special guests cuts the birthday cake.

Marilyn serves cake

Barbara Marilyn Monroe Bogar helps serve the birthday cake to people joining in on the party.

John Robison and Marilyn

Yours truly and Marilyn. She just loves it when I scratch her seven-year itch.

Desert Inn

The Desert Inn, from the golf course.

Before each prize drawing, Byron announced, "It's the Desert Inn's 50th birthday, and YOU get the gifts." By the end of the week, the Desert Inn received what was perhaps the best birthday present it could possibly receive. Stephen Wynn announced that he had purchased the property. The Desert Inn would once again have a caring owner. So far, the only plan Mr. Wynn has discussed about what he will do with the property is the possibility that he will tear it down and build something else.

Please, Steve, don't tear down this building.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots