In Las Vegas
"I like to think of Las Vegas in terms of well-dressed man in a dinner jacket, and a furred female getting out of an expensive car. I think that is what the people expect here -- to rub shoulders with V.I.P.'s and stars. Possibly dressed in sports clothes, but if so, at least in good sports clothes. I don't think we should permit this place to degrade into a freak or amusement park category, like Coney Island.
Bob, there are almost ten new hotels announced. The one that troubles me the most is the new Holiday Inn right smack in front of the Sands. To make it much worse, they are planning to make it a Showboat sitting in a huge lake of water. A Showboat with a pond of stagnant infested water. If they are considering using water from Lake Mead, the effluent in the water would smell to high heaven. Jesus! When I think of that lake of sewage disposed on the front lawn of the Sands. Ugh! It may even smell up our Sands Golf Course. Whatever the sources of the water, there would is the additional problem of mosquitoes. They would not be able to have water running in and out, so it would become stagnant and an ideal place to breed mosquitos. If this crumby hotel cannot be stopped, I would just as soon sell at a loss the Sands..."
Memos from Howard Hughes to Robert Maheu, 1967, quoted by Michael Drosnin in Citizen Hughes, pp.107-108
Hughes contribution to the Las Vegas Casino world was the opening of the troubled Landmark property as a casino. Originally built as an apartment building, the Landmark had struggled with financing, purpose, and location. The Hughes properties turned out not to be the spectacular success that some had expected (and hoped) was inevitable of any Hughes enterprise. The Frontier, like the Sands, was already being completely revamped by 1967, dropping its original western theme and joining the new Sands on a renovated Strip. The Silver Slipper remained notable mostly for its YESCO sign, a giant pop art silver slipper. A planned mega-4000 room expansion for the Sands never materialized. It was for Sheldon Adelson to completely re-do the Sands -- in fact by blowing it up -- to make way for the Venetian; the only part he kept was the Sands Expo/Convention Center.
"The aspect of the Circus that has me disturbed is the popcorn, peanuts, and kids side of it… And also the Carnival Freaks and Animal side of it . . . In other words the poor dirty, shoddy side of Circus life. The dirt floor, sawdust and elephants. The part of a circus that is associated with the poor boys in town, the hobo clowns, and, I repeat, the animals. The part of the circus that is synonymous with the common poor -- with the freckled faced kids, the roustabouts driving the stakes with three men and three sledgehammers…"
His presence in Las Vegas needs more explanation than he is willing to give. Since the beginning of this year he has made his home in a series of austere single rooms at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas , flying his private plane to Los Angeles only when his presence there is absolutely essential…
In a resort city that consists essentially of a strip two-and-one-half miles long and a few hundred yards wide, Hughes manages to keep himself almost completely inaccessible. His hotel room telephone is permanently plugged; his private numbers are closely guarded secrets
Hughes: I don't like this on account of the residence deal. There is going to be a hearing next month as to the validity of my Las Vegas residence. We have a whole set up to submit. Just say that the numbers are a closely guarded secret.
Then too it is no secret that he has invested heavily in Las Vegas land, and perhaps plans construction of some major division of Hughes Aircraft. The land is relatively cheap, the climate is perfect for flying and the terrain for airstrips, and power is available from nearby Hoover Dam. Hughes is mum on the subject
Hughes: Strike out "invested heavily" and the rest of the sentence after "land" - I'm not going to do that. This sort of rumor has caused a lot of real estate flurries already and if it is in print the real estate men will make more of it than they have. I don't want that. Can't you say, "purchased some land" instead of "invested," and the rest of it is misleading.
White: I won't quite do that - but I will say it has been rumored he will build a plant.
Hughes: Will you say "purchased" instead of "invested"?
White: I will say "bought"
Hughes: About the construction will upset my employees at the aircraft. If I deny it, then I have to give the reason for it. I think there were rumors a year ago but they are dormant now. If you awaken them, I will make enemies in Las Vegas .
(1) crisp bacon, and milk... (2) v-8 juice... small can
Hughes: Strike out "crisp", I don't like it crisp. And be sure to strike out "milk". That is another thing that has hounded me all my life, like the tennis shoes. I never drink milk - well, I might with apple pie or hot cakes, but I very seldom eat those foods.
White: What do you drink?
Hughes: V-8 juice and water with my meals. (2) I don't like it out of a can that has been opened a long time, so if they use a small can then I am sure it is fresh. However I don't care if they pour it out of a gallon can, if they have just opened the can.