American Experience (1988– )
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Las Vegas: An Unconventional History: Part 1 



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Episode credited cast:
Michael Murphy ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lucille Ball ... Herself (archive footage)
Imogene Coca ... Herself (archive footage)
Noël Coward ... Himself (archive footage) (as Noel Coward)
Walter Cronkite ... Himself (archive footage)
Patricia Cunningham Patricia Cunningham ... Herself
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Marlene Dietrich ... Herself (archive footage)
Judy Garland ... Herself (archive footage)
Oscar Goodman ... Himself
Brian Greenspun Brian Greenspun ... Himself
Bryant Gumbel ... Himself (archive footage)
Dave Hickey Dave Hickey ... Himself
Jimmy Hoffa ... Himself (archive footage)
Howard Hughes ... Himself (archive footage)


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Release Date:

14 November 2005 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Insignia Films, WGBH See more »
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User Reviews

The Vegas of yesteryear.
2 April 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The opening interview in this documentary is VERY ironic. A housekeeping lady from a hotel talks about how great things are in Vegas--how they are constantly building and expanding so jobs are easy to come by and how you can buy a house with no money down. Now, after the housing bust, the opposite is now very true. Las Vegas has one of the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country--and many, many homes and businesses sit vacant. Apparently all this enthusiasm was a bit premature and much has changed since this episode of "The American Experience" first aired in 2005.

The beginning of the episode didn't seem that unconventional. It's a history of Nevada and how it suddenly blossomed after gambling was legalized. The rest is a discussion of the seedier sort of Vegas--the Vegas of yesteryear. Mob influence, gambling addictions, segregation, nuclear detonations nearby and the Rat Pack all are discussed--leaving the viewer with a feeling that this was indeed 'Sin City'. All in all, an interesting and exciting episode--full of the usual "American Experience" quality and craftsmanship. Well worth seeing.

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