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The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 4th, 2017, 9:50 pm

Thanks for sharing those videos with your response!

In your book you discuss many aspects of the architecture of Las Vegas, and I was wondering how you feel about it's contribution to the Mid-Century modern aspect of American architecture. Also, how have the innovations devised for Las Vegas hotels impacted architectural movements in general? Or is it the other way around? Did Vegas benefit from different architectural movements?
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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby moira finnie » November 5th, 2017, 8:42 am

Lynn, this a little off-topic, but reading your e-books is an impressive multimedia experience blending words, images and video beautifully.

Do you think this kind of creative work will become more common, particularly in books chronicling the entertainment business?

Did you conduct many of the interviews such as the above video with Burton Cohen as part of an oral history yourself? Do you have a favorite interviewee and why? Who was most difficult but worthwhile to interview?

Thanks in advance for your reply.
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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 5th, 2017, 1:04 pm

Excellent question and valid points, Moira.

Lynn's ground-breaking blend of words, images, and videos chronicling these eras of Las Vegas history "will become more common," I hope. I'd also like to know some of Lynn's favorite interview subjects!
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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Lzcutter » November 5th, 2017, 2:58 pm

Christy asked:

In your book you discuss many aspects of the architecture of Las Vegas, and I was wondering how you feel about it's contribution to the Mid-Century modern aspect of American architecture. Also, how have the innovations devised for Las Vegas hotels impacted architectural movements in general? Or is it the other way around? Did Vegas benefit from different architectural movements?

The Las Vegas Strip and Las Vegas, in general, was filled with mid-century modern delights,especially in the architecture and neon. On the Strip, the Hotel Last Frontier was remodeled from its original western theme and decor into a mid-century modern gem. The original facade of the Sands was another gem.





The Tropicana was a mix of Miami Beach and MCM.

Two of the most influential architects, Wayne McAllister (the El Rancho Vegas, the Sands, the original architect of the Desert Inn and the El Cortez downtown) and Welton Beckett, the patron saint of MCM Los Angeles, came from Los Angeles and so they influenced the skyline of Las Vegas.

McCarran Airport:






They, in turn, influenced local architects like Richard Stadelman and Walter Zick and Howard Sharp. They designed the wonderful Mint Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street, in addition to wide range of schools, churches, office buildings and homes.

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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Lzcutter » November 5th, 2017, 3:12 pm

Moira asked:

Do you think this kind of creative work will become more common, particularly in books chronicling the entertainment business?

I certainly hope so! It's a great way to tell a story and I think it's also very powerful because you get these first person narratives of events, big and small, and hear them from the original source. I plan on writing another three books using this platform.

Did you conduct many of the interviews such as the above video with Burton Cohen as part of an oral history yourself?

Yes, I did. Everyone knew someone with a great story so that made it a little easier to find people. In all, I video interviewed about 100 plus people.

Do you have a favorite interviewee and why? Who was most difficult but worthwhile to interview?

I made some treasured friends from doing those interviews. People that I still see when I visit Las Vegas. They come out for my talks all the time or I go to visit them.

I have a couple of favorites, Donna and Gail Andress, Mahlon Brown, Don English, Carey Burke, Burt Cohen, but really, I like them all.

I don't think there was a difficult one but the most worthwhile in terns of being able to tell a story and make a point was probably Mahlon.

I'm really glad that I got those interviews because over a third of them have passed away since I got them on tape.
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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby moira finnie » November 5th, 2017, 6:31 pm

Lynn, one aspect of Las Vegas history that you address in the book that makes 21st century readers a bit uncomfortable is the now almost comical sounding rampant sexism that existed there. Still, your narrative describes some remarkable women, among them, your mother, casino executive Judy Bayley, and reporter Myram Borders. Has the west, particularly in Nevada, produced innovative women who made their status in society an advantage or one they turned on its head?

Since embarking on your histories of the changing Las Vegas scene have you found that people who live there are more aware of the value of understanding where their community's been while they plan for the future?

Also, one serious note it may be important to include in our discussion:
Even viewing the tragic event in Las Vegas within the last month from afar I was struck by the feeling that maybe for the first time, people really understood that Las Vegas residents were real. They were not just transients or visitors to "Sin City," nor were the individuals who risked their own lives to help others. Do you think this event may have a lasting impact on the perception of Las Vegas by the country and by residents?

How have security issues changed over time in what has been generally regarded in the past as a wide-open town?

Thanks again for your response in advance and for visiting. For those interested in learning more, links related to Lynn's work, (including various spots to purchase them) can be found here:

https://tinyurl.com/yc7rzmd4
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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Lzcutter » November 5th, 2017, 7:06 pm

Moira asked:

Lynn, one aspect of Las Vegas history that you address in the book that makes 21st century readers a bit uncomfortable is the now almost comical sounding rampant sexism that existed there. Still, your narrative describes some remarkable women, among them, your mother, casino executive Judy Bayley, and reporter Myram Borders.

Has the west, particularly in Nevada, produced innovative women who made their status in society an advantage or one they turned on its head?

Las Vegas had pioneering women from the beginning. Florence Murphy owned an airport in the 1930s. Maude Frazier began as a teacher and along the way became principal of Las Vegas High School in the late 1930s. She became a school superintendent and then the Lt. Governor in the early 1960s when then-Lt. Governor Rex Bell died of a heart attack. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work and opened doors. Along the way, they made it possible for the next generation of women to go through those doors and open more.

Since embarking on your histories of the changing Las Vegas scene have you found that people who live there are more aware of the value of understanding where their community's been while they plan for the future?

The old-timers definitely do. And by old-timers, I mean those who have been there since before the population explosion in the late 1990s. Those newer to Las Vegas don't often have a sense of the history that flowed through the town and though they may call Las Vegas home now, home for them is more likely where they came from. And if they came from a city with a lengthy history (like NYC or Philadelphia or cities like that), those cities have history. Las Vegas is a late bloomer having only been around since 1905 and so, people often don't think of it having much in the way of history when, in fact, it has a great deal of history.

I am heartened by the younger faces I see at my presentations. That gives me hope.

Also, one serious note it may be important to include in our discussion:
Even viewing the tragic event in Las Vegas within the last month from afar I was struck by the feeling that maybe for the first time, people really understood that Las Vegas residents were real. They were not just transients or visitors to "Sin City," nor were the individuals who risked their own lives to help others.

Do you think this event may have a lasting impact on the perception of Las Vegas by the country and by residents?

I think in the short term it likely will but events move so quickly now that this event will soon be be replaced with another equally tragic one like the shooting at the church outside San Antonio earlier today.

The area around the Welcome to Las Vegas sign has been turned into a memorial and I wonder how long it will be able to stay there before it is removed.

How have security issues changed over time in what has been generally regarded in the past as a wide-open town?

There are those who like to say, "The town was better when the mob ran it." because they believe that the mob kept crime, especially on the Strip, in check, when, in fact, it was Sheriff Ralph Lamb who did that. They forget, Tony Spilotro was the mob's man in town and he was robbing wealthy Las Vegans in their own homes and beating them if they happened to be home.

But it was safer back then because Las Vegas was much smaller and in the 1950s and the 1960s, there wasn't a great deal of crime. But as the town grew into city and as we as a society changed, so did that.

Today there is more crime in Las Vegas but it's not because the mob isn't there, it's because it is a thriving metropolis with almost 700,000 residents just in Clark County alone.

When we arrived in Las Vegas in 1961, there was about 50,000 people in Clark County.

So that gives you an idea of how much Las Vegas has grown and most of the growth happened in the last 25 years.

I have really enjoyed being back at the Oasis! I'm taking a year off from writing as I research my next book, the History of Classic Downtown Las Vegas, so I am hoping to be able to stop by and post from time to time.

Thanks so much for inviting me.

Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Countessdelave » November 5th, 2017, 9:29 pm

Lynn,
Thanks so much for being a guest and writing such an interesting history of Las Vegas. I wondered if you've seen Las Vegas Nights from 1941? It shows Las Vegas as a much smaller town than most of us are accustomed to seeing.

I think that your inclusion of live interviews was a great thing for your books. Looking forward to part 2.

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Re: The Q & A on Las Vegas 1956-1973 with Lynn Zook

Postby Lzcutter » November 15th, 2017, 12:11 am

Countessdelave wrote:Lynn,
Thanks so much for being a guest and writing such an interesting history of Las Vegas. I wondered if you've seen Las Vegas Nights from 1941? It shows Las Vegas as a much smaller town than most of us are accustomed to seeing.

I think that your inclusion of live interviews was a great thing for your books. Looking forward to part 2.


Countess,

I have yet to see this film but it is definitely on my radar because it a great deal of it was shot in downtown Las Vegas which is the subject of my next book.

It was definitely a small town back then.

I hope you enjoy Vol. 2! If so, please leave a review of the book on the iTunes Store!

Thanks!
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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