Flashback Friday: The Original Pool Club

Posted by on May 22nd, 2009 and filed under Featured, Xtra News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1953 Sands PoolMemorial Day marks the official kick-off of pool season in Las Vegas. While we like to think the concept of pool clubs, a place to party the day away surrounded by beautiful folks in swimwear, drink servers and floating gambling, is a relatively new concept, in reality folks have been bringing the party poolside in Vegas for years. 

So to celebrate the start of summer and all that entails, we feature one of the greatest staged publicity shots in Las Vegas history. In 1953, the late Al Freeman, director of advertising and publicity at the Sands, set up a literal version of the phrase “floating craps game.”  The stunt was designed to capture newspaper audiences with this illustration of how far the hotel would go to keep its players happy. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Freeman was an innovative publicist and a man ahead of his time; 56 years later the Hard Rock Hotel pool, Mandalay Bay Beach, Palms pool, Tropicana pool and more offer either in-pool gambling or tables that are just steps away from pool.

For more information on Las Vegas pools, see our pool party article in this Sunday’s L.A. Times.

For the Vegas history buffs out there, this is a varitaion of the famous photo. In this version the diver has his head up and there are a few more folks in the pool. The picture has also been digitally colorized,. The original is black and white.

Jennifer Whitehair

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Jennifer grew up believing everyone had slot machines in their convenience stores and celebrated Oct. 31 (Nevada day) with a day off from school. Jennifer has a background in journalism and worked as a reporter for newspapers in both Northern and Southern Nevada, before joining Vegas.com in 1996. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other publications. She covers every part of Las Vegas for Vegas.com and loves tracking down vanishing pieces of historic and vintage Vegas. You can find her on Google+ and Twitter.

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