Luxe Life Blog
Were there flying elephants at Circus Circus back in the day?
Las Vegas author Jack Sheehan tells the story of baby elephants once flying at the opening of Circus Circus way back when. I’m certain that he hadn’t imbibed anything -- and neither had I! -- when he had the crowd at his newest book launching at Piero’s enthralled with the tale.
I checked out the story with Elaine Wynn, who remembers the early days of the rival property. She recalled elephants but didn’t remember them flying above the casino. Elaine did say that the different owners of the property pulled a lot of publicity stunts, though.
I asked Las Vegas News Bureau photographer Darrin Bush to check the Las Convention and Visitors Authority archives to see if there were shots of flying elephants. He reported back with photos from 1968, adding: “Jack must have heard it as a golf course story. I think baby elephants are even too heavy to put in the air!”
If you know the answer, please let us know. It sounds too good to be true, but in the good ol’ days of Vegas, anything was possible.
Meantime, for a remarkable read about those happier and wackier times, pick up a copy of Jack’s Forgotten Man: How Circus Circus’ Bill Bennett Brought Middle America to Las Vegas. Financier Michael Milken praised Bill as “the Sam Walton of Las Vegas” for transforming the struggling curiosity Circus Circus in 1974 into The Strip’s most successful resort and building modern-day Las Vegas with his expansions at Luxor, Excalibur and eventually Mandalay Bay that rebuilt The Strip in the early 1990s.
Bill, who was hailed as one of the key movers and shakers of our city, is an extraordinary rags to riches story of an ex-Marine who went bankrupt owning a Phoenix furniture store, but became a multi-millionaire with his entry into the casino industry after being encouraged by one of his customers.
This is the 17th book by Jack, who co-hosted and produced the TV series True Vegas. His books include Buried Lies, Skin City and Above Las Vegas. Forgotten Man is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com.
Incidentally, another ultimate Las Vegas mover and shaker, E. Parry Thomas, the president of Valley Bank of Nevada who backed the financial investments of what we now know as Las Vegas, will be honored at the Keep Memory Alive gala dinner Feb. 26 at the Bellagio. KMA is the main fundraiser for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health downtown.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.