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Grandissimo : The Jay Sarno Story

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 9th November 2010 2:02pm
  » filed under Awesome!  comments: 6

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Jay Sarno Grandissimo

On the afternoon of the VPP, me and Dr. Dave finally made good on our long standing threat/promise to eat tacos together somewhere in the Las Vegas valley.

In addition to chowing down on some great Mexican food - guacamole prepared tableside.... yum - Dave shared with me a brainful of stories about interviews he's done with Steve Wynn, Bob Stupak, Kirk Kerkorian and the children of 'the world's greatest hotel man' for his forthcoming biography of Jay Sarno entitled Grandissimo. Appetite both whet and served, I used my skills of mind control convince Dave that sending me the first three chapters would somehow be a good idea. After reading them, I'm convinced that now I must mind meld with him to get the other twenty one. Release your thoughts Dr. Dave... our minds are one.

For the uninitiated, Jay Sarno is the visionary responsible for two of the most successful properties in Las Vegas, the luxurious Caesars Palace (1966) and family oriented Circus Circus (1968). His third vision for Las Vegas, an ultra-luxurious resort precursor to Bellagio to be called Grandissimo was being planned up until the time of Jay's death in 1984.

Grandissimo - the three chapters I've read - catches the greasy lightning that is Jay Sarno in a slippery chase of a bottle. Sarno is a quirky, fast talking, smooth operator with an eye for luxury, the perception of a poker shark and the slick persistence of a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. Despite all of these qualities plus a gambling addiction, insatiable taste for the ladies and chocolate cake, Sarno parlays his talents as a bush league motel impresario into creating the most famous luxury resort in the world. It is no falsehood that Jay Sarno's epitaph reads "The Worlds Greatest Hotel Man."

You can't buy Grandissimo yet, but you can buy one of Dr. Dave's other three books all of which are essential reading. Roll The Bones: The History of Gambling, Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Cutting The Wire: Gaming Prohibition and The Internet.

Tagged: jay sarno   vegas history   grandissimo   

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Comments & Discussion:

Yeah, Dave spun a few yarns for me when he was in SB a few months ago. Can't wait for this one.

I'm definitely interested in this book since Jay Sarno cut his hotel teeth here in Atlanta with the Atlanta Cabana Motel and his early involvement with the Teamsters in getting it built.


When's the publication date? Can't wait. Hope it includes info on Sarno's friend, Detroit's Jimmy Hoffa.

There's a lot about Hoffa, and a few others.

No pub date yet, though.

Cool. I will definitely read it. I recently finished Pete Earley's Super Casino which had some interesting accounts of Sarno's life and the development of Caesars Palace and Circus Circus. Almost made me want to finally check out Circus Circus. Sarno was a compelling character so there should be lots of good material for Dr. Dave to work with.

Just finished reading Grandissimo and I really enjoyed it. I've read bits and pieces about Sarno over the years and always found him fascinating. I'm a big fan of the stories about the Vegas characters so this was a nice addition to my collection of books. I'm hoping there's a Bob Stupak and Benny Binion book from Dr. Dave some time in the future!

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