Grandissimo : The Jay Sarno Story
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.
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Vegas Gang #125: Nov 12th, 2015
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