Vegas Fun Facts: Grandissimo Edition
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In honor of the October 19th release of Gradissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas, a book by our friend Dr. David G. Schwartz, we present the following fun facts about the life and times of the book's subject, Jay Sarno, who built Caesars Palace and Circus Circus, and inspired modern Las Vegas. As always, we cannot attest to the veracity of any of the following.
Jay Sarno grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, the nation's leading producer of quilts. In a nod to his hometown, Sarno had all of the beds at Caesars Palace covered in beautiful, storytelling quilts, each depicting the slaughter of Christians at the Roman Colosseum.
Although Rome wasn't built in a day, Caesars Palace was completed in a record 17 hours.
You may have noticed that there is no apostrophe in "Circus Circus". The omission is intentional, as Sarno believed the circus belonged to no one man. Inside Circus Circus, everyone is a circus monkey.
Though generally kind to all people, Sarno despised French Canadian women, having once lost a knife fight to a Montreal prostitute. Sarno vowed that no Franco-Canadian woman would ever be permitted within the walls of Caesars Palace.
While not the originator of the Las Vegas buffet, Sarno greatly improved it by adding tongs.
When it first opened, Circus Circus was a casino-only property. Not long thereafter, the IBEC (International Brotherhood of Evil Clowns) threatened to picket if beds were not added for them to hide under, so a hotel was constructed on the premises.
The fountains outside of Caesars Palace measure 140-feet wide.
A notorious gambler, Jay Sarno once bet a man $20,000 he could not jump a motorcycle across the 135-feet wide fountains outside of Caesars Palace.
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