Question: How big a pencil-neck trivia geek are you?
Answer a series of forehead-slapping anecdotal factoids. It’s up to you to weigh each fact in each anecdotal factoid. They’re tricky. One might seem like total B.S. until it’s revealed to be strangely and disturbingly “True.” Another anecdotal factoid might seem to contain all solid and verifiable facts until it’s revealed to be yet one more big fat garden variety “Bald-Faced Lie.” And here’s the trickiest part: an anecdotal factoid might even be “Half-True“; in other words, a mishmosh of truths and bald-faced lies, where you don’t know where one ends and the other begins, much like the usual slop served by Madison Avenue, Washington D.C., and the Internet in its entirety.
Category: What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas Quiz
Decide for yourself, and mark “T” for “Truth”, “F” for “Bald-Faced Lie” or “TF” for “Half-Truth” in the blank slot next to each factoid.
1) __ The Nevada Nuclear Test Site is only 65 miles away from Vegas. If you think today’s Las Vegas has spectacular special effects extravaganzas, in the fifties, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce promoted Atomic Tourism, offering schedules of days and times of bomb detonations and the best places to view them. The first bomb detonated at the Site in 1952 had more power than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
2) __ In 1968, after daredevil Evel Knievel jumped his motorcycle over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace Hotel Casino, he crashed and wound up in a coma for 30 days. When he woke up, he pulled himself out of his hospital bed and walked out of the hospital with security guards chasing him. He then climbed into a cab, told the cabdriver that he was Batman, and ordered him to take him to “Stately Wayne Manor.” The cabdriver took him to the nearest police station
3) __ In 1954, Ronald Reagan’s acting career was on the skids, and he owed the IRS back taxes. To help bail him out, his agent got him a gig at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. He opened for comedian George Gobel. He did song and dance routines with showgirls and a trained chimpanzee, who later became Reagan’s co-star in the movie, “Bedtime for Bonzo.”
4) __ On Thanksgiving Day in 1966, Howard Hughes, the world’s richest man, was carried on a stretcher into the Desert Inn Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Hughes and his sizable staff entourage moved into all the suites in the two top penthouse floors. For four years, he never left his 250 square foot bedroom and never let the hotel’s housekeepers clean his room. When the Desert Inn’s mobster co-owner asked Hughes to vacate in 1967, Hughes bought the hotel.
5) __ In 1996, at the Mirage Hotel Casino’s world famous Siegfried and Roy Magic Extravaganza, one of the magician duo’s trademark white tigers leaped off the stage and ran into the audience. Several of the Hotel’s security officers gave chase when the tiger escaped into the casino area, sending gamblers running for their lives. When the rare white tiger emerged from the Mirage and ran toward the Strip, the Las Vegas Police were waiting. They open fired and killed the rare white tiger in front of a crowd.
Here are the answers for What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas Quiz
A reminder: “T” is for “Truth”, “F” is for “Bald-Faced Lie” or “TF” is for “Half-Truth”.
1) T: It’s true that the Nevada Nuclear Test Site is only 65 miles away from Vegas. It’s also true that the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce used to promote Atomic Tourism, offering schedules of days and times of bomb detonations and the best places to view them. And it’s true that the first bomb detonated at the Site had more power than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Side notes: Since the first detonation in 1951 to its last detonation in 1963, there had been 235 above-ground atomic tests at the Nevada Test Site. It averaged one bomb every three weeks for twelve years until 1963’s Limited Test Ban treaty banned above-ground testing at the Site.
2) TF: This anecdote is both true and false. It’s true that daredevil Evel Knievel jumped his motorcycle over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace Hotel Casino and crashed, winding up in a coma for 30 days. It’s completely false that when he came out of the coma that he escaped from the hospital.
3) TF: This anecdote is both true and false. It’s true that, in 1954, Ronald Reagan’s acting career was on the skids and he owed the IRS back taxes. And it’s true that, to pay his taxes, he performed in a song and dance act at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. It’s false that he was the opening act for comedian George Gobel. Reagan was the headline act.
It’s also true that he performed onstage with showgirls and trained chimpanzees. And it’s true that the future President of the United States of America did co-star with a chimp in the movie comedy, “Bedtime for Bonzo.” It’s false that one of the Vegas chimps played Bonzo
4) T: It’s true that, on Thanksgiving Day 1966, Howard Hughes was carried on a stretcher into the Desert Inn Hotel Casino and his staff occupied all the suites in the Hotel’s two top penthouse floors. It’s also true that he never left his bedroom and never let the hotel’s housekeepers clean his room for four years. And he did wind up buying the Desert Inn in 1967.
A side note: On Thanksgiving Day in 1970, Hughes was carried out on a stretcher down the Desert Inn’s fire escape. He left Las Vegas, never to return.
5) F: It’s false that one of Siegfried and Roy’s white tigers leaped off the stage, escaped from the Mirage, and ran toward the Vegas Strip. It’s also false that the Las Vegas open fired and killed the rare white tiger in front of a crowd.
“When Dutch Did Vegas”, Pierre Cosette, Variety, URL: (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117906187.html?categoryid=9&cs=1)
“The Corruption of Ronald Reagan”, Dan E. Moldea, URL: (http://www.moldea.com/ReaganRedux.html)
“The Sun Remembers”, Hank Greenspun, Las Vegas Sun, URL: (http://www.lasvegassun.com/sun50/remembers080400.html)