Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Won't Forget the 70's. J.P. Bowie
I have to say I was in awe of Vegas when I first saw it. Then, of course, the Strip was home to The Dunes, The Sands, The Flamingo, The Hacienda, The Stardust and more legendary resorts that I'd only seen in films or TV. To actually walk along the Strip and venture into these, what then seemed like exotic palaces, was an amazing experience. Today I look at Vegas through a somewhat jaundiced eye, but back then in my youth it all was fresh and exciting.
Working at the MGM under the sparkling crystal chandeliers, watching millionaires lose some of their millions - sometimes a lot of their millions, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Shirley Maclaine, Warren Beatty, Sean Connery, Robert Redford etc., was fodder for many a dinner conversation. Quite a change from the stuffy offices I'd left behind in London. Although I was in showbiz in those days, sometimes in between engagements one had to swallow one's pride and take on menial chores like typing and accounting. Oh, the horror!
But back to Vegas... I was fortunate enough to land a cushy job at the MGM in the casino. It paid well, great insurance plan, bonuses and free meals. I bought a house with a pool, had a circle of great looking friends, most of them singers and dancers. Looked like I was all set for the long term. When I worked the day shift at the hotel I was home at nights watching shows I'd never heard of in the UK. Carol Burnett, Maude, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda - Saturday night on American TV was ladies night!
Movie night was big in the 70's. Jaws, The Rocky Horror Show, Star Wars, Godfather 2, Blazing Saddles just to mention a few that I can still watch today without yawning. And the music - OMG - Blondie, The Bee Gees, Captain and Tenille, Don McLean, Elton John, America, and of course the Jackson Five. Parties weren't complete without them. So many memories of partying until dawn, driving home as the sun came up - that's how I remember Vegas in the seventies.
Towards the end of the decade I got the urge to move and headed for California, just in time to join the rallies against Anita Bryant and her anti-gay crusade. California was a whole new way of life for me. For one thing you couldn't fry an egg on the sidewalk like in Vegas. The weather was so much more conducive to actually being able to breathe during the day without scorching your lungs - at least on the coast - inland it could be a different story.
Okay this has been all about me - but one of the greatest things about looking back at a different time is that I'm so fortunate to still have so many friends from then. Even if we've moved far apart we're still in touch, still available for long phone calls. And boy, I've got a lot to talk to them about this post! I'm picking up the phone right now.