A Fabulous Las Vegas Christmas

A look back at how a mid-century Las Vegas magazine celebrated the holidays.

If you lived in or visited Las Vegas in the 1950s or 1960s, one of the most ubiquitous sights around town was the publication Fabulous Las Vegas.

The equivalent of today’s local weeklies such as Vegas Seven, it was filled with ads highlighting showroom headliners, lounge entertainers and production shows from every casino on the Strip as well as along Fremont Street. It also featured reviews of shows, regular columns with local flavor and gossip (Vegas pioneer C.P. “Pop” Squires even had a byline in his 90s), as well as columns on entertainment in Hollywood and New York, a television guide and ads for Las Vegas restaurants and shops on the Strip and Downtown. Local author and tour guide Roland L. Hill also used his “Hillsway Predicts” columns in FLV to share his predictions on both the mundane and important issues in contemporary Las Vegas. Whether by design or by accident, FLV successfully captured the dual nature of Las Vegas as a small and tight-knit community that just happened to be situated within a resort destination with world-class entertainment.

Editor Jack Cortez and his glamorous wife, Etta, were the driving forces behind Fabulous Las Vegas, and one of their advertising trademarks was the “thank you” notices they solicited from entertainers to be addressed to the hotels where they had performed along the Strip.

As part of their December celebrations, they typically compiled an extra-special Christmas issue that featured holiday greetings from entertainers as well as casino owners, managers and employees. Viewing it through our modern lens, we see how much it emphasized the small-town feel and reach of the magazine. Highlighted below are some of these Christmas greetings (circa December 1960) from a few familiar Glitter Gulch casinos. We hope they bring you vintage Vegas memories this holiday season!

Su Kim Chung, Ph.D., has been immersed in the history of Las Vegas since she began work in the UNLV Libraries Special Collections & Archives Division in 1999. She is the author of multiple editions of the book Las Vegas Then and Now.

Vegas Seven