"A Big Step to Oblivion for Las Vegas?" the "Battle of the Bare Bosoms," 1957-59


IN 1955 THE LAS VEGAS STRIP WAS IN ITS SECOND DECADE, AND, according to The New York Times was experiencing a "Sure Thing" boom (Hill). Since 1941, the Strip had grown with the construction of seven hotel casinos–El Rancho Vegas, Hotel Last Frontier, Flamingo, Thunderbird, Desert Inn, Sahara, and Sands. Besides three major hotels that opened in 1955 along the Strip–the Royal Nevada, Riviera, and Dunes–the Hotel Last Frontier went through a major renovation that led to it reopening as the New Frontier, and the Moulin Rouge opened in West Las Vegas. The following year brought the opening of the Hacienda on the extreme south end of the Strip and the high rise Fremont downtown. In 1957 came the Tropicana, and the next year the Stardust. This extraordinary expansion of hotel casinos in Las Vegas, however, proved to be anything but a "Sure Thing." As the owners of some properties struggled to remain open, they began to stage "bare bosom" shows, a decision that triggered an important debate in Las Vegas about what image the town should project to tourists.


History and Political Science

Keywords and Phrases

Article; Cities; Dancing; Economics; Education; Employment; Ethnology; Female; Government; History; Legal aspect; Leisure; Pathological gambling; Physiology; Prostitution; Psychological aspect; Public opinion; United States; Women's health; Women's rights; Dancing; Employment; Gambling; Government; History; 20th Century; Nevada; Nudism; Prostitution; Public Opinion; Women; Working

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0022-3840; 1540-5931

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2010 John Wiley & Sons, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2010