The story of Bob Stupak and his 'Vegas World'

Originally published at: The story of Bob Stupak and his 'Vegas World' | Boing Boing


What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Thankfully…


Unlike certain other people I could name, Stupak was competent enough not to run the gaudy casino resort bearing his name into bankruptcy.


Oh, MAN, that place!

I did trade show work – COMDEX, CES – from 89 - 95.

This was before Las Vegas got really corporate, and it was full of delightfully tacky stuff and real bargains. Like loss-leader prime rib dinners, and coupon books that let you load up on free souvenirs, like hats and decks of cards and such. Circus-Circus had a satellite casino, Slots-O-Fun, which had a snack bar right up front where you could get horrible foot-long hot dogs or a shrimp cocktail for a buck. (The plastic cup the shrimp cocktail came in got more and more full of chipped ice through the years, until there was just a thin layer of tiny shrimp and sauce over the ice.) Many hotels had buffets where you could eat bad-to-OK food really cheap. I’m talking $2.00 for breakfast.

“Vegas World” was past the the official end of the strip, where a long corridor shabby souvenir shops, cheap motels, and low-rent casinos (the “Thunderbird” was across the street, as I recall) began. I went a few times, because the outer space theme was so wonderfully tacky. On the outside, there were lamps with flickering rocket exhaust lights at the base. Inside, space murals and a hanging model or . . . Apollo-Soyuz? It has been so long!

Anyway. I returned to Las Vegas to meet up with college friends in the early Oughts, and dropped by the Stratosphere Tower. The view was impressive; you could see great swathes of “classic,” tacky Las Vegas going down and the new generation of huge corporate Vegas going up.

I won a jackpot of something like $96 in quarters at the Stratosphere casino that day. (Back when the machines still took and dispensed coins!) It kind of felt like a last harrah of Vegas for me. They charged so much for everything, even buffet meals.


Watching this, all I could think was “Who does this appeal to and why would anyone want to go to Vegas?” And then I saw the murals and was like, “Weekend package, please!”

There’s more Harrah than ever these days!

Oops, link instead of photo.


He just got bought out. Which is basically leaving on top.

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I was staying at the Sahara the night the tower burned. It was like a giant chimney. At first, I thought it was special effects to draw attention to it, but as we walked closer, it became more obvious. There was a big construction crane rising up the center of it and you could hear the metal stressing and buckling–a large crowd watched and we all thought the crane was going to collapse, but it never did. I will always remember that Vegas trip.


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