El Rancho Vegas was an interesting place in the late 50s and Candy Barr (AKA. Juanita Phillips) the beautiful artist from Edna Texas was often the headline act. She proved to be a bigger draw than any gambling table. With show tickets bringing a premium price, her name on the marquee filled the hotel to capacity. Even guests from the neighboring Flamingo Casino often left it’s tables to go see Candy deliver her artistic form of burlesque. A sizable tip slid into the hand of the head usher could get you closer to the stage, but never an up-front seat. No one ever got a seat up close unless the pit boss said so. Only very important people (usually gamblers with big rolls to lose) got those coveted seats.
The Las Vegas that Candy knew was a strange creature without much of a past. Before statehood, it’s desert land was so sorry and water poor that no immigrant trains even stopped there. Only two types of people didn’t mind stopping within it’s boundaries. One group carried picks and shovels and could live anywhere while digging for a fortune. The other group carried Bibles, but a new kind of American grown Bibles. The other group came from far away, running from the law and the rough desert life was good enough for them. They called themselves Mormons.
Story continued on Page 1 of Candy Barr, The Book.
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