By Sandy Zimmerman (Presidential Suite party photos by Sandy Zimmerman, James Ashburn photo by Murray, Riviera photos by the Riviera.) I received an invitation from America’s Got Talent’s Murray SawChuck Celebrity magician (Planet Hollywood) and his wife Chloe Crawford (lead dancer in Fantasy, Playboy model and Murray’s Magical assistant), which read, “Private invitation to the Riviera Hotel’s Presidential Suite before it is GONE FOREVER.” Murray explained, “I have always loved Old School Vegas. The way entertainers were treated and respected and all staff of a hotel or venue in Vegas were taken care of. My first headlining show was at the New Frontier Hotel and when they imploded that hotel I missed it as I was on tour and that was an iconic hotel of Vegas’ yesteryear, so when I heard the Riviera Hotel was closing with a very short notice and definitely being imploded, I said to my wife Chloe, wouldn’t it be fun to stay in one of the big suites just to say we got to stay their before it’s gone forever! Then my head Matre’d and good friend James Ashburn who grew up in Las Vegas during it’s heyday, said you should have a little party since the Riviera is classic Vegas… So me, my wife Chloe and James started putting a list together… and it went from 40 to 180 in about 2 weeks! I originally was having it in the Frank Sinatra Suite but we out grew that pretty fast and moved it to their largest suite in the hotel the Penthouse Presidential Suite where they filmed the movie “Casino” and many of their famous headliners stayed there. I wanted to make sure this party was a classy event and wanted to make sure many of the legendary Vegas entertainers that made Vegas, Vegas were invited. It was great to see everyone dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns and cocktail dresses as you rarely see that at any party anymore. We hired a 3 piece band and I really wanted an upright bass and saxophonist, some nice food and a full bar which James Ashburn set up and organized. Chloe also wanted our puppies involved so we brought them along and she dressed them I pink bow ties!” “What do you think of the Riviera’s 60 years of entertainment?” Murray commented, “I think it’s phenomenal that the Riviera has had 60 years of entertainment and that they have all the who’s who of performers grace their stage and hotel! This is one of the original hotels that made Vegas what is it today… It was the Mirage Hotel of it’s Era!” “How do you feel about grown-up Las Vegas now?” Murray feels, “I love Las Vegas and Vegas now is much different than past Vegas, it is very corporate now . . . but it’s still the Entertainment Capital of the World and the most famous street in the world for Entertainers!” While listening to the combo and enjoying the wonderful views of the Las Vegas strip, it was time to congratulate old-school Las Vegas and welcome the exciting new Las Vegas’ mega hotels and even more spectacular shows. This once luxury suite symbolized another era. I reviewed Las Vegas shows since 1985 seeing Liberace fly across the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton. Ardan’s Department Store asked me to arrange a party for Liberace because he was one of the few super-stars who shopped for himself. Don Rickles appeared for only one drink minimum in the lounge. I miss the reasonable supper clubs like Chateau Vegas where the entertainer played a harp. Award winning syndicated columnist/ talk show host Sandy Zimmerman has appeared in the “Las Vegas Today Show” programs and “Discover the Ultimate” travel specials for 25 years. If you want to be reviewed, or for information, call 702-731-6491.
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