The fourth and final event of the Sands Copa Connection Program Series, “The Sands: A Place in the Sun” is an entertainment and exhibition designed to spotlight the former Las Vegas Sands Hotel and its legendary Copa Room. The event will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, October 25, in collaboration with the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas. The Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is located within the Springs Preserve, 309 S. Valley View Blvd.
The special museum exhibit will showcase vintage photos and promotional materials used by the Sands and a conversation with four noted Las Vegas historians: Dr. Michael Green, moderator, along with Sue Kim Chung, Dr. Larry Gragg and Dr. Eugene Moehring in a “Summit About the Sands.” The group will discuss the famed resort’s impact on the Las Vegas entertainment, casino and tourism industries during the l950s and 60s. A reception following the program will feature a book signing and Copa Room music played by the Thurston Howlies Band. The exhibit portion of the event will be available at the museum through Nov. 24.
“The Sands Hotel had a tremendous impact on the development of Las Vegas,” said Dr. Eugene Moehring. “With an array of stars featuring Nat King Cole, Lena Horne and other showbiz legends, backed by renowned bandleader Antonio Morelli and the alluring Copa Girls, the Sands Hotel, celebrated home of the Rat Pack, helped transform mid-century Las Vegas into the entertainment capital of America—a title the town has never surrendered.”
According to Dr. Michael Green, the operation of the Sands was a strategic, well thought-out business machine. “Above all, the management at the Sands worked together: the bottom line mattered more than anything else, and entertainers like Sinatra, Davis, Dean Martin, and Lena Horne attracted the high-rolling gamblers. It was the most profitable circle imaginable: for the Sands, success bred success.”
The opening event is complimentary with advance reservations by calling 702-822-8735 to register as a guest of the museum for the event. (we must use this wording) Attendees at the opening event will receive a souvenir commemorative scrapbook, “The Sands and the Copa Room” that was especially produced by the Junior League for the program series and was funded in part by Nevada Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Over the past year the Junior League of Las Vegas has collaborated with several community partners to mount the four-part Sands Copa Connection Program series that is being sponsored by a grant from the Commission of the Las Vegas Centennial. The public history series was developed as an educational outreach effort of its historic preservation project, The Morelli House, built by Antonio Morelli, orchestra leader of the Sands Copa Showroom from l954-1972. The League spearheaded the relocation of the structure, a superb example of mid-century residential architecture, to the historical district downtown from the Desert Inn Country Club Estates when it was set for demolition to make way for Wynn Resorts in 2001. The House earned placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 for its architectural features and for the mid-century Las Vegas history that the House represents through its original owner, Antonio Morelli.