If there was one "silver lining" that came out of the dumpster-fire that was 2020, it was the opportunity to focus on a few projects that I previously hadn't had time to work on.
Sin City Stories was one of those projects.
I'd had this idea in my head to put together "deep dives" into various aspects of Las Vegas history. I wanted to tell the stories of some of the more fascinating, bizarre and tragic events that helped to shape the city - but at the same time, make sure it didn't just sound like I was reading from a Wikipedia page.
I wanted Sin City Stories to be more like a "documentary" or "long-form storytelling" with music, vocal effects and sound effects. I wanted the listener to feel like they were "on a journey" and once they'd finished listening to the podcast, to be able to jump onto the website to read the stories, see photos and watch videos.
Sin City Stories is the most in-depth production I've ever done in my entire podcasting & broadcasting career and I'm incredibly proud of it.
It's a little-known fact that just over 60 miles away from the glitz & glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, the United States Government used to test atomic weapons.
Just as the Cold War with Russia was beginning to heat up, the US Department of Energy began testing nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert. The blasts lit up the sky and the mushroom clouds could be seen for miles around - including from the rooftops of the hotels in downtown Vegas.
But how did the nuclear age find its way to Las Vegas? And what effect did it have on the city & its culture?
If you want to learn more about nuclear testing in the United States, the Nevada Test Site and atomic culture & tourism, visit the official Sin City Stories website featuring photos, videos, in-depth stories and more!
The Las Vegas Strip attracts a lot of different types of people. Vacationers, gamblers, foodies, partiers...and daredevils.
And there's one specific spot on the Strip that's been particularly appealing to those who make their living defying death:
The Fountains at Caesars Palace
Since Caesars Palace opened in 1966, this usually-serene spot on an otherwise-busy Las Vegas Boulevard has played host to multiple brave - and crazy - people who've attempted to jump their motorcycles over the famed fountains.
Some have succeeded while others have failed SPECTACULARLY.
If you want to learn more about the famous daredevils who've taken a run at this iconic Vegas landmark, be sure to visit the official Sin City Stories website - featuring photos, in-depth stories, videos and more!
The Las Vegas Strip has its fair share of iconic hotels & resorts, perhaps none of which are more steeped in history and folklore than The Flamingo.
Part of the Vegas landscape since the mid-1940's, it was the brainchild of a Los Angeles-based nightclub owner, restaurant owner and entertainment news editor who wanted to build one of the most luxurious hotels & casinos Las Vegas had ever seen.
But that's not what legend and pop culture would have you believe.
And, as you'll find out in this episode of Sin City Stories, sometimes the truth is WAY more interesting than fiction.
If you want to learn more about the history of The Flamingo, head over to the official Sin City Stories website - featuring in-depth stories, historic photos and more!
Almost 40 years ago, the Las Vegas Strip was the site of what would become the third-worst hotel fire in modern US history and what remains as the worst disaster in the history of the state of Nevada.
On an early morning in November of 1980, a small fire broke out in what was - at the time - the MGM Grand Hotel (now, Bally's). The fire quickly spread, engulfing the casino level and sending thick black smoke & toxic fumes to the upper floors of the hotel. In the end, 85 people were killed and hundreds more were injured.
But what exactly caused the fire and led to such widespread fatalities & injuries? And what changes were made to ensure that something like this could never happen again?
That's what this episode of Sin City Stories is all about, as I take a deep dive into one of the darker moments in Las Vegas's history.
And if you want to learn more about everything I've covered in this special episode of the podcast, head over to the official Sin City Stories website - featuring in-depth stories, links, videos, photos and more!
Las Vegas is a city all about gambling & taking risks...but it's not just the tourists who go there to gamble.
Tens of BILLIONS of dollars have been shelled out over the last 30 years on the construction of mega-resorts, massive hotels and giant attractions all intended to keep the Vegas economy moving forward - and of course to make a tidy profit for the investors behind the scenes.
But in Las Vegas - as in life - not every gamble pays off.
That's what the debut episode of Sin City Stories is all about. I'm taking a deep dive into some Las Vegas history and exploring the stories behind the failures of The St. Regis Residences at the Venetian/Palazzo, the SkyVue Las Vegas Super Wheel, the Harmon Hotel at City Center and the Fontainebleau Las Vegas.
If you want to learn more about everything I've covered in this special episode of the podcast, visit the official Sin City Stories website! I've got photos & videos about all of these failed Las Vegas projects as well as extra info about their development & construction!