Gangs of Las Vegas / Open Lines

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Date Host George Noory
Guests Bill Friedman, Open Lines

Casino businessman Bill Friedman discussed the history of Las Vegas. Two places opened on the Strip at the beginning of World War II and were used by traveling business people and as supplemental housing for those stationed at a large Air Force base in the Vegas area, Friedman explained. In 1946 Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo hotel. "He had a dream for the Strip, and he was one of the top bootleggers in America... everything that the Strip became he foresaw," he added. Reform movements between 1949 and 1951 shuttered illegal casinos across America and the only place left to for gambling was Vegas, Friedman continued, noting this is what set off tourism there.

Siegel and fellow gangster Meyer Lansky called the leaders of the largest gangs in the country to join them in Las Vegas. "They were smart enough to have figured out that a casino all by itself will not be near as profitable as it will be if there's a bunch of them together," Friedman said. Around 80 percent of the Las Vegas Strip was built by these gangsters, he revealed. Friedman also shared details from his own threatening encounter with gangster Moe Dalitz who warned him stop his research into fellow gangsters and leave town. According to Friedman, the group of organized crime members he wrote about were anti-violent in nature. "There has never been anybody in the casino leadership or organized crime killed in the state of Nevada in 90 years," he disclosed.

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Open Lines began in the latter half of the third hour. Brendan in Austin, Texas, recounted a story his truck-driving great-grandfather relayed to him. Sometime in the 1970s Brendan's great-grandfather was delivering argon gas to White Sands base in New Mexico. "He told me about an energy weapon he got to see that they were using," Brendan reported. It was a large semi-stationary machine that utilized a special optic, and the beam it produced was described as controlled lightning, he continued. According to Brendan, they fired it into a nearby mountainside because they may have accidentally shot down a U-2 spy plane after testing it in the sky.

Bill from Los Angeles surprised George with voice impressions of what it would sound like if classic film noir gangsters (such as those portrayed by Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney) called into Coast to Coast AM. "Sure, Connie Willis is a real sweetheart, but I ain't taking no dame to Skinwalker Ranch," he joked in his old time gangster voice. Vinnie in Utica phoned in to recommend "Double Cross: The Explosive Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America," a non-fiction work about Chicago mobsters Sam and Chuck Giancana. He expressed his amazement about how powerful the Giancana's became and the historical events in which they were involved.

The final half hour featured a replay of an interview with Rosemary Ellen Guiley on UFOs.

News Segment Guests: Cal Orey / Kevin Randle

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