Las Vegas

  • Season 3, Ep 12
  • 11/17/2015

William Clark forces J.T. McWilliams out of early Las Vegas, mobster Bugsy Siegel helps build the Strip, and the Moulin Rouge becomes the first casino open to all races.

That's it.

We killed it.

- All right, well...

- We drankthat whole bottle.

Cheers.

- Cheers, my brother.

Oh, hey.

I'm Brendon Walsh,

and today we're gonna talkabout Bugsy Siegel.

- Yea-ah.

- [coughing]

All right, so there'sthis craps game going on.

These two Jewish kids,

Benjamin Siegeland Meyer Lansky.

A scuffle broke out,and a loose gun fell out.

Bugsy picked it up,and he's gonna shoot the guy.

Meyer Lansky's like,

The cops are coming;get out of here.

Knocks the gun out of his hand.

Got him outof the [bleep] situation.

Started a friendshipright there.

And they becamethe Bugs-Meyer Mob.

The mob's, like, being awesome,like they were back then.

[laughs]

So they're doing murders,

and that caught the attention...

[laughing]of Lucky Luciano.

And Lucky Luciano is like,

Why don't you go out west...

[giggling]

and expand our enterprise.

So he goes out there,

makes a bunchof Hollywood friends.

He found out Billy Wilkerson

is building this resort casinoon the outskirts of Vegas.

Ben Siegel's like,

Well, that would be great,

for me to bea part of that.

So him and someof his mob buddies

go to Vegas,and they're like,

Hey, we're mob guys,so hit the bricks,

or get beat up?

Either way, go on and--wait.

So [bleep] Bugsy

goes to his buddy Meyer Lanskyand Lucky Luciano.

You know, he's like, It's gonnabe called the Flamingo.

I'm buddies with all these[bleep] movie stars and [bleep].

I'll fly them out.

And they're like,All right, fine.

Here's a million bucks.

Bugsy Siegel's in charge.

He doesn't knowwhat he's doing.

It's going way over budget.

He's a crazy bed bug,Bug-sy.

- [chuckles]

- So at this point,

Bugsy's got to goand ask for more money.

And they're like,

Let's, uh, maybe pull back

on the money-askingsituation.

We also think you'restealing money,

so watch your back.

He's like, Ah!

[bleep] you, man!

Fine!

I'll go get it done.

And so after he bails,they're like,

Let's kill him.

And everyone's on board.

But Lansky steps up,and he's like,

Let's not kill this guy

and see how it allturns out

after the grand opening.

And they're like,All right, fine.

That's your boy, so...

He saved his friend twiceso far in this story.

- Right.

- They have the openingDecember 26, 1946.

But the hotel room constructionis still not done.

People couldn't stay there.

Bugsy's like,

Everybody listen up!

Now, I got planesfull of movie stars

coming here tonight,

so everything's gonnaget more glitzy and glamour-y

than you couldeven understand.

You won't even--

what are you talking about?

What?

Wait-wait-wait-wait.

What?

Oh, the planesare grounded?

It's [bleep] raining.

So the planes are grounded.

He can't all of hisfancy buddies come there

for the opening.

They lose 300 grand.

So it's a bust all around.

All the mobsters, they're like,

What the [bleep]is this [bleep]?

Like, we're alreadykind of pissed at you.

Bugsy decides to closethe Flamingo down,

finish the construction.

So Benjamin Siegel...

[laughing]

[laughter]

- Okay, so--- All right, all right.

- I'm ten times redderthan I was when we started.

- You're ten times what?

- Redder.

So, in March, he re-opens.

It starts doing okay.

It seems like thingsmight be all right.

Siegel goes to the mob guys,and he's like,

Hey, it's a profit-turner,

positive situation.

That's greatit's doing fine now,

but pay us the money backthat we put into this.

He's like, I can'tstart paying you now,

but we'll get it together.

You know, whatever.

He bails, and they were like,

Unanimous vote!

We're gonna kill this guy Ben

that we call Bugsy,

'cause he's a pain in the ass.

And Lansky was like,

Guys...

I have no argument this time.

It's a bummer.

All right.

Go ahead.

Kill my buddy.

I can't defend him anymore.

- So Bugsy goes back to L.A.

Bugsy's sitting therereading the paper

at, like, you know,2:00, 3:00 in the morning.

And nine bulletscome raining through the window.

Two hit him, but oneblew his left eye ball

right out of his head.

Like, [bleep] ten minutes later,

Lansky's associateswalk into the Flamingo,

and they're like,

Hey, we got this covered now.

Bugsy's dead.

Lansky and the Flamingo

start making moneyhand over fist.

Mobsters fromall over the country

flood into Las Vegas.

And that's the storyof the Vegas strip.

What happens in Vegassometimes follows you home,

and it gets your eye ballshot out of your head.

- That's a good moral.

- [laughing]

Right.

- Here's tothe Civil Rights Movement.

- Amen.

Jim Crow,I heard you.

- No, I'm not drinking to--

You almost made me drinkto Jim Crow.

[laughter]

- No, do it again,do it again, sorry.

- Tried to sneak Jim Crow inat the end.

Hello.

I'm Paul F. Tompkins.

And today we're going to talk

about the Moulin Rouge Casinoin Las Vegas.

- Cheers.

- At the time,

like every--most city,

Jim Crow lawsare in full effect!

Somebody like Nat "King" Cole,

He would do a show, and thenhe would want to go inside

with a friend of his.

It's like, Oh, we can'tlet you in here.

You know you'rea black dude, right?

It's insane.

Like, it's insanewhite people stuff.

Then comes these guys.

They say, Let's make a casino

that black people can come to.

It's called the Moulin Rouge.

One of the investorsis boxing great Joe Louis.

He's gonna be, like,the public face

of the Moulin Rouge.

So, like, he's--

Every once in a while,the press checks in with him.

Joe Louis is like,We're doing a nationwide search

for all of theseAfrican-American, uh...

entertainers, uh...

dealers, um, chefs.

Black people are gonna be,like, in the front of the house.

You're gonna see black peoplewhen you walk in there.

Like, really hyping it up.

The Moulin Rouge opens.

There are linesaround the block,

people waiting to get in.

And they say,Oh, this is a new thing.

An integrated casino,

I've never heardof such a thing,

because I'm a racist

from the time in which I live.

Joe Louis is there.

He's greeting everybody,Hi, come on in.

Come into the Moulin Rouge.

It's French-themed.

I'm dressed as a cowboy.

Why?Who knows?

All these people,tons of people.

Everybody's excited.

People are loving it.

A 9-year-old Gregory Hinesis tap-dancing.

They have this thingcalled the Tropi Can Can.

Joe Louis,at the end of the show, says,

We have--this is not justthe opening of a casino.

We have made historyhere tonight.

"Life" magazinedoes a story on it.

After that, white celebritiesare showing up.

It's, like, Frank Sinatrawith Louis Armstrong.

It's Billie Holidaywith Judy Garland.

Nat "King" Coleand Dean Martin.

Everybody has a good time.

Everybody!

Jack Benny!

Who--who thought Jack Benny

would have a good time there?

[hiccup-laughs]

Look, I may be--hiccup.

- [laughing]

- They're all havinga [bleep] great time.

Cary Grant saysto Frank Sinatra,

Hey, why are you, like--this is a good thing, right?

Like, we have fun, right?

And Frank Sinatra says,

Absolutely, we do.

We have a great time.

[hiccups]

[hiccups]

[hiccups]

[hiccups]

[hiccups]

So the other casinos...

they're like, It's weirdthat a lot of people

don't care about racism,

and they're just going ahead

and having funat the Moulin Rouge.

What can we do now?

So, like, the casinos,

they say, Look, if you wantto sell liquor to us,

you don't sell liquorto the Moulin Rouge anymore.

Then the Sahara, same thing.

The Sahara says,We will not buy food from you

if you give foodto the Moulin Rouge.

So, then, after 3 1/2 months,

the Moulin Rouge mysteriouslyhas its liker--

liquor suspended.

I mean liquor license suspended.

There's--it's not hardto figure out,

if you do the math yourself.

A month later,and the Moulin Rouge is closed.

It was closed and toesed, man.

Closed and toesed.

[laughing]

[snorts]

The expression everyone knows:

"closed and toesed."