This is a short report, as it is all I can remember from 49 years ago.
In the Fall of 1957 my Dad, a US Army officer, was transferred from Missouri to Taipei, Taiwan. We traveled as a family to San Francisco via the Southwest in our 1954 Buick sedan.
One of the stops we made was for two nights in Las Vegas. A friend of Dad's had "connections" with a Sahara Casino bigwig, so we got two poolview rooms for two free nights (the Strip wasn't much to look at in those days). At that time, the Sahara was just an overgrown two story motel with a small (by today's standards) casino attached and a couple dining joints.
The first evening Dad took us to the Flamingo to eat dinner at their "smorgasbord", as the buffet was called then. As I remember, it was $1.99...and they had a giant haunch of beef at the carving station. Pretty good stuff with lots of basic desserts. We were dressed in coat & tie, as were all the male patrons, which was the custom back then. I recall that one of the big hotel signs procliming that Victor Borge was playing in their showroom.
The next morning, we drove to Fremont Street to look around. We parked right in front of The Mint and went into Binion's 'Shoe to see the $1 million on display in the horseshoe frame. At that time it was located near the front of the place. Dad had to talk to a floor thug to get permission for us kids to go in & check it out. Said thugs didn't look too friendly about it, however.
That afternoon Mom & Dad left us boys at the Sahara pool while they drove to another hotel to see Frank Sinatra, who was playing at one of the lounges. There was no cover charge in those days, at least in that instance. Back at the pool, I decided to have a Coke soda pop from the poolside bar, but was absolutely stunned when the guy charged me .25 cents! Never had paid over .07 cents for a Coke before, so that was my introduction to the world of "high-living".
After fooling around at the pool, we went to the room to get dressed. When we walked back downstairs, I slipped over quickly to a nickle slot & dropped in a coin. After jackin' the one-armed bandit a security dude, who must have been Lucca Brazzi's twin, quickly grabbed me by the arm & hustled me off the casino floor. He briefly chewed me out, so I went back to the room half scared to death.
Mom & Dad did just a little BJ & slot gambling, as we were not real big spenders.....but we did enjoy our brief stay. As I said, the Strip wasn't anything like it is today, and can remember large areas of open desert close to the hotels. Heat was not a factor, as we were there in early Fall. That's a good thing, because the Buick was not air-condtioned.
My parents never went back to Vegas, and I didn't myself until after retirement in 1996.