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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stardust To Dust

The Stardust Hotel & Casino, a 48-year landmark on the Vegas strip, was imploded yesterday to make way for a new resort called Echelon. The 37-story tower was the tallest structure ever to be brought down in Sin City.

I stayed in the Stardust for the last time in January 2006 (for James Randi's Amazing Meeting 4). Through the years, even when I didn't have a room there, I used to stop in on every trip and visit my friend Bob Scucci, who ran the sports book. Bob and his crew were among the best handicappers in the world, the ones who were always out with the first Vegas line on NFL games and other events. He became known to my radio audiences for his annual appearance in the week before the Super Bowl, when we'd talk about all the proposition bets they were offering, and to give some insight into the gambling side of Super Bowl Sunday. When Boyd Gaming announced in 2005 that the Stardust's days were numbered, Bob escaped to the Borgata in Atlantic City, where he's now one of the guys running the place.

I was happy to hear that he'd moved on to a place with a classier reputation. The Stardust was not the greatest place to stay or gamble. For one thing, there was barely any poker action. For another, it took forever to get a cab out front (unlike the popular hotels on the strip, taxis didn't line up there, so you had to wait until someone else was dropped off and the cab was empty). And while its reputation stretched back to the Rat Pack Era, so did many of its customers, employees, elevators, and at least two bedspreads.

So I didn't shed a tear watching this amateur video of the implosion, shot from the garage of the Wynn Casino across the street...