If you thought last year’s 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination would bring closure to the nation’s JFK obsession, think again. Longtime presidential memorabilia collector Jim Warlick visited a convention of 200 conspiracy theorists in Dallas last November. “From that experience, I think it will never be put to rest,” says Warlick, who, for the record, believes Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
As insatiable as the public’s JFK appetite is, even Warlick—who is bringing The JFK Exhibition to the Tropicana from November 22-January 3—admits to being surprised last year when he attended an auction and was prepared to bid no more than $75,000 on the 35th president’s brown leather bomber jacket. He ended up going as far as $250,000. It sold for $629,000.
As for Warlick’s family-friendly 25,000-square-foot Tropicana exhibit, rather than dwell on the assassination it mostly focuses on personal items, such as the shoes Jacqueline Kennedy wore during a trip to Paris, one of the pens Kennedy used to sign the Peace Corps Act into law and replicas of the Oval Office and inaugural gowns worn by various first ladies. There’s also a display that explains Kennedy’s relationship with longtime Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun.
The exhibit’s biggest and most impressive piece of memorabilia is the fuselage from a Boeing 707, which is displayed exactly as Air Force One looked on November 22, 1963. There’s also an audio clip of Lyndon B. Johnson consoling Rose Kennedy during a phone call following the assassination, as well as the white 1963 Lincoln Continental that JFK rode in that fateful morning, the last car he exited alive. Tickets are $25 ($20 for locals, with discounts for military, seniors and students); 888-829-9034, TropLV.com.