The 1974 Las Vegas Entertainment Awards

Las Vegas Awards 1974 from Mark Jacobs on Vimeo.

We won’t lie to you: Things get ugly in this hourlong vintage clip. Marty Allen’s hair. Ann-Margret’s drunken, unfixed gaze. And it begins with a tediously unfunny, nearly seven-minute-long Bob Hope monologue. (“Ya know, Vegas started out as a watering hole. Now it’s a milking station.” Rim shot!) But if you can choke down all of this ham and cheese—oh, and Carol Channing! We mustn’t forget that—this vintage television special offers an all-too-rare window into the sundown period of Las Vegas’ first golden age, a time when such performers as Foster Brooks and Juliet Prowse still could pack a house, and the denizens of the Strip’s showrooms still seemed like a community. And there’s something weirdly empowering seeing the members of this community, this other, broken Hollywood, giving awards to each other. (Speaking of Hollywood: Christopher Reeve appears in this clip at the 36:11 mark in a pre-Superman JCPenney ad.)

Anyway, the big winners at the 1974 Academy Awards were Jack Lemmon, Tatum O’Neal and The Sting, while the big winners at the 1974 Las Vegas Entertainment Awards were—spoiler alert!—Frank Sinatra (a no-show), Liza Minnelli (another no-show, but she taped an acceptance speech) and Hallelujah Hollywood! If we may Bob Hope this thing: As they say at the blackjack tables, that’s a push.