Castaways 1963-1987


Past hotel links:
Sans Souci (1955)

In 1963, the name was changed to the Castaways Hotel & Casino when a group of investors headed by Ike P. LaRue of Jackson, Mississippi, remodeled it. It consisted of a casino, two wings of rooms, and a radio station out back. At the time, the Castaways had nine game tables, one keno, and 152 slot machines. Sometime later somebody came up with the idea of putting a $1,500-gallon fish tank behind the bar. It didn’t have a fish in it. A nude showgirl swam lazily through the water three times a day holding her breath while everyone watching held theirs. The Castaways ran into financial trouble in late 1964, and the casino was forced to close down. The hotel, showrooms, and restaurant continued to operate. On April 16, 1964, Breck Wall’s Bottoms Up debuted at the resort and ran for 18 weeks.

The new Castaways

[singlepic id=443 w=320 h=240 float=left] It reopened in 1967, as Oliver’s New Castaways Casino when Oliver Kable bought the resort. The Castaways had 230 suites. The Castaways contained an intricately carved 35 foot high, 14 ton teakwood replica of a Jain Temple in India. The “Gateway to Luck” was brought to America by the British government to form part of an exhibit at the St. Louis Fair in 1904-1905. How it ended up at the Castaways is one of Las Vegas’ mysteries and where it is now is yet another Vegas mystery. In 1969 or 1970, The Castaways was sold to Howard Hughes via Hughes Tool Company for $3 million dollars. In December of 1971, there was an announcement that the lounge was closed but rooms were still available. In 1972, the Castaways which, after some refurbishing, was presented to the public as “all-new, all-wonderful,” reopened with a bawdy musical called the Tom Jones Show. It featured a number of lusty ballads and a chorus line of footlight ladies dressed in bosom-flashing Elizabethan costumes. When Steve Wynn purchased the Castaways in 1987 from Hughes Tool Company, he had a dream of a resort that “that will usher in a new Las Vegas”. The resort, which was to be called the Golden Nugget on the Strip, went into the planning stages. The resort became Mirage and opened on November 22, 1989. A few years later, the Treasure Island was built on more of the land that had been used as the Mirage’s parking lot and additional adjacent undeveloped land.


Following hotel links:
Mirage (1989)