retrowrestling | SGV, California | 09/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Originally aired on The History Channel as a 1 hour program, this DVD felt a bit short at just around 50 minutes of Vegas material.
The program starts with a solid presentation of some historical background regarding the rise of early Las Vegas; Hoover Dam, Bugsy Siegal, the Rat Pack, etc.
Then the program goes into all the usual Las Vegas things such as Vegas Weddings, neon signs, showgirls, etc. that gives Vegas its identity. There is plenty of commentary from Wayne Newton and some from Debbie Reynolds.
Since the program originally aired in the mid-1990's, the material feels a bit dated. The Mirage, Treasure Island, and Luxor are given plenty of attention as the "modern marvels" of Las Vegas; Casinos which were all opened in the first half of the ninties.
Not withstanding the fact that you won't find anything about the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, or Paris, this DVD does manage to present the historical aspects of Vegas in a solid and entertaining manner."
This was the Beginning of the "Modern" Vegas
Michael Kelly | 04/23/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This early episode of Modern Marvels, circa 1994, almost seems nostalgic now. Jack Perkins narrates this fun documentary at a time when the Mirage, which ushered in the era of the "new" Vegas, was only five years old, and the Luxor and Excalibur represented the "family friendly" Las Vegas.
In today's era of all - star chefs, breathlessly hip nightclubs, and upscale and expensive everything, this is like a stroll down memory lane for Vegas regulars, to a great moment when Vegas had cleaned up its image from the seedier 70's and 80's, and a trip there was still one of the best vacation bargains around.
By 2000, the corporate monopolies would begin, and in just a few years, so many wonderful resorts would be taken over and blended into a corporate sameness, under the control of non-gaming companies which know nothing about what makes people keep coming back to Vegas. Hint: it's not $200 bottles of wine at every meal and a Cirque Du Soleil show at every resort.
It's nice to see the Strip when there was room between each resort to take in the uniqueness of the building designs and themes, before it became an overbuilt canyon of neon and glass. Its worth viewing just to see how architects took advantage of the beautiful desert background and created resorts that served their purpose of both relaxing and exciting their guests.
What really comes through to the viewer is the sense that the Vegas experience then centered on gambling and catering to gamblers; the amenities were there to provide a break from the gaming. It was understood why people were there: they were there to gamble and have fun, to take a break from everyday activities. To that extent, Vegas was geared for gaming, not for high end shopping and aging divas at $250 a ticket. As a result, this episode spotlights many aspects of what made Las Vegas special. It provides a good brief history of Vegas' beginnings, and includes some interesting behind the scenes looks at how things get done.
It almost seems quaint today, but it's a fun look back."