Thursday, October 8, 2020

Paradise Palms Celebrity Spotlight: Buddy Rich

Paradise Palmer Buddy Rich

Buddy Rich (09/30/1917-04/02/1987), billed as the World’s Greatest Drummer, made his move into Paradise Palms Las Vegas when he and his wife Marie purchased the original Marquis model home in Fountainbleau Estates at 1734 Sombrero Drive in September 1964. The three bedroom, two bathroom home was handed over "lock, stock and barrel, fully furnished," complete with the original sales office with sliding glass doors still intact where the carport was intended to be completed.

Buddy Rich's Paradise Palms Las Vegas home, 1734 Sombrero Drive

Rich was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of vaudeville parents who brought him into showbiz at just 18 months of age. Rich possessed the impressive gift of natural rhythm, so much so that he began performing solo on Broadway at age 4, earning the nickname Baby Traps the Drum Wonder performing Phillip Souza’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” as his signature hit song. After just over a decade, Rich made history becoming the second highest-paid child entertainer in the world earning $1,000 per week by the time he reached 15.

Buddy Rich as Traps The Drum Wonder

In 1937 Rich began a jazz career playing with clarinetist Joe Marsela, and two years later joined Tommy Dorsey’s band while plating with greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Ventura, Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa. Rich also began a film career, making appearances in Symphony of Swing, Ship Ahoy and How's About It before joining the Marines to fight in World War II. After returning from the War, Rich formed his own band with the help of Frank Sinatra, and went on to form numerous other bands over the following years before marrying his wife, Marie, in 1953.

In 1955, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich recorded the collaboration album titled, "Krupa and Rich," which featured the song "Bernie's Tune," where they traded drum solos for a total of six minutes. Rich would join Harry James’ band, and began his Las Vegas ties in 1956 playing with James at the El Rancho.  Rich would go on to play in Jazz at the Philharmonic, the 2:30 am nightly show at the Dunes sharing the stage with Roy Eldridge, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown.

In January 1962 Buddy Rich had signed with the Harry James Band for a record $1,500 per week salary ($12,800 in 2020 dollars). James and Rich had also previously played together during a European tour in 1957 and James had been working to get Rich back into the group ever since. Following a worldwide tour as a musical emissary with the State Department, Rich was finally lured to Las Vegas on a more permanent basis.


In November 1963 fellow Paradise Palmer Dave Victorson lured Rich to perform at the Thunderbird, where he shared the stage with Belle Barth and Billy Daniels, before being reunited again with Harry James in 1964 for an engagement at the Flamingo where he performed until the Aladdin opening on April 1, 1966. It was during this time that Buddy and Marie decided to become full-time residents of Paradise Palms, purchasing their Fontainebleau Estates home on Sombrero Drive joining the already long-list of celebrity residents. 

Buddy and Marie Rich arrive in Paradise Palms, Las Vegas

Columnist and fellow Paradise Palmer Forrest Duke covered Rich's move to Paradise Palms, Las Vegas


Headlining in the Bagdad Theater, Rich entertained crowds with two shows nightly, at 11:30 pm and 3:15 am, alongside songstress Susan Maro. From there, Rich recorded the Sounds of 66 album with Sammy Davis Jr, who proclaimed to be Rich’s biggest fan, before moving on to an eight-week stint at the Sands Celebrity Theater. It was in 1965 that Rich was crowned the World’s Greatest Drummer in an international jazz poll.

In July 1967 Rich went on a two-week concert tour with Frank Sinatra and fellow Paradise Palmer Shecky Greene following the filming of the Sinatra-Green film Tony Rome. Upon their return, Rich and Sinatra settled in the Copa Room at the Sands along with comedian opener Pat Henry. Rich ran into some legal trouble in 1968, when he arrested in January for defrauding an inn-keeper in Reno, and then in March when he was convicted on one count of Federal tax evasion for failing to report $50,000 in income in 1961. Rich was placed on probation, and ordered to pay $40,000, covering tax liabilities plus six percent interest over a five-year period, along with an additional $2,500 fine.

That summer Rich began a stint with Tony Bennet at the Caesar’s Palace Circus Maximus theater during which he was hit with a lawsuit for failing to make payments on his convertible Jaguar, owing $881.39, which was followed a week later by another lawsuit from locally-owed Casual-Aire Men’s Shop stating Rich owned them $1,857.55 for goods procured between 1963 and 66. The following week, Rich’s wife Marie, sued for divorce citing extreme mental cruelty and asking for $2,250/month in alimony and child support, along with their Paradise Palms home, a furniture store in Miami, and a 1965 Lincoln Continental. Rich continued his show at Caesar’s, later moving to Nero’s Nook. It was at Caesar’s where he famously recorded the album Mercy, Mercy before a live audience.

Marie Rich eventually dismissed the divorce later on in 1968, but the hard times ensued for Buddy. In July, Rich was hit with a tax lien filed by the IRS for $141,606.27 (just over $1M in 2020 dollars), then a few months later Rich’s wife filed for divorce again, upping the monthly alimony ask to $2,750. Again, Buddy and Marie reconciled, but Rich filed for bankruptcy in August. The following year, Rich’s home at 1734 Sombrero along with all of it’s furnishings was seized and auctioned by the IRS on June 12, 1970, ending Rich's residency in Paradise Palms. Sam Mintz, owner of the Blue Angel Motel, purchased the home for $1,900 plus assumption of a first and second mortgage totaling approximately $30,000.

The end of Rich's Paradise Palms residency

Rich was close friends with fellow Paradise Palmer Johnny Carson, and was a frequent guest on his show. Carson would often play off of Rich’s caustic personality, and it was these appearances that helped Rich become a celebrity personality. Carson was often spotted around town attending Rich's performances, and Rich was often enlisted to play for Carson's private events. He would later open a club in New York City called Buddy’s Place, along with a second club simply titled Buddy’s Place II. Rich would continue to make numerous TV appearances throughout his career, including a notable drum battle with Animal on The Muppet Show in 1981. Rich passed away at the age of 69 in 1987, a few short weeks following the removal of a brain tumor at UCLA Medical Center.

Rich and Animal, 1981

Lifelong friends: Rich and fellow Paradise Palmer Johnny Carson










Thursday, September 3, 2020

Paradise Palms Las Vegas – Best of Las Vegas 2020 Nominee!

 

For the first time in our 60-year history, Paradise Palms Las Vegas has been nominated to the Review Journal’s 2020 Best Of list for “Best Master Planned Community” in Las Vegas. This is a big feat for our neighborhood, and culturally important as we work to attract new neighbors, new businesses and strive to change the perception of what it’s like to live in midtown. We all know about that our slice of paradise is one of Las Vegas’ best-kept secrets, with huge yards, mature trees, amazing architecture and a central location minutes from downtown, McCarran, the Strip, UNLV, amazing dining and shopping, and now’s our chance to share it with the rest of the valley.

Paradise Palms is regarded as the first master planned community in Las Vegas, opening on July 3rd, 1960. A master-planned community is generally defined as a large-scale residential neighborhood with a large number of recreational and commercial amenities, such as golf courses, tennis courts, lakes, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and even stores and restaurants. Paradise Palms included all of that, with 1,000 single-family homes, the Stardust (now Las Vegas National) Championship Golf Course at the heart of the community, a community park, schools, shopping, retail and apartments.

Over the years we have been home to a venerable who’s who list of notable Las Vegas residents (visit our Influential Residents list), with world class architecture by notable architects William Krisel and Dan Palmer, Hugh Taylor and William M. Bray. In February 2017, the original 200 homes of Paradise Palms obtained the distinct honor of becoming the first Historic Neighborhood in unincorporated Clark County. Today we have a strong sense of community, with our monthly roving cocktail parties, annual sell-out Docomomo Tour Day, annual garage sale, history celebrations and huge tourism draw. Now in honor of our 60th anniversary we’re ready to take home the Gold as the Best Master Planned Community in Las Vegas. Here’s how you vote:

1. Go to https://www.votebolv.com/

2. Scroll down to REAL ESTATE



3. Scroll down to MASTER PLANNED COMMUNITY


4. Vote Paradise Palms!


5. Review selections.




6. Confirm vote, share on Facebook, Linked In or Twitter.






Remember to support your favorite Las Vegas neighborhood & vote Paradise Palms once a day, per device, now through September 25th, 2020.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Paradise Palms Celebrity Spotlight: Former Residents Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy


Peter Lind Hayes (06/25/1915-08/21/1998) and Mary Healy (08/14/1918-02/03/2015) were the original celebrity owners of 3538 Pueblo Way in Paradise Palms. The couple bought their Palmer & Krisel-designed Model 12A home, just one of five built in the neighborhood, brand new in 1963 and owned it until 2000 when Mary sold it two years after Peter’s passing. Healy and Hayes were staples of the Las Vegas strip, and divided their time between their home in Las Vegas’ Paradise Palms and New Rochelle, NY, before permanently calling Las Vegas home in the 1970s.

Paradise Palms home of Peter Lind Hayes & Mary Healy
Hayes began his career in Vaudeville at the age of 6, appearing alongside his mother, entertainer and night club owner Grace Hayes. By age 16, Hayes appeared at New York’s Palace theater, and by 1939 worked his way into nightclubs, including his mother’s namesake lodge in Los Angeles. Hayes began to appear in films alongside Betty Grable, Lana Turner and Lucile Ball, before meeting and marrying Mary Healy in 1940.

Hayes & Healy sharing the Vaudeville marquee
Healy began her career in the 1930s, being crowned Ms. New Orleans in 1935, and after being signed by 20th Century Fox, appeared in 1938’s Josette before having major roles in Second Fiddle and Stardust. It was on a national tour following Second Fiddle that she met Hayes. After marrying, the duo performed nearly exclusively together during their 50-year career.


Their major film roles include Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Geisel’s musical fantasy The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T and Zis Boom Bah, which also starred Hayes’ mother, Grace. In the 1950s, the couple had a major presence in television, on the CBS series Inside the USA with Chevrolet, where they were the original singers of “See the USA in your Chevrolet” before Dinah Shore’s well-known 1952 version. They were stars of CBS’ interview show The Stork Club, The Peter Lind Hayes Show and the variety show Star of the Family.





They starred in the early sixties semi-autobiographical comedy Peter Loves Mary, in which they played a show-biz couple who move to the suburb of New Rochelle to raise a family. In 1962 they were replacement guest hosts for The Tonight Show, after Jack Paar and before the slot was filled by Johnny Carson. They also hosted a breakfast radio program from their New Rochelle home, and made game show appearances on The Match Game, Password and What’s My Line.

Hayes & Healy on The Stork Club
Promotional photo for The Peter Lind Hayes Show
Peter Lind Hayes’ mother, Grace, owned and operated the Grace Hayes Lodge, originally known as the Red Rooster, which stood near what is now the south entrance of the Mirage on Las Vegas Boulevard in the 1940s and 1950s (Grace Hayes lived in a ranch home, one of the last residences on Las Vegas Boulevard behind the lodge, well into the 1980s before Steve Wynn bought her home and relocated her to a penthouse at the Golden Nugget). Hayes and Healy were frequent visitors to Las Vegas, and in 1957 were signed to a $20,000 per week ($182,400 per week in 2020 dollars) engagement at the Sands.



Grace Hayes Lodge, Las Vegas Boulevard
They went on to play the Sands 14 times over the years, as well as the Last Frontier and Flamingo. During the 1970s the couple became popular on Las Vegas’ social scene, maintain an active lifestyle during their semi-retirement. Peter Hayes never really retired, always jokingly referring to himself as an out of work actor. In 1979 the couple was honored at the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s Entertainment Personalities of the Year Awards, recognizing their 40 years in entertainment.

In 2006, Healy was honored at the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame ceremony at UNLV inducted  along with singer Wayne Newton, fellow Paradise Palmer Fred Apcar and architect John Klai II. Hayes and Healy were also writers, authoring 25 Minutes From Broadway and Moments to Remember With Peter and Mary -- Our Life in Show Business From Vaudeville to Video. Hayes also co-wrote the song Come to Me with Johnny Mathis in 1957.

25 Minutes from Broadway - Interrupted by Mary Healy

Like many entertainers of the early years of television, much of the work of Hayes and Healy was ephemeral, with considerable amounts of their work on late night talk shows and other appearances lost to time. The couple was known for helping to propel and launch the career of numerous other entertainers, and was so well known in the mid-century they had a White House performance under their belt and were also the subjects of a Norman Rockwell painting.


 Hayes passed in 1998 at the age of 82 in Las Vegas, and two years later Healy sold their long-time Las Vegas Paradise Palms home to relocate to California, where she passed at 96 in 2015. Healy was a strong supporter of the Las Vegas community, donating generously to UNLV over the years, and was an active member of the Variety Club along with Hayes.

Healy & Hayes - PBS Interview


Thursday, April 2, 2020

Paradise Palms Celebrity Spotlight: Former Resident Rip Taylor



Comedian Rip Taylor (07/13/1931-10/06/2019) called Paradise Palms home for six years between 1975 and 1981 while he was a mainstay of the Las Vegas strip. While owning his Palmer & Krisel-designed Model 7 home at 3328 Pawnee Drive, Taylor was named Las Vegas entertainer three times in the 1970s, sharing the stage with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Debbie Reynolds, Ann-Margret, Judy Garland and Mac Davis at Las Vegas mainstays such as the Dunes, Thunderbird, Stardust, Las Vegas Hilton and Harrah’s.

Rip Taylor's Paradise Palms Home, 3328 Pawnee Drive

Taylor had earned many nicknames over his 50-year career, including the Crying Comedian, the King of Confetti, the King of Props and The King of Camp. Growing up in Washington, D.C. Taylor bounced around from foster home to foster home throughout his childhood. He learned at a young age that if kids weren’t bullying him, they were laughing at him, and he used that as the basis for his future career. As a teen he attended the Capitol Page School and later became a congressional page before enlisting in the US Army Signal Corps during the Korean War. It was during this time that Taylor began to come into his own, entertaining his fellow troops by lip synching to Mario Lanza. Recognizing his talent, Taylor quickly was reassigned by the Army to Special Services where he entertained the troops in Korea and Japan.

After returning to the US, Rip found an agent in the Yellow Pages and began performing in clubs throughout the east coast and Catskills. It was during one of his Catskills performances that we was spotted by a scout for the Ed Sullivan Show. Turns out this was the moment that led to his big break – and first nickname. Taylor traveled to Los Angeles and learned that there were two performances he needed to film for Sullivan’s show, whose producers would air whichever performance was funnier.  The first performance was filmed in the afternoon and the second took place in the evening. The afternoon show went well, but in the evening, Sullivan had had one too many cocktails at lunch and when he went to introduce Taylor, unable to even see clearly enough to read cue card, he forgot Taylor’s name. Already nervous, Taylor was backstage fretting and quickly ripped out a nose hair for tears before rushing on stage crying “I’m Rip Taylor!” Taylor cried throughout the whole performance and became a hit. From then on Sullivan invited Taylor back many times and would always introduce him as “The Crying Comedian.”


The Ed Sullivan Show led to Taylor’s Las Vegas appearances when he caught the eye of a local producer who booked him alongside actress Eleanor Powell to perform at the Dunes. Their show became an instant hit, and was carried over four additional weeks which led to more Vegas bookings. It was during this time that Taylor’s second nickname – the King of Confetti – was earned after appearing on another variety talk show.  While filming The Merv Griffin Show Taylor performed his act and started bombing on stage. The audience wasn’t laughing, and frustrated, Taylor ripped up his 5x8 cue cards and threw them at the audience. He left the stage knocking parts of the set over thinking he had just killed his television career and headed to Sardi’s to wallow in his pity. The next day Taylor called Griffin’s show to apologize and pay for the set damages, and quickly learned his outburst caused the switchboard to light up with everyone wanting to see more of “the comedian who went crazy.”
Show card for Taylor & Powell's show at The Dunes
Taylor spent nine years in Las Vegas performing as an opening act for Sammy Davis Jr., in addition to Frank Sinatra, Robert Goulet, Sandra Dee, Maurice Chevalier, Andy Williams and Hermione Gingold. Taylor loved performing with Davis, saying he was a great guy. Davis was known to have a little fun on stage too, and used to have all of his song lyrics on a teleprompter at the foot of his stage. During one memorable performance, Davis played a prank on Taylor by substituting a porno for lyrics. Taylor instantly began erupting in laughter, along with Davis’ band, while the audience sat stone faced and bewildered. Davis howled with laughter in the wings, singing “That’s some b*tch dying tonight” to Taylor.

Taylor and fellow Paradise Palmer Phyllis Diller horsing around
Taylor earned his third nickname, the King of Props, in the 1970s after appearing on an episode of Laugh In ringing the bell. This led to him incorporating more props and more confetti into his shows. Taylor also became a fixture of game shows, appearing on The Gong Show, Hollywood Squares, the Match Game and Super Password. He also performed in the Flamingo Hotel’s Rockettes Extravaganza show, and hosted the short-lived $1.98 Beauty Pageant between 1978 and 1980. The beauty pageant allowed Taylor to highlight his comedic schtick by parodying popular beauty pageants at the time, with receiving a $1.98 cash prize as well as a bouquet of rotting vegetables.

Taylor’s Las Vegas ties didn’t end with performing; he was also in investor in long-time friend and fellow Paradise Palmer Debbie Reynolds’ casino on Convention Center Drive, and had an indefinite show run at her hotel. The duo also performed at various other hotels around town, often billed as “Debbie Reynolds and her best friend Rip Taylor.” Taylor was also good friends with notable Las Vegan Liberace, cutting the ribbon at his estate auction after his passing.



During his later years, Taylor was such a comedic fixture that he would often play himself in TV shows such as Will and Grace, Life with Bonnie and The George Lopez Show, and in films such as the Jackass series and Wayne’s World 2. Taylor also starred in other films such as The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, Chatterbox, and Cheech and Chong’s Things Are Tough All Over. He took on a few serious roles playing Demi Moore’s boss in Indecent Proposal and as Kate Hudson’s father in Alex and Emma. His unique voice led to numerous animated roles, including The Jetsons, Tom and Jerry, Duck Tales, Scooby Doo, and an Emmy win for his role as Uncle Fester in the animated Adams Family series.
Taylor was a recurring cast member on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, playing the part of the next door neighbor
After over 2000 television appearances, Taylor passed away in October 2019. Always having the last laugh, Taylor was originally thought to have passed away at age 84, until his death certificate became public record, letting the world know he had shaved four years off his birth year, and had actually passed away at age 88.

Wayne's World 2
With Johnny Knoxville at the Jackass Premiere
Tayor in Indecent Proposal - sans hallmark toupee