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Desert Companion

Random Access Memory

Droll, odd, poignant, and awkward moments from the many Aprils of Las Vegas

April 1, 1933: Rufus T. Firefly, “grouchy Marxist” owner of the Freedonia Hotel on Fremont Street, announces his candidacy to become “Nevada’s ducky education governor.” He says, “Teachers are our secular nuns and should be paid accordingly. They need to get into a habit of working for peanuts.”

April 2, 2010: No joke: To pacify schoolteachers for their lack of wage increases for several years, Gov. Jim Gibbons has placed donation boxes at DMV offices around the state to raise funds for them. In two months’ time he collects $261, or less than 1 cent per teacher for a two-year raise.

April 3, 1956: Marie Paden, dubbed “Lady Godiva sans equine,” has been picked up by police for causing a major traffic jam Downtown when she went out for an evening stroll in the nude to buy a newspaper.

April 4, 1931: Service stations have reduced gas prices to 18 cents a gallon, 16 cents for bootleg gas, during the “Vegas Gas Wars.”

April 5, 1969: Tourist Alvin Glasby, 35, is injured by a falling nude showgirl, called “a living chandelier,” at the Stardust Lido.

April 6, 1953: Experimental live mice and monkeys are flown on drones directly into a “perilous puffball cloud” from the latest nuclear blast at the Nevada Test Site.

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April 7, 1924: To protect the area from a virulent strain of hoof-and-mouth disease infecting livestock in California, armed guards have been placed on all roads leading into Clark County.

April 8, 1910: A local ad touts, “KOW KURE is the only medicine in the world for cows only, especially for barrenness, retained afterbirth, or sore udders.”

April 9, 1907: J.O. McIntosh of the Arizona Club has taken out the first wholesale liquor license in town, bragging he has “a carload of whiskey en route from Kentucky.”

April 10, 1969: Mrs. Arden Johnson is leading a group of 200 women to break through the gender barrier by legally forcing casinos to hire female blackjack dealers.

April 11, 2003: A witness in a Detroit trial has testified that terrorists there have been planning to destroy “the City of Satan,” also known as Las Vegas.

April 12, 1932: Carmen Guzman, “the adult jealous love-sick killer of a local 15-year-old school girl,” is gunned down following a 36-hour manhunt.

April 13, 2010: Morris Jeppson, 87, an officer on the Enola Gay in 1945 who had helped arm the first atomic bomb ever dropped on another country, has passed away in Las Vegas. He once summed up his role in history with this: “If there hadn’t been a Pearl Harbor, there wouldn’t have been a Hiroshima.”

April 14, 1907: A race riot breaks out between 20 Austrians and Mexicans in James Kinney’s Saloon, “mortally wounding two.”

April 15, 1971: The black community is expected to boycott schools if the local, lopsided integration plan is enacted, “requiring black youngsters to be bused out of their neighborhoods for 12 of their 13 years in public education.”

April 16, 1953: Henderson, Nevada, with 7,508 residents, is officially decreed “a city,” signed into law by, well, District Court Judge A.S. Henderson.

April 17, 1956: The skeleton of Nevada’s first reported serial killer, Queho, “a half-breed Pueblo Indian” who terrorized this area between 1900 and 1930, disappears from the Helldorado Parade’s popular artifact display near Fifth Street and Bonanza Road.

April 18, 2005: With a .32 caliber handgun tucked in her bra, Mabel Murray, “a hooker-harrassing foul-mouth” who tolerates neither prostitutes nor drug dealers near her iconic Downtown store, Trudi Furs n’ Leathers, is, after 50 years, finally leaving the unsavory Stewart Avenue neighborhood for greener pastures.

April 19, 1933: Egged on by the Clark County Taxpayers Association, the school board cuts teacher salaries by 10 percent.

April 20: 2005: At 1 a.m., two terrified girls, a teenager and her 11-year-old cousin, are trapped for 80 minutes in 60 mph winds on the “Insanity,” a thrill ride hanging 64 feet out from the Stratosphere, 900 feet above the Strip.

April 21, 2005: Anna Ayala, 39, suspected of sneaking a severed human finger into her chili at Wendy’s then threatening to sue the company, is arrested at her home here.

April 22, 1909: The Vegas Gun Club, “a live organization for a worthy purpose,” is formed.

April 23, 1992: Veteran black activist Leonard Mason, who once said “Westside Las Vegans cannot have political power until they have economic power,” dies at age 50.

April 24, 1950: Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn opens with headlining ventriloquist act Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy, to a crowd including known members of the Mob.

April 25, 2009: The World Clown Association convention is in town.

April 26: 1988: A group of racist skinheads vows to bring law and order back to Vegas.

April 27, 1992: The incidence of child abuse in Nevada is up 23 percent from the previous year.

April 28, 1988: It’s reported that, this past week at UNLV, H-Bomb inventor Edward Teller said he believes in more nuclear bomb testing.

April 29, 1973: Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston, is playing at the Parkway Theater.

April 30, 2019: Following their creation in an atomic puffball cloud experiment 66 years ago, huge man-eating mice-monkeys have been mutating and mating in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas. And they are coming out for dinner soon. No joke. Poisson d’avril!

Sources: Las Vegas Age; Las Vegas Morning Tribune; Las Vegas Review-Journal; Las Vegas Sun

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