Vegas. vs. Las Vegas

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Funeral Rites

Recently, needing to take some time to relax and decompress, I have had the opportunity to binge-watch the original Vegas television series. If you grew up in the seventies, you don’t need me to tell you how insanely popular Vegas was during its short but memorable three-season run between (1978 to 1981).

Robert Urich was at the height of his powers before his iconic role in Spenser for Hire in the 1980s and after the short-lived original Swat Series. As private eye Dan Tanna, Urich was the epitome of coolness and inspiration to young men, especially when it came to the endless ladies in the show, but none bigger than Phyliss Davis as Beatrice. Rest in peace, Phyliss; you always stole the screen when you appeared, and it was a joy to watch your on-again and off-again relationship with Dan Tanna.

While it might be considered somewhat tame by today’s standards, Vegas was the prototype show to glamorize the Las Vegas Strip. Fast forward twenty-five years to the modern-day Las Vegas show. I had high hopes that Las Vegas would be somewhat of a remake, featuring a more brash Dan Tanna, doing things he couldn’t get away with in the late 70s and early 1980s.

But, with Las Vegas starring James Caan, yes, James from The Godfather, a new spin on the decadence of Las Vegas, blew my socks off. Instead of solving off-beat crimes and focusing on celebrities, although there was plenty of star-power with Dennis Hopper and Tom Sellick to name a few, Las Vegas was a no-nonsense approach to the Montecito Casino and Hotel’s security team on the lookout for cheats and scammers. Believe me when I tell you that Las Vegas didn’t hold anything back with those cheaters. If only we could see what happens to pesky cyber thieves cramping everyone’s style at today’s cutting-edge online casinos.

To spice things up, you had personal bodyguards protecting famous people and even those who managed to win big money. But, like the original Vegas, things could have been more rougher. Las Vegas, in its short three-run season, had a TV-14 rating. To me, if you’re going to talk about the dark side of Vegas, it should be at least an R-rating. I’m not saying that we have to see brains get beat out with bats like in Martin Scorsese’s Casino, but talking about Las Vegas isn’t for kids. Still, I had a pleasant time going down Las Vegas memory lane.

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