Vegas, where Vickie Lester was on a roll…

Barbara Stanwyck on the set of The Lady Gambles:


A couple of years ago I bumped into a cinematographer friend in Vegas. He asked me if I’d ever gambled before and I said “no” and he said “perfect” and led me over to the craps table and handed me a cup full of dice and said “just keep rolling”. So, I did. He made bets (I didn’t know how to play!) and put down chips and I kept rolling the dice. After about fifteen minutes  a crowd started to gather around the table. After twenty-five minutes the pit boss arrived. I kept rolling. Hubbub, excitement, just me at the table rolling the dice. My friend kept placing bets. My glass of ginger ale, gripped in my friend’s hand, was dripping condensation down his cuff. After forty minutes I did something wrong, I still don’t know what it was… and our stay at the table was over. He cashed in his chips while I was talking to my husband and when the cinematographer joined us at the bar he handed me five hundred dollars. I demurred. But, my husband told me it was customary to give lady luck a cut. Fabulous!

This is a recognizable crew playing craps at the Beverly Hilton in 1953. I think it was a benefit or charitable event –

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  1. August 19, 2012

    Barbara Stanwyck looks positivly obsessed at that craps table. Remind me sometime to tell you the story of how I ended up with a bicycle instead of a trip to Vegas for my 21st Birthday!

  2. August 19, 2012

    i really love your blog. i’m an angelino living in the Bay Area by way of NYC. Though I dreamed of the Big Apple when I was growing up, and though my New Yorker wife will not let me move back down, now when I do go back, I’m kind of in awe of LA. I can’t figure out why. I’m especially in awe of the Eastside. I grew up in Santa Monica and lived in the Valley, but now when I go back, I like to hang out in Hollywood and all the neighborhods that run down the 101 into downtown. For me, that’s where the really amazing LA is. If you get a chance, I wrote about a recent visit down there, and I guess I’d love to know if you can help me get at what I was trying to (though did not quite successfully) get at. This isn’t a shameless plug. Just one lover of a city talking to another.

    • August 19, 2012

      Hey! I think you nailed it… Los Angeles is so vast that it boils down to a personal geography. We all find our city within a city. I think that’s what makes it, as you put it, so awesome.

  3. George Kaplan
    July 2, 2013

    Love that story! Did you meet Robert Urich? Wait, that was Vega$, sorry!
    I also find your reply to The Circular Runner’s interesting comment fascinating, too. You’re an ambassador for the city (and the state) and make it compelling. Ahem. 🙂

  4. July 3, 2013

    Dearest V
    I adore Babs… I ‘m sure that I’ve mentioned it before. But a poster of her in ‘Cattle Queen of Montana’ dominates the bar at one of The Dandy’s favourite watering holes.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  5. November 4, 2014

    Lady luck you are! Great story. One of my favorite movies that takes Lady Luck legend literally is The Cooler. I love the shot of Babs as well as the Brat Packers. Vegas is so different nowadays. It’s becoming more like Disneyland every minute because that’s where the real money is.

    November 4, 2014

    Gotta love how your stories and your illustrations intertwine <3

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