In 1950, Californians and gamblers knew of Las Vegas. But it wasn’t until Nov. 15 of that year that Sin City was thrust into the national limelight.
On that day, Estes Kefauver, a U.S. senator from Tennessee, brought his anti-racketeering road show to Las Vegas’ federal courthouse, turning the national spotlight on the organized crime tentacles that reached deep into the city’s casinos.
That infamous era is remembered at the Mob Museum, now inside the downtown Las Vegas building that once housed the court and the city’s post office.
To mark the anniversary of the event, Nevada residents will get free admission to the museum on Nov. 15, and two out-of-state visitors will get in for the price of one ($19.95).
Throughout the day, a new documentary by filmmaker Jon Rubin will be screened. “Crimebuster: Sen. Estes Kefauver, Politics, Television and Organized Crime” sums up an important element of the film: that television, which was then in its infancy, helped members of the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce shape public opinion.