You see, back in those days, the government was still testing atomic bombs, presumably because they looked super bitchin' and they had no idea when they were going to get to use one again. They tested over a thousand bombs a mere 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. By this time, the nuclear bombs were so goddamned big and powerful that Vegas tourists could easily see the mushroom clouds and light from the city. So while any other city would petition the army to either test their world-ending death weapons a little further away or maybe, y'know, not at all, the Vegas Chamber Of Commerce made up schedules and calendars giving tourists exact detonation times of the bombs, and even suggested the best spots for watching them.
Oregon State University Libraries
Visitors to Vegas, on balance, aren't good at assessing risk.
The Desert Inn, among other casinos, made good use of their north-facing properties and even started serving themed drinks called "atomic cocktails." Other places would host "Dawn Bomb Parties," and "Miss Atomic Energy" would be crowned at the Sands hotel, with all of the contestants dressed in their finest mushroom cloud-shaped gowns.
Las Vegas News Bureau
The swimsuit part was always won by whichever woman had the most pronounced tailbone.
These tests went on until 1963, when the Limited Test Ban Treaty stopped the military from bombing parts of America like they were trying to get rid of super-termites. After that, Vegas had to stop trying to squeeze money out of the Cold War (and do more matinee shows to compensate), and all those death-obsessed tourists had to settle for the thrill of betting their kids' college money on blackjack.
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