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December Almanac

<p>Gus Greenbaum, president of the Riviera Hotel and Casino, and his wife were found in their Phoenix home with their throats cut on Dec. 3, 1958.</p>

Gus Greenbaum, president of the Riviera Hotel and Casino, and his wife were found in their Phoenix home with their throats cut on Dec. 3, 1958.

Dec. 1, 1946: Warren Daley, “a decorated Pacific war hero,” has been sentenced to five years in the Nevada penitentiary for robbing a Las Vegas woman of $9.25, “with a gun he’d taken from a Jap prisoner.”

Dec. 2, 1916: Popular local train conductor Tom Payne has committed suicide because of his “weakness for gambling.”

Dec. 3, 1958: Riviera Hotel and Casino President Gus Greenbaum, who previously headed-up the Flamingo, and his wife, Bess, are found “in their plush Phoenix home, throats cut from ear to ear by a large carving knife.”

Dec. 4, 1909: Las Vegas, “The City of Destiny,” is four years old, with an ice factory and a population of 1,250.

Dec. 5, 1905: Arguing about a woman, Al Thackery shoots “at Charles Smith in front of the latter’s saloon on First Street, (but) the shot fails to lodge in Smith’s anatomy.” After “the belligerents effect a reconciliation,” no arrests are made.

Dec. 6, 1958: Riviera Hotel offers $25,000 for information leading to a conviction of the killers. When a Phoenix jury rules that “Vegas gambling kingpin” Gus Greenbaum and his wife were murdered, the cause of death being loss of blood.

Dec. 7, 2011: According to PriceWaterhouse-Coopers LLC, gaming revenues in the Asia-Pacific region will overtake the U.S. gambling market by 2015.

Dec. 8, 1939: The newspaper reports it will cost $2,000 to eliminate the poor radio reception in greater Las Vegas, caused mostly by people using “defective electric razors, vacuum cleaners and neon signs.”

Dec 9, 1932: When a businessman lodges a complaint against them, three men - one, a war veteran staying at the Industrial Workers of the World camp on the edge of town - are sentenced to 90 days in jail for “vagrancy and mooching.”

Dec. 10, 1999: The State Board of Health rules that Clark County’s water supply must be fluoridated by March 1.

Dec. 11, 1966: In the news: “The first international ‘Nuclear Safety’ meeting, dealing with the shipment and storage of nuclear material,” is held in Vegas.

Dec. 12, 1921: The First Annual Poultry and Rabbit Show is held at the Overland Hotel.

Dec. 13, 1933: Claude Rains in The Invisible Man is playing at the Palace Theatre.

Dec. 14, 1966: To curb the “widespread use” of drugs in our schools, Clark County’s principals and teachers line up at the district’s education center to inhale marijuana smoke in order to be able to identify it. Undersheriff Lloyd Bell tells the participants: “I think it’s important for you to get a whiff of marijuana. Once you do, you’ll never forget it.”

Dec. 15, 1993: With a recent rise in Asian gangs, police report there are now about 3,500 gang members in Vegas.

Dec. 16, 1955: Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean, is playing at the Fremont Theatre.

Dec. 17, 1943: For the war effort, housewives have been encouraged— with a promise of “two ration points for each pound”— to double the “salvage kitchen fats” they return to retailers, to be used “for the manufacture of glycerine and sulfa drugs.”

Dec. 18, 1993: After purchasing 12 acres for a new homeless assistance center on Main Street, the city promises to give back a 2-acre Indian burial mound located on the property to the Paiute tribe of Southern Nevada.

Dec. 19, 1948: Clark County dedicates “its new $1,500,000 airport” to Nevada Senator Pat McCarran.

Dec. 20, 1965: School board members are “shocked” when Superintendent Leland Newcomer resigns in the middle of the school year, to take a job in California.

Dec. 21, 1982: Comedian Jerry Lewis, 56, undergoes open heart surgery at Desert Springs Hospital.

Dec. 22, 1919: Spanish-American War hero and former Alabama Congressman Richmond Hobson speaks here for the Anti-Saloon League of America, urging “strict enforcement of the prohibition laws.”

Dec. 23, 1933: At the state prison auto plate factory, 25 prisoners are industriously working to make the 24,780 license plates needed in Nevada for 1934.

Dec. 24, 1992: On the day before Christmas, Opportunity Village, which “provides training and programs for the developmentally disabled,” is robbed of “several thousand dollars’ worth of televisions and furniture.”

Dec. 25, 1985: The two suspected murderers of Domino’s Pizza employees in California and South Carolina are arrested at the Steven Motel on Nellis Boulevard.

Dec 26, 1965: After allegedly threatening to smack his 14-year-old girlfriend with a lead pipe, Robert Shelby, 17, dies when she stabs him in the chest with a pocket-knife. His father tells reporters: “It’s been a lousy Christmas. Yesterday somebody hit my new car, and today my kid gets killed.”

Dec. 27, 1932: At the Silver State Market, cabbage is 1 cent per pound; T-bone steak, 35 cents a pound.

Dec. 28, 1965: Judy Garland’s 19-year-old daughter, Liza Minnelli, debuts at the Sahara Hotel.

Dec. 29, 1985: The newspaper reports that the underground “Star Wars X-ray laser blast” at the Nevada Test Site yesterday was 10 times greater than the explosion at Hiroshima.

Dec. 30, 1993: Nevada leads the nation in population growth, at 3.9 percent this year, with 1.4 million people now residing in the state.

Dec. 31, 1982: Siegfried and Roy’s Beyond Belief show is $24.50 per person at the Frontier Hotel.

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