Tag Archives: Caesar’s Palace

Of Old Boxers and Old Movies

12 Dec

My friends and I have some weird text conversations. We talk about all sorts of things, but we mostly try to stump each other on trivia. We consider ourselves experts in all knowledge that will only lead to fortune on a game show. The other night we had one such conversation. Hopefully, you can tell that the conversations can go in any direction.

It went, with slight edits, as follows. to help guide you through this high level conversation, my friend’s comments are in bold.

85 years ago the old Southern Conference became the SEC. There were 13 original members. Did you know Sewanee was one of them?

I knew that.

So was Tulane.

Georgia Tech also. I believe they dropped out in 64… when did Sewanee get out?


John Lennon was killed 37 years ago today.

That was yesterday.

Although, Archie Moore died on this day in 1998.

Correct. My bad. The Ole Mongoose was cornerman for Foreman when Ali stopped him in Zaire. Moore’s last fight was against a young Cassius Clay in 62.

He also played Jedediah in The Carpetbaggers, one of the all time great movies.

Yes, and was in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Sugar Ray Robinson was in a couple of Sinatra movies. Archie Moore also worked with James “Quick” Tillis, a Tulsa heavyweight who was a great boxer but not much heart. Tillis played in The Color Purple with Oprah. I flew in 81 to Chicago on a junket to see Tillis fight Mike “Hercules” Weaver for the WBA title. Tillis was named Sprint Tillis after the fight. He ran all night long. I saw better fights in the halls of high school.

Which boxer was in the Tony Rome movies?

Tillis’ daughter was an outstanding basketball player at Duke. Iciss Tillis.

I remember her.

Cassius Clay in 62 was in Requiem for a Heavyweight with Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

I didn’t know that.

Rocky Graziano was in Tony Rome.

I thought somebody else was in those movies.

Sugar Ray Robinson was in The Detective with Sinatra. LaMotta had a bit part in Graziano’s bio played by Paul Newman…

Sinatra got Joe Louis a job as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace.

Max Schmeling paid for his funeral.




One Night in Vegas

4 Sep

Crazy stuff happens in Las Vegas. Just ask Prince Harry or the guys from The Hangover. It’s a place where you expect the unexpected. It could be something tame like locking your keys in the car at Hoover Dam – with the car running. Or, it could be something crazy like, I don’t know, getting a bunch of women to visit your suite and play strip billiards. Whatever the case, it seems that everyone who goes to Vegas comes back with a story.

This is the story from my last visit.

As the cab took us to check in at The Mirage, the hotel with the erupting volcano in front of it, my girlfriend noticed the sign in front of Caesar’s Palace. Elton John was performing that week, and she wanted to go badly.

I never understood what a volcano had to do with a desert mirage.

After getting the room situated, we walked through the mall at Caesar’s and made our way to the box office. The Caesar’s mall is designed to look like the Roman Forum and is filled with fancy stores. Since the Roman Forum was outside, this mall is designed to look like its outside.

It never rains in the mall at Caesar’s Palace.

The lady at the box office said that the show was sold out, but we might have an opportunity to get in. The first three rows were reserved for high rollers, and they probably wouldn’t fill all of the seats. If we would come back a few minutes before the start of the show we could get a couple of those seats.

We went back to the box office ten minutes before showtime and got third row seats FOR FREE. We walked down there like we were somebody. If the people in the upper deck only knew. Anyway, the show was great. Elton John’s piano was right in front of us, and the stage wasn’t very tall. It was like seeing him in a piano bar. They showed cool videos with each song, and he explained what each one meant.

Then, the usher walked up and tapped me on the shoulder. I thought this is it. Some high roller decided that he wanted the tickets, and we were going to get kicked out. Instead, the usher said:

“During the next song, you need to go onstage.”


“During the next song, everyone in the first three rows gets to go onstage and dance.”

When the next song started, I grabbed my girlfriend and said, “Let’s go!”

“Where are we going?”

“Up there.”

Dozens of people danced around Elton’s piano as we danced to “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting“. The linked video shows a similar scene. I hung around the lead guitarist because I wanted to see what he was doing. Balloons fell around us as Elton played and sang. It was one of the coolest things ever.

Yep, it didn’t take long to get from “Light Blue 4” to the stage.

When we got back home, I told everybody about it. Some thought we made it up. Others thought it was cool. My more close-minded friends went another direction with stuff like:

“Did Elton get your number?”

“I bet they only invited guys up there.”

“I hope you stuck close to your girlfriend.”

You know, crap like that. I don’t care. I still thought it was great.

As we left the concert, my girlfriend and I were still talking about being onstage. We walked through the mall to get back to The Mirage and were not paying attention to where we were going. As we turned a corner, I literally ran into this guy.

Hey, what the fuck?

That’s right. After dancing around Elton John’s piano, I almost knocked over Ozzy Osbourne.

I didn’t get anyone to play strip billiards with me, but that was my best night in Las Vegas.