EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY:
WITH LARRY GROSSMAN — LAS VEGAS (2007)
“Larry Grossman hosted the Las Vegas radio show ‘You Can Bet on It’ for 20 years. We owe Larry a deep debt of gratitude for entertaining us and making us all wiser.”
If I had to pick the very best and most accomplished interviewer on the subject of gambling and/or Las Vegas, my choice would be easy: Larry Grossman.
Larry hosted an afternoon radio show called “You Can Bet on It.” Radio might not seem like as big a deal nowadays, but back then before social media and the internet, Larry’s program was the best source of gambling information in Las Vegas (maybe anywhere, for that matter). His show was listened to by everyone connected to the Las Vegas gambling scene. I think it ran for around 20 years, before Larry finally retired around the time this photo was taken, in 2007. So, hosting five shows a week, that’s thousands of radio programs — and memories. For gambling aficionados, the interviews and guests and stories were/are as good as gold.
On his show, Larry interviewed anybody and everybody connected in any way to gambling, sports betting, poker, and the history of Las Vegas. As guests, he grilled everyone from the mayor to mob hitmen — politicians, poker players, and even pimps. His guest list was incredible. Larry had people on his show who wouldn’t talk to anyone else, but they opened up to Larry. That’s how respected he was.
Indeed, Larry was blessed with a rare gift to get the most out of the people he interviewed. Part of the reason was the show ran for a full hour, so he had time to dig deeper into fascinating subjects. Unfortunately, so much of media today is comprised of sound bites and memes. The attention span of most listeners and readers is short, and getting shorter. Larry’s show had depth because he was a deep thinker. That’s what made him so popular with this audience, and made him a “must listen” if you were part of the Las Vegas scene.
I appeared on Larry’s show as a guest on three occasions. But I learned much more just by listening, both when he was on the air and off, I most enjoyed spending time with him when the microphone was quiet. Larry was (and is) a very private person. He rarely called attention to himself in any way, instead preferring to let his guests and the topics be the stars of his shows. Still, I can’t help but fondly remember hiking with Larry at Red Rock Canyon and spending time as his home in Summerlin. That was a rare invite and a special place.
Speaking of Larry’s home, it is the greatest “man cave” I’ve ever seen. It’s better than any museum. Larry has drawers and file cabinets and walls and boxes and closets packed with memorabilia. I could spend hours with Larry giving his tour, telling amazing stories, and talking with him about the old days of Las Vegas. I could still listen to most of those interviews, which remain a time capsule and a treasure trove.
Las Vegas and the gambling scene suffered a loss when Larry decided to end his show and retire. Reasons included-hanging demographics. Shifts to social media. The devolution of substance for style. Maybe even some burnout. Nothing has replaced it, nor filled the void, Come to think of it, Larry’s shoes (and knowledge) are impossible to fill.
This photo was taken in 2007 inside a Las Vegas sportsbook. I haven’t seen or spoken to Larry in several years. I hope he reads this. Moreover, I hope he’s happy and doing well out of the spotlight and finds life just as interesting without the daily grind of being a public figure. Whatever and wherever, I think we owe Larry a deep debt of gratitude for entertaining us and making us all wiser.
Link: Larry Grossman’s book, You Can Bet on It.
Note: We held a garage sale recently and I’m going through lots of stuff, including old photographs which I’ll be sharing in the coming days and weeks. My philosophy is — a photo does no good tucked away in an album or stored inside a box. A great photo should be shared, especially when it tells a story. Quoting Rod Stewart, “every picture tells a story (don’t it?).” This is Day 4 of the project.