Casino pioneer Jackie Gaughan in 1965, in front of his El Cortez Hotel and Casino
The name Jackie Gaughan may not be familiar to as many people as it should.
So, please allow me to take some time to tell you why this man was important, and so beloved, by so many, for so long.
Mr. Gaughan was one of the last surviving of Las Vegas’ early pioneers. He was cast in the same mold as his iconic contemporaries — including Benny Binion, Bill Harrah, and Sam Boyd — all legends who embodied the casinos they built along with the reputations they earned and established over decades of changes within Las Vegas and the gambling industry, earning universal respect and admiration.
I just learned Mr. Gaughan passed away last night. He was 93.
I was just about to turn in for the night and go to bed when I saw the sad news that Pete Seeger had passed away. He was 94.
Wow, what a life.
Please do yourself a favor, where ever you are. No matter what your political beliefs. No matter whether or not you know this man’s name or not, or understood what songs he sang or what he stood for.
We owe him a moment of our time today, and I beg you to give it to him. Take a few minutes to learn something about him, or listen to one of his songs (Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Turn, Turn, Turn, We Shall Overcome, to name a few), or watch a video on YouTube and learn more about the things he believed in.
I can’t imagine a man who lived as full a life as Pete Seeger. I can’t envision a greater joy than giving and sharing his soul, as he did for nearly a century. I can’t fathom that on the very night after the evening that was to honor music, one of the pioneers of American music and spirit is no longer with us.
This land is your land, Pete Seeger. This land is my land, too.
Thanks to you and your music, this land was made for you and me. [See Footnote]
If you don’t know that name, you’re not alone. I didn’t know it either.
But I do remember her most memorable film role, in what was (and remains) one of the most groundbreaking movies ever made. The name of that film is Imitation of Life.
This movie has special meaning to me, because it was one of my mother’s favorite films. We watched it together when I was young, and it made quite an impression. This isn’t to say it’s a movie for children. It’s not. In fact, it’s a very sad and troubling movie, which was way ahead of its time.