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Cornero's Cuban Adventure
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:35 pm    Post subject: Cornero's Cuban Adventure Reply with quote

Undeterred by the successful anti-gambling campaign waged by California Attorney General Earl Warren which included raids on the Texas, Mount Baker, Tango and Rex gambling barges in the late '30s, Tony shifted his focus from the California coastline to the stylish Havana district of Vedado where his Montmartre generated an impressive source of revenue. Noted for its Streamline Modern interior and colorful 50 person extravaganzas "Medianoche en Paris" and "A New Dream of Carlyle," featuring Zenia and Carlisse Novo. Cornero's unacknowledged Cuban success places him among the great gaming operators having proved himself more versatile in attaining success than his better known New York and Chicago counterparts. Perhaps it is the historic bias of crime writers and historians who insist upon relegating all activities conducted west of Chicago second tier status if acknowledged at all that is to blame? Or maybe it was truly a lack of knowledge that led them to ignore Cornero's Nevada and later Cuban successes which included "Club Meadows and the Apache Hotel's Club Rex." After all it was Cornero who opened the first true casino in Las Vegas in 1931. His innovations included hiring a producer to present the "Meadows Revue,"and music played by a houseband "the Meadows Larks." It was at the Meadows the Gumm Sisters headed by young Frances Gumm honed the skills that were to garner legendary status in the movies under the name Judy Garland. It was also at the Apache hotel that the novel ideal of the elevator was introduced to Las Vegas.

These are but a few of Cornero's accomplishment's which were considerable when viewed collectively and yet even these don't cover the Montmartre. It has been written that the New York and Chiago families inexplicably locked the Los Angeles crime contingents out of Cuba but this like the fanciful tale of Las Vegas ring's hollow under close scrutiny. Situated on Calle P near 23rd, the Montmartre sat in the shadows a mere two blocks from the Hotel Nacional (21st and O) and the Hotel Capri (21st and N). Cornero placed the establishment on solid footing turning its operation over to young Wilbur Clark under the tutelage of Myer Lansky. The relationship between the two crime czars was anything but adversarial as Lansky called upon the services of Los Angeles architect Wayne McAllister to design the Havana Riviera before hiring Igor Polevitzky to complete the job. McAllister went on to design the Desert Inn, Fremont and Sands in Las Vegas. Again it was the Los Angeles based designer Albert Parvin who drew the assignment to furnish the Riviera's interior, a role which made Parvin-Dohrman Company a household name as is the case with Tony Cornero only in the latter's case it seems something of a slight.
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