Mary Kaye Trio: The Birth of the Las Vegas Lounge Scene

Here is one of the greatest untold stories from the golden age of the Las Vegas lounge scene!

Most people with an interest in this era of entertainment know all about Louis Prima and Keeley Smith. But the first group to play all night casino lounges was the Mary Kaye Trio. This clip is doubly historic, because the guitar Mary Kaye is playing here is the very first Fender Stratocaster, made in the Fender Custom Shop in 1954. More about Mary Kaye and another rare video clip after the jump…

Mary Kaye was descended from Queen Lili'uokalani, the last in the long line of Hawaiian royalty. She was a household name in the fifties, with a dozen records to her name.

Mary was playing the Frontier in Las Vegas in the early 50s, and noticed that the gambling floor cleared out after hours even though the casino was open all night. She suggested to the management that they put a stage in the corner of the room and let the trio perform into the wee small hours. Her simple idea turned Las Vegas from a tiny gambling oasis in the middle of the desert to a 24 hour a day party town.

Thanks, Mary!