You’re no doubt familiar with Circus Circus. Amusement park. Inexplicably good steakhouse. Giant neon clown out front. It’s been a family favorite for the past 48 years.
The thing is, though, Circus Circus will have been open for 54 years next month, and those first five-plus years are the stuff of legend. Shocking, head-scratching, rarely-talked-about legend.
The early days when colorful Caesars Palace developer Jay Sarno was in charge were so wild that the fact that mobster and “Casino” inspiration Anthony Spilotro operated the Circus Circus gift shop barely cracks the top 10.
Back then, the casino floor was home to trained monkeys, the occasional live bear sitting at a blackjack table and a craps-shooting, slot-playing elephant named Tanya.