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American Experience; Las Vegas: An Unconventional History


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American Experience
Las Vegas: An Unconventional History
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Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

Part 2: Well-heeled mobsters ,glamorous showgirls , fantastical mega-casinos, dazzling neon displays -- it's the world's most famous monument to reckless abandon and unbridled excess. From a dusty railroad town in the middle of nowhere, Las Vegas has grown into one of the world's premier tourist destinations. Once shunned as "Sin City" and considered beyond the pale of respectable society, Las Vegas, chameleonlike, has adapted its image to reflect the changing attitudes of the nation. In so doing, it has consistently anticipated the needs and desires of Americans, and then fulfilled them. It is a city that has understood, better than any other over the last century, what Americans wanted most when they ran away from home.

This American Experience series - produced to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the city - documents the often surprising and endlessly entertaining history of America's most outrageous playground. From filmmaker Stephen Ives ( Seabiscuit ,Reporting America at War ) and Emmy Award-winning writer Michelle Ferrari ( Seabiscuit ), Las Vegas: An Unconventional History has been named the official documentary of the city's year-long centennial celebration.



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Broadcast program

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Chicago: “American Experience; Las Vegas: An Unconventional History,” 11/01/2005, GBH Archives, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “American Experience; Las Vegas: An Unconventional History.” 11/01/2005. GBH Archives. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: American Experience; Las Vegas: An Unconventional History. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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