Sometimes an e-mail arrives that’s so well-written it just needs to be shared with readers. This is one! Karl
I probably know you, about you, or some members of my family in Reno know you. Our family has been in Reno since 1936, moving from Tonopah that year.
I worked at the Holiday Hotel in the Shore Room from 1964 to 1969 while I attended U of Nevada, starting as a 17-year-old busboy and getting promoted to waiter in later years until I graduated. I learned as much at the Holiday as I did at the University. I graduated from Manogue in 1964, yes our fiftieth is this year!
I remember our Holiday photographer’s name was Jeanie. As I recall in those days only official photographers were allowed in the casinos to take photos. The casinos didn’t want some people photographed, probably due in part that others would be amazed they were still alive! I do remember a few parties that looked like a casting call from the Sopranos.
Jeanie had busy and slow nights. But when Joe Conforte showed up with his girls a lot of photographs were taken. Ever the convivial customer, Joe made sure each busboy who merely filled a water glass was given free pass card to his ‘ranch.’ Now there was a guy who knew marketing!
[here an editorial note: the casinos in their heydays would not allow photographs anywhere. Should someone bring in a camera, it would be confiscated by security, the film removed, and the camera returned to the patron. The better-operated casinos, like Harrah’s, the Holiday, Harolds and the Nugget would process the film, remove anything they deemed inappropriate, and then return the prints that remained to the casino patron some days later. And now, we return to the e-mail!]
The best memory of the Holiday food is probably the Seafoodarama on Friday night. When I started there in 1964, it was $2.95 for the buffet, an entrée, and French pastries for desert and of course coffee or tea. The most popular entrée was broiled lobster tail, and you could also get lobster bisque on the buffet for your soup. Oysters Mornay, Kilpatrick and Rockefeller, cracked crab, lobster and shrimp salad and smoked herring were also on the buffet. My memories are still reasonable because I worked the buffet line many times. It was packed every Friday serving around 700 as I recall. Memories of the Holiday were brought back this week when I heard our chef, Michel Aurnague, had died.
When I left Reno in 1969 and told others of our ‘little’ town they were amazed at the celebrities who found there way there over the years. Monsignor Emmpy at St. Thomas knew Danny Thomas and Danny came to St. Thomas grade school and gave us a performance singing and telling some jokes. Monsignor apparently knew Danny from when he was an entertainer. But I can tell you as an altar boy for Monsignor Emmpy, there was nothing entertaining about him!
Happy memories. I enjoyed reading your article.
Michael R. Handy, CPA, RIA, MBA
Handy & Reagan, LLC
Feedback about my Sunday RGJ column