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Friday, September 22, 2017

Royal Flusher, Secret Agent 69 - In Search of the Sky Room

Welcome back to Flusherville, where the only jerks are on your heartstrings.

I have heartstrings. Little strings, attached to my heart. They end in a little round plastic ring.

When you pull on my heartstrings, and then let the ring go, I say "FLUSHIEPANTS LOVES YOUUUUU" Pull. "LET'S HAVE A PILLOW FIGHT!" Pull. "BE SAVVY! PLAY MAX COINS!" Pull. "PULL MY FINGER! NO, REALLY, PULL MY FINGER." Pull. "LET'S FIND THE FREMONT SKY ROOM!"

Like most older hotels, the Fremont Hotel and Casino in fabulous downtown Las Vegas (Home of the World's Biggest Cardboard Panhandling Sign!) was not built all in one go. It started small. And then they added on. And added on some more.

Did you know that the Fremont had a rooftop pool? (But... where???) That it had a revolving lounge, the Carnivale lounge? Wayne and Jerry Newton cut their teeth there. They also sang for money.

Did you know that the Fremont had a rooftop lounge called the Sky Room? Look closely.

These things piqued my interest. What happened to them all, particularly the very vintagey-named Sky Room?

In 1963, the Fremont expanded north, adding a 14 story tower, which included, I think, the Sky Room which disappeared before 1970. And I want to find it.

How it looks today on Google. You can see where the pool has been paved and turned into a parking garage. But the Sky Room... 
I was finishing up my Two Item Chinese Plate Gluttonizing act and was almost knocked into a tizzy by the foot long hot dog eating show in the Fremont food court when I remembered... the SKY ROOM!

I could just... hop in an elevator and... go looking. Couldn't I?

If I acted just like I was racing back to my room to go and get more money to gamble away in the casino... who would question that? They see that thousands of times a day, prolly.

The room key from the Cal was a very generic Boyd key. If in doubt, I could flash my key. Pretend I had a room. Pretend the key didn't work.

Who am I kidding, nobody would ever, ever........ believe that those plastic keys don't work sometimes.

I've taken elevators in hotels a million times. Gone up to visit friends in places I wasn't staying. But all of sudden, I had the tingly-winglies. A little rush of adrenalin, and heightened senses. I strolled back to the lobby and an elevator door opened. It happened to be attached to an elevator.

A couple of women were also headed up, and I decided to let them go. I wanted a car all to myself. After all, I was Royal Flusher. Secret Agent 69. I had to do things, you know, candle-stein like.

I pressed the up button, and in just a minute, there it was. Another elevator. With doors. I hopped in and pressed the highest number there was - for the 14th floor.
Sky Room, please.
I was okay for now, but as soon as those doors opened, as soon as I stepped out - I was somewhere that I did not belong. I hoped there weren't too many cameras watching a very suspicious and very full of cheap chinese food Agent 69.

The doors opened grinding and squeaking a bit, finishing with a thump. I looked quickly out into the hallway - nobody. Good.

I stepped out.

I picked a direction and walked all the way down to the end, acting confidently like I belonged there, after having suspiciously taken photos of the hallway just before. Who was I kidding? I was in enemy territory here, and any second I expected to feel a hand on my shoulder, the long arm of the Fremont 1st Security Battalion.

At the end of the hall was... a door. To the stairs.

I opened the door, and looked and it just looked like a fire escape with the stairs going down (big fucking surprise there) and also half a flight above. Anyway, I had a feeling I was too far down the hall for any Sky Room access - if it still existed. Maybe they made it into more rooms or something.

I turned around and walked, trying to weigh nothing, trying not to make a sound. To the elevator doors. Past the elevator doors.

And then, I spotted it!
Is this the way to the fabled Sky Room? Is just anyone allowed here?
A set of secret doors.

"A set of doors? Secret doors? In the Fremont hotel? On the top floor? Could it be that the fabled Sky Room, the end of Borehole-10X, and the Money Pit are located just behind them???"

I took a close look.

It was just an entryway to the staff supply area.

Down at the end of the hall, to my surprise, I found a small set of stairs leading down a few steps, and then the hallway turned. This had to be where the older tower joined up with the newer (if you consider 1960 'new') tower.

And, I found another set of doors. Behind which were stairs. Fire escape / access stairs. The stairs went down, gosh, just like stairs.

And, they went up.

Wouldn't the Sky Room had to have had fire escape access? The door at the top, leading from the Sky Room (if it existed), would probably be locked from inside.

And where was the main access to the Sky Room? The elevators surely would have been used to take patrons up there. Had they just - reprogrammed them or something at some point so that there was only service to the 14th floor, and not the Sky Room that I was almost certain was above?

To heck with it. I had to find out. I opened the door further...

And then I heard the elevator arrive.

Shit! I started walking purposefully toward the elevator.

A couple of people, people who had no idea that the fabled Sky Room might be just above their somewhat cramped hotel room, the hotel room with a styrofoam cooler with 3" of water and two cans of Budweiser in the bathroom, the hotel room with the new toilet roll sitting on the counter because the old one in the holder ran out and they are too goddamned lazy to even recharge their toilet roll holder with an emergency backup toilet roll, the hotel room with six more bags of take-out food containers than the tiny garbage can could hold piled on the floor, the hotel room with the open suitcase on the rickety folding stand that looked like a cherry bomb had gone off in, spraying the room with every piece of clothing it once held... walked the other way, and I punched the down button, having just missed my ride, and swearing to God, I would never, ever, write another run-on sentence.

Down to the lobby I went, and out into the casino.

I guess that was that. Or was it?

I knew there was a second set of elevators, right off the casino, closer to Fremont Street. I went for it.
Probably not the Sky Room, please.
Up on 10, I found another longish, very brown hallway.

Maid's cart. There was a maid's cart.

"A maid's cart? In the hallway of the 10th floor of the Fremont hotel? Could it be that a maid was nearby? Legend has it that such carts attract maids and their ilk."

I was done. I punched the button and flew the gravity express back down to the gambling den.

I didn't really want to give up. Damn. Then I thought maybe I could find someone who knew something about the fabled Sky Room. Maybe someone who worked here then was still on staff!

Doing a quick calculation, say they worked here in 1965, had to be 21 years old to do that, that was 52 years ago. I'm looking for a 73 year old (at least) usher. Not gonna happen, more than likely.

I spotted a security guard and started babbing about the Sky Room and had she ever heard of it? She had trouble understanding me.

"You ever hear of the Sky Room?"


"Sky Room? The old lounge? It was here in the 60s?"

"You thinking Binion. You want Binion."

"No, it was here. You see - "

"Binion! Lounge in Binion. Was the Mint. You go see, I think Binion."

We glared at each other.


"Bin. Yin."

I pulled my piPhone 3.14 out and did some lengthy searching while... she walked away. But then I found a photo, chased her down, and showed her.

"See, see the tower, here's the casino, and here, it says Sky Room! But you've never heard anything about it?"


"Well, OK. Right. Thanks."

She turned and took a couple of steps.

"Binnnn. Yinnnnn."

When I walked out of the Fremont, I felt defeated. Had it all be a crazy dream? Was I crazy? Why was every number ascribed to me for every guise I had ever assumed in life always 69???

But the answer was right there, right in front of me.

I looked up.

Dammit, that had to be it with the dark windows, up on top. And that higher part, that probably houses the elevator mechanism. Some day... I will find it! I will unlock the secrets of the F.S.R!

Shout out to The Bucket, master of being where he shouldn't in vintage Vegas hotels!

Coming soon: RAISE THE SKY ROOM!

Victor Mature as Royal Flusher
Diane Lane as The Quad Queen
Lady Gaga as Lala O'Bala
William H. Macy as Every Creepy Gambler Character There Is
Joe Pesci as Jiminy the Cricket Spilotro
Ernest Borgnine as The Drunk Slot Mechanic
Liam Neeson as A Barely In Control Panicked Gambler
Dwayne Johnson as The Poolside Eyebrow Trainer 
Fero Master of Balance as Himself

"There's Got To Be A Night Before" by The Maureen McGovern Spinning Plates on Sticks Wonder Choir
"Love Theme from Raise the Sky Room" by Lonnie Lo and the Golden Showers Love Orchestra


    1. Flusher, you are outdoing yourself this trip.

    2. Pretty sure Lonnie Lo was playing the Omaha Lounge one drunken night

    3. No. 69. Come in 69.
      The maid cart was your transportation to the sky room.
      You should have waited for the maid to appear, give her the secret code word (BOXCARS), and she would have tenderly tucked you away from sight in the cart, then rolled you right up to the sky room under the cover of darkness.
      Just remember, once you arrive, you may never go home.


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