The Sands Hotel, Las Vegas
The Sands Hotel was a luxury destination on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s and '60s. In the Sands Copa Room you could see Frank Sinatra and other Rat Packers smoking Cuban cigars and hobnobbing.
The 1960 film "Ocean's Eleven" starred Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop -- regulars at the hotel -- and used the Sands as a key filming spot. The final shot shows them walking past the hotel, where a sign out front advertises their real performances.
Other regulars included Louis Armstrong, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole and Elvis Presley. Copa Girls shared the limelight, performing in thousands of dollars' worth of heavy costume and jewelry.
In 1996, the hotel's owner, Sheldon Adelson, announced plans to demolish the hotel. Adelson wanted to make room for a hotel that could compete with sprawling, thousand-roomed "mega-resorts" popping up on the Strip. The $1.5 billion Venetian Hotel that rose from the Sands' ashes traded headliners for architectural feats, including an indoor gondola area.
Taking advantage of the hotel's doomed fate, a "Con Air" film crew got permission to film an airplane crash-landing in the hotel's lobby in October 1996. A month later, an implosion finished the job. Video footage shows the blast taking out the Sands' iconic tower -- a 1964 vertical addition designed by architect Martin Stern that ignited the trend of upward building on the Strip.
Read on to learn about a natural landmark that didn't need man's help to crumble to the ground.