Vegas puts you in a time machine

The CBS series Vegashas two top actors,

From "Vegas" Ralph Lamb and Taylor Handley, photo by Margie Barron

and Michael Chiklis, along with a stellar supporting cast. But the real star of the show is the setting of Las Vegas in the early 1960s, when the desert town was about to turn into Sin City.

The set of CBS' Vegas, photo credit Robert Voets/CBS

The show is based on the life of the legendary Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb, and some of the nefarious mob characters who set up shop in town during the ’60s. Quaid plays Sheriff Lamb, who brought law and order to Las Vegas during that boomtown era.

The production has built Vegas sets in the Santa Clarita Valley, outside of Los Angeles, to recreate the iconic images of downtown Fremont Street. It shows the way it looked in the ’60s, with the Golden Nugget and other original casinos.

Lamb is still around and actually went to the set to watch the show filming. The sheriff declared, “Yep, that’s the way it was. And he (Quaid) plays me real good.”

Quaid has enjoyed talking with Lamb and said, “I just try to capture Ralph’s spirit and try to be respectful. Ralph Lamb is a very interesting character who has had quite a life. That was part of the attraction to play this role. He is a fourth-generation rancher and was part of the landscape before all this happened.”

The show plays out during the early days when outside forces came to town. Quaid said it was sort of an invasion with the mob trying to take over, and the locals tried to keep as much control as they could. “Ralph had a lot to do with shaping Vegas.”

Quaid has a fondness for playing real life characters in various productions, and he’s glad that Lamb has been around. “It saves on the research for a role as far as coming up with the character because he’s already there. It’s wonderful to be able to tap that resource.”

From "Vegas" Ralph Lamb and Taylor Handley, photo by Margie Barron

Vegas has a great supporting cast that includes Jason O’Mara, Carrie Anne Moss, Sarah Jones and Taylor Handley. All say the set is an authentic replica of Fremont Street, the start of the Vegas Strip. And it puts you in a time machine and takes you back 40 years in Vegas time.

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Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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