[This is] the story of how the California Hotel grew from an unattractive property in a run-down section of Las Vegas to become the must-visit destination for Hawai'i gamblers, whose special relationship with the hotel was forged in its first decade of business--1975 to 1985. . . . [It's] told largely through the voice of John Blink, who was a witness to the powerful connection Sam Boyd created between the California Hotel and Hawai'i's gamblers. But it also includes personal recollections from people who worked in Hawai'i and the hotel. Together, they offer insights, memories, and opinions on what made the hotel an oasis of aloha in a depressed corner of Las Vegas. The early chapters, which provide the background and the events that led to the opening of the hotel in 1975, introduce the reader to Boyd and describe his growing mentorship of Blink. Subsequent chapters chronicle the California Hotel's shaky start and the business decisions that turned it into a profitable casino beyond everyone's dreams. They describe a place so popular that guests routinely say the best times to see old friends--sometimes the only times they ever see them--are at weddings, funerals, and at the California Hotel. --from the Introduction by Dennis M. Ogawa
Dennis M. Ogawa is professor in the Department of American Studies, University of Hawai'i. John M. Blink served in various executive positions at the California Hotel, including hotel manager, director of sales, and vice president of marketing.