Debunking Vegas Myths: Howard Hughes’ Real Reason for Buying the Silver Slipper Revealed

Vegas Myths Busted series recounts the continuation of debunking myths related to Las Vegas. The updated article from May 1, 2023, covers the myth surrounding Howard Hughes’ purchase of Las Vegas casino hotels, particularly the Silver Slipper and its giant, rotating shoe sign. The myth suggests that Hughes was unable to sleep due to the brightness of the shoe, prompting him to purchase the casino hotel and dim the lights himself.

The article delves into the history of the Silver Slipper sign, designed by Jack Larsen Sr., and its installation in the 1950s. It also addresses Hughes’ alleged annoyance at the sign’s brightness, as well as the various versions of the myth that have appeared in books and publications.

However, the article highlights four key problems with this myth, including conflicting dates and the fact that the Silver Slipper was not the first casino hotel that Hughes purchased. It is stated that the myth came from a retracted Las Vegas Review-Journal report, which led to various misconceptions about Hughes’ actions.

The article then reveals the truth behind Hughes’ acquisition of the Silver Slipper and other Vegas hotels, which stemmed from a dispute with the Desert Inn where he was staying. The Desert Inn’s owners urged Hughes to leave, leading to the eventual purchase of the hotel and the start of his buying spree. The article also mentions that Hughes’ top aide, Robert Maheu, had suggested purchasing the Desert Inn as a solution to the conflict.

The article concludes by dispelling additional myths about the Silver Slipper sign, including the rumor that Hughes ordered concrete to be poured into the rotation mechanism. It is clarified that the sign was eventually retired and restored, becoming a part of the Neon Museum’s collection.

Readers are encouraged to look forward to new entries in the Vegas Myths Busted series every Monday on and to visit to read previously debunked Vegas myths. Suggestions for new myths to be debunked are also welcomed.