better to be leaving than arriving

This advertisement appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1961 and was reported in Time

FATHER CROWLEY’S LOSS IS YOUR GAIN. 1961 Mercedes-Benz 1905L, air-conditioned. This car is only 3 months old. Save $1,350.

image found here

The Rev. Richard Anthony Crowley, 51, has been reassigned by his bishop to a parish in Springfield, Ill., where a Roman Catholic priest might look a bit out of place in a $6,850, 105-m.p.h. white sports car with green leather upholstery. Last week the Vegas crowd threw Father Crowley a farewell party in the town’s flying saucer-shaped Convention Center.

Las Vegas convention centre (1959) found here

It began at 9 p.m. with an hour-long cocktail party and ended at 3:30 a.m., with the crowd singing God Bless America. In between, while klieg lights stabbed the desert sky, 9,000 guests milled and drank and watched an assortment of 64 entertainers ranging from acrobats and show girls to Stand-Up Comics Shecky Greene and Myron Cohen. The guest of honor, slight, grey-haired and merry as a grig, shook hands, soft-shoed with a bowler hat and sang Harrigan, That’s Me.

Myron Cohen and Phil Spector found here

Father Crowley won his popularity by ministering to show people and by strenuous relief work for the migrant farm workers who abound around Las Vegas. But what won him fame is the Mass that for the past three years he has been holding at 4:30 a.m. for around 500 show people, croupiers and early-bird tourists of the 24-hour town. Crowley held it each Sunday in the Stardust Hotel, which features the “Lido de Paris 1961 Revue,” with 13 bare-breasted girls. Such a broadminded willingness to bring religion to The Strip won him much gratitude: Wilbur Clark, owner of the Desert Inn Hotel, donated a $185,000 site near The Strip for a Catholic church, and an anonymous benefactor gave Father Crowley his Mercedes-Benz.

image found here

Yet does any man of God, though his intentions are good and his boons indisputable, have to seek sinners quite so flamboyantly? Nevada’s Catholic Bishop Robert J. Dwyer gave his answer when he advised Catholics to boycott places of such “filthy and immoral” entertainment. Crowley took it in his stride. Comparing last week’s sendoff “bash” with the modest welcoming reception planned for his successor, he ruefully noted: “It is evidently much better to be leaving Las Vegas than to be coming here.”

cartoon found here