We couldn’t resist visiting the CineVegas Film Festival again yesterday and watching the film Where I Stand. The movie told the story of Hank Greenspun and was so much more than what I was expecting. I knew the Greenspun name as a publisher here in Las Vegas, but Hank’s influence was felt in so much more.
From Brooklyn, NY, Hank moved to Las Vegas after serving in WWII and became a publicist, working with Bugsey Siegel. Over the next couple of decades, Hank was involved in so much, including smuggling weapons to Palestine as part of the Haganah (the details of that are just amazing), starting his own newspaper with his famous “Where I Stand” column (one upping his competitor whose was titled “Where I Sit”), publicly opposing Senator Joe McCarthy, being the founder of Nevada’s first television station, offering free services to subscribers who were audited by the IRS, and negotiating the buying of several casinos for Howard Hughes, which helped clean up Las Vegas from the mob.
There’s more, but since I’m not an expert, read this excerpt of the New York Time’s 1989 obituary:
“Mr. Greenspun’s dealings with Mr. Hughes gave him a small place in the history of the Watergate affair. J. Anthony Lukas, author of ”Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years,” wrote that President Richard M. Nixon’s operatives planned a second burglary in addition to the famous one at the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel. The target was Mr. Greenspun’s safe at The Las Vegas Sun, which was believed to contain memos about dealings between Mr. Hughes and Bebe Rebozo, the former President’s close friend.” An audio tape is played in the movie of Nixon speaking of Greenspun and saying something like “Cris, everyone knows who Hank Greenspun is”.
Greenspun helped end the racial discrimination in Las Vegas (which I didn’t even know had existed). He was also very involved in trying to establish Middle East peace, but that was all a little bit above my head…You could tell he had friends in high places. Hank was very vocal on protecting citizens during the nuclear testing and the Yucca Mountain situation (again, another situation that I know little about). All while raising a family!
The director, Scott Goldstein, hopes to have national big screen distribution. This review of the movie doesn’t do it justice, but I think Hank is such an inspiration to us all (especially young people) that his story deserves to be shared.