On November 15, The Mob Museum celebrates Kefauver Day in honor of the Kefauver Committee hearing that took place in our building’s courtroom on that date in 1950. We’ve extended our evening hours to 10 p.m. for this year’s Kefauver Day, giving you additional time to experience the Museum. Kefauver Day is free for Nevada residents and buy-one-get-one for non-residents, thanks to sponsorship from Zappos.com.
The hearings, officially known as the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, came to be known as the Kefauver hearings after the committee’s chairman, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.
The Las Vegas Kefauver hearing – one of 27 held nationwide in 14 cities – commemorates a pivotal time in the national fight against organized crime as well as events that influenced the development of Las Vegas. Well-known Las Vegas residents who testified included Moe Sedway, manager of the Flamingo Hotel; Wilbur Clark, front man for the Desert Inn; and Clifford Jones, Nevada’s then lieutenant governor.
The public was entranced by the Kefauver hearings. They followed their revelations in newspapers and magazines, in the popular newsreels of the time, on the radio and, most of all, through the new technology of television. Some movie theaters installed televisions to bring the hearings to the public live. One researcher reported that daytime viewership grew 20 times higher in New York during the hearings — “that twice as many viewers watched the hearings as watched the 1950 World Series.”
The Kefauver hearings revealed extensive evidence of organized crime’s infiltration of American business and politics and inspired an array of law enforcement initiatives to bring down the Mob.