Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Good Bye To Another Las Vegas Icon


Yes, another icon of Las Vegas is going, this time it's a hotel/casino, The Mirage. Built by Vegas Mega Developer Steve Wynn back in the 90s, it was one of the 'new' hotels that helped to remake the face of Las Vegas. The hotel took two years to build and at the time was the most expensive hotel ever to be built, at a whopping $630 million dollars. It was the first of Las Vegas's Megaresorts. 

Along with the hotel, Steve Wynn hired Siegfried and Roy to be their in-house show.  A theater was built specifically for them and for 14 years they reigned supreme with their act of magic and wild animals. In November of 1996, at a cost of $15 million dollars, the casino opened The Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy. This was an animal habitat featuring white tigers, bengal tigers, lions, a snow leopard, a panther, and an elephant. Later a dolphin habitat was added to the attraction. The habitat received 500,000 visitors per year.

In recent years, a new magic star would be featured in the casino, the wonderful card magician Shin Lim. He is there now, and I assume he'll be there right up until July when the property closes mid-month. Shin Lim was winner of America's Got Talent as well as America's Got Talent Champions and other awards. His show of close-up magic has also featured mentalist Colin Cloud. 

The Mirage is owned by the Hard Rock Casino and will be torn down to make way for a new property, which expects to open some time in 2027. 

By all accounts, Las Vegas has shifted from a Grand Show town with Gambling to a Sports town. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Other Houdini Grave

photo from LIFE magazine
For many of my fellow magic & Houdini fans, our initial exposure to the are was through a movie by actor Tony Curtis called simply, HOUDINI. Though, the actual Harry Houdini died back in 1926, the loss of Mr. Curtis in 2010 was truly like loosing Houdini all over again.

Tony's real name was Bernard Schwartz and he was born on June 3, 1925. His parents were from Hungary and I can't help but wonder how interesting it would have been if the real Houdini had bumped into or even known the Schwartz family at some point.

Tony got into acting after a stint in the Navy during WWII. He made many classic movies, among them: Some Like It Hot with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, Spartacus with Kirk Douglas, and of course my favorite HOUDINI which he made in 1953 with his wife Janet Leigh.

Tony retained an interest in magic after making the fictional movie on Houdini's life. He appeared on a number of TV Magic Specials, among them NBC's Stars of Magic in which he performed a Costume Trunk Illusion, HBO World's Greatest Escape Artist in which he was the host,  and I believe he also did some hosting work with Dean Gunnarson during an underwater escape performed by Gunnarson. About a year or so before he passed away, Tony did an interview with Dodd Vickers of The Magic Newswire which can be heard here

This Houdini movie was one of the inspirations for my career as a magician, and Tony also was instrumental in another area of my life. Besides acting, he was an artist, a painter. Seeing some of his work, along with the works of Red Skelton and Anthony Quinn in an art gallery years ago, rekindled my interest in art and specifically painting. I figured if the famous could have a career in entertainment and also paint, then so could I! Some of his artwork can be found on his website, but a search on the internet will reveal quite a broad look at his many paintings.

Tony died on September 29th, 2010 and is buried in the Palm Eastern Memorial Park in 7600 S. Eastern Ave. Las Vegas, NV. Plot: Legacy, Space PG10, Row 3

Place a Stone:

If you cannot be there in person and wish to show your respect, you are welcome to mail a small stone. Your stone will be personally placed on Tony's marker by his wife, Jill. In the Jewish Faith, stones are placed to show that someone visited and that their love is as enduring as a rock.

Stones can be mailed to:

Jill Curtis
2598 Forest City Drive
Henderson, NV 89052

photo used with permission of Jill Curtis & Curtis Enterprises