April 2010
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Classic sign deathwatch

I’m saddened to think that I may have seen this sign on the Las Vegas Strip for the last time.

It’s the end of an era really. The Tropicana has, as far as I know, the last remaining good old-fashioned letterboard sign on the Strip.

And while it appears they don’t have as much to say these days since the titty show finished, it’s still a classic sign.

There is still one of these at the back of the Riviera, but it’s way behind on Paradise Road. There’s another at Bill’s which is a Strip casino but the sign is far enough along Flamingo Road that it doesn’t really count. If you were driving from one end of the Strip to the other you probably wouldn’t even notice it.

I’m by no means an old timer but in the ten years I’ve been coming to Las Vegas I’ve seen quite a lot of these signs bite the dust.

The imploded Stardust, New Frontier and Westward Ho are still basically just rubble, but I can’t imagine either of the projects planned for these sites having anything so awesome as this or this, if they ever actually get built.

Caesars and Bally’s both had splendid old-fashioned signs that have been replaced by, basically, big TV screens.

They’re cool enough but I still kinda like the old style and it’s a shame there’s going to be none left.

There’s just something magical about knowing a guy with a ladder climbed all the way up there to spell out Gladys Knight’s name (or even just to let you know they have clean rooms).  It certainly beats watching adverts for Elton John and Jerry Seinfeld on perma-loop.

This is what’s happening to the other sign, just round the corner on Tropicana Ave.  A billboard and a video screen,and no doubt it’s going to be topped off with some representation of the Trop’s dreadfully indifferent new logo.