Las Vegas with Elvis


LAS VEGAS WITH ELVIS: WATCH THE VIDEO

 

I’ve spent quite a bit of time up and down the renowned Las Vegas Strip since not long after Bugsy Siegal bid his final farewell. I’ve stayed in some of its large hotels and have twice broadcast the arrival of the New Year from a crane high above the Strip, while hundreds of thousands of revelers jammed the street below. Those were odd and marvelous evenings. Why were the crowds suddenly beneath me just before the stroke of midnight and gone faster than a roll of quarters immediately after? Why was I dressed in a tuxedo, blowing in the wind, sending 10-second live shots to the nation for six hours? Why did viewers from coast-to-coast care enough to hear me say: “It’s 10:45 and no one is here…back to you.” Oh yeah, this

is Las Vegas, America’s entertainment icon. People are fascinated by the ever-changing Strip. Every time I’ve returned to the Strip it’s different than the time before. Old attractions have been imploded and new ones have arisen from their debris. Change is one of the few constants along the Strip. Another is Elvis. Although Elvis Presley has been dead for thirty-years, I bet he‘d recognize Las Vegas in an instant if he were to suddenly materialize. Although the physical appearance of Las Vegas has changed dramatically, the essence of the city Elvis epitomized and helped promote remains intact. No matter what, Las Vegas is always about the show, and Elvis was the consummate showman. Elvis and Vegas were meant for each other. Both were, in some ways literally, larger than life. It’s no wonder that there must be more Elvis impersonators per square foot in Las Vegas than anywhere else on earth. And so my favorite night ever along the Strip was spent cruising with the King, or at least the most official living Elvis of them all. Everybody honked, everybody waved and everybody expressed their devotion to the King. He responded with affection for the fans and the city he loved. We had a great and funny time and I saw the Strip more clearly than ever before as a neon-bathed, open-air stage where Elvis is still at home and everybody has a part in the show, especially on New Year’s Eve.

 



Video Music Credit: Kevin MacLeod (incompetech)

Elvis may not be in the house, but he is on the move. Since we roamed the Strip and its surrounds with the King’s terrific surrogate, Paul Casey, he’s toured and performed as Elvis all over the world. His show, “Elvis: The Musical,” has been a big hit. Paul’s also a fine performer in his own right. Singing not as Elvis, but as himself, he’s released a song, “Traveler,” which will be featured in a new movie, “Collier and Company,” due for release in the spring of 2007. Paul’s a great guy and a fabulous Elvis, and we wish them both our very best.

 




See the Strip from the backseat of a ’77 Caddy convertible, and ride back in time with the official Elvis of Las Vegas.
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