View from Funk & Wagnall’s porch

Jan 11, 2005 4:57 AM

Did you see the picture of Johnny Carson in the New York Post? He has a Pillsbury dough boy face. No matter, I called my old friend and asked to borrow his Carnack’s turban to share the future of Las Vegas with my loyal GamingToday readers. Don’t snicker, what you’re about to read comes from those in the know.

Now that it is a Boyd Gaming property, look for the Barbary Coast to be the next property to go. I keep being told that there is no way MGM Mirage, once the merger with Mandalay Resorts is completed, will keep an eyesore like Circus Circus standing. It will either be sold or imploded with my inside source telling me a quick sale is on the horizon.

The Riviera will be the next property ready for change. It’ll require a three-sided coin to figure out the next move: the Sahara, the Stardust, or the vacant property where the original El Rancho Vegas once stood.

Downtown is also being retrofitted with Barrick Gaming redoing its properties. However, all the grand old places are being reworked inside with business booming compared to Jackie Gaughn days.

Back to the Strip — what’s happening with Planet Aladdin? Nothing! No Paris Hilton, no television studio, no new theater. All I get is an eerie silence from the place and delayed announcements about its future.

Las Vegas will continue to be in the television forefront on every major cable channel with the Caesars Palace-based reality show the newest. There are still rumors that the Golden Nugget’s Casino might return ”¦ ouch! CSI and Las Vegas are rating successes so they’ll both be back next season, though little of each is actually shot here.

Las Vegas will continue to be "The Entertainment Capitol of the World," though much of the actual entertainment won’t come from a stage. It will be the hotels, themselves, the shopping, the restaurants and the other attractions.

The stages will find some new attraction starting with "Ká," the new eye candy show from Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand. Then there’s Barry Manilow at the Hilton, "Havana Nights" continuing at the Stardust, "Forever Plaid" at the Gold Coast and a slew of others trying to make it in our tough market.

I’m also delighted to report that Clint Holmes has returned to Harrah’s this week after his colon cancer scare. He’s been given an "all clear" by his doctor though he’ll have to cut back some of his high-energy show stuff for a couple more weeks.

Having already served seven months in Iraq, the Purple Foxes Marine Special Forces Helicopter Squadron based at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, is heading back to Iraq. On Saturday night, 20 members of the 38-member unit will be given a Las Vegas sendoff at the Stirling Club at Turnberry Place complete with local entertainers and catering by Charlie Palmer. Bill McKelvey, whose cousin is Purple Foxes lead pilot, Captain Philip Peache, and Stirling Club entertainment director Kelly Clinton, are hosting the event as a tribute to the efforts of the squadron, which rescued Jessica Lynch from behind enemy lines. Call 732-9700 for more information.

Remember the hoopla about Michael Flatley’s ("Lord of the Dance") local $25 million plus contract? Well, the 46 year-old dancer is back home in Chicago, according to renowned celebrity columnist Liz Smith, spending all his money on daily gym workouts! By the way, he never did receive the contract.

To Las Vegas Hilton visitors the "Wonders from Down Under" Aussie Angels are eight seductive beauties who attempt to turn up the heat in the hotel’s Shimmer Cabaret, but to those living down under the Aussie Angels is a series of books written by Margaret Clark about twins Meg and Mike Green, who help their parents run Animal Haven, a wildlife shelter!

The silence has been deafening since Wayne Newton’s 300 pound slab of granite was unveiled as the first $15,000 paid entry along the Walk of Stars on Las Vegas Boulevard three months ago. Supposedly, the for-profit Motion Picture Hall of Fame Foundation has approved 100 additional stars and is just awaiting the $15,000 fees for them with a token amount of each going to a Las Vegas homeless shelter.

If you drink and then drive, here’s a number to keep handy. It’s 456-7433 and it’s to Designated Drivers, Inc., a local firm that for $45 offers businesses and individuals sensible alternatives to impaired driving and DUI. It provides car and driver retrieval 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, year round in an effort to offset drunk driving statistics. By the way, they have a perfect driving record!