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When past meets present at a party

Dec 4, 2001 7:07 AM

Recently, a media colleague held a house-warming party in his new condo in the Regency Towers at the Las Vegas Country Club. Some may vaguely remember that the building once housed the biggest of the biggies in Vegas; names like Irwin Molasky, media titan Hank Greenspun and one of Vegas’ most powerful and well-respected founding fathers, Moe Dalitz.

A friend of mine’s mom was a caregiver to Mr. Dalitz in his later years and, thanks to her, I was granted permission to visit with him on occasion in the mid-80s before his death a few years later. I was astonished that I had to explain to several in the room why, when I visited Mr. Dalitz, who he was, as well as why, when I asked to have my photo taken on his balcony, the camera had to be pointing out towards Maryland Parkway and not in, towards his suite.

To give you an idea of how his name was revered in Vegas lore, when I was publicity director at the Tropicana in 1986, we changed the theme from the French, “Tiffany of the Strip” to the tropical “Island of Las Vegas” and held a gala, VIP-filled affair. Like most p-r people, my status, once the affair was underway, would be reflected in my seat at the table in the back of the room between the busboy and porter.

However, my seating arrangements drastically improved, after Mr. Dalitz’s invitational RSVP came back to the hotel executive offices with the note, “Health willing, I am looking forward to attending the grand opening with Don Usherson.”

At the time, in Vegas, perhaps only the name Ronald Reagan would have gotten me a better table.

A silk serigraph of the Las Vegas Strip on the host’s living room wall, done by artist Melanie Taylor Kent in 1985, brought back memories of a funny confrontation with a former public relations rep for Siegfried & Roy.

Among the many little marquees painted on the serigraph was the Frontier’s with the names of Siegfried & Roy and under them the title “Superstars of Magic” just as it looked in 1985.

A few years ago, after receiving a general press release regarding Siegfried & Roy’s show, I called the reps handling p-r for the magicians at the time and asked when it was that S & R stopped using the title “Superstars of Magic.”

The response was an emphatic, “They never used that title.”

I said yes they did, please check into it.

Two days later I called again and was told that everyone concerned was asked and Siegfried & Roy never used the title “Superstars of Magic.”

The fact that I had, in my grubby little paws, an old program from their show “Beyond Belief” at the Frontier with their names and the title “Superstars of Magic” across the top, meant nothing to the person on the other end, who didn’t even know they played the Frontier for almost a decade.

I soon found out that wasn’t all she didn’t know. When I told her I had the program, she barked, “Impossible, the Frontier doesn’t even have a showroom.” Oiy!

One of the dancers at the get-together reminded us of the time a few years ago that yours truly reviewed a show and called its dancers a bevy of talented little hoofers.

One of the dancers, I believe she was the line captain of the group, it was passed on to me, took great offense at being called a hoofer.

I assumed she just couldn’t spell and thought I meant heifers! (Don’t bother looking it up, it’s spelled right. Those are young cows that have not yet borne a calf.)

Turned out, she just hadn’t taken her profession seriously enough to learn a little about its history. At least not seriously enough to know that Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eleanor Powell, Juliet Prowse, Ann Miller, Mitzi Gaynor, The Nicholas Brothers, Ruby Keeler, Donald O’Connor, Gene Kelly, Ray Bolger, the Rockettes and all of the young ladies and gentlemen, who worked for Busby Berkeley, Flo Ziegfeld and June Taylor, were all”¦hoofers.