Most folks are just like me when they visit Las Vegas...lazy. Once you arrive you don't want to worry yourself too much with additional plans or reservations, you just want to find that "World's Largest Souvenir Shop" and spend hours selecting gag gifts and a new desk clock with dice for numbers. Well, I've learned that vacation is better when you travel with someone like my friend Jason. While the rest of us were relaxing he didn't mind hunting down phone numbers, making maps and scheduling private tours. That's what you have to do if you want to get inside the YESCO Las Vegas neon sign graveyard, a dirt lot just a couple miles from the old Vegas strip which is home to dozens of historical signs that have been discarded for various reasons. You may recognize it from movies like Mars Attacks and National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation.
A search at Wikipedia revealed this.. Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) is the oldest and largest producer of electric signs in Las Vegas, Nevada. YESCO has designed and produced many of the signs which have helped define the Las Vegas Strip. Their 'neon sign graveyard' stores signs from the city's past. Many of the signs are being restored and will be displayed in the neon museum.
We made our rendezvous with the tour guides outside a chain link fence over which giant eyes peeked back at us. I found it odd that the company would go out of their way to give tours, though they did require a minimum number of guests. (We didn't meet the minimum so some of us paid double.) An enthusiastic and knowledgeable young couple showed us the whole shebang of signs while filling our heads with back stories and answering our most ludicrous questions. Unfortunately, I can't remember much of their lecture but I thought I'd share a dozen of the snapshots I took during our unforgettable visit. They enlarge when you click 'em.
Does the chef's hat indicate that the Colonel actually got up from his white wicker chair for once and made a batch of chicken?
I must admit that I take great joy in the fact that the stupid fools at the Treasure Island resort and casino decided to downplay the whole "pirate thing" in favor of a more sexed-up image mere months before the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie created a national swashbuckling craze. Pictured above is the skull that used to adorn their once-cool sign. They even changed the name from Treasure Island to the more sultry TI and they swapped the hourly pirate ship stunt show for the insulting Sirens of TI festival of bad innuendos (well, that's what I call it). I hope some group of marketing wizards lost their jobs.
I hope you enjoyed the photos. This post was brought to you in part by the letter...