Monday, May 21, 2007

Vegas Vic at Pioneer Club

The back of this postcard states that this cowboy sign was the largest mechanical neon lighted sign in the world. The Howdy Podner of Las Vegas greeted visitors to the famous Pioneer Club, complete with 24 hour gaming and the comfortable cocktail lounge and saloon.

Information from Wikipedia:

Vegas Vic is the unofficial, yet most widely used name for the Las Vegas neon sign that resembles a cowboy. The sign was a departure in graphic design from typeface based neon signs, to a friendly and welcoming human form of a cowboy. His human like abilities of talking and waving his arm constituted an immediate acceptance as the unofficial welcoming sign reproduced thousand of times over the years and all over the world. It was constructed in 1951 and stood over the Pioneer Club on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, replacing a neon sign which simply read Pioneer Club accompanied by a cowboy hat.

The Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) built a 75-foot tall neon version of a sign used by the Chamber of Commerce in 1947, designed by Salt Lake City graphic artist Partrick Denner and consisting of a cowboy in blue jeans with a yellow-checked shirt and red bandanna. It was complete with a waving arm, a moving cigarette, and a recording of "howdy pardner!" every 15 minutes, by the then president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Maxwell Kelch.

The recording was turned off in 1966, when Lee Marvin, a guest at The Mint Hotel & Casino, complained that he was too loud. It was replaced in the 1980s, but as of 2006 no longer works. The arm stopped waving in 1991. When the Fremont Street Experience was under construction in 1994, part of his hat was cut off in construction to make room for the roof.

This postcard was mailed in 1954.

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