Liberace and Elvis – Day 70

Liberace and Elvis

Day 70 – June 9 – Monday

We spent the day in Las Vegas. Bozzie Jane was a little sick so we spent the morning at the Harmon Medical Clinic. She now has four prescriptions. We aren’t sure how this will affect the trip; we’ll take it as it comes.

We saw the Liberace Museum, Elvis-A-Rama, Bonanza Gift Shop, downtown Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience, and more. We cut the evening short when Bozzie began to fade.

We tried to go to the Hard Rock Cafe to eat, but they made it impossible to get a parking place there without paying way too much for valet parking. All we wanted was a hamburger.

As we hadn’t seen anything but the inside of a medical clinic and the barricaded parking lots of the Hard Rock, we wanted something quick, so we stopped when we spotted an In-N-Out Burger. The food was as good as it was in California, but the service was no better than the average fast food place because it was Vegas and packed. The lack of cleanliness in the restroom was not to be discussed. Not as bad as the Georgia Pig, but disgusting just the same.

I’ve always been partial to things called “Rama.” Elvis-A-Rama isn’t really rama-sized, but it is gigantic when you realize it is one man’s Elvis memorabilia collection. It was interesting to see. The museum certainly has a lot of things that aren’t on display at Graceland, because Elvis-A-Rama has the accumulation of the world’s largest collector of Elvis memorabilia. Chris Davidson, known as the “King of Elvis Memorabilia,” turned his 2,000-item hobby into a fantastic 3.5 million dollar display. Display after display of Elvis items greet you along the way. There are jumpsuits that Elvis wore on stage, guitars, cars, and much more. The music wall displays every commercially-released 45, EP and LP ever recorded by Elvis. There was a great display of all types of “Elvis stuff” — scarves with Elvis’ picture on them, billfolds, charm bracelets, notebooks, and all types of souvenirs. The autographed pair of blue suede shoes was really cool to see.

We were given a free Elvis A-Rama Museum “The King” teddy bear (probably because we paid full price and didn’t have the sense to use any of the zillions of discount coupons available all over town), and we saw Tom Bartlett as Elvis sing three songs. Bozzie had her photo taken with Tom. He had a good voice, and he was a nice guy, but he really needs work on his between songs patter. He was not as good as the guy in Key West.

Bonanza Gifts in Vegas claims to be the world’s largest gift shop, so we had to check it out. We immediately realized that The Shell Factory in Fort Myers is probably 100-times larger! We bought a deck of the Iraq “Most Wanted” playing cards. We met a really nice lady at the cash register; Brenda had just moved to Vegas from Florida. We asked if she ever has famous customers, and she said she recently met Tommy Smothers. She said he was very, very nice; he was buying things for his little 7 and 8 year olds. I was thinking Tommy was a little old to have 7 and 8 year-olds, but more power to him! After all, my grandparents were still having babies after I was born.

We went to the fabulous Liberace Museum. The museum features pianos, cars, costumes, and jewelry that established Liberace as “Mr. Showmanship.” Eighteen rare and antique pianos are on display in the Piano Gallery. Liberace also had exotic cars in which he made each stage entrance and exit. The Museum houses many of Liberace’s one-of-a-kind automobiles, including the “Stars and Stripes,” a hand-painted red, white, and blue Rolls-Royce convertible. Another Rolls-Royce is clad entirely in mirrored tiles and etched with a custom design of galloping horses. There’s a roadster covered in Austrian rhinestones, and much more. The only things more outlandish than his pianos and cars were his clothes and jewelry. Liberace was always kind of a joke to kids our age as we were into rock-and-roll and not piano music. But, Liberace was truly unique as a showman. To modify the lyrics of a Barbara Mandrell song, he was an outrageous showman before being an outrageous showman was cool.

We went to the first casino in Vegas, the El Cortez. It is in downtown Las Vegas. Ryan and his business partner, Rod Smith, won a lot of money playing blackjack at the El Cortez a few years back.

We saw “The Fremont Street Experience” light show in downtown Las Vegas. It has a decidedly different feel from the Las Vegas Strip. Part of the Fremont Street Experience is a Neon Museum of great neon signs from Vegas’ past. There are nice hotels and casinos in downtown Las Vegas as well as on The Strip. We were surprised to see so many people downtown. The laser light show wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was free. There were street entertainers that were free, and people giving away beads at various casinos, but we didn’t take any since we are bead-givers.

We saw many wedding chapels. The lowest was $29. Somehow I imagined that might be the fee before add-ons like air to breathe. Several wedding chapels advertised that people like Joan Collins got married there.

Every magician in Las Vegas had signs claiming to be magician of the year or magician of the century. Vegas overdoes just about everything, but that is part of the appeal, perhaps. But Liberace never exaggerated…nor did Elvis!

We went to The Rio to see their nightly Carnivale (Mardi Gras) Show where they throw beads. We didn’t catch any beads but we saw quite a few thrown. It was an enjoyable show.

Bozzie was feeling bad after eating some crackers she bought at the 7-11. There was nothing wrong with the crackers, just Bozzie. So, we headed back to the hotel.

We had room service at the Marriott for dinner. The Peach Cobbler was poor; chains rarely do dessert well.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Las Vegas Nevada — Liberace Museum — Elvis-A-Rama — Bonanza Gift Shop — Fremont Street Experience