The Magic Behind the Signs!

Part 2

Emily Fellmer, Collections Manager


The Museum is gearing up for its 10th Anniversary at Siegfried & Roy’s Jungle Palace!

After delving into the wide array of venues at which Siegfried & Roy performed, we discovered that they crossed paths with AD Art Sign Company multiple times. Based out of Stockton, California, AD Art Signs designed signs for the Mirage, Stardust, and the Frontier Hotel and Casino -- all properties that would eventually be proudly heralding Siegfried & Roy’s shows.

Frontier SignThe Frontier Hotel and Casino sign was designed by Bill Clarke, the first Art Director for Ad Art. Prior to its fabrication, Charles Barnard, designer of the Mirage sign and himself an Art Director for Ad Art for more than two decades, created a scale model of the sign as a part of the pitch deck. (His model went on to win prizes at the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal.) When installed, it immediately became the tallest sign in the world -- standing high at 184 feet.

In 1981, Siegfried & Roy began to perform at the Frontier in Irvin and Kenneth Feld’s Show Beyond Belief: An Amazing Spectacular. This was their first full-length “family-friendly” show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Modern LED screen signs can display multiple messages in a short amount of time, but messages on attraction boards (like the one on the Frontier sign) had to be manually swapped out when shows or promotions changed.

Frontier Sign Photograph, 1986, Photograph, Courtesy of Russell Bruce Collection, The Neon Museum. 2017.004.029

SRSingingFor long-running residencies such as Beyond Belief, and later Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage, images became more permanent on signs along Las Vegas Boulevard. Barnard stated in The Magic Sign that the image of the famed performers was at the time believed to be the largest of its kind in the world! Although the display appears seamless, it was actually comprised of 3 separate vinyl pieces. And it endured, as Siegfried & Roy’s image was featured on the Mirage sign for the entire run of their show from around 1990-2003! 

Siegfried & Roy 'Sing-a-long' on Las Vegas Boulevard, Bernie Yuman, ca. 1990, Photograph, Courtesy of Robert Stoldal Family Collection.  The Neon Museum. 2022.025.049

As you can see in the map (from the Las Vegas Pocket Guide, c.1998) the Las Vegas Strip has one major curve, near Caesars Palace and Mirage. In order for both drivers and pedestrians to be able to view the sign from either direction, the Mirage sign pylon was strategically placed just south of its lagoon and north of Caesars Forum Shops. Its placement was challenging from an engineering perspective, as signs of this size tend to have a large footprint underground, housing electrical infrastructure and rebar Mapfor the structural integrity of the sign. Given the nearby water of the lagoon, the installation had to be meticulously planned, an effort that led to its successful placement.  

Map from the interior of Las Vegas Pocket Guide, c. 1998, Doreen Alvardo Collection.  2020.014.014

 Please join us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for The Museum’s 10th Anniversary Celebration at Siegfried & Roy’s Jungle Palace or one of the various lectures celebrating Las Vegas Architecture, Design and Culture during Duck Duck Shed!

Did you read the first installment of The Magic Behind the Signs? Click Here to view!

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