Neon Vegas

Today’s Zippy, with Griffy and Claude at odds on sources of information:


The setting for all three panels is Neon Las Vegas in its heyday.

But first a brief note on the text, in particular the insulting slang N+N compound dirtball. Green’s Dictionary of Slang lists it as US for ‘a dirty or generally unpleasant person’ (the sense in #1), with first attestation in a 1974 novel by Victor Strasburger (and then in 1989 in a Carl Hiaasen novel). The appearance of its dirt- cousin dirtbag ‘general term of abuse’ (also originally US) is similarly recent: first attestation in Green from a slang compendium in 1967-68.

On to the settings of #1. The first panel depicts the Atomic Lounge on East Fremont St. in Las Vegas (near the downtown), which happens to be the subject of a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal today, about attacks on the blight on the street, in particular a planned renovation and reopening of the lounge:


(seen from the other side of the sign).

Then in the second panel we get the wonderful Sky Ranch Motel, also on East Fremont St.:


(This from the Daily Neon site.)

Finally, also from Daily Neon, Society Cleaners’ “neon sign with its signature top hat and cane, a reminder of a more elegant era”:


Some of the history:

In September 1946, Society Cleaners opened on the corner of 11th Street and Fremont at 1031 East Fremont Street. The Society Cleaners’ neon sign has been installed on Las Vegas Blvd. near the US-95  on ramps and part of the outdoor sign collection from the Neon Museum.

Yes, there’s a Neon Museum:

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, features signs from old casinos and other businesses displayed outdoors on over 6 acres … The museum is restoring the La Concha Motel lobby as its visitor center, which officially opened on October 27, 2012.

For many years, the Young Electric Sign Company stored many of these old signs in their “boneyard.” The signs were slowly being destroyed by exposure to the elements. The museum is slowly restoring the signs and placing them around the Fremont Street Experience.

On the FSE:

The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a pedestrian mall and attraction in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. The FSE occupies the westernmost 5 blocks of Fremont Street, including the area known for years as “Glitter Gulch,” and portions of some other adjacent streets.

The attraction is a barrel vault canopy, 90 ft (27 m) high at the peak and four blocks, or approximately 1,500 ft (460 m), in length.

I haven’t visited the Neon Museum or the FSE, but way back in 1965 I experienced some of these places in their original settings (hey, it was for a computer conference).

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