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Neon Museum to Restore Three Classic Flamingo Signs

by Ohio Digital News

Downtown’s Neon Museum is taking on the daunting task of restoring more Vegas casino signage.

This time, it’s three pieces from Flamingo, and our heart just skipped a beat. It’s not arrhythmia, we’re excited, just to be clear.

The three signs (sign parts, really) already reside at the Neon Museum. If you haven’t been there, you aren’t Vegas enough.

This isn’t one of the signs being restored, we just wanted to get your attention.

If you’re a fan of Las Vegas, you are no doubt among those smitten by the massive neon “plume” that currently adorns the Flamingo (photo above). It is arguably the greatest sign, of any kind, in the history of a town with many, many epic signs.

The three Flamingo sign parts being restored at the Neon Museum are elements of old-timey signs removed in days gone by.

Here’s how the Neon Museum describes which three signs are being refurbished: “The three Flamingo pieces being restored include the historic Flamingo pylon sign that dates to 1967 by Bill Clarke. Clarke was a designer for Ad-Art and led the efforts to transform the Las Vegas Strip by adding pylon signs to the skyline. In addition to the sign by Clarke, two feather ‘plume’ signs by Raul Rodriguez will be restored. Rodriguez was a renowned designer for parade floats–most notably known for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.”

You can piece together which signs are being rejuvenated by looking at photos of the folks paying for the restoration.

The donors footing the tab for the restorations are Emily Conner Cooper, wife of the late comedian Pat Cooper; Andrew Pascal, CEO of Playstudios and Felicia French, CEO of Opuzen. The plume below is one of the items being restored.

Left to right are Andrew Pascal, Felicia French, Emily Conner Cooper (bonus points for the Flamingo pink) and Neon Museum Executive Director Aaron Berger.

We’ve chatted with Aaron Burger for approximately 10 minutes, but really liked him despite the fact we tend to dislike everyone.

Opuzen is a fabric supplier for the interior design industry, and French was inspired to support the Neon Museum after speaking with one of the nonprofit’s Board of Trustee members, Roger Thomas.

If you don’t know who Roger Thomas was, he invented interiors. Before Roger Thomas, everything was literally outside because nobody could stand what the inside of things looked like. We all have Roger Thomas to thank for the fact we can all go inside now. He retired a few years ago, but is still an advisor to Wynn Design and Development.

If Andrew Pascal sounds familiar, that’s because he started his career as slot manager at Golden Nugget. At the time, the casino was owned by his uncle, Steve Wynn. Playstudios is the company behind myVEGAS.

Here’s another Flamingo sign part being restored.

Thank you for helping make the world a neonier place, Aaron Berger.

A final sign part is another element designed by the aforementioned Raul Rodriguez. It is so nice when artists who shape our experience of Las Vegas get their due. Like when they put the name of Charles Barnard on Vegas Vickie’s boot when she was restored and installed at Circa. Easter egg alert!

Here’s another plume that will soon get its groove back.

Thank you, Emily Conner Cooper. Your husband slayed. More brownie points for the sweet Flamingo brooch, a word we didn’t know was spelled that way until this very second.

Pat Cooper trivia: The comedian’s real name was Pasquale Vito Caputo. He was estranged from all the members of his biological family. He died in his Las Vegas home on June 6, 2023, at 93.

On a happier note, the Neon Museum will soon have three new pieces of Flamingo flair to spark memories of a Las Vegas some think is gone forever. You know, the one where wise guys whacked people with reckless abandon (outside city limits, of course) and used the f-word far more often than necessary and “skimmed” casino profits to avoid paying taxes, which come to think of it is hard to get too upset about given the fact so much tax money is used to fund sports facilities.

Because we are not capable of writing a story that just includes information from a news release, we also feel compelled to share the scoop we’ve heard that the Neon Museum is looking at a relocation to a better neighborhood. Unconfirmed, but circle back.

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