Gaffey, Patrick Interview, 2016 August 19. OH-02805. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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i AN INTERVIEW WITH PATRICK GAFFEY An Oral History Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2016 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Stefani Evans Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Interviewers: Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Project Manager: Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea and the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE "With the [Las Vegas-Clark County] Library District, that was the public sector that had the nerve to take a chance." One cannot talk about the arts in Southern Nevada without speaking of Patrick Gaffey. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native moved to Las Vegas as a child and has served the local arts community in several roles nearly his entire adult life, retiring soon after this interview as cultural program supervisor for the Clark County Parks & Recreation Department. After earning his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, Gaffey married Cynthia Pearson in 1968. In 1981 he began working as a publicist for the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada, founding its acclaimed magazine, Arts Alive, and remaining with the organization through its several moves until 1991. In this interview, he speaks to the collaborative nature and long vision of the Southern Nevada arts and architecture community through the founding of Discovery Children's Museum and the v Neon Museum and of working with farsighted public entities—the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Clark County, the City of Las Vegas, and McCarran Airport. He alludes to demographic change when he discusses cultural programming and public art and the public and private officials and entities that support them. Gaffey is Exhibit A of Southern Nevada's vibrant arts community. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Patrick Gaffey August 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Preface…………………………………………………………………………………..………..iv Born Cincinnati, Ohio, 1946; Father room service waiter Cincinnati; Beverly Hills Hotel, California, ca. 1949, and Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, 1953. Lived on Vegas Drive with no utilities--Charleston Elementary School, Red Rock Elementary School, Hyde Park Junior High School, Western High School (1964), and Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English, University of Nevada [Reno]. Married Cynthia Pearson 1968. Jackie Mitchell, Sari Aizley, and Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada 1981-1991. Arts Alive magazine, Las Vegas Weekly. Heritage House and Variety Club at 3207 ½ Las Vegas Boulevard South, and Meadows Mall; competition with other arts organizations ………………………………………………………………………. 1–10 Robin Greenspun, DeeDee Nave, Discovery Children's Museum, Lied Foundation, and Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. Elizabeth Warren, the Preservation Association of Clark County, and the Neon Museum. Father, the Sands Hotel, and Joseph "Doc" Stacher; the iconic Sands Hotel sign; Tom Schoeman, Design Arts Committee of Allied Arts Council, Lady Luck Casino. Fifth Street Liquors sign, Nevada Motel sign, Thunderbird Hotel sign, Foxy's sign. City of Las Vegas, Nancy Deaner, and Neon Museum. McCarran International Airport, advertising, Airport Art Committee, and Vaquero by Luis Jiménez. Clark County director of aviation Bob Broadbent, airport remodel, Airport Art Committee ……………………………………………………. 10–19 George Tate on Las Vegas architecture 1987; McCarran airport redesign, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District building program, First Interstate Bank tower, and Clark County Government Center: aside from FIB tower, public sector became catalyst for architectural renaissance. Lamar Marchese and KNPR Radio; Pat Marchese, Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Las Vegas, Clark County Cultural Division of Parks and Recreation. Joan Lolmaugh, Winchester Cultural Center, changing demography, Irma Varela, folk traditions, Day of the Dead Festival, and cultural programming ……………………………………………………..……………...…………. 19–27 Redesign of Maryland Parkway corridor and public art. Public art, City of Las Vegas Public Art Committee, artist William Maxwell, Las Vegas City Hall art installation, and City of Las Vegas Maintenance & Operations. Clark County Commission, public art, and Maryland Parkway; Flamingo Arroyo Trail, Clark County Public Works, and public art. Developing local artists, artist Miguel Rodriguez, the economic recession ………………………………………..………. 27–37 Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, public art funding, Denise Duarte, and Michael Olgilvie. Giunchigliani, Maryland Parkway, and Zap Project: painted utility boxes as public art; Child Haven and Siegfried and Roy Park. BUNNYFiSH Studio and Maryland Parkway study. Winchester Center and Spanish-language theater: Stacy Mendoza, the "Vagina Monologues" in Spanish, and Mexican playwright, Humberto Robles ………………………………………. 37–48 Appendix--Excerpts from Arts Alive March/April 1987, July/August 1989……………..…. 49–60 vii 1 Good morning. This is Stefani Evans and Claytee White. It is August 19th, 2016. We are at the Winchester Cultural Center with the director, Patrick Gaffey. Pat, can you give us your first and last name and spell both, please? Patrick Gaffey; G-A-F-F, as in Frank, E-Y. Thank you. Can you tell us about your early life, where you were born and grew up; that kind of thing? My parents were both from Meriden, Connecticut. My father served in Europe and the Pacific in World War II and after the war my parents started moving west. My father had wanted to be a chef, but he didn't have the money to go to college and ended up as a waiter. So he got a job at a hotel in Cincinnati, [Ohio], and that's where I was born. When I was three he got a job at the Beverly Hills Hotel [California] in the room service department, which was pretty amazing. So we moved to Los Angeles, where we stayed for a year or less. Then they bought a house in Reseda, which is out in the [San Fernando] Valley, and that's where my younger brother was born; he was five and a half years younger than me. At this point I'm the only survivor of this small family. So my father worked at the Beverly Hills Hotel for, I don't know, three or four years; something like that. One waiter that he worked with was from Ireland, kind of a wild man by the name of Dave Sullivan. In 1952, the Sands Hotel opened in Las Vegas and Dave got a job here in the room service department. He then sent a letter to my father and said, "We thought we had the best room service job in the country. Wait till you see this!" So my parents came and visited Las Vegas, took a look at it, and decided to move. So when we moved here I was in the second grade. It's been interesting. The first school I ever went to in Reseda was Lemay Street School. I don't know if that was new at that time or not. But the 2 second school I went to was practically across the street from us; it was Newcastle School, and it was brand new. Then I came here and started in the middle of the year at what was then West Charleston School, which is now Wasden School, and it had just been opened a few months before. Then when Red Rock Elementary School opened, I went there. Then when Hyde Park Junior High School opened, I went there. And then when Western High School opened, I went there. So just one brand-new school after another. I graduated from high school in 1964 and at that time there was no UNLV; it was Nevada Southern and it consisted of three buildings. I had a journalism scholarship and UNR had a reputation as—actually, it wasn't UNR then; it was University of Nevada—it had a reputation for its journalism school. So I went there. But after a year I was disappointed in the journalism school and transferred to the English Department and I ended up with two degrees from UNR, a BA and an MA in English. CLAYTEE: So what was it about the journalism school that you weren't excited about? Maybe I would have liked it better if I had stayed and gone into some of the more advanced courses, but I only took one journalism course, which was required for the first two years, and it was just basic journalism. Part of it was they had to read Time magazine every week and take a quiz on it every week. I had already done two years of that at Western High School, and I thought, come on, let's do something interesting. Meanwhile, I kept looking at the courses that the university offered, and all the ones I was interested in were in the English Department. What were some of those courses that really excited you in the English Department? Literature, everything from Shakespeare to Beowulf. And how did you decide to come back to Las Vegas then? In Reno I met Cynthia Pearson, who was from Las Vegas, and we married in 1968. We stayed in 3 Reno for a few more years. Then we moved to San Diego where we lived for two years. And then my parents had separated. Actually, to go back, in 1957, my parents bought a house outside of town. It was out in the desert. There was one house right next door to us and then the next house was a mile away. We had our own well. We had no city power, sewer or anything. We had a generator. We started out with an emergency electric generator, which we tried to depend on. It clearly wasn't made for that. My father bought us a diesel generator that kind of seemed indestructible, but we proved that wasn't true by running it pretty much continually until the crankshaft broke. What area of the city was that? It was on the west side. It was on Vegas Drive. Near about what? Now it would be Vegas Drive and Torrey Pines, but there was no Torrey Pines at that time. So when you were in San Diego, what were you doing there? I was working for a record distribution company and Cynthia was working for the post office. So my mother was still living here in our old tiny, little house on Vegas Drive. She got sick and went into the hospital. So I came here to take care of her. By the time I got our belongings packed up and drove here, I got to the house and the hospital called and they said, "You've got to get down here right away." By the time I got to the hospital, she had died. So here I was. A few weeks later I was reading the newspaper and there was an article saying that Jacqueline Mitchell, whom Cynthia and I knew in Reno and who had moved back to New England, had just been appointed director of the Arts Council. I thought, jeez, Jacqueline Mitchell is in town. I should talk to her. I looked in the phone book and there wasn't anything listed as the Arts Council. So I started calling some people and finally they said, "Oh, it must 4 mean the state arts council." So I called Carson City and they said, "No, no, no, it's the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada." I wasn't working. I called up Jackie and said, "Hi, I can't believe you're in town." Pretty much her immediate reply was, "Do you have any spare time? We could use some help down here." So I started volunteering and then after a while she hired me as publicist. Then after a year... There were some wealthy and influential people on the board of Allied Arts Council, and there was a conflict between those people and the arts community. Jackie was forced to resign. She moved to San Francisco, where she still lives. Then the board hired Sari Aizley—S-A-R-I, A-I-Z-L-E-Y—as director, and I worked for her for a year. She resigned for another job. When I started working for Allied Arts, it was publishing a one-sheet calendar. I took that over and realized that it could be used to make the arts really seem important here. People always said, "There's nothing going on in Las Vegas." But if you looked at a calendar of all the arts events that were going on you started seeing there's quite a bit. Then I started reaching out and collecting more of what was going on. Then I started writing stories about the organizations and the artists and that turned into a magazine. It had become quite successful by the time Sari had left. So the board made me executive director. And what year was that? And what was the magazine? The magazine was Arts Alive. That was already the name of the calendar when I took it over. I started there in '81. I pretty much worked there '81 through '91. As the director? No, the first two years I was publicist and then eight years as director. 5 So that was '81. Then you became director in '83? Yes. After I left Allied Arts Council, I realized that this was the largest metropolitan area in the country that did not have an alternative news weekly. So I started working to see if I could create one. I spent a long time looking for a partner. I actually printed a sample issue, which I wrote and assembled myself and paid to get printed, and gave it out to people. One thing that did was give somebody else the idea and she started a newspaper and she had a lot of money. Also, someone else started a newspaper called Scope. I found a partner who was eager to do this. So by the time we started our paper we already had two competitors. We called the newspaper the Las Vegas Weekly and it ran for a year before we went broke. We sold virtually no advertising. It was a disaster. We shouldn't have kept going that long. After we shut it down, the Greenspuns by that time had bought Scope, which was not an attractive name. So when we went under, they picked up the name Las Vegas Weekly. Did they buy it from you? No. I went to an attorney and he explained that the copyright laws are constructed to encourage use of ideas, and if I intended to continue a publication at some time called Las Vegas Weekly, I could hold on to the name, but if I had no such intention, then I couldn't keep it. And I had no such intention, so that was the end of that. I want you to go back to the Allied Arts Council and tell me more about what it did, what it is or what it was. Allied Arts Council was created in November 1961, I believe, by three women, Lucille Spire Bruner, Mary Cady Johnson, and Vivian Woods. All three were painters, and Vivian was also a visual art critic. The same three women created around the same time the Las Vegas Art League, which gradually evolved into the Las Vegas Art Museum, which still exists today. I think they 6 also created the Nevada Watercolor Society, which still exists. The Allied Arts Council was created specifically so that it would create a calendar and list everybody's arts events in order to avoid scheduling conflicts between them. Of all the things Allied Arts Council ever attempted, that was the one thing it never could do, because every organization picks a date for their own reasons, and their own reasons are much more important than worrying about conflicting with somebody else's event. So they pretty much just ignored the fact that they were creating a conflict. But the calendar was useful. We sent it out to the newspapers, and for years we were able to get the newspapers to publish it besides distributing it ourselves. As I said, it finally developed into a magazine. And people loved the magazine and they loved... People who got their picture on the cover of magazine, it was really prestigious. So that was one big thing we did—the magazine itself. Before I came along, the main thing the organization did besides the calendar was the Allied Arts Festival. It did one at the opening of the Meadows Mall and then, when I came on, it was just doing the second one, which was also at the Meadows Mall; that was the last one it ever did. It wasn't an impressive event, and they just stopped doing it. When I started working there, Allied Arts was headquartered in a tract home on Eastern [Avenue] on the north side of Bonanza. It was an old house, and it seemed like every day I came to work, I'd open the door and there'd be a couple of dead roaches on the floor. That kind of made me wonder, if even the roaches couldn't even survive in there, what is the house going to do to us? One of our board member's husband was a Realtor and he donated that space to us. Then we moved to Heritage House on Seventh Street, which was the old P.J. Goumond house. P.J. Goumond was a casino owner. This was one of the classic downtown houses. We 7 finally had to move out of it because it was moved to the Clark County Museum, where it sits today. What was its address on Seventh Street, do you remember? [Ed. Note: The Goumond house was at 420 South Seventh Street.] [Pause] All the old Arts Alives are online at my-public-library-dot-com. It's sponsored by Henderson Library. Great. So you were at Heritage House until the house was moved. Right. Then we were desperate, and we put out the word that we were desperate and needed some help. A woman called from the Howard Hughes Corporation and asked whether we would be interested in moving into the old Variety Club on the Strip. You know what the Variety Club is? It was a club of entertainers who raised money for children with medical issues. Like Variety School. Variety School [was] started by them. The building was behind the Colonial House on the Strip, which Hughes also owned. It was an undistinguished, one-story building, but it had a beautiful black bar that stretched along the side of one wall, and it had lots of room. The roof had a bad leak. It also had a parquet dance floor; the leak was right over the dance floor, and the parquet had buckled. At that time the president of Allied Arts Council was Paul Burns, who was a history professor at UNLV. So he and I went over there to check it out. He looked at it and said, "No, I don't think we can handle this." And I said, "No, no, no, wait a minute." So we got some people to donate some labor and, actually, they restored the parquet beautifully; we got the roof fixed, and we moved in. So there was enough space, which we hadn't had at Heritage House; there was enough 8 space to put in an art gallery, which we did. This created an ongoing conflict in a way. We started the art gallery because up till then we had pretty much just been an informational office. People would come to us. If a new arts organization wanted to start up, we had 501(c)(3) status and we would act as an umbrella over a new organization until they got their own 501(c)(3). We would do a lot of administrative things like that. People who came to town and just wanted to know, is there any art around here? We would be able to steer them. But we had a problem raising money. We'd go to people and ask them for donations for the arts. "Well, what do you do?" "Well, we help other arts organizations." "Well, why shouldn't we just give our money to those organizations?" So when we had an art gallery, it became obvious finally that we actually were in the art business. And there really weren’t many art galleries presenting contemporary art and local artists. There had been some that had collapsed. The only other one was Donna Beam Gallery at UNLV. So we immediately became the two galleries that did that sort of thing and we did well with that. We didn't have any complaints there. But later as we began presenting other kinds of art, other arts organizations began to say, "Wait a minute; we created you and now you're competing with us." For instance, before I became director, the arts council had worked closely with Monk Montgomery and the Las Vegas Jazz Society. The Jazz Society presented Jazz Month every May, and we co-sponsored Jazz Month with them. Then Monk died in 1982, and very shortly the Jazz Society fell apart and didn't exist for about eight years. And so we carried on; we started doing Jazz Month. And when we did, I mean, we brought in in some really good musicians from Southern California, like Billy Higgins, the drummer, and Charlie Haden. I remember driving Billy around town trying to find some drums that had skin heads 9 instead of plastic heads. By that time everybody had gone to plastic. And Billy said, "No, I can't play on those." I finally took him to Mahoney's Drum Shop, and Mo said, "No, all we sell is plastic." But this was Billy Higgins, and Mo ended up lending him his personal drum set. Then we brought in James Newton, the flutist. We brought in some fantastic musicians and presented our own great musicians, such as Joe Williams, Carl Fontana, and so many other great players who weren’t stars. Eventually, as I say, some of the large organizations began to resent us. We could be really helpful and important to individual artists and we could be really helpful to small- and medium-size organizations, but there wasn't very much we could do for the large organizations. So as time went by some of them saw us more as competition rather than assistance, even though we were putting out all this publicity about what was happening in the arts. We stayed for—I don't know how long—maybe three years, four years in the Variety Club building. After we were there for about a year, the Colonial House was torn down and at that point we had strip frontage. So that was pretty cool. Do you know the address there? 3207 ½ Las Vegas Boulevard South. It was near the Sands. The day came when Hughes Corporation was ready to tear down the Variety Club. So we had to move and, again, we were desperate. But Meadows Mall gave us a space in the south annex of the mall, another storefront. So we created an art gallery there. We had so much help from so many people. Maureen Barrett donated enough money for us to really fix up the art gallery, and that is where we did the really great jazz concerts. We had movable walls, so we could have art hanging, and then when we wanted to do a concert, we could move everything out of the way. We did some classical concerts. We did all kinds of different things. 10 We were still in that location in '91, when there was a recession and the Allied Arts board became alarmed about our finances. By that time various people had various problems with me and the job I was doing and I ended up resigning. Within two years there was no arts council here. I had hired Scott Dickensheets to edit Arts Alive. So he kept it going for, I think, most of another year. So that was Allied Arts Council. But along the way we did some things that continued. One thing that I had not very much to do with at all was the creation of Discovery Children's Museum. Robin Greenspun was on our board, and she began working with Deedee Nave. Deedee Nave was on our board and she was also on the board of Junior League, and so those two boards got together and decided that we needed a children's museum in town, and so they started fundraising. Jan Jones, who was later mayor, she was part of this. There are lots of people who deserve credit here whom I can't name. They brought the Pickle Family Circus as a fundraiser here from San Francisco. Pickle Family Circus was a new kind of circus, no animals; it was all human performers. So it was pretty much a forerunner of Cirque du Soleil, but smaller and less spectacular, but it was kind of an omen of what was to come in Las Vegas. They put it in a county park, Paradise Park. So that was one way they raised money and then they started an annual dinner and used that to raise money. They got 501(c)(3) status for Discovery Children's Museum, set it up with a prestigious board, gave them all the money that they had raised, which was seventy-five thousand to a hundred thousand, somewhere around in there, the annual fundraiser, and sent Discovery off on its way. Discovery got a storefront donated in a mall out towards Green Valley and began setting up exhibits. Their original goal was to raise four million dollars for a building, and they never 11 came close to raising that. It was really difficult. But the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District was going to build a new headquarters library downtown. They went to Discovery and said, "If you would like, we'll build you a museum space attached to our library." So, of course, Discovery immediately agreed and that was the first real home of Discovery. It pretty much saved, I think, Discovery from collapse. The Lied Foundation donated much money, and Discovery became the Lied Discovery Museum for a few years. Great partnerships. Of course, Discovery still exists. Another thing that Allied Arts did was the Neon Museum. PACC, the Preservation Association of Clark County, had the idea that we needed a Neon Museum and we should preserve classic neon signs. The older ones were deteriorating, and they were watching some of them disappear, and they realized something should be done. They worked on the project for a few years, and they went to Clark County Museum out in Henderson. They got the museum to agree to set aside some space for an outdoor display of classic neon, but that's as far as PACC got. They never actually collected any signs or anything. They just had this agreement that they had the space they could use. But they ran out of steam. Elizabeth Warren was the president of PACC. She, of course, went on to get a Ph.D. in history at UNLV, and she's one of our most important local historians. She was our landlord at Heritage House; that's where I met her. PACC owned Heritage House. By the time we had moved into the Variety Club building, Liz was running Cultural Focus, a project of Allied Arts. She was talking to me one day and said, "Look, PACC has been working on this Neon Museum project and it's run out of steam. It's not going anywhere. And I think that it's the responsibility of 12 Allied Arts Council to make this happen." And I said, "Gee, thanks." But as I say, my father had worked at the Sands Hotel. When he went to work at the Sands, the hotel had only been open for a year. He was a room service waiter. But the hotel was still so new, it wasn't very well organized, and it still didn't have a captain of room service. Everybody thinks that the criminal syndicate that came here and built all the major casinos were Italians. I've been to at least two different restaurants in Las Vegas that offer Italian sandwiches that they named after Bugsy Siegel. Siegel, of course, was Jewish, as were all of the other people who came here in those early days. The Jewish syndicate sent Joseph "Doc" Stacher from New York to oversee the building of the Sands Hotel, and when it was finished he stayed and ran it. My father hadn't been there long, when one day he got an order to bring an iced tea to Doc Stacher out by the pool. He went out there, found him, and said, "Here is your tea, Mr. Stacher." Stacher was a dem and dose kind of New Yorker. He looked up at him suspiciously and says, "Yuse know me?" My father said, "Well, yes, Mr. Stacher, I used to wait on you at the Beverly Hills Hotel." "Oh." My father went back to his station to get the next order. He found a note there saying, "Report to the office." So he thought, oh, great, what now? So he goes up to the office. "I had a note; somebody up here wanted me." And they had to look around to find out who wanted him. Finally somebody said, "Oh, yeah, you're the new captain of room service." It's all relationships. Yes. So he worked there for about ten years. Then, when I was at Allied Arts Council, one day I got a call from the Sands Hotel, and they said—this was a few months before the conversation with Elizabeth Warren—the Sands called and said, "We're getting rid of our classic sign and we don't know what to do with it, and we thought we would offer it to Allied Arts Council." It was that sign that was grid of squares with the big "S" and the Sands. 13 Right. I said, "My God, yes, it's a hugely important sign, but we don't have any place to put it. I don't know what we could possibly do with it. We don't have any way to move it." So I said, "No, we can't take it." So it was destroyed. I eventually saw the "S" sitting in the Young Electric Sign Company boneyard by itself. I don't think that even exists anymore. I felt terrible about that. So when Liz Warren brought this up to me that pang of guilt kind of made me feel like maybe we did need to do something. So I went to the board and we created a Design Arts Committee of Allied Arts Council and we got the architect Tom Schoeman to head it up. We had all kinds of ideas of how a museum should be done. We spent a huge amount of time thinking about a location. We heard that they were building Summerlin and that they were going to have some lakes out there. So we thought about the possibility of putting the signs on an island in a lake so they would reflect off the water at night, and it would look like a mirage. We had all different kinds of ideas. Lady Luck Casino downtown was building a second- or third-story walkover from one building on one block to a building on another block, right across Second Street, which would block the view of the old post office building, which is one of our most beautiful landmarks. When I heard about that I went and talked to Tom Schoeman and said, "Tom, we've got to do something about this." I knew he had connections and could get to the right people. So he made an appointment with the owner of Lady Luck and we went down there and said, "This is awful; you can't do this." I mean, we were respectful when we realized that these plans had already gone a long way. Our fallback was, "If you absolutely have to do this, can't you make it 90 percent glass so people could at least see through it?" No, no, no, no, no, no. It 14 got built the way they were originally going to build it, but we tried. It was a period when you could see that a bunch of the old signs were going to disappear. So the first sign that we got...I went and talked to the people...Fifth Street Liquors was on Las Vegas Boulevard, which, of course, was originally Fifth Street. The store was halfway between Fremont and Charleston on the east side of the street. The man who built it had died and his two sons inherited it. It was no longer a liquor store. They told me that when their father had originally built it, everybody laughed at him and wondered why he was building a liquor store so far out of town. They had turned it into a store that sold all kinds of western gear. They were kind of recreationists; they did a lot of meet-ups where people would dress like pioneers and have outdoor campouts. I remember they had the world's largest frying pan for sale, cap and ball pistols, all this ancient stuff, bowie knives and so forth. I met with them several times, and they finally agreed to donate the sign to us. I said I couldn't guarantee that we were going to create the museum, but that if they gave it to us, we would make sure that eventually it would end up in some kind of a museum. We collected the first ten or twelve signs that were collected. One was, I think it was called the Nevada Motel. It was not very large, but a tall, narrow sign that had Vegas Vic on it. We saved that. We saved a wedding chapel sign from right near where Odyssey Records was at the time on the Strip. The big bullnose from the Golden Nugget, which was the big corner sign and the sign over the top of it, that was at Electric Sign Company and we asked if we could have it and they said yes. They still had it in their boneyard. I don't know where that is now. A lot of things went wrong. As I say, we ended up saving ten or twelve signs. We went to Ad Art Company. We wanted the original Thunderbird from the Thunderbird Hotel. We found out that Ad Art in their lot—I can't remember if it was in Sacramento or 15 Stockton—they had a Thunderbird. I think we eventually found out that it wasn't the main thunderbird,