The 40-foot-tall neon cowpoke known as Vegas Vic is a hold-out from the rawboned days before Sin City started building Venetian canals and serving haute cuisine. True, his once booming voice is gone, his mechanical arm refuses to wave to players (and their kids) on Las Vegas’s glittering Fremont Street, and portions of his colorful outfit no longer light up. Yet Vic keeps on smiling, as if he’s betting that his luck will change any day now.
A BIG STAR
Vic has made cameos in more than a dozen movies, including The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Viva Las Vegas (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Casino (1995).
Construction crews trimmed several feet from Vic's cowboy hat in 1994 to make room for the Fremont Street Experience’s electric canopy.
A BRIGHT IDEA
The image of Vegas Vic first emerged in 1947 as part of a Wild West–theme tourism promotion by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. His neon likeness was erected four years later.
A MAN OF FEW WORDS
Vic began greeting passersby in 1955 with a "Howdy, pardner" drawl that he uttered every 15 minutes.
QUIET ON THE SET
Legend has it that Vic stopped talking in 1966 after noise complaints from actor Lee Marvin and others who were staying at the nearby Mint Hotel during filming of The Professionals. His voice was restored in the late ’80s, only to fall silent again in the early '90s.
Photography by Chip Simons
This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.
Vegas Vic is at 25 E. Fremont St. along the Fremont Street Experience. (702) 678-5600, www.vegasexperience.com.