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June 1998 Article

Exclusively Found in the Insider Viewpoint of Las Vegas

Siegfried & Roy --
By: Frank Rosenthal

Just about equal to a Jack-Deuce-Nine with a limit bet on the line. I wasn't really playing "21," but it sure did turn out that way. The Stardust Hotel/Casino was preparing for their newest edition of the world famous production, "Lido de Paris." Donn Arden was the highly acclaimed director. The Lido had been the most spectacular running production extravaganza in the history of Nevada entertainment - perhaps the world. Exotic new costumes, imported ostrich feathers, all tied together with a dynamic state of the art stage and lighting display to compliment the finest trained dancers and showgirls ever to set foot on the American stage. Pre-production costs were approaching $10,000,000.00. An awful lot of wood going back into the 1970's. 

Now we needed a super attraction. Siegfried and Roy was my target. Their contract at the former MGM (now Bally's) was due to expire. An ambitious young man named Bernie Yuman, a bearded gofer, was a hang-around fixture of sorts. He seemed eager to accept any challenge within reasonable limits. Bernie was living on short street. Good gift of gab, an aggressive personality, certainly not the bashful type. I put him to the test, or perhaps to the task, that could capture lighting in a bottle. I offered Bernie five hundred bucks if he could arrange a meeting in my office with the two magicians. Bernie was excited. He had twenty minutes before the finale of the second show at the MGM and hit the front door of the Stardust at a dead run. Bernie gained an audience with Siegfried and Roy. 

He returned promptly and assured me that a meeting was set to take place in my office within 48 hours. He was excited, breathless and ready to collect the bounty. Marker down! I quickly sensed a feeling of compatibility during our preliminary discussions. Money was the easy part. I simply doubled their MGM salary and offered them a rock solid contract. Still a long way from a done deal. They requested an elaborate custom designed dressing room, space for lions, tigers and panthers. I was cautiously confident that I could satisfy their basic requests. One more hurdle and I've got a handshake and a potential blockbuster. My two talented artists and their company were requesting star billing. Since acts were never starred, just featured, this hurdle could become the deal breaker. LIDO de PARIS STARRING SIEGFRIED and ROY was no piece of cake to arrange. The billionaire Frenchman, Joseph Clerico owned the rights to the name and the production concept. 

The request posed an array of problems. Here it was – first and goal inside the 5 yard line and I'm up against Madame Bluebell and the entire French Connection who were totally opposed to Siegfried and Roy being starred. I knew we had a winner in the making, and offered my personal guarantee to Mr. Clerico that

the new Lido would surpass anything in the world including the Lido in Paris, the Paradis Latin, Casino de Paris, Folies Bergere and The Moulin Rouge – all very tough acts to follow.

Clerico cautiously gave me an amber colored light that would help seal the deal. Clerico's trust was the key factor. Lido de Paris, starring Siegfried and Roy was ready to be placed on the tallest marque in the state. It was a go. The rest is history. Marvelous reviews, the hottest ticket in town, everyone is jubilant, other than the MGM's President, Al Benedict and the Vice President, Bernie Rothkopf. They were asleep at the switch and by the time they woke up, the best show on earth was out of their Casino and down the street.

This was the steal of the decade, probably second only to the Brinks armored car robbery. The only difference was, one was legal, straight up and above board, the other was not. We didn't carry shotguns nor did we wear masks. The show had everything you might imagine. The entire hand picked cast was spectacular – did we ever pack them in. Generally, it was standing room only. The audiences were startled, enthusiastic and completely entertained. I watched the show virtually every night. I fantasized with them as we watched the most beautiful group of women ever assembled under one roof. The Casino no longer had to subsidize Lido de Paris. Siegfried and Roy were thrilled and genuinely euphoric when I presented them with a brand new sparkling silver Rolls Royce Corniche at the entrance to the Stardust Casino on behalf of our corporate jubilation. Our families became united. We've been friends ever since. 

The bearded gofer moved from Short Street to Wall Street projecting a confident swagger and positive hysteria. Young Bernie was on his way, laughing all the way to the bank with a mega-jackpot. Some guys never look back and Mr. Bernie Yuman became a notable power broker throughout the world of entertainment. Steve Wynn understood the enormous value of the two performers and the magnificence of their total package. When the opportunity presented itself, he quickly recaptured Siegfried, Roy and the bearded Apostle for The Mirage Hotel/Casino. Great catch, Steve! Remember, success will always be subjected to critical review. Even Microsoft wizard Bill Gates has his critics and that fellow, believe it or not, really can walk on water. I'm sure The Mirage has an Olympic size swimming pool just in case you may feel the need for a casual tune up. . . . Stay tuned.

Get on the right side of "LEFTY" by calling toll free 1-877-2CASINO, his talented sports team consultants will offer you a variety of packages containing "Lefty's" best plays on the Diamond, the Grid Iron, the Hardwood and the Ice. Baseball, Pigskin, Basketball and Hockey from the legendary expert on sports gambling. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED "When "Lefty" bets the betting establishment salutes." Surfers, step right up to and "Play to Win."

In the July 1998 issue of Insider Viewpoint magazine, read the real story of how Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb welcomed Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal to Las Vegas. Frontier Justice, promises, R.F. & B., compliments of the county . . .

Frank Rosenthal


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