Truth in Advertising?
This is not the most artistic photograph I have ever made, but I left it pretty much unaltered strictly for illustrative purposes. All of my life I have “seen” the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on television, print advertising, newspapers, magazines, and now the internet. Today I saw the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign with my own two eyes; and, boy, was I ever disappointed. This was an instance where size really does matter.
My brain had always interpreted this sign as a monstrosity secured to the wall of some oversized casino attached to an extremely upscale hotel. No. It is a 25′ miniature located in the median on Las Vegas Boulevard South. This picture gives you a sense of the sign’s scale. It is practically dwarfed by the billboard beside it. And it is a tourist destination. I don’t have a problem with that one. But, really? Who wants to stand in line (!) to get their picture taken with a sign…in the middle of a busy street?
The Las Vegas Sign
I had read up a little on the Las Vegas sign before we went on our bus tour of the city today, so when the tour guide mentioned that a lady name Betty Willis designed the sign but never had it copyrighted I was not surprised. When she brought this fact up I spoke up with “If a man had created that sign, it would have been copyrighted years ago.” “So you are saying that men are more greedy than women?” “Yep, pretty much.” But, Betty Willis considered the sign her gift to the city and requested that its design remain public domain.
What I find most interesting about this sign is that it is simple and, by Las Vegas standards, humble. It has some neon. It has some flashing lights, but those are just ornaments to the message the sign displays. Most Las Vegas signs are over-the-top glitz or electronic advertisements of what lies within. This sign does none of that. It is just a simple welcome to a human free-for-all that lies behind it.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, or a city by its sign.