Dancing with bots in 1981 Philly disco

So you think today’s Vegas clubs are crazy? Whatever.

I have an extravagant story to tell you about a 1981 nightclub run by Vegas TV star Jon Taffer — a nightclub that featured a UFO and a $400,000 disco robot from “Rocky IV.”

Here’s the story as told by “Bar Rescue’s” Taffer — who this weekend will host an “adult spring break” called “On The Rocks” on the Strip.

Taffer’s nightclub in Philadelphia, Pulsations, was a post-Studio 54 behemoth that held 3,500 people. The club’s main bar traveled across the room at a half-foot per minute. The club grossed $640,000 in its opening week ($1.6 million in 2012 dollars).

The club looked like this:

A 27-foot spaceship powered by 600 amps of electricity “flew” onto the club’s ceiling. Then the UFO doors opened while lights and fog billowed out, reminiscent of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The room shook from booming sounds.

“And this robot would roll into this room and look around and say, ‘Wow, check this place out.’ People would go (expletive) nuts,” Taffer says.

Pulsar the robot (800 pounds, and controlled by an operator with a remote in his pocket) then would find a woman in the club, and Pulsar’s forehead would send a light beam up and down her body.

“And he would say, ‘My sensors indicate a humanoid of the female gender. Prepare to be scanned,’ ” Taffer recalls.

For Pulsar’s finale, the robot said, “Let’s boogie.”

“He was an object, not a person, but people would stand in line to shake his hand,” Taffer says. “It was the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”

Taffer says the first time Pulsar appeared in the club, the robot operator was “crying like a baby,” and Taffer was tearing up too. Why?

“It was as close to a religious experience as I have ever had. And to this day, I have never seen technology make people cry like that did. It was (expletive) powerful.”

A few years later, producers of the Philly-set “Rocky IV” rented Pulsar so that Rocky could give the robot to brother-in-law Paulie as a present, while Pulsar sang “Happy Birthday, Paulie” during a terrible synthesizer-movie song.

These days, Taffer lives in Las Vegas with his wife, and he shoots some “Bar Rescue” episodes here.

He is promoting “On The Rocks,” which will give partyers access to 22 clubs (XS, Hakkasan, Tao, etc.) and eight pool parties (Marquee Dayclub, Wet Republic) Friday-Sunday ($117-$558 at OnTheRocksLasVegas.com).

Where is Pulsar now? Taffer says some guy in Pennsylvania bought him a long time ago.

“I’m told he does do promotional appearances.”

LEBRON, CONTINUED

So I guess I didn’t realize LeBron James has a fiancee, but her name is Savannah Brinson, and when she showed up at The Venetian’s dayclub Tao Beach for a bachelorette party Saturday, cocktailers held huge letters spelling out “QUEEN JAMES.”

Sunday night, “King James,” as he calls himself, continued his championship partying at Lavo nightclub after eating there and drinking Champagne.

Sometime this weekend, a fellow pro athlete — Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin — met James but slammed him on Twitter:

“Meeting @KingJames was as glorious as watching paint dry.lol … #Rude No biggie.”

And various sources sighted LeBron playing roulette at Wynn on Saturday and filming a commercial in a Wynn ballroom converted into a basketball court.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

Entertainment
Las Vegas Yard House margarita changes color in the glass
The cocktail, as made by lead bartender Taylor Cole at Town Square in Las Vegas, changes from deep blue to magenta because of a chemical reaction between its butterfly pea flowers and citrus agave. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Black History Month Festival
Las Vegas residents gathered on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd, to celebrate Black History Month. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
You Can Design With 3D Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum
You Can Design With 3d Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Champagne vending machine at Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas
One of only a few in the country, the Moët & Chandon machine at the Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas is stocked with Imperial Rose for Valentine’s Day. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas Valentine’s Day desserts
Mio Ogasawara of Sweets Raku and Rebecca Bills of Gen3 Hospitality in Las Vegas create elaborate Valentine’s Day desserts. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
One Night For One Drop
Cirque du Soleil cast and crew donate their time and talent to this year's "One Night For One Drop" performance at the "O" Theatre in the Bellagio. The event takes place March 8, 2019, and benefits the One Drop organization. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Chinese New Year Parade
Chinese New Year parade takes place on Fremont Street. (Bill Hughes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Manzo restaurant a key part of Eataly
Nicole Brisson, executive chef of Eataly, at Park MGM in Las Vegas, talks about new restaurant.
Designer Makes Festival-style Crowns
Designer at MAGIC trade show Makes Festival-style Crowns (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excalibur Raises tent that will house "Fuerza Bruta" show
Workers at Excalibur raised a tent, which will be the home of "Fuerza Bruta," a temporary show that will run from March 7 to September 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roc Boots Make For Glittery Festival Wear
With 3-inch-tall chunky heels, cleated platforms, and sparkly glitter, you’ll want to wear these to dance the night away. Sally Cull, product and development for Roc Boots Australia, assures you that you can. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get A Custom-painted Jacket At Las Vegas Fashion Event
On the first of the two-night Commotion event, clothing brands connected with consumers, offering shopping, giveaways and customization opportunities. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Venetian Celebrates The "Year Of The Pig"
The Venetian hosted dancers to celebrate the Chinese New Year and "Year of the Pig." The dancers performed a traditional eye-dotting ceremony and lion dance. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pepe the truffle-hunting dog
Jose Andres knows that quality black truffles can also be found in his native Spain. He’ll be sharing some with the world for a week, starting Monday. From Feb. 11-17, his Cosmopolitan restaurant Jaleo will be showcasing four special dishes made with Spanish truffles discovered by the truffle-hunting dogs of his friend Nacho Ramírez Monfort. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Abou-Ganim mixes drink at Libertine Social
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, helped change the cocktail culture in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masaharu Morimoto talks ramen in Las Vegas
Masaharu Morimoto talks about bringing a ramen restaurant to Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morimoto considering full-time Las Vegas ramen spot
Morimoto talks about a full-time ramen spot in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new home at Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign is working it's way to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has been moved to its permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new Las Vegas home
The famous and newly restored Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has moved to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas band Otherwise release song and video in tribute to slain cousin
Adrian and Ryan Patrick, brothers in the band Otherwise with drummer Brian Medeiros, talk about the release of a tribute song to their deceased cousin Ivan. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing