Even in tragedy, a uniquely Las Vegas event to remember

Updated October 5, 2017 - 9:31 am

Sunday afternoon was just gorgeous in Las Vegas. Frank Marino’s estate was so perfectly bathed in sunlight it felt like a movie set.

It was, sort of.

Marino’s home, and his beautiful pool in the back yard, served as the setting for a U.K. TV series titled “Last Laugh in Vegas.” Nine British entertainment legends, long in the tooth but even longer in spirit, are preparing for the gig of a lifetime in our city. The five-episode series will air in March on the ITV network, the BBC’s chief rival.

The finale will be a live variety show to be performed Saturday night at Orleans Showroom. Acclaimed set designer Andy Walmsley is the U.S. producer of this effort, charged with wrangling the talent from over there and over here.

The entertainers are familiar names to anyone who grew up watching TV — in Britain. Comedy duo Cannon & Ball (Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball, known as the Abbott & Costello of Britain), piano virtuoso Bobby Crush (Britain’s Liberace), comics Bernie Clifton and Mick Miller, singer Kenny Lynch, 1960s pop phenom Jess Conrad (an Officer of the Order of the British Empire), actress/singer Anita Harris, and singer/comic Su Pollard.

The meet-and-greet at Marino’s manse was to introduce the Brits to a group of Las Vegas entertainers, who turned out in force. Those on hand included: Vegas entertainment royal couple Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes; super showman Earl Turner; Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie; Stratosphere headliners Jarrett & Raja; Piero’s songstress Pia Zadora; master magician Lance Burton; Anthony Cools of Paris Las Vegas; TV and film star Adrian Zmed (“T.J. Hooker,” “Dance Fever,” “Grease 2”) and popular Vegas singer Lyssa Baker; the singing couple Jasmine Trias and Ben Stone; Jennifer Romas, Gabriella Versace and Sabrina Stotts of “Sexxy” at Westgate; Delecia Dean, Soolin Deitchman and Abigail Sullivan of “Fantasy” at Luxor; Frankie Scinta of “The Scintas” at Plaza; my R-J columnist colleague the Ubiquitous Robin Leach; comic magician Mike Hammer of Four Queens; legendary impressionist Rich Little of the Tropicana; comedy icon Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell; Planet Hollywood magician Murray Sawchuck; “Absinthe” skating sensation Emily England; and former”Absinthe” and “O” artist Cadence Alexia.

All in the same place, at the same time. As former Mayor Oscar Goodman remarked, “Look at this group. We are really at the epicenter of the entertainment community right now.”

Marino, front man (er, woman) of “Divas Las Vegas” at the Linq Hotel and a Strip headliner for 32 years, prepped the place for an hour or so before the British contingent arrived. “We are putting our best foot forward,” said the man wearing a pair of $3,000 Versace leather sneakers. “It’s our only chance to do this.”

The crisscrossing conversations included this line from Allen, upon meeting Cannon & Ball: “You’re the Abbott & Costello of Britain? I’m the Marty Allen of the United States!” Meeting Scinta, pianist Crush talked of his fondness for Liberace.

“What was impressive about your Liberace is before he wore the capes and all that, he was a great, classical trainer,” Crush said. “He played so very well, even with all of those rings on his fingers getting in the way of it.”

“Hey, I always dig the bling,” said Scinta, himself a fine pianist and Las Vegas spokesman.

Walmsley had talked of running these nine folks around town Friday night, given an open tab on the Strip with many of Britain’s most famous entertainers. They hit Top Golf and some of the bars on Fremont East. They got suitably “pissed,” British for drunk, as they enjoyed a crash course in Vegas nightlife.

As Pollard said, “This city is very much like our Blackpool, which is the Las Vegas of Great Britain. But here, there is so much more of all of it here, isn’t there?” I answered with my favorite line about Las Vegas, from comic Rita Rudner: “Wherever you are from, Las Vegas is the opposite of there.”

As the sun set, Sawchuck performed some sleight-of-hand for Cannon & Ball, who also met Jarrett & Raja and were told the duo has been together for 20 years. “You’re babies!” Ball shot back. “We’ve been together 55!”

As the cameras recorded, Marino noticed the fabric band wrapped around my left wrist. “Always, with the wristbands,” he laughed. I told him I was wearing a Route 91 Harvest media pass, and that I’d planned to see the final night after his party. I said “I hope I make it there. We’re running late here.” Marino himself was hurrying to make his 9:30 p.m. showtime.

I never made it to Route 91. Marino did make his show.

The next time I spoke to Marino was Monday. I asked him how he was holding up after the events of Sunday turned from his terrific Las Vegas party to our something tragic and terrible.

“I was driving out of the showroom and I just couldn’t believe it. I sped out of my own hotel after my own show on the Strip,” he said. “It was just surreal. It’s the biggest tragedy I have seen in Las Vegas, ever, and here we are having these visitors from England, excited about this city, and to have this enormous tragedy.

“I just keep thinking, we need to show we are resilient, this is not normal, this never happens in Las Vegas.”

At the end of Marino’s event, the cameras kept rolling as we gathered for a group photo. With no provocation, the Brits sang the chorus of, “Viva Las Vegas!” They were so happy to be here. That footage needs to be saved. Viva Las Vegas, for all time, and especially for this time.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy And Clark County Schools
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Entertainment
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like