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Classic Vegas Golden Goose back on Fremont Street

In 1975, the Golden Goose first roosted atop her namesake casino on Fremont Street.

She remained on her perch for 43 years before her nest was imploded to make room for Circa, which is under construction.

Now, spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and a literal “fun” button, she’s back where she belongs on Fremont Street.

Through 1978, Young Electric Sign Co. employee Charlie Rundquist regularly climbed atop the small slot machine casino, over the lettering that offered free long-distance telephone calls, to change the Goose’s lightbulbs and repair her neon.

“I served all the signs on Fremont Street,” the 63-year-old Rundquist remembers. “Most of the other signs were standard. The Golden Goose was an artsy sign and it rotated. I thought it was cartoonish. You don’t see that very often.”

The casino shuttered when it was converted into the Girls of Glitter Gulch. The Goose remained as decoration until 2017 when the gentlemen’s club was razed alongside Mermaids and La Bayou by developers Derek and Greg Stevens, who also own the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center and the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos.

“Tony Hsieh and DTP were gifted this iconic advertising piece and it was kept in storage until (last year),” says Bill Kennedy, marketing director for DTP Companies, formerly the Downtown Project. “After extensive restoration, the Goose is ready to soar over downtown Las Vegas again.”

Today the Golden Goose rotates atop a small purple shipping container on Fremont Street near the Kitchen at Atomic restaurant. DTP has developed a corner of the lot into a small park, with a paved walkway that leads to the bird.

In addition to fresh paint, many of her eggs needed to be restored as many had been damaged and broken over the decades.

“We were told if we could pick it up, we could take it,” Kennedy says. “It was heavily damaged. People kicked in the lightbulbs. It was expensive to move and restore. But we didn’t want to see it end up in a private collection. It belongs where the public can enjoy it.”

Kennedy helped curate a playlist of relevant disco-era songs that accompany her. Pushing the “fun” button may play “You Spin Me Round.”

A closer inspection reveals golf ball-sized windows on the sides where visitors can peek in and discover what can best be described as a disco nest — with hundreds of golden eggs and technicolor strobe lights.

The installation is the latest in DTP’s ambition to make the Fremont East area more pedestrian-friendly.

“As a company, we’re looking for better ways to increase walkability in the area down there,” Kennedy says. “We notice these old neon signs and look at it as old pieces of art — American pop art — that’s unique to this city. We don’t want to see it in a private collection or scrap yard or somewhere you need to pay admission to see it.”

In addition to the Golden Goose, Rundquist has serviced several famous signs on Fremont Street and the Strip, including the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” marquee.

“Las Vegas has a tendency to get rid of stuff when it gets old,” says Rundquist. “When it’s gone, it’s gone forever. It’s fantastic that they’re being saved.”

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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