Fator remembers past high jinks

Before hitting it big on “America’s Got Talent,” Terry Fator and his country band opened for major acts at numerous county fairs.

Texas the Band shared the stage with the likes of Garth Brooks, George Strait, Styx and Def Leppard.

After switching to ventriloquism, Fator landed in Las Vegas as a resident headliner, just down the Strip from Brooks and other stars he admired during his country band days.

Fator experienced a full-circle moment a week ago when country star Craig Morgan was booked in the Terry Fator Theater at The Mirage during the National Finals Rodeo.

“We did a show at the Minnesota State Fair with Keith Urban and Craig. We would play practical jokes on each other,” Fator said.

One night, after Texas the Band opened the show, Morgan took the stage and found himself distracted by a voice in his in-ear monitor.

Fator and his co-conspirators had arranged for a sexy-voiced lady to whisper sweet nothings into Morgan’s ear.

Morgan figured out who was responsible and started plotting his revenge.

Morgan waited until Fator and his band started their performance one night.

Loudly arriving on the scene was a high school marching band “with tubas and drums, the whole shebang,” Fator said.

“They just finished a parade, and (Morgan) hired them to march through our crowd. They even came on stage while we were performing,” Fator said.

Fortunately for Morgan, Fator was out of town, touring, when the country star borrowed the prankster’s theater on the Strip.

Fator was in Windsor, Ontario, when I reached him Saturday. He turned somber when I asked him about his tour.

His Friday performance in Troy, Ohio, population 25,000, was one of the most emotional shows of his career, he said.

With a nation in mourning, Fator dedicated a song he wrote for his show to the shooting victims of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. Titled “Horses in Heaven,” the song is about a boy with terminal cancer who asks whether there are horses in heaven.

“I actually broke down during the song,” Fator said.

The crowd responded with nearly a five-minute ovation.

“It was a deeply spiritual moment,” he added.

MEDIA ALERT

Food critics John Curtas and Al Mancini have been all over the country in recent months, shooting their upcoming Travel Channel show titled “All Forked Up.” Sandwiched between their travels, they have collaborated with fellow foodie Max Jacobson on their third edition of “Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants.” Top 10 newcomers include Marche Bacchus in Summerlin, Valentino (Venetian) and Raku on Spring Mountain Road. The invite-only launch party is Tuesday at Rao’s (Caesars Palace). The trio’s choice for No. 1 buffet: Bacchanal at Caesars Palace. …

Attorney and TV personality Ed Bernstein and his fiancée, Claudia Noriega, are getting married in Lima, Peru, on Dec. 29. She was a star on “Carmen,” a popular novella (soap opera) in South America. At that time, Noriega and Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family” on ABC were two of the most famous actresses and models in South America. …

Dao Vu, co-host of “The Morning Blend” on KTNV-Channel 13 (9-10 a.m.), has been writing an advice column for Las Vegas Woman Magazine. …

Small world: While serving as a host at Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest on Thursday, radio personality Tom Chase of KSNE-FM 106.5 was supervising a register-to-win box. The winner would get tickets to see Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno. Out of the blue, up walks Moreno, with his family. He checked out what was being offered and deadpanned, “I’ve already seen that show.”

SIGHTINGS

Kendall and Kylie Jenner, drawing a huge crowd Saturday at the Kardashian Khaos store inside The Mirage. … “Hogan Knows Best” reality TV star Nick Hogan, son of pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, at Surrender nightclub (Encore) on Friday.

THE PUNCH LINE

“The favorite in the (Golden Globes) comedy/musical category is ‘Les Misérables.’ Because what’s funnier or catchier than prison breaks, poverty, and the guillotine?” – Craig Ferguson

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. His weekly segment, “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs during the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13 every Thursday.

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