It's The Norm
August 22-28, 2002 ARCHIVES
"It's The Norm" - Recent Entertainment Events in Las Vegas

Gone But Not Forgotten

by Norm Johnson
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Las Vegas Sun newspaper columnist Joe Delaney, who passed away a few days ago, was a friend of this writer for over 37 years. Whenever I had a quandary about a certain entertainment subject, and wanted a second opinion, I would call my friend. I would always get an answer one-way or the other. It was not always what I wanted to hear, but it was his opinion and he offered it freely. This is just one of many reasons why I shall miss him.

What sorta ticks me off, however, is the fact that the Tropicana Hotels Casino Legends Hall of Fame did not get around to recognizing him while he was alive and inducted him into its Hall. I, along with a few others, began a campaign a few years back to have the organization begin to recognize, not only Joe but also other men and ladies of the media who really helped to make this town what it is today. How many of you remember Sun columnist Ralph Pearl? How about Review Journal columnist Forest Duke? Etta Cortez was an independent publisher of a publication that promoted the heck out of Las Vegas. Bill Willard filed stories every day to Variety (the real tabloid bible to an entertainer). These are just a few of those who I believe should be inducted one of these days. It's a shame that the board of directors wait until it's to darn late and our Legends have departed their earthly bounds before we can honor them! Why is it we have to wait until they are gone?

What I would like to see is a few of the above-mentioned names, along with some who are still alive, being inducted along with the more famous entertainers. Without the Delaney's, Duke's and Cortez' writing about them would they (the singers, comedians, etc.) have been as important as they were or are today? Probably, but would Las Vegas have been as important? I don't think so! The slot machines built the towers, but entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Orlando, Debbie Reynolds and Robert Goulet (to name a few) put the butts in the chairs before there were towers. While I'm on the subject there are the publicity guys of yore (some of whom are still alive) who definitely deserves a place in the Hall. The list of those guys and ladies (and their gimmicks and promotions) is too long to pick out any single name in this little column. But if they (the board) do not begin to induct them (along with the entertainers) they are missing a bet.

So, in my opinion, they should induct four or five entertainers, one publicist, one writer and perhaps one other dignitary from another category each time. I know the writers, publicists and dignitaries do not mean anything to a lot of people and will not sell one single ticket to the hall. But just simply out of respect they should be there. The crowds will still show up each year for the big party because of the entertainers being inducted. And in 10 years the Hall will have inducted just about every entertainer that ever stepped on a Las Vegas stage, along with a few lesser known, but vitally important men and women who truly helped make Las Vegas famous and the great town to live in that it is.

I love Las Vegas. I support the Tropicana and the Casino Hall of Fame and what they have done thus far. I am simply saying let's honestly not forget the past and those who were here before we (you and I) came along.

I think that's it for this week. I'm outa here!

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