Monday, August 14, 2006

HOWDY PARDNER! A documentary by George Leon © 2006


TITLE: HOWDY PARDNER! A Tale of Two Mechanical Cowboys.
GENRE: Documentary


Howdy Pardner! is a documentary about Americana Iconography, Neon Outdoor Advertising, Graphic Design and its influence in our popular culture.

Our documentary is an informal conversation with Pat Denner about his participation in the creation and design of two neon signs while he worked for the Young Electric Sign Company in 1951 specifically, Vegas Vic and Wendover Will.

These two neon mechanical signs are some of the most recognizable mileposts of the man-made American landscape and they are a beacon today and throughout the years for quick scheme fortune seekers and westbound travelers alike.

We will chat with Pat, Jack Dubois and Charles Barnard former art directors of Ad Art, designers of iconic signs such Vegas Vickie and the Stardust, and with other important personalities of the art and business community to show the contribution of outdoor advertising epitomized by these architectural neon signs to the American Experience.

Vegas Vic, the 75-foot-tall neon cowpoke affixed to the famous Pioneer Club Casino in Las Vegas, is not only a good luck greeter to all gamblers and tourists, but it is also a movie star in his own right as we have seen him in many feature films, television programs and TV spots.

Wendover Will, standing 63 feet tall is located in the Nevada-Utah border and it have been the long-established welcoming marker to the land-speed race drivers to Bonneville Salt Flats and to all gamblers and families traveling the old route US40. The Guinness Book of World Records considers Wendover Will as the world largest mechanical cowboy in the world

Nevertheless, our subject matter it is not only Vegas Vic and Wendover Will. But surely is about every other singular piece of outdoor advertising created by YESCO and other companies like AD ART Sign Company through the years to adorn and glorify the unbridled excess of Las Vegas in the name of progress.

Vegas Vic and Wendover Will are two artifacts embedded in the consciousness of our consumer society. For advertising are valuable branding assets. For tourism are symbols of recreation. For our popular culture are parts of the man-made visual landscape of the American west.

As times have changed since the creation of these neon signs, we will explore the innovation in outdoor advertising. From the showstopper blown glass colored tubes filled with gas to the LED video displays and electronic message units covering the sides and the facades of buildings and malls.

Our film not only will introduce the stars of the story, Vegas Vic and Wendover Will to a younger generation but also will offer to all viewers, an open window to revisit the Legacy of Light made available to the gaming and hospitality industry by YESCO and AD ART Sign Co., and the ingenuity of these gifted graphic designers who were assigned to create a routinary standard illustrations resulting into recognizable elements of our Americana Iconography worldwide.

To see 3 video clips click here:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Howdy Pardner! overviews history since the early days when Las Vegas was a mining town and a railroad stop and had all over town makeshift gambling clubs with sawdust floors with bingo and poker games in their tables to an era when America was suffering the biggest economic recession and Las Vegas was oblivious to it. In one way or other this Wild West boomtown always have had a progressive growth until today.

We will bring to mind a young entrepreneur named Thomas Young who introduced neon lighting and thus contributed to make some of the most radical changes to a urban landscape than any city had experienced in few years in the name of progress, glitter and total extravaganza.

A newborn Vegas Vic is being assembled at YESCO shop in 1951.

Times have changed rapidly since the relative simple design and manufacturing of the cowpoke Vegas Vic to be affixed to the side of The Pioneer Club Casino located in Fremont St. The technology have evolved from the traditional neon tubing to the plasma, LED and digital video screens covering the facades and interiors of buildings.

Amazingly, Vegas Vic have survived for over 50 years in a town that is not too attached to their old architecture and landmarks reinventing itself every few years.

George Leon, Producer/ Director

PurpleSage Films

Howdy Pardner! © 2006 and its content cannot be used or reproduced in any form, (visual, audio, web or print) without the written authorization of George Leon.

Pat Denner designed Vegas Vic and Wendover Will for the Young Electrical Sign Company in 1951 and '52. He also designed, among other brands and corporate ID's of those years, the original sit-down-menus and Colonel Sanders illustration for Harman Cafe, the Home of the Original Kentucky Fried Chicken, nowdays known as KFC. Pat have contributed in many ways to the folklore of our Americana iconography.

Pat visits Fremont Street in September 2006.


No pictured here is Ken Sanders owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City, Phyllis Mayne, and others.
We have more interviews to complete in West Wendover including Chris Melville, Josephine Tauth, Kerrie Supanich, Richard Dixon, Ron Christensen.
Also, we will interview soon, Rod Carroll, YESCO Las Vegas and John Thompson, Schiff Ent. Jack Dubois and Chuck Barnard, designers, Ad Art Sign Co. Chuck Barnard is the designer of Vegas Vicki and many other iconic signs of the era.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

participation in the film circuit is paramount.
Here are some of the film festivals to showcase our film.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Effective marketing and distribution are fundamental to any film success. Marketing and distribution plans are in progress during pre-production and will continue until we reach an acceptable buyer/distributor. The immediate goal is to register the documentary for competition to film festivals and any other venue to increase awareness of the film to potential distributors.

Our media package is structured to reach the decision maker or principal buyer. The art of selling Howdy, Pardner! is multifaceted targeting not only to the theatrical distribution market, but also the educational distribution market and the non-commercial broadcast market, such as CPB and its PBS subsidiary stations around the country. Nevertheless, the circulation and immediate availability of the documentary in the independent film festival circuit will allow us to reach a potential buyer.

The market is open. The year 2007 is fertile grounds to successfully distribute this film. The historical, educational and engaging content of the film will ensure a good reception to a wide range of domestic and international viewers. As per example, the Americana artifact fan, the travelogue fan and the scholar in need of an educational support tool are a sure demographic segment that will embrace this film. Your support in the marketing and the distribution of this documentary is invaluable. Together we could let the world know about this gifted individual that have contributed into making commercial art into a recognizable component of our Americana iconography worldwide.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stephen Wisely

Stephen Wisely, our cameraman extraordinaire and
associate producer ready to capture footage at
the Golden Gate Casino.

About the Producer

George Leon counts with over twenty five years of
working in motion pictures and consumer
His expertise as an art director, graphic
designer and
cinematographer allows him to capture
a variety
of creative nuances overlooked by other filmmakers.

Pat Denner, Lisa Robinson, Jeff Victor

George and Marc Brandenburg

George Leon visits Las Vegas and the Fremont St. Experience
after filming and interviewing personalities such as Tom Young,
Jeff Young and Ben Jones, chairman, V.P and executive of YESCO,
Jeff Victor and Lisa Robinson, president and V.P of the Fremont St.
Experience, Ronald Bateman, author of Wendover Winds of Change,
Charles Geocaris and Eddy Harran, director and coordinator of the
Nevada Film Office, Mark Brandenburg, owner of the oldest casino in
Fremont St., the Golden Gate, Michael Cheshire, president of Bullock
Cheshire casino and hospitality appraissers, Richard Goldberger,
Melanie Coffee, media coordinator of the Neon Museum and boneyard,
Michael Green, PhD professor CCSN, Richard Menzies, author of
Through, Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books
and many others.


Howdy Pardner! A Tale of Two Mechanical Cowboys.

Purple Sage Films a full service production company
has partially completed its production schedule in the
making of Howdy Pardner!

After accomplishing a segment of interviews with
personalities of the art, casino and business community
in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, Purple Sage Films
producer/Director George Leon and crew will return
to Las Vegas and travel to West Wendover and Reno to
cover more photography and interview other personalities
related to the story.

While in production, the documentary is being
offered by the producers for distribution yelding a
good response. To date, several distributors are
interested to acquire the property. A work in
progress screener will be available in a few
days for evalution by prospective distributors.

Meanwhile, the race for submission to film festivals
is on. Howdy Pardner will be screened at many festivals
such as The New York Independent Int. Film & Video Festival,
CineVegas 2007, The San Francisco Independent Film Festival,
Hollywod Festival 2007, SilverDocs 2007, SlamDance,
Mill Valley Film Festival and others.

former art directors of Ad Art Sign Company and

designers of many Las Vegas iconic signs
will be interviewed soon by our cameras.

Vegas Vicki, Fremont Street

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Purple Sage Films and Alcan Composites have agreed to showcase a life size self standing Vegas Vic gatorfoam reproduction for display in film festivals and screenings.

"We'd be delighted to help. Vegas Vic was a product of a campaign of ours called the
"Legends Campaign", said Andrea Jimenez, Marketing Coordinator of Alcan Composites, USA.

Vegas Vic, a true Las Vegas icon, has been included in the new marketing communications campaign introduced by Alcan Composites USA and entitled, “It’s What Legends Are Made of ­ Create Your Own.” This program features a series of print advertisements, product literature, sample kits and a trade show booth in which legendary graphic arts icons ­ such as Vegas Vic ­ are recreated with one of Alcan Composites’ leading graphic display boards, including those in the Sintra®, Dibond®, Gator™ and Fome-Cor® board lines. The “Legends” campaign was developed for Alcan Composites by McLane & Company, a full-service marketing communications firm based in St. Louis.

Vegas Vic, a somewhat weathered cowboy, underwent a major refurbishing in early-2000; and, Alcan Composites USA did some renovating of its own when recreating Vic out of legendary Gatorfoam®, the solid choice foam board. Alcan Co
mposites’ 6-foot-4 Vegas Vic display was created utilizing a wide range of processes that showcase the versatility of this original heavy-duty graphic display board.

“Vegas Vic has been a legend in Las Vegas since 1950, and Gatorfoam has built a legendary reputation of its own for its high structural strength, durability and light weight since it was introduced to the graphic display market in 1976,” said David Meacham, marketing manager, Alcan Composites USA. “These two legends seemed perfectly paired. In creating our Vegas Vic display, we were able to demonstrate a variety of fabrication methods on the various thicknesses of black and white Gatorfoam, including direct digital printing to the substrate, router cutting, vinyl application, airbrushing and screen printing.”


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Atomic Blast 75 miles away from Vegas Vic

A white mushroom cloud overshadows Vegas Vic,

symbol of hospitality of Las Vegas. April 18,1953.

photo by Don English.

Click here to read Publicity built this town, thanks to English..

by Michael Green.

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino

100 years old.

Fremont Street, September 2006

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Limited Edition Artwork

Pat Denner © 2006
Original illustration of Vegas Vic towering
the Famous Pioneer Club & Casino.
Fremont Street. circa 1971.
Limited edition, signed and numbered
by the artist.
Size: 8"x 12"