Welcome to Las Vegas Sign Designer on Her Creations & Life / Clark County NV / 2015

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign Designer on Her Creations & Life / Clark County NV / 2015


Footnotes

In 1952 she moved to Western Neon, a small local outfit, where a salesman, Ted Rogich, the father of Sig Rogich, the Republican fund-raiser and media consultant, got the idea to propose a welcome sign for the highway from Los Angeles.

''In those days,'' she said, ''salesmen would stand out in the street with the cars and a camera, because you designed a sign around the hole under and over the other signs. Ted was a heck of a salesman. We knew the sign would be recognizable because of the odd shape. We wanted people to remember the town and come back. The circles were expensive. So we put in a lot of them.'' ➡︎

“We thought the town was fabulous, so we added the word,” Mrs. Willis said in a 2005 interview with The New York Times. “There was no other word to use.”

She never copyrighted the logo or profited from the sign directly. “It’s my gift to the city,” she said, although she later acknowledged: “I should make a buck out of it. Everybody else is.”

[...]

Crowning the sign is a red metal starburst outlined in yellow neon, which Mrs. Willis said was inspired by Disneyland’s symbol. “I added a Disney star for happiness,” she said. ➡︎


Extras

◼︎ Betty Willis, artist behind ‘fabulous Las Vegas’ sign, dies at 91 / Wesley Juhl / Las Vegas Review-Journal / 2015

◼︎ To Betty Willis, Las Vegas was forever ‘Fabulous’ / John Katsilometes / Las Vegas Sun / 2015

◼︎ Neon bible: the woman who shaped the Las Vegas skyline / Gavin Haynes / The Guardian / 2015

▶︎ 'Welcome to Las Vegas' Sign Going Solar / Clark County / 2013


Sources

◼︎ At Home With: Betty Willis; A Neon Come-Hither, Still Able to Flirt / Patricia Leigh Brown / The New York Times / 2004

◼︎ Betty Willis, Whose ‘Fabulous’ Sign Defined Las Vegas, Dies at 91 / Sam Roberts / The New York Times / 2015


Neon Museum Las Vegas / The Neon Museum / 2012

Neon Museum Las Vegas / The Neon Museum / 2012

Las Vegas Neon, Preserved / CBS Sunday Morning / 2017

Las Vegas Neon, Preserved / CBS Sunday Morning / 2017