HOWDY PARDNER! A documentary by George Leon © 2006
TITLE: HOWDY PARDNER! A Tale of Two Mechanical Cowboys.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Purple Sage Films
PRODUCER/ DIRECTOR: George Leon
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: