LOOKING BACK AT BELLAGIO’S 20 YEARS
The following piece by Norm Clarke appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Oct. 2013, to celebrate the Bellagio’s 15th anniversary.
By NORM CLARKE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
October 11, 2013 - 11:03 am
The debut of Bellagio’s Dancing Fountains turned into an opening-night perfect storm.
Windy conditions didn’t deter Bellagio creator Steve Wynn from pressing ahead with the spectacular water show for a gala crowd of V.I.P’s.
“He said, ‘I want to run the show at 100 percent,” recalled Thomas Pinney, front feature manager.
“We tried to tell him,” said Pinney. “He was adamant.”
Waves of drenching mist soaked the invited guests, who watched from the sidewalk on the Strip.
Bellagio marks its 15th anniversary on Tuesday, with ice cream and cake for the hotel’s 8,200 employees.
The high water mark for the lake attraction came in June.
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced in June that the fountains won the inaugural Travelers’ Choice award for top landmark in the United States.
The fountains bested a field of 1,263 of the top landmarks, parks, museums and amusement and water parks.
Morton credits the box office success of the “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise for the fountains’ global popularity.
“When they peel away from the fountain at the end, it’s one of the best movie scenes of all time,” Morton told me in June during a tour of fountains’ command center, dubbed “the bat cave.”
The Q and A:
AWASH WITH EMOTIONS
“The fountains bring out all kinds of emotions,” said Pinney. “People start crying when they hear ‘Con Te Partiro.’ ”
Objects retrieved from the lake include ladies lingerie, wedding and engagement rings and “funerary stuff like small urns with crematorial tags.”
For some, the fountains represent a serene refuge for reflection. For others, a place to turn the page on tougher times.
The recovered loot includes military coins signifying in-theater service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The most curious find? A toe tag, said Pinney.
MOST MEMORABLE EVENTS HELD ON THE LAKE
Britney Spears’ live shot of “I’m a Slave 4 U” that opened the Billboard Awards in November 2001.
The tour stop of the Victoria’s Secret Angels was highlighted by having the fountains turn pink by using gel on the lens of 4,000 underwater lights in November, 2004.
Sir Richard Branson’s June 2010 jet skiing stunt that included a stop at a platform on the lake to conduct Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.”