Vegas Vic Shot And Silenced For Twenty Years
In Downtown Las Vegas, on Fremont Street, you will see the 40 foot tall Vegas Vic. He is as famous a landmark here as the Eiffel Tower is in Paris. Vegas Vic himself is a celebrity. But, a fellow celebrity shut his mouth for twenty years.
It’s an interesting story how Vic was silenced. It took a famous movie star to put a gag on our favorite neon cowboy.
In 1966, Actor Lee Marvin was filming “The Professionals” in Las Vegas. He, along with Burt Lancaster and Woody Strode were staying at the Mint on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. The Mint was just across the street from Vegas Vic, the large neon cowboy that hung on the side of the Pioneer Hotel.
During that time Vegas Vic waved his hand and shifted his cigarette. Then, every 15 minutes he would greet visitors with a loud “Howdy Partner.”
Woody Strode wrote “Goal Dust,” a bio, later, and told this story about Lee Marvin and Vegas Vic. He said that Marvin got drunk one night. He then returned to his room at the Mint and grabbed a bow and arrow that was a prop used in making the movie. Marvin, then went outside and shot Vegas Vic in the chest. We are not sure if any damage was done, but regardless, management was not happy.
The owners were not happy either happy either about the incident and complained. Marvin made a counter complaint. He charged that Vic was keeping him awake at night with his constant “Howdy Partner” greeting.
Because of that complaint, according to Strode, Vegas Vic was silenced. He remained mute for nearly twenty years.
Vic did regain his speech for a while in the 1980s, but went silent again in 2006. His arm stopped waving in 1991.
Today, Vegas Vic is still where he always has been, but now he is motionless and mute. It’s a shame that visitors today won’t be able to hear that famous “Howdy Partner.”