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|IS VEGAS READY TO LEAVE ELVIS BEHIND?
March 25, 2016 - CBS This Morning / Elvis Express Radio
For decades, the Las Vegas strip has been home to some of the biggest acts in entertainment.
Today, performers like Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears play shows for weeks, bringing crowds and cash to Sin City. But for that, they can say thanks to Elvis.
"Elvis really set the stage for artists to come to Las Vegas at the peak of their career and play for an extended period of time," said Sean McBurney, a general manager of Caesars
Palace. "We have so many artists that have followed his way, but make no mistake, it started with Elvis."
When Elvis sang "Viva Las Vegas" in his 1964 movie, it became the city's unofficial theme song. The king's persona became a symbol of the city's excess.
Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, Carolyn -- the current mayor -- prefer to be driven by Elvis on special occasions.
"He probably played Las Vegas more than any other entertainer who ever played Las Vegas and people would come to Las Vegas just to hear Elvis Presley and he had a
phenomenal influence on our community," the former mayor said.
His influence inspired so many impersonators that long after his death in 1977, it seemed hard to believe Elvis was gone.
But recently, there are signs that Vegas is leaving Elvis behind, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.
"There's going to come a time when there's going to be one or two Elvis' left out here and it's going to be all there is to it," said Mark Rumpler, who has been officiating Vegas
weddings as Elvis for seven years.
This year, business is down "pretty steep."
"We have about 15 percent of our weddings as Elvis, whereas a year ago, we were doing 40 percent," Rumpler said.
That isn't the only place the Elvis brand appears to be all shook up. The "Viva Elvis" Cirque Du Soleil show was cancelled in 2012 after a relatively short run. And an Elvis museum
exhibit closed last month because of poor attendance.
On the Vegas strip, there only two all-Elvis themed shows still playing. The star is energetic and the audience enthusiastic, but it doesn't hide the fact that Elvis fans aren't as young
as they used to be.
"With the nightclubs and the day clubs that we have in this market, I think you're seeing a younger crowd be attracted to Las Vegas because of these amenities," McBurney said.
"The notion that you see Elvis impersonators walking up and down the strip is cliched and inaccurate."
That younger crowd isn't looking back, but neither is Las Vegas. The mobsters are gone, preserved only in the mob museum. The Liberace Museum that was once dedicated to a
man who was a fixture in Vegas has closed. And the only place to see showgirls in Vegas is on Oscar Goodman's arms.
In a city so anxious to move into the future that it routinely implodes its past, it may be surprising Elvis lasted as long as he did.
"You miss these people. Elvis being gone, you miss him because nobody could take his place," Goodman said. "Right now, I guess we replace them with the people with their
fingers on records, I don't know what you call it -- deejay? But it ain't Elvis Presley, that's for damn sure."
Rest assured, there remain those here who are determined that the King of Rock 'n' Roll will never die.