January 01, 2003
Rick Rikert, Tour
guide at the Liberace Museum- 'Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the
Liberace Museum and Center for the Performing and Creative Arts. My name is Rick
Rikert and I'm here to tell you a little bit about the museum.'
before his death Liberace was making plans that would enable people to enjoy his
legacy for many years to come.
Liberace, from the video 'The World of
Liberace'- 'I would like to think that my music would be remembered, and
also some of the beautiful things that I've collected in my homes. In fact' I
have formed a trust so that my personal belongings and my homes will be shared
by the world after I'm gone as a sort of a museum.'
Executive Director, Liberace Foundation and Museum- 'It's far more than
Sandra Harris is the Executive Director of the non-profit Liberace
Foundation and Museum.
Sandra Harris, Executive Director, Liberace
Foundation and Museum- 'That part is fun, but I think what people are
surprised about when they come here is that we have a very highly trained
professional staff that is teaching a lot. Not just who Liberace was and his
story, which is very interesting and very important, but you're learning a lot
of history. Whether it's Las Vegas, or about pianos or, cars, or costume design.
And it's going to a broader cause, which is his legacy which was to help other
people have a career in the arts.'
Rick Rikert, Tour guide at the
Liberace Museum- 'Steinway revolutionized the piano by replacing the old
wooden frames in older grand pianos with cast iron frames, which allowed the
piano's volume to double, and it became a true concert instrument. This all
occurred back in the early 1860s, and it was the last great evolution of the
Sandra Harris, Executive Director, Liberace Foundation and
Museum- 'Last year was the 300th anniversary of the invention of the piano,
and the Smithsonian Institution had a very large scale exhibit about the history
of the piano. And we participated in the research for that exhibit, and one of
Liberace's pianos was sent to DC for that exhibit. And we've been able to adopt
a lot of that information, and provide that for our visitors.'
over a hundred thousand visitors find that the museum isn't just about viewing
the flamboyant entertainer's memorabilia.
Sandra Harris, Executive
Director, Liberace Foundation and Museum- 'Even if you removed the name
Liberace from it and go through the museum it's a fascinating collection. And it
is really the roots of our entertainment, as we know it in Las Vegas. He began his first performance was in the '40s when all we had was the El Rancho. He opened the Riviera in the '50s as their first headliner, and performed here till the 80s. And through those years you can sort of trace his career and his style with everything that was going on in Las Vegas. And so it really is a good representation of where we've come from and what the whole world thinks of when
they think of 'Vegas' style onstage.'
Liberace, from the video 'The
World of Liberace'- 'Recently ladies and gentlemen I had the pleasure of
doing a show with my good friend Jack Benny, and I introduced a number on that
show for the first time that I thought he announced in a unique sort of way. So,
if I may borrow his words' He said 'Ladies and gentlemen, Liberace is now going
to play two well know piano compositions. One is the Prelude in C sharp minor by
Rachmaninoff the other is the love theme from the motion picture 'The Godfather'
by Nino Rota. And he's going to play them both at the same time. Which proves
that he's not only a great musician, but a big show-off.'
Harris, Executive Director, Liberace Foundation and Museum- 'I think to
really understand Las Vegas - this is an important piece of it. To understand
it's one individual who came to this town with an idea of how to market himself,
how to perform, how to really relate to audiences, and really it's what our
whole city is still based on. Is attracting people to come here, giving them
something they won't see anywhere else. And I think it's still very valid and
very relevant. And I think to really understand how this all started, and maybe
where we'll end up, it's a good place to come and see that.
It is arguable that Liberace is the individual responsible for the larger than life
persona that we ascribe to Las Vegas today. And you can see the birth of that
personality in the elaborate costumes, jewelry, personalized automobiles and
pianos they've gathered in the museum. But Liberace was more than just props. He
was the consummate performer.'
In show businesses a great entertainer
will always leave them wanting more, but a legend like Liberace will continue to
provide entertainment long after they're
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