It isn’t easy getting old, and it must be even harder when you know you’ll never scale the heights of fame and glory you conquered in your younger days. The good old days, before there were 200 channels of cable TV, when the Tonight Show was the only game in town and Johnny ruled late night television. And in those prehistoric days of the 70′s and 80′s, Kreskin was a regular guest, perhaps the best known mentalist in America. But after Johnny left, Kreskin was an act without a TV home, and realization set in that he’d never hit that high water mark again. Today, the man who once headlined at some of the premier casinos in Vegas is headlining at the Silverton Casino, an off-off strip joint popular with those too cheap to splurge for an RV hookup at Sam’s Town. Not an easy room to fill: “Should the wife and I spend $29.95 each to see Kreskin, or invest in one of the Silverton’s nickel slots?” What a mentalist needs is a gimmick, some way to convince people to make the drive from their plush hotels on the strip out to a casino on the road to Parumph. I know…predict that hundreds will see a UFO, and offer to donate $50,000 to charity if the UFOs don’t show!
In the days leading up to the promised UFO sighting, Kreskin was all over the local Las Vegas news. Outside of the Vegas area, his biggest national press came from a series of appearances on Art Bell’s show. After getting the fish hooked, he began reeling them in a couple of days beforehand, insisting that spectators for the UFO event attend his show beforehand so they could be “prepared” for the event. Ka-ching!
During the show, Kreskin called a portion of the audience down to the front of the auditorium and planted a post-hypnotic suggestion regarding the UFO sighting. He then led the entire crowd out of the showroom and out to a vacant lot behind the Silverton’s RV park. Next to the banks of a drainage ditch, directly beneath the flight path for McCarran Airport, a large spotlight shone up into the desert sky. Many onlookers who didn’t attend the show parked along the streets around the field, waiting for the promised sighting. This is the scene Buck Huff came upon after a hell for leather drive up from Phoenix. We drove past the cop directing traffic, took a parking space next to the field, and waited. As it turned out, we didn’t have long to wait…although the window was predicted from 9:50 to Midnight, Kreskin declared the event over around 10:20 and headed back to his suite at the Silverton, presumably to count his money. Sensing the show was over, Buck and I headed back to the strip for some much needed R&R.
After the “event”, Kreskin declared that his intention had been to show what power the enemies of America could wield if they possessed a mentalist of Kreskin’s abilities. God help us if Flip Orley falls into Al-Qaeda’s hands! Kreskin also announced that he would not donate the $50,000 to charity, as some 41 spectators claimed to have seen a green light moving around in the sky. Suprisingly, he had the cojones to make an appearance on Art Bell’s show the following night, and declare the event a success. Art gave him a thourough dressing down, and ended it with the supreme sanction, banning Kreskin from the show for life. Kudos to Art Bell for articulating the thoughts of all but 41 of the spectators who stood in the vacant lot next to the Silverton Thursday night. And here’s a tip for you: the next time Kreskin predicts something like this in Vegas, a few cases of cold beer sold from the trunk of your car should cover the expense of the trip, and perhaps leave a few extra dollars for the slot machines.