It’s a GOOD MORNING back in Hollywood after a look-see at Las Vegas, which continues to be, beyond a doubt, the fastest growing entertainment-based city in the world. At Caesars this weekend were the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation’s Ken Scherer and Emilie Kennedy and Michael Douglas’ publicist Allen Burry. They were meeting with Caesars executive vice president Joseph Jimenez for an upcoming gala weekend expected to raise over a million-$ for the MPTF. Scherer and Burry will exec produce the weekend, which includes the “Michael Douglas & Friends Presented by Lexus” celeb golf tourney at Caesars’ Cascata golf course and a May 1 gala headlining Liza Minnelli and including Kenny G, Richie Samboro and Shelby Lynne. An auction at the gala will include Douglas’ classic Harley motorcycle — and a ride with Michael up the Calif. coastline. Jeffrey Katzenberg, MPTF Foundation prez, will auction tix to next year’s “Night Before” Oscar party. Among sponsors for the event is Jim Rogers, owner of Las Vegas’ Sunbelt Communications and NBC affiliate KVBC. (The golf tourney airs on ABC, July 18 after the British Masters.) Bob Lanning directs and produces the TV’d golf tourney, with Scherer and Burry as exec producers of the weekend event … By that time, Caesars will have completed a $400 million expansion of suites, a Roman plaza with 70 more premium shops and famous eateries, including Miami’s Joe’s Stone Crabs … Vegas has certainly come a long way since my first introduction to the city, when there were a couple of hotels: the Last Frontier (later the New Frontier) and the El Rancho Vegas. Since then, I’ve opened almost all of the hotels on the then-building strip, from the Flamingo to the Desert Inn, the Sands, the Hilton and Caesars Palace (where I arrived in a chariot to greet stars attending the bow of their first attraction, Andy Williams). Every top star has played there since the opening 38 years ago and now the remarkable Celine Dion stars there in a theater and eye-filling production — an entertainment that never could have been imagined by the founding dreamers of this city.
DESPITE THE PUBLIC’S KNOWLEDGE (and chagrin) that the Siegfried & Roy show is no longer, crowds continue to pour into the Mirage hotel to visit Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden, where you can see the magnificent white lions and tigers that were part of the act. Not only do fans line up at the boxoffice, but also at the souvenir shops featuring the famed cats. The first two segs of DreamWorks’ “Father of the Pride” animated series, based on Siegfried & Roy, will be shown to NBC execs Wednesday. And “For Roy, with Love,” an evening dedicated to Roy Horn, with a special scheduled appearance by Siegfried Fischbacher, will be held at the Henry Fonda theater on Hollywood Blvd. May 1. It’s part of the 36h annual Academy of Magical Arts awards show and banquet in association with the Magic Castle, with which Siegfried & Roy have been friend for years. Magic-loving stars skedded to appear (perform?) include Jason Alexander, Stan Freberg, Teri Hatcher, Tippi Hedren, Irene Larsen. Mac King receives the Magician of the Year award … Talking magic, while in Vegas we caught the inimitable Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo, where he’s had his own (SRO) theater for eight years. (He previously performed at the Tropicana and Folies Bergere, a total of 24 years baffling audiences.) One of the props in his show is a copy of Daily Variety. He told me he’s been using our paper for years in his “tear and repair” magic act –y’know, where he tears up a page of the paper and magically has it reappear whole. Howcum Daily Variety? “I like the consistency of your paper,” he smiled. Burton joins Celine Dion and Jerry Seinfeld on Jay Leno’s “Tonight” show when it emanates from the Paris hotel May 12. And he wings in to L.A. to appear at the “We SPARK Cancer Support Center” May 3 at the U. of Judaism hosted by Tom Hanks … Among the many expansions in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil, now playing SRO at the Bellagio, has a new show in the works to bow this Fall at the MGM Grand … The Bellagio recovered from its incredible power failure last week and among the many losses — including hotel revenue, rooms, casino, shops — I learned that Le Cirque had lost some of its prized white wines: When the power returned, the surge quick-froze some vintages! … Lunching at Spago at Caesars, with Angelina and Joe Jimenez and Bernie Yuman, we were interrupted by a phone call to Bernie from Anthony Hopkins in Australia; he was readying to head to the Great Barrier Reef. He just called to say hello to Bernie, with whom he’d hosted “Siegfried & Roy’ the Magic Box” Imax movie — and Bernie later was best man at Hopkins’ wedding.
BOBBY SHORT IS ENDING his long association with New York’s Hotel Carlyle. He’s been starring in the Cafe 36 years. He starts one engagement May 4 winding June 26, returning Oct. 12 and closing New Year’s Eve. He says quite frankly, “I don’t want to do five nights a week, two shows on weekends any more. And it doesn’t make sense to do, say, three nights a week.” He started playing three shows nightly, six nights, back in 1968. “I think it’s time to spend more time to be able to travel, see theater and friends.” Short, 79, suffered a fall last year when visiting L.A. and was rushed to Cedars-Sinai where he was diagnosed and treated for neuropathy. He now uses a cane, but otherwise says he’s OK. He, Byron Janis and Lainie Kazan will perform Oct. 18 at Le Cirque (upstairs) in “An Intimate Evening” for the Center of Peripheral Neuropathy. He’ll receive an honorary degree of music from the City U. of N.Y., June 2 … Billy Friedkin has returned from seven days in Israel where he’ll conduct Saint-Saen’s opera “Samson and Delilah” next year. He toured sites including Timnah, “whose incredible images” will be reproduced on the stage. Placido Domingo sings one night during the opera’s L.A. stand following Israel … Doris Roberts is back from Costa Rica, her first stop for the U.S. State Dept., talking to young people. “I want to tell them not to give up,” she says, reminding she came from a poor family. She returns to the stage May 10 at the City Center in the Encore! version of “Bye Bye Birdie,” May 6-10 and a return to “Everybody Loves Raymond” for a shorter season than usual for the final session.