Elvis, mayoral vow renewal, Rat Packers … just another night on Fremont Street

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman and his wife of 47 years Carolyn Goodman renewed their wedding vows Wednesday at the Fremont Street Experience in celebration of 9/9/09.
Photo: Justin M. Bowen

Mayor Goodman Renews Vows on 09/09/09

They could have done this on 06/06/06. That is the actual wedding anniversary of Oscar B. and Carolyn Goodman, married on June 6, 1962. “We could have turned it upside down,” she said Wednesday night, “but nine is a lot luckier.”

So it was another mayoral party, the self-dubbed Happiest Mayor in the Universe clutching his wife in one hand and a Bombay Sapphire martini in the other for a renewal of vows on the Fremont Street Experience’s Third Stage. The stated reason for the staged renewal was not to mark the Goodmans’ 47th anniversary, but to remind anyone who doubted that Las Vegas is still the marriage capital of the world (a result of supply and demand, it likely still leads the league in divorces and annulments, too).

To celebrate that moment, the mayor recruited longtime Elvis impressionist Jesse Garon to perform a vow renewal that could only happen in Las Vegas. It could only happen in downtown Las Vegas, to be even more specific. Or maybe Graceland. But something about Fremont Street, maybe the history of the place, lends itself to such Elvis-ized vows as Garon-as-Elvis’, “Do you, Oscar, promise never to treat her like a hound dog, or step on her blue suede shoes?” Garon, once a member of "Legends in Concert" and Goodman's favorite Elvis, also sang a pretty credible version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Others who performed briefly for the “guests” in the crowd of, oh, more than 100 and less than 1,000, were Zowie Bowie (who might be called ubiquitous, but that term is taken) and the cast from the Plaza’s “The Rat Pack Is Back.” Earlier in the evening, Garon-as-Elvis dropped to a knee and presented Carolyn two dozen roses and recited a poem he wrote while Goodman, we expect, stood nearby, giving a thumb’s up with one hand and tilting the martini with the other.

In remarks to the crowd, Carolyn Goodman dusted off some material she used at a mayoral roast back in March. “He has changed one diaper in his life, and we have four children! He has just one job, to put out the vitamins every morning! Every single night I cook for him, and in the morning, I have to applaud him for being the mayor of Las Vegas!” When asked by Garon-as-Elvis if she would (again) take Goodman as her lawfully wedded husband, she stammered, “I … I … I … I …” before adding, “do!”

Oscar Goodman can be funny, but Carolyn Goodman could perform stand-up professionally if not for her actual job as president of Meadows School. The mayor followed her monologue by simply saying, “I love this city, I love the people of Las Vegas, and I love my wife more than life itself.”

The mayor shoots straight when he needs to ... especially when she’s around.

Carolyn Goodman talks to the crowd with Elvis tribute artist Jesse Garon by her side as her and her husband of 47 years, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, renewed their wedding vows Wednesday at the Fremont Street Experience in celebration of 9/9/09.

A bit more from FSE

Again, Goodman has been mum about running for governor. This time it was Carolyn, insisting Oscar has not made up his mind. As for the possibility of her carrying on as mayor of Las Vegas, regardless of his political future, she leaned back, laughed and said, “I am a happy lady!” … Something about The Beatles draws me to Rossi Ralenkotter. The day “Let it Be … Naked” was released in November 2003, I found myself behind Ralenkotter in line at the now-defunct Tower Books & Records at the Wow! shopping center on West Sahara. On the first anniversary of The Beatles/Cirque production “Love” at The Mirage in June 2007, I ran into Ralenkotter and his wife, Mary Jo, at the show’s after-party. During the opening of The Joint in April, I again ran into the Ralenkotters, immediately after the Paul McCartney concert. And today, on the day The Beatles’ long-anticipated digitally remastered original CDs (along with the new "Beatles: Rock Band" game) were released, I ran into Ralenkotter at the mayoral event. Ralenkotter is widely known to be one of the city’s more fervent Beatles fans -- he and Mary Jo actually attended one of the two Beatles concerts at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 1964 for their first date. Ralenkotter hasn’t heard the new set yet and says it would probably take him two days to plow through the material. He’s eagerly awaiting a ride on the first British Airways nonstop flight from McCarran to London's Heathrow Airport this month. … Three Dog Night drew an estimated 20,000 to Fremont Street on Sunday, the largest non-New Year’s Eve crowd in two years, to close “The Summer of ’69” concert and event series. Fremont Street, cheap and dependable, is holding up pretty well in the recession. … Backstage, Goodman tried to give the “Rat Pack’s” Sammy Davis Jr. character a yarmulke. … Barber/Councilman Gary Reese is still looking for an uptick in business at his business, Gary and Derrill’s Barber Shop, where he has snipped and combed and used the straightedge to great effect since 1963. The recession has hit that business at Bonanza Road and Eastern Avenue particularly hard. … Larry Edwards, more famous for his Tina Turner impression, is growing his stable to include Elvis. Edwards was in the audience, dressed something like Elvis but a non-official role, which is probably a good thing. One Elvis is plenty.

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