One man’s treasure…

Another piece of the Strip’s past is gone forever…but was it a valuable piece of history, or just some landscaping that had outlived its usefulness? You be the judge, since this LVRJ article presents both views:

Four of the five original statues that once stood in front of Circus Circus, Las Vegas icons photographed by thousands of visitors each year, have been hauled away and buried in a landfill by the hotels new management.

The statues represented the most publicly visible surviving work by the artist Montyne, who lived much of his life in Las Vegas and died here in 1989. The best-known of the statues, of an acrobat balancing on a single finger, was a self-portrait. Montyne, who used only the single name in both private and professional life, also traveled the world as a stage and circus performer specializing in feats of balance and strength.

The late Jay Sarno, founder of both Caesars Palace and Circus Circus, and considered to have originated in those hotels the heavily themed resort concept that dominated the gaming industry for decades, commissioned Montyne in 1967 to sculpt the statues. They were erected the following year, when Circus Circus opened, and were removed about three months ago.

Montynes surviving son, Lamont Sudbury, said the destruction violated one of the terms of Sarnos agreement with his father, that Montyne and his family would have first right of refusal if the statues were ever to be sold or otherwise disposed of.

“I would have loved to take The Balancer and put it in the cemetery where my dad is,” Sudbury said. “But they didnt even call us. The only way I learned about it was when a friend of mine went over there to show the statues to one of his business associates, and they were gone.”

The other statues that were removed included one of a young female acrobat gracefully balancing on a board atop a cylinder. The person who posed for that statue was Montynes wife, theatrical assistant and favorite model, China, who remarried after his death and still lives in Las Vegas. Also removed were statues of Gargantua, the “Worlds Largest Gorilla” once exhibited by the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and of a male lion. Only one of the five is left: a clown.

Sudbury said he was told by Circus Circus executives that the four removed statues were hauled to the landfill at Apex, a few miles north of Las Vegas, and buried there. — News – BURIED TREASURE

A while ago I was wondering how long the statues would last. I didn’t know anything about their provenance or value. Still, I’m surprised that it took three months for people to notice that they were gone.

Spread the love