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Sometimes it takes an army, and the Clarion charity show was such a time

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Illusionist Jan Rouven gives a backstage tour of his new show at Fame Theater in The Clarion on Friday, July 22, 2011.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Master Illusionist Jan Rouven

Tony Orlando, right, with Las Vegas Rocks Cafe founder Tony Sacca.

Tony Orlando, right, with Las Vegas Rocks Cafe founder Tony Sacca.

Entertainer Debbie Reynolds pulls the handle of a slot machine inside the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 1997. Reynolds would file bankruptcy later that year and sell the property for $10 million to the company behind the World Wrestling Federation.

Entertainer Debbie Reynolds pulls the handle of a slot machine inside the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 1997. Reynolds would file bankruptcy later that year and sell the property for $10 million to the company behind the World Wrestling Federation.

Earlier, I wrote of the Jeff Jordan benefit show at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch. The first half of a two-show charity double-header on Sunday was rolled out at Clarion’s Fame Theater, a fundraiser for the Salvation Army’s relief fund.

The Clarion is the site of the ill-fated Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel, and, later, the ill-fated Greek Isles Hotel and Casino.

The Clarion’s current headliner is enthusiastic illusionist Jan Rouven, star of the aptly titled “Illusions: Starring Jan Rouven.” Something I learned about Rouven on Sunday afternoon is he owns two chairs from the Sahara, artifacts he picked up at the ill-fated hotel’s clearinghouse sale. The red-padded stools with the Moroccan-designed backs were originally priced at $95. But the master magician -- in a deft sleight-of-mouth -- talked the sales staff down to $18 apiece.

Maybe Rouven should open an outpost of his show in Tijuana.

I certainly enjoyed emceeing this event, or the first 3 hours of it (I think it went for 4 hours), until hustling over to the Jordan gig at Green Valley Ranch. Oddly, the Clarion showcase served as the rare fundraiser in which there were more participants onstage over the course of the afternoon than were seated in the audience.

For a time, I thought Rouven was making potential audience members disappear at the theater entrance. Ta-da!

Human scarcity aside, the show was for a great cause, and we did raise some money for The Salvation Army. We had to have, because Corrine Sydney was one of those who stopped by, and she is a charitable sort. I think she bid on something at the silent auction. And, hell, speaking of the Sahara, it was great to see that property’s former entertainment and marketing director, Ron Garrett, again. Monday marked the fourth anniversary of his departure from the hotel, and I had not seen him since.

But the real stars were those who forged ahead in genuine, show-must-go-on spirit. They were the day’s salvation, the generals in our army, as it were.

Those who hung in for the full program were Rouven, Kevin Sasaki and Rebecca Holden (who put on “Together Forever: A Celebration of the Music of Steve and Eydie”), longtime “Beach Blanket Babylon” star Linda Bulgo and pianist Joey Singer, who has long served as Reynolds’ music director. Ubiquitous Vegas performer and syndicated talk show host Tony Sacca, Robyn Berry Vincent of “Nunsense” at the L.V. Hilton, members of The Mob Experience at Tropicana and “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show” also gave of their time, aptitude and, yes, patience.

It was a treat to meet all of them, and I now can cross “Introducing Tony Sacca From a Vegas Showroom Stage” off my list of things to do before I die.

There should be a name for such a list, actually …

And, for those of you who may have read the print version of this online blog, this is a Web exclusive note about Sacca:

About five years ago, Sacca delivered one of his singing “Las Vegas Rocks" clocks to the Las Vegas Sun newsroom. It was designed imaginatively like a roulette wheel, signed (by Sacca!) and numbered (16!). I quickly learned how to work the little lever that activates Sacca’s song, “Las Vegas Rocks,” which plays on the hour or on demand. I accidentally left the lever switched to the hour position, then stashed the clock in a desk drawer and left on assignment.

About 45 minutes later, I got a call from one of my colleagues, angrily informing me, “Your desk is singing, ‘Las Vegas rocks!’ over and over, and no one knows how to stop it!”

“Oh,” I said. “That’s Tony Sacca.”

As Sacca told Sunday’s gathering, he is planning on selling an upgrade to his Las Vegas Rocks musical clock. The difference in the new clock and the old is a new logo on the face.

The clock’s, I mean. Not Sacca’s.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow "Kats With the Dish" at twitter.com/KatsWithTheDish.

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