Friday, November 14, 2014

Vintage Vegas - What’s a Camera Girl?

In Old Las Vegas showrooms, going to a show was totally different than it is today and involved far more people.
A modern Las Vegas showroom - Barry Manilow performing

Recently I was telling a co-worker about getting in touch with an old friend of mine who once was a camera girl.

“A what?” my co-worker asked. “What’s a camera girl?”

I hadn’t thought about the fact that someone living in Las Vegas might not know what a camera girl is.

It was one of the many positions that formerly existed in Vegas showrooms before stadium style seating took over and transformed the way people see a show.

At the last show I went to, Vegas! the Show, everyone stopped at the camera station as we went in. Snap, Snap, Snap, and we were on our way. This is the standard photo moment at any number of events and attractions. After the show, we got to examine our pictures and decide whether or not we wanted to buy them (nope!). It’s all pretty impersonal.

Back in the day, when you went to a Las Vegas show, things were different.

First, there was no stadium seating. There were tables and booths, and the best seats were obtained by knowing the maître d’ and the showroom captain, and tipping well. People dressed up. There was a cocktail waitress, and at the early show there was a meal. Somewhere in there, the camera girl came around to ask you if you’d like to have your picture taken.

In an Old Vegas showroom, a camera girl had to be charming, attractive, a good photographer, and a great salesperson. My old friend, Cyndy, was all of those things. Here she is with Steve Perry of Journey. She appears to be extremely composed despite having her picture taken with a rock star, but she met a lot of famous folks in those days.

You can still find camera girls in some restaurants, but it’s not the same as it was when the job title of camera girl brought an immediate image to mind of a pretty young woman in a short skirt with a camera.

For some reason, although I spent a lot of time in showrooms, we never got our picture taken. I suspect it was because Dad didn’t have a way to get it comped—he always complained that the pictures were too expensive. 

Do you remember camera girls in the showrooms?
Photo of Barry Mannilow courtesy of PCDude2143 at flickr

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