Excalibur Hotel and Casino is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, in the United States. It is operated by MGM Resorts International. Excalibur, named for the mythical sword of King Arthur, uses the Medieval theme in several ways, its facade is a stylized image of a castle. Until 2007, a wizard-like figure representing Merlin looked out from a high turret. Excalibur is situated at the Tropicana - Las Vegas Boulevard intersection; the hotel is linked by overhead pedestrian bridges to neighboring casinos to the north and to the east. A free tram connects Excalibur to its sister MGM Resorts International properties to the south and Mandalay Bay; the land on which the Excalibur sits was the proposed site of the Xanadu Resort envisioned in 1975. The 1,730 room Asian-tropical themed resort would have been the first mega resort in Las Vegas; the project was never built when the developers could not secure a deal with the county on the sewer infrastructure such a large project would have required.
Circus Circus Enterprises constructed Excalibur which opened on June 19, 1990, as the largest hotel in the world, with more than 4,000 rooms covering over 70 acres. As of 2016 it is the seventh-largest hotel in Las Vegas, the eleventh-largest hotel worldwide. MGM Resorts International purchased the property in 2005. Excalibur was designed in line with the "theme resort" strategy popular among some casino operators during the 1990s, which included the traditional Las Vegas gaming experience coupled with family-oriented elements. However, since 2006 most of the medieval themed statues and scenery have been removed as part of a four-year renovation and modernization project; as of 2010, few of the themed wall murals still remained as Excalibur was updated to include more modern and understated elements, including contemporary furniture and flat-screen plasma TVs in 2,000 renovated guest rooms. On March 21, 2003, Josh Ford of Los Angeles hit the largest Megabucks Jackpot to date of US$39.7 million at Excalibur.
The 100,000-square-foot gaming area at Excalibur consists of table games and more than 1,200 slot machines. In addition to casino space, the Excalibur resort includes a renovated pool area, a 13,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, eight restaurants and a food court, the Chapel at Excalibur, the Octane Lounge & The Lounge with live music on the weekends, an arcade. In May 1999, the casino partnered with World Championship Wrestling to open the WCW Nitro Grill, the first professional wrestling themed restaurant and nightclub in the United States. WCW Nitro Grill operated for 16 months before closing in September 2000 due in part to WCW's financial problems. Excalibur is home to three permanent shows: the all-male revue Thunder From Down Under, The Australian Bee Gees Show, a tribute to the Bee Gees and the medieval themed dinner show Tournament of Kings. Thunder From Down Under moved to Excalibur in July 2001 and since has received recognition as one of the best all-male strip shows in Las Vegas.
In 2006, the performance space was renamed the "Thunder From Down Under Showroom" in honor of the troupe. Tournament of Kings is a medieval jousting tournament performed with 12 breeds of horses and 32 cast members in a 925-seat amphitheater called King Arthur's Arena; the show includes a banquet feast served by a costumed serf or wench and is meant to be eaten without utensils. Tournament of Kings debuted along with the opening of Excalibur in 1990. Dick's Last Resort restaurant opened at Excalibur in June 2007. Dick's is known for its unusual dining experience in which servers purposefully act obnoxious towards guests. Employee "Taco" is considered Dick's mascot and entertains guests with his own version of the Bellagio fountain show using water dispensers behind the bar. Excalibur's food court housed one of the few McDonald's in the world to vend Pepsi instead of Coke until the restaurant closed in early 2016; the fun dungeon is an arcade from which you can access the Tournament of Kings arena, includes a laser tag arena.
Excalibur has been featured in several video game and television productions since opening in 1990. Excalibur itself, or a hotel resembling Excalibur, makes appearances in the video games Driver 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In television productions, Excalibur was the setting for a stunt on the Las Vegas edition of Fear Factor and was featured in an episode of South Park called "It Hits the Fan". Season six of Top Chef contestant Jennifer used Excalibur as the inspiration for one of her meals; the mobile game Fate/Grand Order's 2019 summer event is set in Las Vegas and takes place at a fictional casino modeled after Excalibur called "Camelot & Co.", run by Merlin and Altria, the series' gender-flipped version of King Arthur. Interior Excalibur Hotel and Casino website "Roy Vegas" - photos showing the Dick's Last Resort promotion that replaced Merlin
Russell Heath, Jr. was an American artist best known for his comic book work his DC Comics war stories and his 1960s art for Playboy magazine's "Little Annie Fanny" feature. He has produced commercial art, two pieces of which, depicting Roman and Revolutionary War battle scenes for toy soldier sets, became familiar pieces of Americana after gracing the back covers of countless comic books from the early 1960s to early 1970s. Heath's drawings of fighter jets in DC Comics' All-American Men of War #89 served as the basis for pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's best-known oil paintings. Heath was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009. Raised in New Jersey as an only child, Russ Heath at an early age became interested in drawing. "My father used to be a cowboy, so as a little kid I was influenced by Western artists of the time. Will James was one, an artist-writer—I had most of his books. Charlie Russell was my favorite because his work was authentic, because he drew what he lived..."
Self-taught, Heath began freelancing for comics during summers while he was in high school, both penciled and inked at least two installments of the naval feature "Hammerhead Hawley", in Holyoke Publishing's Captain Aero Comics vol. 2, #2 and vol. 3, #12. Heath was in Montclair, New Jersey's Montclair High School class of 1945, it is unclear. I made it, but the Air Force called me and in I went." He served stateside for nine months, drawing cartoons for his camp newspaper, but due to a clerical error, he said, he was on neither the military payroll nor any official duty roster for a significant portion of his time. A 2011 article in his hometown newspaper said that, "After a short stint in the military, Heath came back to Montclair, graduated from high school, got married and started a family." While spending several weeks arranging appointments with artists for an assistant's job, Heath was hired as an office "gofer" for the large Manhattan advertising agency Benton & Bowles, earning $35 weekly.
He continued looking for work as an artist on his lunch hour, in 1947, landed a $75-a-week staff position at Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics. Working in the Timely offices, like some of the other staffers, soon found it more efficient to work at home, he and his new wife had been living at his parents' home and continued to do so for two more years, while saving money for their own house. By the mid-1960s, they had children and were divorced; the artist said in 2004 he believed his first work for Timely was a Western story featuring the Two-Gun Kid. Historians have tentatively identified his first work as either a Kid Colt story in the omnibus series Wild Western #4. Heath's first superhero story is tentatively identified as the seven-page Witness story, "Fate Fixed a Fight," in Captain America Comics #71. Heath drew several Western stories for such Timely comics as Wild Western, All Western Winners, Arizona Kid, Black Rider, Western Outlaws, Reno Browne, Hollywood's Greatest Cowgirl.
As Timely evolved into Marvel's 1950s iteration, known as Atlas Comics, Heath expanded into other genres. He drew the December 1950 premiere of the two-issue superhero series Marvel Boy, as well as scattered science fiction anthology stories. Heath produced combat stories both for the wide line of Timely war titles and the first issue of EC Comics' celebrated Frontline Combat, he contributed to Mad #14, illustrating Harvey Kurtzman's parody of Plastic Man. Heath did the first of many decades' worth of war work for DC Comics, with Our Army at War #23 and Star Spangled War Stories #22, both cover-dated June 1954. Other 1950s work includes an issue of 3-D Comics from St. John Publications and "The Return of the Human Torch" in Young Men #24, the flagship of Atlas' ill-fated effort to revive superheroes, which had fallen out of fashion in the post-war U. S. Heath co-created with writer-editor Robert Kanigher the feature "The Haunted Tank" in G. I. Combat #87. Heath stated in a 1999 interview that "I didn't like "The Haunted Tank" as much...
I liked less because there was always the same four characters – J. E. B. Stuart plus his three buddies – the same story every issue: He'd be talking to this ghost and over again. I couldn't believe kids kept wanting to look at it." With Kanigher, Heath co-created and drew the first issues of DC's Sea Devils, about a team of scuba-diving adventurers. DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz described Heath in 2010 as " master of texture and lighting and meticulous levels of detail. Given the chance he'd draw every barnacle on a sunken pirate ship." Several of Kanigher's characters were combined into a single feature titled "The Losers". Their first appearance as a group was with the Haunted Tank crew in G. I. Combat #138 drawn by Heath. Various Heath drawings of fighter jets in DC Comics' All