Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on October 2, 2003 · Page 1-12
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 1-12

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123456 NATION 12 CHICAGO TRIBUNESECTION1THURSDAYOCTOBER2,2003 “We love our new windows and we get so many compliments about how great they look!” Expires 10/10/03  Double-hung Replacement Windows  Insulated Glass  Up to 70 United Inches  Professionally Installed Ask about our newest generation of vinyl windows - the safest , most energy-efficient and comfortable windows available . . . the Guardian Series featuring Min.4 Windows - Model #4200 800.821.8899 Call for a FREE In-Home Estimate All Window Types Siding  Doors Best Value,Best Price www.abcwindowguys.com By Steve Friess Special to the Tribune LAS VEGAS—Five decades ago, the Las Vegas Strip was just a dusty, empty desert highway connecting Los Angeles to what is now downtown’s cluster of casinos. Travelers in those pre-aircon- ditioned days found no pyramids, faux European cities or half-size Statues of Liberty beckoning them. But there was a motel with a 9-foot aboveground swimming pool and its seven mammoth portholes showing off what must have seemed to weary drivers to be the bluest water ever. The pool and motel are sched- uledfor demolition, marking the destruction of one of Sin City’s most enduring icons. In the 1990s alone, scenes from “Casino,” “Indecent Proposal” and “Leaving Las Vegas” were filmed there. Photographer Annie Leibowitz shot Brad Pitt there for Vanity Fair. Once, scuba divers even played poker underwater to encourage donations to Jerry Lewis’ annual muscular dystrophy telethon. It is unclear when the motel will become rubble—the own- ers, TG Investments, won’t give the date or discuss plans for the site—but it was vacated and employees werelaid off in mid-September. “No trespassing” signs hang from a chain-link fence around the 56,000-gallon peach- colored pool, which is still filled with water. “It’s another of our treasured, aged landmarks that’s going to be demolished,” said David Frommer, president of the Nevada chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “There’s a sentimentality about these things, but part of the amazement of Vegas is that we continually reinvent ourselves. It’s almost an accepted practice that things go down in search of the next generation of building.” In this case, the next generation, the mega-resorts with 3,000-plus rooms based on fan- tastical themes, has long since arrived. Today there seems little use for a rundown 46-unit motel along the 10-lane Las Vegas Boulevard. The Glass Pool Inn—it was known asThe Mirage Motel until Steve Wynn bought the name for $350,000 for the resort he opened in 1989—sits on some of the last land left on the Strip where major casinos can be built, so developers have bought up the jigsaw of parcels to create contiguous plots. Longtime owners Allen and Susie Rosoff, who sold their 1.5 acres for $5.5 million in 1999, say they are pleased to hear of the pool’s demise. “Truthfully, it makes me feel good,” said Allen Rosoff, 69. “The place was getting so deteriorated that I felt that with all the fond memories of almost 50 years involved in my family, I would rather remember what it was than see how rundown the motel was getting.” Still, it was never the ordinary, casino-less motel that attracted passers-by—or Hollywood. The star was the 26-foot- by-55-foot kidney-shaped pool with the 4-foot-wide portholes that Rosoff’s parents and uncle, who also owned Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, installed in 1955 to make the place stand out from other inns on the block. “We were way out on the south end of nothing,” Rosoff said. “People used to come in asking how far it was to Las Vegas.” ‘It screams Las Vegas’ Movie producers noticed immediately. The first film shot there was “Las Vegas Shakedown” in 1955, starring Dennis O’Keefe. A parade of cameras followed. Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue kissed underwater in “Leaving Las Vegas.” Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore checked in while considering Robert Redford’s “Indecent Proposal.” Cindy Crawford filmed an episode of her old MTV show, “House of Style,” in a suite that was once Rosoff’s parents’ apartment. The Las Vegas tourism board once shot an advertisement in which bikini-clad women played a slot machine while submerged in the pool. “It screams Las Vegas, it’s so eye-catching,” said Trent Othiel, president and co-owner of Insomnia Entertainment, a new Vegas-based movie production company. “You immediately look when you pass it. That’s what you want on film.” Producers also cast the motel as an unsavory character. In an episode of the Robert Urich television vehicle “Vega$,” $1,000-a- night teenage hookers were living there. Drug deals and murders were common and the place was often used as the archetypal sleazy Vegas joint. But Rosoff, who said in 50 years the only actual death on the premises was a suicide, never cared. “Publicity is publicity, good, bad or otherwise,” he said. “I would tell a guest, ‘I’m going to put you in room 126,’ and the guest would ask, ‘What happened there?’ I’d say, ‘That’s where Marilu Henner and Nicolas Surovy slept in the movie ‘Stark.’ People get impressed that way.” Usually, Rosoff had little contact with the stars, although he remembers admiring Urich’s Thunderbird, chatting amiably with Henner and being surprised by how short Moore is. “In the beginning, all this was really fascinating, but after a while, it became old hat,” Rosoff said. “We’d meet them, see them, say hello. They were there to film. It’s not like they came to socialize. But for a little tiny hotel, we had quite a following around the world.” Local interest limited Still, there’s little interest locally in rescuing the landmark. Clark County Museum administrator Mark Ryzdynski said moving the pool would not be feasible, but he said the museum would “further document it before its destruction and make sure the photographic record is complete up until and through its final days.” Many Las Vegans reacted with disappointment at plans to raze the pool, but few can recall the last time they visited it. One local Glass Pool aficionado is Adam Martinez, a bartender and photography instructor who organized weekly photo contests at the pool in the 1990s at which aspiring models could show up and have free portfolio pictures taken by photographers.. “It’s a sad thing to see it go,” Martinez said. “Many people who lived here may have stayed at the Glass Pool for their first week while they were getting an apartment or something. It’s the last of an era.” Photo for the Tribune by Steve Friess Movies such as “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Indecent Proposal” were filmed at The Glass Pool Inn. Las Vegas landmark set to take plunge into history The Glass Pool Inn, site of an iconic aboveground pool that has drawn movie producers and celebrity photographers, is headed for demolition ‘You immediately look when you pass it. That’s what you want on film.’ —Trent Othiel, movie production company owner, on the Glass Pool Inn By Marc Kaufman The Washington Post A series of studies has found a surprisingly high suicide rate among women who have had cosmetic breast implants, sparking a new debate about the procedure just as the Food and Drug Administration weighs whether to allow silicone gel implants back on the market. The latest study, published Wednesday, found that Finnish women who had cosmetic implants were more than three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population—in line with findings from a similar study of Swedish women and one of U.S. women conducted by the National Cancer Institute. The three studies also found that the overall death rate for women with implants was the same as or lower than for the general population, suggesting that the implants were not causing illness, as once feared. But all three found that the suicide rate was significantly, and inexplicably, higher than expected. Some researchers believe the high suicide rate is a reflection of the psychological makeup of women who seek implants— that as a group they are more likely to have psychological problems than the general population. Others say, however, that the high suicide rate is a function of the difficulties and pain that sometimes crop up years after the surgery. Although the FDA has restricted the use of silicone implants for cosmetic purposes, saline-filled implants have become increasingly popular. An FDA advisory panel is preparing to consider an application by Inamed Corp. to allow silicone breast implants back on the market for breast enhancement. The agency restricted their use to mastectomy patients and women in clinical trials in 1992 after concerns arose about their safety. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 240,000 women had the operation last year, and some believe many more will opt for it if silicone implants become more available. Some say the silicone implants look more natural and feel better. The Finnish study reported on 2,166 women, some of whom had the implants as long as 30 years ago. It was conducted by the private International Epide- miology Institute of Rockville, Md., and funded by Dow Corning Co., a former manufacturer of silicone breast implants. Dow Corning also funded the larger Swedish study, which examined 3,521women with implants and also found a suicide rate about three times above normal. ‘‘The ironic thing is that nobody was looking for this suicide information,’’ said Joseph McLaughlin, investigator on the Finnish study, published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery. ‘‘There have been lots of studies of women with breast implants, and the only consistent finding that’s problematic is the suicide excess.’’ But McLaughlin said the data did not prove breast implants caused suicide. Both the Finnish and Swedish studies compared women with cosmetic breast implants and the general population. But the 2001NCI study, which looked at death rates of more than 13,000 women with cosmetic implants, also compared implanted women with women who had other plastic surgery. That study found a 50 percent increase in suicides compared to the general population, but a more than 400 percent increase compared with women who got other kinds of plastic surgery. Numerous studies have found that women who undergo cosmetic surgery are wealthier and healthier than the norm. Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families and a longtime critic of cosmetic breast implants, said that although it remains unclear why the suicide rates are high, it is significant that they are. Washington Post staff writer Ceci Connolly contributed. Suicides higher for women with implants But cause-effect link to cosmetic surgery is unclear

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