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September 22, 2014

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In reel time, Oscar Goodman recounts fishing adventure and hopes to lure masses to Mob Museum

Image

Steve Marcus

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, center, arrives for the grand opening of the Mob Museum in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Goodman also is known as a former mob attorney for representing alleged mobsters such as Meyer Lansky, Frank Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro.

Mob Museum Opens

Members of the San Diego Police Museum Association participate in the grand opening of the Mob Museum in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Oscar Goodman at Wet Republic

Oscar Goodman kicks off the 2012 pool season at Wet Republic at MGM Grand on Friday, March 9, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Oscar Goodman Bust Unveiling

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, accompanied by his famous showgirls, awaits the unveiling of a bronze bust in his likeness at Symphony Park on Monday, March 12, 2012. Launch slideshow »
Oscar Goodman sits in the front row for the 2012 Las Vegas State of the City address at Las Vegas City Hall on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Oscar Goodman sits in the front row for the 2012 Las Vegas State of the City address at Las Vegas City Hall on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

The idea of Oscar Goodman wielding a fishing rod while facing the ocean spray might seem a little out of character, as he favors pinstripe suits fashioned of fine fabric to waders made of rubber.

But these days for the former mayor of Las Vegas, it is all about landing the big prize.

With a 50th wedding anniversary fishing trip fresh in his memory, Goodman is about to cast a line from the Mob Museum to help boost attendance at the 4-month-old organized-crime attraction.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Goodman will meet Mob Museum visitors and answer questions about the museum, its artifacts and the reputed Mob figures he counseled as a defense attorney in Las Vegas.

Goodman will hold court — appropriately — in the Mob Museum’s refurbished courtroom. He’ll speak off the top of his head, which is always how we like him.

“I’ll be answering questions people have about what they’ve seen, on any topic,” Goodman said in a phone conversation over the weekend. “We want to generate some interest. We want to get the word out that we have a first-class attraction in Las Vegas.”

Officials say the Mob Museum is still “trending toward” its projections of 300,000 paying customers annually and that Goodman’s appearances were always in the master plan for the attraction (ticket costs won’t change: $10 for locals; $12 for those ages 5-17 and students ages 18-23; $14 for seniors, teachers, law enforcement and military; and $18 for those ages 18 and older). Goodman is expected to make additional appearances this year.

Goodman baiting the hook keeps with the theme of his month. To celebrate their anniversary, his wife and current Las Vegas mayor, Carolyn, and he were lost for ideas as to how to mark the event.

“We wanted to get to know each other without the phone blaring, without having to deal with all the responsibilities we have in Las Vegas,” said Goodman, who holds an official ambassador position with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Then we said, ‘Let’s go fishing!’ ”

The two booked a fishing trip off the coast of Alaska, hitting the high seas of Prince of Wales Island in the state’s southernmost region. Craig, which is a tiny town of about 1,400 residents and the island’s largest city, was the push-off point. They were away for 10 days.

“We were in this lodge in the middle of nowhere, our tour guide was a 26-year-old guy from Texas, and I’d just seen ‘Titanic,’ so I was a little nervous, and we were out of our element,” Goodman said. “We went out and, all of a sudden, we were surrounded by nothing but ocean. It was great.”

The Goodmans came away with an impressive haul.

“We returned home with halibut, king salmon, ling cod, sea bass — a whole mess of fish,” Goodman said. “We had two trunks full of fish. We’ll be eating well this summer.”

Goodman said the mayor and he have been on the go ever since, and there is ample evidence of such. Over the weekend, it was announced that the 2013 U.S. Conference of Mayors would host its annual meeting at Mandalay Bay from June 21-24, a huge boon to the city’s image and a boost to business on the Strip.

Goodman’s personal projects are still alive, though there have not been any significant developments about his TV pilot, tentatively titled “Las Vegas Night Court With Oscar Goodman,” recorded last November at Las Vegas Hilton Theater (now LVH Theater). Goodman is holding firm with his condition that the show appear on primetime TV, and the pilot is still being shopped.

Goodman is still working on his memoirs, dictating 3 1/2 hours of material a week for publication. Original author David Fisher, who was working with Goodman this year, has left the project (Fisher is a great writer, and also an expensive one). Goodman is now working with two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and noted organized-crime writer George Anastasia, who has signed a contract with the Weinstein Co. for film rights to Goodman’s life story.

The book, which has been in development for more than a year, is expected to be a fast-paced, tell-all tome of Goodman’s rise to prominence in Las Vegas. “The goal is to make it a movie,” he said. “But we have a lot of work to do before then.”

Of course. As they say in Craig, Hizzoner has just started to reel in his big catch.

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

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