Liberace, the bedazzled piano superstar, will once again become a Las Vegas headliner 25 years after his death. Thanks to a company known as Hologram USA, the performer will be brought to life via a new twist on a very old magic trick known as Pepper’s Ghost.
Dating back to 1600’s, the effect was made famous by scientist John Henry Pepper who made it popular thanks to a demonstration he did back in 1862. The illusion is actually fairly simple, where the audience is in a fixed position looking at a stage that has a hidden compartment out of the audience’s view.
Once lighting is turned up in the compartment, the image of the hidden compartment is refracted off of glass and onto the stage where it gives them a hollow or “ghostly” presence.
Theme Park fans probably know that this effect was achieved most famously by Yale Gracey when the Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland in 1969. Since then, it has continued to be featured in theme parks like the Phantom Theater in Kings Island or the Mystery Lodge at Knotts Berry Farm.
More recently, the effect has been refined and modernized thanks to newer and sharper projection technology and a proprietary film (instead of glass) that allows the projected image to appear more real and three-dimensional as opposed to transparent. Theme park fans can see a great demonstration of this in the Disaster! pre-show at Universal Studios Florida.
Liberace, however, will be taken one step further as they plan to make him “3D” and he will also be able to interact with audience members from beyond the grave. Creepy? You betcha. Will I buy a ticket to see this? Absolutely. This will be a full show and not an attraction, thanks to hours of footage and dozens of artifacts from the Liberace Foundation. After it finishes its run in Las Vegas, the plan is to tour the show around the world. Your thoughts?
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