Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 | 4:33 p.m.
The world’s most powerful woman takes over the Strip today. No, it’s not former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama or former vice-presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
It’s Wonder Woman! “All the world is waiting for you/and the power you possess/in your satin tights/fighting for your rights/and the old red, white and blue.”
Actress Lynda Carter has arrived to unveil two Bally slot-machine games based on her 1970s hit TV show. As the iconic DC Comics superheroine, she saved the world week after week, and the action scenes and music are now available in “Wonder Woman Wild” and “Wonder Woman Gold” slot machines.
She’s the star attraction at today’s first convention-floor exhibition at the Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Convention Center at the Venetian/Palazzo. I talked with my longtime friend, who is still a stunner at age 63, on Monday ahead of G2E:
“I’ll always be Wonder Woman, and I think I’m that in my real life today. I am very happy. I married a ne’er do well from Washington, D.C. We’re still together after all these years.
“He no longer practices law, but he has a huge video game company, works all the time, doesn’t have to wear a suit and is thrilled about it. Both of my children, my son just finished law school and is working in D.C. at a big firm, and my daughter is at University of Michigan law.
“The satisfying part of it all is that you make decisions about how you want it to go. How you want your life to go. And for me that was basically not doing the road anymore as a singer. I left that behind when I got pregnant with my son, but in 2005 I went back to singing, so I’m doing that and now my own slot machines.
“I got a call from Warner Bros., who markets the image, Bally wanted my image as they’ve been doing TV shows and movies to create their slot machine game, like “Titanic.” For instance, I was walking through looking at the different ones that are around, and it’s different kinds like ‘Friends.’ But the ‘Wonder Woman’ character is just very iconic. It’s become a reference point; she’s ‘Wonder Woman.’ Any strong female is a wonder woman. Women want to be ‘Wonder Woman’ or her best friend.”
Have you ever been to this gaming convention before?
I have never. And the truth is that this is the first personal appearance that I have ever done, really, promoting “Wonder Woman.” I don’t do the Comic-Cons, I don’t sell my autograph. Not that I wouldn’t. I just have never been inclined. So for me, this is a whole different experience. Even though I will be doing autographs and things, it’s really to promote the slot machines.
They look really cool with a game screen that is the first of its kind. The 40-inch monitor immerses players into the experience. Bally really worked hard to make this a high-end game, but there are free games that you can play on it, as well, which people love to do.
Are you in any way a little bit of a game fanatic in this technical day and age?
I am a total game fanatic in my own little way. I play all kinds of puzzle games and things on my phone and my iPad whenever I’m traveling or whatever. If I’m listening to a book, I’ll do “Spider Solitaire” or “208,” which is a mathematical game.
I also perform voices. I have since the early 2000s. I started putting voices to video games. They've been doing this in movies, obviously, but as things progressed for games, they use a lot of actors. So I’ve been a recurring role in games. So that’s fun, a lot of fun!
When was “Wonder Woman” on the air?
It was a five-year span from 1975 to 1979. But it was three seasons because they split the first season up with movies, so it really wasn’t that long that it was on. Which is shocking and kind of like “Star Trek,” you know?
Yeah! I guess that I’ve never though of it like that. It was an amazing opportunity and if you’re not defensive about the type casting. Being defensive doesn’t help you anyway because it just makes you look like a jerk. To be honest with you, I’ve embraced the character. People like to relate with her. I hear stories from people, and it’s their way of connecting — and it’s great!
And I’m singing again and doing Jazz at Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center and doing Nashville, recording, doing a lot of stuff. And it’s all indirectly being famous off that character.
Why do I remember you riding horses for my old “Lifestyles” TV series?
You remember me riding horses because I ride horses! Dressage! I did a couple of shows, I did a show with Roy Rogers as Wonder Woman, and I was riding on a horse in that. But I also did the very first “Circus of the Stars” where I rode.
I used to ride regularly when I lived in Virginia. Now I live in Maryland, and I haven’t been riding in years. When I lived in Calabasas (Calif.), I had horses, but that was many, many years ago. I don’t ride that much anymore, but I still like it.
Other than slot machines, what else is new?
I need to tell you I will be at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Oct. 31. I’ll be in Nashville at the Nashville Symphony on Oct. 12. You can follow me on Twitter, on Facebook, it’s LyndaCarter.com. And you can buy my albums “At Last” and “Crazy Little Things”
It’s great to be here in Las Vegas. I spent so many years in Arizona, so I know about the desert heat and then the desert cool. I’ve come at the right time, and I’m excited to unveil — and play — the machines! We’re going to have a lot of fun.
Bally also unveils its “Friends” game during G2E. In addition, IGT will have two Ellen DeGeneres-themed slots, and Aristocrat shows off its new “Sons of Anarchy” slot machine. Ellen will appear via a video link from her Hollywood TV studio, but she’s asked Luxor headliners Jabbawockeez to perform here. “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner addresses delegates today about leveraging brand values on multiple platforms for wider demographic appeal.
With more than 480 exhibitors spread out over 300,000 square feet, this 14th year of G2E celebrates its largest show floor in five years with 27,000 expected conventioneers bringing $22.3 million in nongaming revenue to our city. International exhibitors from 32 countries are represented.
G2E is now more than double the size since its inaugural event in 2001. In addition to slot machines and video game technology, the expansion of the gaming industry now covers security products, uniforms, food and beverage and entertainment.
Today, MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren talks about the State of the Industry, and Steve Wynn of Wynn and Encore makes a keynote speech. On Wednesday, Sheldon Adelson of the Venetian and Palazzo gives his keynote speech. In all, there are 175 speakers sharing knowledge at 68 seminars. The welcome reception is tonight at Tao in the Venetian.
On Wednesday at XS in Encore, I’m participating in the TournEvent charity slot showdown opposite Mirage headliner Terry Fator, “Pawn Stars” hero Rick Harrison, Luxor headliner Carrot Top and Chippendales host and singer Jaymes Vaughan to try and win $20,000 earmarked for our charity Keep Memory Alive. It’s followed by 123 players from 103 casinos across the country competing for a share of a $500,000 prize in the National TournEvent of Champions.
I also will be one of the presenters Wednesday along with Wayne Newton, Carrot Top, John Nelson of AEG Live and MGM Entertainment chief Richard Sturm for the G2E casino entertainment awards at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
G2E concludes Thursday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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