The El Rey Club, Searchlight, NV

The El Rey Club, Searchlight, NV
The El Rey Resort & Casino, Circa 1957-1962

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Questions Answered: American Restoration

Thanks to everyone for watching the show and encouraging so many others to do the same.  1.9 million people saw the show and that's a great start on my quest to find that publisher!  Please be sure to write the History Channel and tell them you'd love to see more about the El Rey Club.

Better yet, email publishing houses explaining that the El Rey Club is a story that you'd love to read.  If they know there are people willing to buy that book, somebody will be willing to publish it.

Anyway, people have been flooding my inbox with questions about the show so I thought I'd post a note and answer them here.  Some of the questions are sillier than others, but I'll try to answer them all here, starting with the two most asked questions...
  • What am I going to do with the sign?
I'm going to try and sell it on Pawn Stars.Just kidding!I'm actually putting it on eBay. (ba-dum-BUMP!)The sign will eventually be on display in my home.  I need to figure out what my living situation will be before committing such a large section of wall to it.  I will not be living in this house for a lot longer thanks to the split with April and therefore any place I go will need to be able to accommodate this treasured addition to my El Rey Club collection.

If I cannot display it wherever I live it will go on loan to local museums.

  • Where is it now and where am I going to put it?
It is in my garage right now, off the stands they made for it.  I have given serious thought to making it my headboard.

  • Am I happy with the show?
EXTREMELY!  Searchlight, The El Rey Club, & Willie Martello got the majority of the coverage in the program.  About 12-15 minutes in total and it did a great job of telling the story.  I'd have preferred more of the cool stories ABOUT the place were included so it would be a better representation of WHY the El Rey was historically significant and why I would bother researching it for the last seven years.  But there's only so much they can include in a short show and what they presented did not hurt Willie's legacy one bit.  Rather, it helped and that's what matters most.

  • Did I actually pay $2500 to have it restored/Do they make people pay?
Rick's Restorations is a business and I am a customer.  So yes, I paid for the sign to be restored.  However I did have help from friends and family.  Aside from savings thanks to my awesome job and some private gigs, generous donations came from people like Marty Martello, Matt Martello, Melia Shumaker, Patrick Bertleson, and others (apologies if I have not mentioned you here.).  My tax refund (the first I've had in years) also made a big chunk of the payment.  If I put five bucks in a slot machine and turned it into ten, it all went towards the sign.
  • Have I been contacted by any publishers or agents?
No.  I've had a few bites from my last round of query letters, but nobody has contacted me as a result of seeing the show.  Even with almost 2 million people watching the show, it seems none of those people are in publishing.  That's why I implore people to email publishers directly about wanting to read this book about the place.  If enough people are asking, "Where can I buy this book?" eventually someone will publish it.  Here's a link to my agent query letter.
  • Did I really find that billboard in the desert?
Technically, no.  A man named Mike Madden found it and contacted me.  He lives in Searchlight, found it and called right away.  He didn't even charge me for it.  So other than the cost of a tank of gas and a bottle of "thank-you beer" I didn't pay anything for the sign.  The story of how I got this thing can be found here...
  • Has Willie's family reacted to the episode?
So far I've heard from a few family members via text and phone calls and they all loved it.  Nick Martello has chimed in as well through FB.  No complaints yet, so I think it was a success with them.
  • How am I related to Willie Martello?
This is a big part of the book, but I've never really hidden the fact that in all likelihood, I'm not related at all.  Just a crazy coincidence we have the same last name.  I'd have never given a second thought to the El Rey Club had Willie Martello had a different last name.  Makes the story that much better.
  • Was that my pick-up truck?
Nope.  That belonged to my friend & neighbor Victor.
  • Were my reactions genuine or was there a script?
You saw my genuine reactions to the initial reveal, but alas, many things in reality TV are shot over and over again for coverage and such.   So there were plenty of times where I felt like I was being told to cue the spontaneous reactions.  lol There was no script and so much of what I said was mixed with what you saw on screen.  There was close to 7 1/2 hours worth of footage, reactions, and discussion between me and Rick and that's only talking about the time I was filming (over two days).  Lord knows how much they covered of the actual restoration
  • Is that really my ponytail?
This question obviously came from "new" friends and folks who have not met me nor known me since 1987.Yep.  My ponytail.  My AWESOME ponytail.  My AWESOME 25-year-old ponytail.  Based upon some of the reactions (and some of the total babes) who have contacted me personally to tell me they LOVED it, you can see why I've kept it so many years.  lol

  • Am I single?

This is no joke.  I'm not trying to be funny here.  My sister has been asked this many times now and I've seen a bizarre (but flattering) increase of private FB messages wondering this exact thing.  So I must assume I need to be on TV much more often if I'd like my social calendar to be that much more enjoyable.  lol

Yes.  Single.  Newly-single if that matters.  I have not talked much about it publicly due to special circumstances, but will once we're "officially" (legally) done.

Very flattered, but this show wasn't about seeing me on TV.  I enjoy the attention though.  Makes me blush every time a new message or a comment from friends who were "TOLD to ask me."  lol

The research & collecting of photos and memorabilia from the El Rey Club never stops! Please contact me at 702-465-5604 or email me at if you have stories or memorabilia to share.


Thanks for supporting the El Rey Club Project.
Please leave your comment below.