08/16/2012 11:27 am ET Updated Oct 16, 2012

Neon Ghosts (PHOTOS)

Sadly, neon signs seem to be on their way out. You still see some unambitious ones here and there that are more decorative than exclamatory. More factual than lyrical. For the most part they are slowly giving way to the simpler, less expensive plastic signs or the larger displays of digitally driven signs. Vegas still thrives on neon, although, it too, is giving way to more dynamic computer generated programs for signage and lighting. Neon, despite some of its elegant or garish designs was always discreet, quiet, static and had to rely on its inventive designs. Neon signs really couldn't flash very well and in the accelerating efforts to draw the eye, the more dynamic displays began to reign.

The golden age of neon, the fifties and sixties produced an art form unique to its function. Like the cars of the period, they were voluptuous, playful, elegant, excessive. I am not sure if it was primarily an American art form but it certainly contains the essence of the American way, particularly in the neon signage of the west.


And while there are still neon signs maintained from the 'classic' period, most of them have fallen into disrepair and become mere ghosts.

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