Revel exec is having a ball

Revel’s Mitch Gorshin with the ball he created to promote the hotel.
Revel’s Mitch Gorshin with the ball he created to promote the hotel.
Posted: April 25, 2012

RIDDLE ME THIS, Batman: Who has the coolest job title in Atlantic City?

It says here that’s Mitch Gorshin, whose business card identifies him as “Executive Director Fun & Creative” for Revel.

Gorshin, 47, son of the late actor-impressionist Frank Gorshin (best-known as the Riddler on the 1960s “Batman” TV series), conjures up entertainment and marketing ideas to keep Revel on the cutting edge of the hospitality industry. His boldest and most prominent concept so far has been “The Ball,” the 90,000-pound illuminated orb that rests atop Revel’s 47-story hotel tower.

Gorshin, a Southern California native who lives in Haddonfield with his wife, Maria, and son, Brandon, 13, came to Revel after 14 years as a production director at Disney World. He was also involved in producing “making of” pieces — a result of his childhood.

“Dad used to take me to different [TV and film] shoots,” he said. “I was totally immersed in what was going on behind the camera — how they were directed, special effects … that’s where my passion was.”

Sid Yu, Revel’s senior vice president for brand and revenue, contacted him in 2010, and he started working as an independent contractor. That led to his full-time gig brainstorming in interior design, entertainment programming, marketing and promotion.

Gorshin said he was eager to work with Yu, who had carved out a sterling reputation as a hospitality-industry marketing exec. Which brings us to the ball.

Yu had told Gorshin, “We have to put something on the building, but I just don’t want to put our name on it.” That started Gorshin’s creative wheels turning. Then fate, and pizza, intervened.

“I got a slice of pizza at Tony Boloney’s and walked back to our Atlantic Avenue office,” he said. “I just kept looking at the slope of [Revel’s roof]. To me, that was the unique feature.

“Without thinking, I had rolled the foil [from the slice] into a ball. Then I held it [toward the building]. It created a visual tension where the ball seemingly wants to roll down.”

Also, a ball “is a symbol, whether you’re a child or an older person. It conjures images of play and fun. It brings extreme pleasure,” Gorshin said.

By day, the orb looks like a giant golf ball, 40 feet in diameter and composed of almost 1,000 triangular panels. It contains a quarter-million LED lights that can be programmed from an iPad or smartphone. It is said to be visible from 10 miles on land and 200 miles from sea.

As for life with his iconic dad — who died in 2005 and whose credits also include the classic 1960 spring-break flick “Where the Boys Are” and who had guest spots on “The Munsters,” “The Untouchables” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” — Gorshin has only fond memories.

He recalled how he and his sister would try to make their dad laugh, because the maniacal cackling he brought to his Riddler role was not just an act. “That’s his natural laugh,” said Gorshin. “We’d sit there and say, ‘Here comes the Riddler laugh!’ ”

Contact Chuck Darrow at 215-313-3134 or darrowc@phillynews.com. This story first appeared on his CasiNotes blog at philly.com/philly/blogs/casinotes. Follow him on Twitter @chuckdarrow.

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