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It took four men and a fire extinguisher to get the tiger off him’: the tragedy of Vegas magicians Siegfried and Roy,
Their exotic animal show was a Sin City sensation – until one of their white tigers attacked. But why were counter-terrorism police called? New podcast Wild Things tackles an enduring mystery,
Where do you start with a story that involves counter-terrorism police doing background checks on a tiger, has its roots in the mental health problems of Nazi soldiers, and features an investigation into whether a beehive hairdo can be used as a weapon?.
What’s more, weaving in and out of all of this, there are two German magicians in mullets and shiny suits seemingly capable of floating around in the air, one of whom nearly dies on stage after a white tiger bites clean through his neck.
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This was the problem facing Emmy-winning film-maker Steven Leckart, who had long felt that the extraordinary story of Siegfried and Roy, whose performances with exotic animals electrified Las Vegas, deserved a proper telling.
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The result is Wild Things, an eight-part podcast detailing how Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn rose to international stardom with a whole zoo’s worth of performing jungle cats, then had their live career effectively ended when a tiger called” Montecore attacked Roy on stage, nearly killing him.
As a child of the 80s,” says Leckart, speaking via Zoom from his Los Angeles home, “Siegfried and Roy have always loomed large for me.
And no one has ever properly examined their story – or the attack – in depth.” To do so was a mighty undertaking: over the course of 50 years, Siegfried and Roy performed 30,000 shows to 50 million people, generating over $1bn in ticket sales.
Their act fused gigantic, mind-boggling illusions with the most exotic animals on earth, sparking an explosion in families coming to Vegas shows, at a time when bills were dominated by topless showgirls.Czeebzis.