Wild Things Siegfried & Roy - Rumors and Ridicule

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When you see it outside of your window, it’s the best feeling.

People just cheer and clap when they arrive.

In Puerto Rico, Gina Goodwin was born in Puerto Rico, where her mother, Kathy, is a dancer at the Americana Hotel there.

Kathy first meets a new opening act called Siegfried and Roy.

Back in the day when she was performing, she was in Puerto Rico and Siegfried and Roy happened to be opening up for her show.

This is Puerto Rico.

There’s nonstop excitement both night and day.

It’s 1970 and Siegfried and Roy will soon open their show at the Stardust in Las Vegas.

Until then, they sign a three month contract to perform here.

It was pretty much what you would see in Vegas, but much smaller.

I think Puerto Rico is a place where they ironed out a bunch of kinks.

So one night they were having this house party and some guests noticed a bunch of water coming down the stairs and someone said, you know, you might have a leak.

There might be a plumbing issue upstairs or something.

Is everything OK and that is different right?

Look at each other and go Roger.

They had a Black Panther that they’d locked in their bedroom and he didn’t like being locked up, and so the Panther ripped open.

Their waterbed and all the water from their mattress was just pouring down the hallway down the stairs, flooded.

The House party was over.


You know there’s still a wild animals and no matter how domestic they are, things happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the superstars of magic, the mystifying, the Most Outstanding Act in show business, Big Frieda.

And Roy, what really people want to know is, did they do it?

It was as if whatever they did was so secret they thought that that would be advantages to their careers, and perhaps that nobody would see through it.

Simulate the fantasy of the audience, because without fantasy there is nothing.

This is wild things Siegfried and Roy.

Hey boss, yeah we could take the back way or we could take Las Vegas Blvd.

Whatever you think is going to get us there quick.

Yeah we’re going.

I’m in Las Vegas taking a cab to the place where Siegfried and Roy first become a blockbuster act.

I was going to test you by saying can you take me to the frontier?

Oh man, you still remember that?

Do you remember it?


Of course, I’ve been here 34 years boss.

Yeah, this is the lot, yeah?

You have a good one boss.

Today the Frontier Hotel and Casino is a 34 acre eyesore filled with sand and construction equipment.

It’s hard to picture now, but back in the early 1980s the frontier was the place to be.

It’s November 1981 and a midnight blue.

Rolls Royce pulls up to the posh front entrance of the frontier where Siegfried and Roy’s new show beyond belief is set to open this evening.

Hundreds of fans clamor just to catch a glimpse of the magicians.

Suddenly everyone’s attention shifts towards the sky.

Helicopter lands and Siegfried and Roy stepped out onto a lavish red carpet.

That Rolls Royce was merely a decoy.

This grand entrance is orchestrated by Roy and Irvin Feld, who owns the Ringling brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

1981 Siegfried and Roy have been in Vegas for about a decade, but they’ve only been performing as part of a review alongside other acts.

It is Ervin and his son, Kenneth, who approached Siegfried and Roy with an offer to headline their own show at the Frontier.

The duo invite key crew members from the Stardust Hotel and Casino to join them.

Frontier show had to add a lot of the different things that we didn’t have.

Todd Tagol is a stagehand at the Stardust.

When he first begins working for Siegfried and Roy.

In 1970, when Todd is eventually promoted to general manager, he helped Siegfried and Roy overhaul and embellish their act for the frontier.

But we had to build a passerelle so they could run a run around the stage into the audience.

Also added a lot of the holding areas for the horse for the elephants, or Lions and tigers, and so it was quite the project they were perfectionists.

The frontier show was special to have their own show and to build the show.

I was excited their show at the frontier is the first full length Magic show in Vegas and it’s a hit.

As the stages increase in size, so does their profile.

Soon the magicians are everywhere from local TV commercials and now Siegfried Roy bring you pocket magic available at Walgreens to primetime ad campaigns.

Hi, can I get you guys a Coors Light?

My name is secret and I’m Roy the adamastor.

It’s a great behold.

For nearly seven years, Siegfried and Roy performed 2 sold out shows every night for more than 3 million people.

By the late 1980s they captured the attention of billionaire real estate developer Steve Wynn, who is building what will soon become the biggest casino in Vegas and the largest hotel in the world.

Fantasy becomes reality when The Mirage appears on the Las Vegas Strip.

The $620 million Mega Resort is the first built in Las Vegas in 15 years.

It commands attention.

He’s gonna bring the best entertainment here, understand and give all the hotels one for the money.

Siegfried and Roy signed a massive contract with Steve Wynn at $57 million.

It breaks Vegas records.

It was like any other reception to honor the signing of a new contract.

There were limos, there were stars, and there were the stars.

Friends Siegfried and Roy White Tigers made themselves at home at this celebration.

But then again, why shouldn’t they?

Their masters just signed the largest contract in entertainment history.

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, becomes a friend and fan of the duo and even writes the theme song.

For their new show.

Freeman magic because construction on The Mirage won’t be completed for more than a year.

The duo books a world tour in 1988.

They spend 10 months in Japan, performing for more than a million spectators.

The tour ends with a four week residency at New York City’s legendary Radio City Music Hall.

In the United States, they had gone to Radio City Music Hall and said we will play it in theater.

That’s our goal.

That’s our dream.

What started out as a frontier show turned into this amazing traveling show when the tour is first announced.

Siegfried and Roy fly out to New York with two tigers for press appearances.

Tigers have accompanied them on television before, and it’s always gone smoothly.

But this time is different.

The Tigers are on their way to appear on the CBS morning show when their trainers left them alone in a truck for a few minutes.

Outside this coffee shop so the guys are there, I think they’re sitting over at Carnegie Deli or one of the coffee shops, so we’re going there.

Truck is parked on the street and somebody got up and got in the truck and the keys were there or whatever.

Somebody probably thought they were getting a load of furniture, luggage or something, but unfortunately for them we were two tires in the back right as they were about to go live on CBS, Siegfried and Roy discovered their cats are missing and Royce.

Boys on national TV.

Just begging and bringing back.

Please don’t hurt us it’s our soul is our heart.

It’s what we’re living for and on the way here to the studio the car has been stolen.

Mr Babies in it.

The white tigers are reportedly the first to be bred in captivity, and our insured for more than $2,000,000.

New York City Mayor Ed Koch steps in and soon the NYPD are out hunting for the stolen vehicle.

The police found the truck abandoned on a residential St in the Bronx, but people in the neighborhood knew that there was something very strange about this truck.

And when I walked by the truck the first time in the morning, I heard something wrong, you know, and I was getting a kick out of it.

And I said damn when somebody got must got tigers in the truck.

Somebody had just abandoned the truck with the cats inside later that night and the police found him.

Nobody got hurt casting get hurt.

Whoever stole them, just opened and said holy cow.

Later that day, Siegfried and Roy hold a press conference at the police station.

I must say this day it has begun that a nightmare and has ended glorious.

The Tigers are fantastic.

I got a big concert as I went into the track and everybody is very happy to be united.

Rumors swirled that the tiger theft is actually a publicity stunt and to be honest I can understand why making tigers vanish and then suddenly reappear is actually kind of their MO.

Plus, if you think back to that time, they showed up to the frontier in a helicopter after using a limousine as a decoy, it does make you wonder.

But the folks we talked to swear that the stolen truck was absolutely real and not an illusion, so you’re pretty good.

Got so mattered because we got so emotional, but they were like his children with all the drama behind them, the duo finally venture off on tour with a plane full of gigantic set pieces and exotic animals.

Pilot said it was like heaviest load he’s ever taken.

He rolled in 50 semi trucks to load into Radio City Music Hall.

We had to shut that whole screen.

Down everybody we had people on radios we had to keep the elephant inform island and brave bring her in every day.

After their sold out runs in Japan and Radio City, Siegfried and Roy returned to Las Vegas and prepared to open their new show at The Mirage.

Well, I first met them in 1989 as they were returning from Radio City Music Hall and they were coming back in anticipation of opening.

Their show at The Mirage.

Alan Feldman is a PR consultant hired to oversee the opening of The Mirage, just like when Siegfried and Roy overhauled their show for the frontier.

They do so again, only this time they go even bigger.

I don’t think it was a big gamble for The Mirage, Siegfried, and Roy and Kenneth Feld.

They were the ones who were taking the big gamble because what they could have done was they could have taken the show at the frontier, reworked it, and expanded it and put it into the garage.

And it would.

It would have done fine.

It may not have blown the socks off people, but it would have been successful.

What they did instead was they completely redid a show.

They went out and hired some of the best of Broadway in and West End designers and directors and choreographers and scenic people.

I mean, they got John Napier, who had had done lemis and cats and dozens of other things.

I mean a fantastic designer John cared who was a director from Royal Shakespeare Company in the National Theater in England.

Anthony van Laast, a choreographer.

Of several ballet companies and on and on and on.

I mean, this was just an All Star listed.

People who by the way I think among them maybe one of the group had ever even been to Las Vegas.

Let alone worked on a show in Las Vegas.

And it showed that.

I mean it it was.

It was honestly as extraordinary a piece of theater piece of, you know, performance art as you would see in the United States anywhere.

Man, they they created a spectacle.

It it really was.

And that was the risk.

I think Siegfried and Roy probably put everything they had into the show financially.

And if this thing didn’t work, Siegfried and Roy would have taken the hit.

The Mirage Theater will seat 1500 nearly twice the size of the frontier Siegfried and Roy Hire 170 cast members and additional crew to pull off this supersized show in November 1989, The Mirage finally opens, and the press conference is suitably over the top.

Steve Wynn stepped out of his hotel, got on a radio like this one, and said security this is Mr Win let him in.

Great day.

We can throw rash.

When their new show premieres a few months later, it’s an instant success because there’s no nudity in Siegfried, and Roy fact families with children start buying tickets in record numbers.

Wonderful thing about six really shows that.

Shouldn’t that be over 21 to watch it?

It wasn’t salacious or ******.

It was big and sensual.

But you could take anybody to it.

In the early 1990s, my own parents will take a trip to Las Vegas and come home raving about what they had witnessed at The Mirage.

At the time I was at Sleepaway Camp.

Of all the FOMO I’ve experienced in my life, that’s got to be in the top five.

Since opening at Mirage, they have sold out at a rate of 104% capacity for every show that’s at $90.

00 a seat and they have an estimated net worth of more than 100,000,000.

They were one of The Pioneers of transforming Las Vegas into what it is today.

Writer Annette Tapert isn’t exaggerating.

Because of the magic because of the animals, Siegfried and Roy were able to create a crossover audience, which was families people who wanted a quote clean entertainment.

So it wasn’t just a review with a lot of Las Vegas, showgirls, wearing fringed pasties and little thong bikini bottoms and head dresses.

Vegas was ready for a change, so we decided to make it a theatrical experience to go a new dimension to be.

You may want to say pioneering and a new era.

They were Las Vegas phenomenons, but they didn’t really have a social life because they worked so hard.

During the week.

You know two shows at night, six days a week doesn’t leave you much time and the production was enormous.

It wasn’t like they were doing a 30 minute show in the middle of a Las Vegas review like they used to and then when they have time off they’d go to Puerto Rico and they just wanted to rest.

Where to Rico?

The shine do you know they call Puerto Rico the island of enchantment?

And I think that’s something really magical about that.

Gina Goodwin now lives in Arizona, but she enjoys traveling back home and visiting the neighborhood where her mother, Kathy first meets Siegfried and Roy.

Decades earlier, they lived in an area called Isla Verde.

It’s right outside of San Juan, literally 2 streets from the beach.

You know, these men get to hang out on the beach all day and.

It’s just the stories are endless really like Gina, Siegfried and Roy See Puerto Rico as a pleasant destination to enjoy their downtime.

Invigorating as when we had described the air nourishing is another one.

It just feels like you’re being hugged.

They’d go to the beach all the time.

They’d have beach parties, play beach volleyball.

What was that game?

Where you where you sit on the other person shoulders in the water and you chicken fight?

Was it something like that?

Yeah, they did that a lot over the years.

The duo vacation in Puerto Rico where they relax on the beach and throw house parties.

Puerto Rico becomes a safe haven where they can just be themselves.

It’s also where they go to escape personal troubles.

Zigfried went through a low point and I think that had to do a lot from.

The stress of performing they were working very hard without much of a break and he needed something to calm his nerves.

During a Nets interviews for the duo’s autobiography, Siegfried and Roy Confide in her about the stresses of stardom.

When Siegfried was having issues with Valium, I think it was.

It was hard.

He was sort of a zombie and it started to infringe on Siegfried and Roy’s relationship.

They were fighting a lot bickering a lot, and at one point you know they had lived together.

And I think one of them moved out.

And as Roy said, you know I was thinking of maybe starting my own act within Reno with an elephant, but he said which was a dumb idea because I hate Reno.

But fortunately Zigfried caught it in time before he hit a downward spiral, and when it was time for their two week break.

To go away on a vacation, he went to Puerto Rico and weaned himself off pills.

Puerto Rico is also where Siegfried and Roy get away from the media spotlight.

As their celebrity grows, society becomes increasingly obsessed with the duo’s private lives.

Soon enough, the question of their sexual identity actually becomes a punchline.

You guys know more about gay culture.

Then Siegfried and Roy.

Despite all the scrutiny and speculation, they will never publicly address their sexuality, that void of silence gets filled with tasteless ridicule, like this sketch from Mad TV.

We are not afraid to be on fire.

Flaming is our middle name.

They came of age in an era in which were they to perform before a public being.

Openly queer was just not viable.

Jonathan Katz is a queer activist and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

He teaches classes in gender and sexuality.

You try to hide it.

It’s an aspect of shame.

They had to develop a thick skin.

And of course there were no protections.

No question to me that the more outlandish the denial, the more actually pleasurable it was for a homophobic straight culture to watch.

There’s a great pleasure in seeing a kind of queer minstrel re, which is what Siegfried and Roy really were a pleasure that manifestly queer people are being forced to deny their identity, their subjectivity for the pleasure of a straight audience.

The fixation on their sexual identity also fuels rumors about the duo’s health.

When the show closes for more than two weeks in 2001, the official reason given to the media is that Sigfried is suffering from the flu.

But folks begin whispering, and rumors spread.

Suddenly people are saying Roy is battling HIV.

Anytime there were, you know, any kind of health issues with them.

There were people who probably presumed whether they had any reason to know or not, but there was some HIV related thing along with the reporting on the tiger attack.

Steve Friess is also a former writer for The Advocate, the oldest and largest American publication serving the LGBTQI community and took off for weeks at a time when she had this or that.

Nobody ever said, oh gosh, she probably.

Not breast cancer or AIDS or any right that they just assumed.

If she wasn’t well, he could.

You know people get sick time to time and they have to cancel shows.

As far as I can tell, the rumor about Roy’s alleged battle with HIV is just that, hearsay.

But I was pretty stunned to discover the salacious gossip goes even further.

I remember there was a rumor for a long time that Roy had died of AIDS, and they they found somebody who looked like him.

And they gave him plastic surgery and they came back and I don’t know if anybody really believed it, but it was a very very frequently said plane.

I mean it.

I I remember this whole incident and I remember the rumors and it just seemed to be of a piece with the extraordinary cruelty of that moment.

What ultimately this indicated was that there was actually no real recognition of human loss because we were queers whatever we were undergoing.

Didn’t count.

What’s disturbing is how the vitriol towards Siegfried and Roy actually seems to intensify after the tiger attack.

Just listen to media outlets like TMZ.

Harvey they found Manticore naked, tide up in a closet with a rope around his neck and his jet.

Why are you making fun?

Back in the day, as a gay man and a writer watching those things and hearing the crowd laugh, is that something that bothered you?

I mean, you know, I mean, there was there was alarming period there.

Where as just a gay person in this country, it was a little Boo builder in that you couldn’t say these kinds of things about a lot of other minorities.

But you could just say those things about gays and it was fun.

I used to have a real hard time with Saturday Night Live.

I mean, I can’t tell you how many of the skits were one after the next.

The joke essentially was that there was something sort of queer going on there.

Ambiguously gay duo tonight’s episode, a hard one to swallow.

It’s amazing what’s normal until it’s not normal anymore.

I have to imagine that Siegfried and Roy avoid discussing their sexuality in order to preserve their careers, and they’re not alone in carrying that burden.

Hollywood has a dark history of forcing stars to misrepresent themselves, all for the sake of holding onto the spotlight.

This is all well before my time, so I was shocked to learn about what happened to actors like Tab Hunter.

Hello, I’m Tab Hunter, and I’ve got a secret.

In the 1950s, TAB is one of Warner Brothers top grossing actors.

When he begins dating Natalie Wood, the star of now classic films like Miracle on 34th St and Rebel without a Cause, Hollywood buzzes with excitement.

But the relationship is a PR stunt arranged by the studio to obscure the truth.

It’s not until the release of tabs autobiography in 2005 that he publicly acknowledges his sexual identity.

You were marketed as the boy next door, though Hollywood heartthrob, exactly, that’s a label they stick on you to to to sell you to build you up.

That’s all part of the hoopla.

That’s all part of that system and they grind it out like a like a sausage factory.

You know, young.

That’s tab singing young love.

If you were a journalist and in that era covering Hollywood and he wanted to see the the previews and interview the stars and you knew something about a star that was gay, you wanted to report you couldn’t.

‘cause it was seen as indecent and inappropriate the same year, young love spend six weeks at number, one on the Billboard chart.

Siegfried and Roy meet on that cruise ship.

I can’t pretend to know how these two young men feel about anything, but there’s little chance they somehow miss what’s going on across the Atlantic at the time.

You know, I mean attitudes about gay people and just the idea of *** *** and gay relationships.

Is this very not OK?

Most Americans are repelled by the mere notion of homosexuality.

The CBS News survey shows that two out of three Americans look upon homosexuals.

We’ve discussed discomfort or fear.

CBS airs a special called.

The homosexuals in 1967, the year Siegfried and Roy arrived in the US and begin performing at the Tropicana 40 million Americans tune into the controversial broadcast, which features interviews with psychiatrists.

Homosexuality is in fact a mental illness which has reached epidemiological proportions.

The public was much more religious and much more conservative.

There was just a lot of things that people didn’t understand.

In more recent years, say in the 80s, nineties and and arts, there was plenty of inappropriate journalism about obviously or probably gay people that the media ignored.

I think of Ricky Martin, for example.

I think that sexuality is something that each individual should deal with in the wrong way.

You know you could stop these rumors.

You could say, as many artists have.

Yes, I am gay.

Or you could say no, I’m not.

Or you could leave it as you are.

Ambiguous, but bummer.

For some reason I just don’t feel like it.

As soon as we started working on this podcast, I remember so many people asking me questions like were they a couple.

They lived together, right?

Were they ever married initially, I assumed our podcast had to attempt to answer these questions because that’s what the public is still seemingly dying to know.

But all those questions actually say more about us than they do.

Siegfried and Roy.

Over the years, they always find a way to sidestep the answers while still emphasizing their closeness.

Here’s Barbara Walters, yet again, prodding another celebrity about his sexual identity.

It’s a very unusual relationship.

You 2 have you are that’s true brothers, real brothers.

We are actually more at the brothers, are you lovers?

I love Roy like my brother.

Here’s Todd de Gaulle, the duo stage manager and close friend’s relationship with Siegfried was very special.

And it was a.

It was a lovely where you would see it.

I mean they were pretty outgoing.

The way they treat each other touched each other.

Justin Dearing, ‘cause they were an item for years.

You know they were.

They were partners.

Todd tells us he doesn’t know when their relationship ends but he does have a sense that at a certain point they stop being romantically involved.

I don’t know, I don’t know, sure.

I still want to still frontier.

The duo’s autobiography, Siegfried and Roy Masters of the Impossible, is finally released in 1992.

The book is deeply personal and tackles their troubled childhoods and drug addiction.

Thanks to Annette’s interviews, however, the book does not mention their relationship or their sexual identity.

Their sexuality was off limits.

I will admit, I was curious.

I was curious.

You know who were they having romantic relationships with?

And probably if this book were to be done today, it wouldn’t fly.

We would have to address this.

What really people want to know is did they do it?

Here’s Jonathan Katz again with Siegfried and Roy.

We wanted all the salacious details we wanted to see the pitch sheets we wanted.

The most invasive information.

According to Jonathan, the attention around their sexual identity cuts both ways.

It may have produced a greater degree of ridicule, but in many respects it redounded to their benefit.

It made their act of submission all the more powerful.

And probably made them more popular.

And part of the great pleasure of seeing them was, of course, participating in this ritual of self denial.

That you know they were as much performing animals as the animals they deployed.

They knew the tricks they did, the tricks, no question about it.

I think.

Were they rising today?

They would be flaunting their queer bonafides their beauty and the pleasure of two Queens putting 800 pound big cats in their place.

Relate to the fantasy of the audience, because without fantasy there is nothing.

You call them the world’s most openly closeted celebrities.

Sure, that sounds right, yeah, well, So what does that mean?

They figured they were hiding in plain sight, which they weren’t.

As was Liberace?

I mean, it wasn’t.

It didn’t have to spend too much time watching them to know what was going on there, but they didn’t come out then, you know, were Siegfried and Roy, both in their 30s today and performing today.

I don’t know that their sexuality would matter, that’s Mirage spokesperson Alan Feldman again, and even if they were to.

Discuss it, I don’t know that a whole lot of people would care.

You know, they they were frequently tabloid fodder.

The headlines and stories that were being written in places like the National Enquirer were just awful.

Did you ever talk to them about how they felt about that?

That kind of attention?

I don’t ever recall.

You know, looking at it with them or talking to them about it or giving it any credence, and I hope to God they didn’t either.

I suspect that they probably discussed it with other celebrities who were similarly attacked, and probably, you know, found some solace in the notion that it wasn’t just them.

I think if there was some notion that they alone were on the receiving end of this.

That would have been much harder to take.

However, there is one instance Allen tells me about where Siegfried and Roy are deeply upset by how they’re portrayed in the media.

The only one was during a Comic Relief broadcast.

I believe it was in the very early 90s.

It was at Radio City Music Hall.

This comedy show happens just a matter of months after Siegfried and Roy’s residency at the New York Theater.

Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams?

They’re gearing up to host Comic Relief 90.

A star studded evening of comedy and compassion.

Robin Williams and Billy Crystal did a takeoff of Siegfried and Roy, and there seemed to be a bit of inside information that was then, you know, exaggerated for comic effect and.

Like the only way that some of that would have been known enough to then exaggerate it would have been if stagehands or others who had worked at Radio City had told Robin and Billy those stories.

And they were mostly upset, I think because.

They felt that you know some of the folks who had.

They had just worked with.

Had sold them out a little bit.

I can understand why Siegfried and Roy would be upset having their privacy violated by backstage people they trust has to be unsettling.

Even today, when I interview, former cast and crew members, I’m not exactly sure how to ask about the duo’s relationship in a way that doesn’t feel like a violation.

Here’s Steve Friess, you know is it?

Is it OK to suggest that somebody is out if they’re not really out and even in the gay community there was a lot of this, you know everybody has to come out in their own time, and you can’t.

Forced them and shame them, and if they’re not doing anything, sort of negative or against the the gate, ‘cause then you shouldn’t.

You know be questioning it or writing about it.

They weren’t out there trying to demonize gay people.

Well, they work, they were just trying to sell tickets to their magic show.

Hearing all this, I can sense just how exhausting it must be for Siegfried and Roy to grapple with their fame.

That pressure makes having a tropical getaway like Puerto Rico even more essential.

I can picture them lounging by the ocean, reflecting on simpler times before they were rich and famous back when they first meet Gina’s mom, Kathy.

I think they all felt safe with each other.

You know ‘cause?

I don’t think my mom didn’t speak any Spanish different.

Roy certainly didn’t speak any Spanish, and I think that’s another thing that brought them together, maybe.

The more time they spend together, the more Kathy observes.

She said that Siegfried had a lot of likes, cars and stuff all up his arms and things and his hands.

And she said that he was the one that disciplined the cats a lot right?

And Roy was the one that was there when the cats were giving birth.

He was the nurturing one and I think that that’s what drew my mother to him.

Especially, she really like Troy, she said.

Roy was the really cute one.

I think they’re both good looking in my opinion.

But she said there was something about that dark hair and he was just like very captivating to her and they would go out and they’d be dancing.

And she really, really liked Roy.

But my mom said to me, genome, you can’t change the spots on a leopard, that’s just how she put it.

You know, Sodom and Gomorrah was like the town back in biblical days that Figgis is today since city.

You gotta a whole plethora of individuals from all over the world showing up in one place.

And you know, you could just go in and and sit down on the machine and the alcohol was free.

In 2003, Michael Game is a detective with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

When I moved out here and got introduced into the law enforcement, that that’s when my life kind of took a turn.

I actually worked on a squad that dealt with the strip, so we were dealing with a lot of drugs, some gang crime, some theft illegal gambling.

You know, learn how to depend on your instinct.

When the hairs on the back of your neck grow up.

And you go OK, something’s wrong in here.

When Michael is asked to investigate the Siegfried and Roy Tiger attack, he can’t believe it, and in retrospect, when I first hear that, in addition to the USDA, the police also opened an actual case.

I’m surprised, too.

At that point my career I had seen a lot of crazy stuff, but yeah, it was probably the strangest investigation I was involved with.

‘cause you’re not, you’re normally you’re looking at, you know person on person, crimes, and now we’re looking at this animal.

Your initial response is he got bit by one of his animals.

Why are we investigating this now?

Seems like the right moment to tell you something.

That to me seems a little strange.

Michael is assigned to the Homeland Security Division.

Normally his job is to work cases involving counterterrorism.

So why would he of all people be called out to investigate a tiger mauling a magician?

It was more or less did somebody in the audience do something to cause the animal to react the way it did?

And can we prove it?

That was the bottom line, plain and simple, and that is how we approached the investigation.

We were very thorough and very complete because if you screw something like this up, the political ramifications for the department.

Would’ve been tremendous.

Michael runs background checks on folks who attended the show that night.

The police combed through files and do research on the tiger.

It was all we did for the next several weeks.

We didn’t do anything else.

The cops interviewed dozens of witnesses from audience members to the backstage crew and ask them a laundry list of questions.

Have you received threatening notes you know?

Has anybody ever walked up to you and said something to you?

Has anybody ever approached you as a veteran cop?

Michael knows not to assume too much when it comes to human behavior.

An animal acting the way you did it didn’t surprise me.

It’s an animal.

It still has animal tendencies, but human nature always baffles me.

It’s really hard to determine why a human being does what they do to another human being.

Next time on wild things Siegfried and Roy.

Man would go out.

Tonight is the first appearance in front of him.

He just kind of dropped to the ground, almost like he just fainted.

You know Montecore was helping save his friend to take him to safety.

Story wise that they had settled on this whole, you know, oh, the tiger was trying to protect Roy.

Wild things Siegfried and Roy is an ample original podcast produced by Atwell Media.

Our producer is Alexandra Oslo.

Story editors are Matt Hickey and Mandy Gorenstein.

Our editor is Rachel Lightner.

With help from Andrew Holzberger and Margaret Warner is our associate producer.

Adele Sparks is our archival producer, and Ashley Taylor is our line producer.

Fact checking by Sona Avakian.

Our original music in main title are by Robert Kiesewetter, Anjana Bechtolt audio post production by 1000 birds.

While things Siegfried and Roy is executive produced and written by me, Steven La Carte, our executive producer from Atwell Media is will malnati the Attwell Media team also includes Dominique Quebec, Wake and Ruby be legal services provided by Samuel Bayard and Sean Gordon with representation by Oren Rosenbaum at UTA.

Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts.