“Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy” Podcast Explores Rise and Fall of Vegas Icons

A new podcast, “Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy,” just dropped its third episode and it’s a must-listen if you’re into Las Vegas lore or two performers who we’re pretty sure were visitors from an alternate dimension.

“Wild Things” will ultimately have eight episodes. The first episode made its debut on Jan. 12, 2022.

New episodes drop on Wednesday of each week.

If you’re not fascinated by Siegfried & Roy, you’re not Vegas enough.

“Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy” is written and narrated by journalist and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Leckart.

“Wild Things” is really well done and uses the tiger attack that ended the reign of Siegfried & Roy as the spine of the series, while exploring their histories and lasting
impact on Las Vegas.

Magicians and cultural icons Siegfried and Roy, of course, ruled the Las Vegas Strip, first at the Frontier, then at Mirage, for decades.

Then, on October 3, 2003, Roy Horn was attacked by a tiger, Montecore.

“Wild Things” is teeming with interesting facts about the flamboyant duo, including the fact “Montecore” (also spelled “Mantecore”) translates from Middle Persian as “maneater.”

Army of the Dead tiger
We don’t have a photo of Montecore, but please enjoy this zombie tiger from “Army of the Dead.”

Even diehard Vegas fans will learn things they didn’t know, such as the fact none other than Michael Jackson wrote and performed the theme song, “Mind is the Magic,” for Siegfried & Roy’s show at the Mirage. Yeah, it’s “Bad.”

Episode one of “Wild Things” sets the stage for the rest of the series, providing background about the enigmatic performers who were both acclaimed for their
accomplishments and ridiculed for their eccentric lifestyles.

Interviewees include Annette Tapert, author of “Siegfried and Roy: Mastering the Impossible, The Truth Behind the Magic.”

Tapert talks about how both Siegfried & Roy had troubled backgrounds, and how the two met on a cruise ship.

We’re also introduced to Jim Steinmeyer, a magic historian and consultant to Siegfried & Roy and others.

We also hear from Rick Thomas, a big cat magician who has performed on the Las Vegas Strip and now plies his trade in Branson, Missouri.

The first episode also features longtime Las Vegas journalist Steve Friess.

The first episode delves into the reaction to Roy Horn’s near-death experience following the tiger attack. He actually flat-lined in the hospital.

There’s also a tease of the attack being more complicated than what officials shared with the public. There’s a hint authorities wondered if the attack had been spurred by the actions of an audience member (perhaps an animal rights activist), for example.

Siegfried & Roy
The last time we bumped into Siegfried & Roy, they were tapping a keg at Hofbrauhaus.

In episode two, the podcast dives into the investigation that followed the Roy Horn tiger attack.

We meet Francisco Rodriguez, director of the Guadalajara zoo, as well as David Neal, an investigator for the USDA.

Neal shares that while the police were allowed to view videotape of the attack, he was told the tape “doesn’t exist.” Cue more intrigue.

There’s also Jay Coates, who at the time of Roy Horn’s incident onstage, was a trauma surgeon at UMC Medical Center.

The episode also talks about how, while Siegfried & Roy were undeniably very public figures, they were also guarded and private.

The show’s third episode, “Rumors and Ridicule,” also discusses a subject of endless curiosity, even today, the pair’s relationship and sexuality.

Siegfried & Roy never officially confirmed their sexuality or whether their relationship was romantic in nature. Hint: It was, at least at one time. It’s believed the
relationship became more of a platonic relationship while their show was still at the Frontier.

This episode features Jonathan Katz, a gay activist who discusses the complex issue of Siegfried & Roy’s public perception. “[There’s] 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 minstrelry, which is really what Siegfried and Roy really were. A pleasure that manifestly queer people are being forced to deny their identity, their subjectivity, for the pleasure a straight audience.”

Yeah, rich and famous is great, but there’s definitely a tragic element to Siegfried & Roy that goes far beyond the storied financial and onstage success and a tiger attack.

This episode ends with comments from Michael Game, who investigated the tiger attack as a counter-terrorism sergeant for Metro.

Siegfried tribute
This tribute was played on the Viva Vision screen in downtown Las Vegas when Siegfried died in 2021.

We’re looking forward to future episodes of this fascinating podcast. The show digs further into what really happened on the night of Roy Horn’s tiger encounter, the how and why and wild theories and conspiracies floated at the time.

One of the wacky theories was the tiger was trying to protect Roy, another proposed by now-disgraced casino mogul Steve Wynn was a woman’s height or hairstyle
distracted the tiger.

“Wild Things” seems to be going down a path of a potential “Aha!” revelation, but it’s unclear what “there” might actually be there.

The attack has been extensively reported, and despite the theories about the incident, it all seems to come down to the fact wild animals are wild animals, and no amount of hand-feeding or pampering can change those wild and sometimes unpredictable instincts.

Wherever “Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy” is going, we’re along for the ride because Siegfried & Roy are so interwoven into the fabric of Las Vegas.

Roy Horn died in 2020, Siegfried Fischbacher died in 2021.

It’s an especially good time to explore the Siegfried & Roy mystique and legacy because according to the Chinese Zodiac, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.

Catch “Wild Things” wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts.

And if you’ve bothered to read this far, here’s your reward: A Siegfried & Roy rumor you won’t hear anywhere else. It’s one of the weirdest rumors we’ve heard in all our years of covering Las Vegas, and we’ve heard a lot of batshit crazy rumors, trust us. We were told that at one time Siegfried & Roy inquired with staff members about how much it would cost to purchase and own a little person. Can’t recall where we heard this, or who shared it, but our source wasn’t joking.

“Wild Things” may want to consider adding an episode, because that’s a rumor as wild as Siegfried & Roy.