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Encore Presentation: Interview With Siegfried And Roy

Aired October 12, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Good evening, I'm Larry King. This week we've been keeping you updated on the condition of Roy Horn, half of the famed Vegas act Siegfried and Roy. And as you probably know, Roy suffered life threatening injuries during a show last Friday. One of the tigers in the act bit Horn and dragged him off the stage. Wednesday, we spoke with Roy's partner, Siegfried Fischbacher. It was Siegfried's first interview since the incident.
SIEGFRIED FISCHBACHER, ENTERTAINER: I say it was an accident. If it would be, the tiger would be out for killing Roy. It would be in no time. The tiger would be not anymore.

KING: Do you think he was trying to help him?

FISCHBACHER: That's exactly what I think.

KING: Roy falls...

FISCHBACHER: Roy falls and he want to protect, because that's the injury, you know. And animal like this and tripping and it gone over there. And the claws, when we went, I saw it we doing right. When we went there, he was in extra danger, right. So he took Roy and he put him back stage behind the curtain.

KING: To protect him.

FISCHBACHER: To protect him. And then he let Roy go and went back.

KING; He let him go by himself.

FISCHBACHER; And Roy said.

KING: What did Roy say?

FISCHBACHER: Roy said, don't harm the tiger.

KING: While we join their many fans around the world in wishing Roy a speedy recovery. Tonight we want to take you back to happier times.

It was 1999, the duos Vegas act was going strong and they were celebrating a release of a great IMax film chronicaling their life story. It's an amazing tale as you are about to hear.

Tonight, the most popular live performers in Las Vegas history. Their incredible act of illusion has drawn tens of millions of fans, and now they're going to be featured in a new IMAX movie, and they're here with us,

Siegfried and Roy are next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's a great pleasure to welcome as our special guests tonight on LARRY KING LIVE the two top-drawing performers in Las Vegas history. If you haven't seen them, when you do see them, you have a treat in store. They're Siegfried & Roy. They're performing nightly at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. And they're going to be featured in a IMAX movie, which will open September 23 in Los Angeles and September 27 in New York. IMAX is a very special process. And it's called "Siegfried & Roy and the Magic Box."

Before we trace their incredible history, how, Siegfried, did this come about, this IMAX thing?

SIEGFRIED FISCHBACHER, "SIEGFRIED & ROY": Well, you know, somebody read our autobiography, somebody saw our show and liked it and thought this is going to be a great script, and the script was our life.

KING: So this is your biography, Roy?

ROY UWE LUDWIG HORN, "SIEGFRIED & ROY": Yes, it's our life story. It is based on our life story. It's the story no one wrote. It is the story life itself wrote.

KING: But it's done in IMAX, meaning we have that incredible wide screen that almost...

FISCHBACHER: It's also in 3-D. It's in 3-D dimension, and it gives us -- allows us to be very intimate with our audience, and so...

KING: But the question, Roy, is, since it's being shot with film and the like, did people get to see how you do your illusions?

HORN: That's exactly right, because as an illusionist, you want to take the people anywhere.

KING: Correct. HORN: You want to let them just for a moment forget everything and let them think -- when they think it's real, then you take it away from them. But the magic of IMAX is a magic by itself. It allows the audience to be right along with you, but it doesn't allow you as magician really to let them see anything, so we have to be really doing more than we normally would be doing. It's a big challenge.

KING: You have to work harder?

FISCHBACHER: Work harder, of course. You have to rechoreograph the whole thing.

But what happens is, the result was a fantastic one. I am very happy with it, and I saw the dailies, and it's just incredible.

KING: Anxious to see it too. And we'll be seeing little clips of it through the show tonight. And I'm going to see it when it opens.

By the way, later on in the program, at the end of the show, we're going to bring you two tiger cubs. They're eight weeks old. Siegfried & Roy work with animals, and we'll talk a lot about that as well.

Roy, are you magicians who do illusion or are illusionists who do magic, or are they the same?

HORN: It's the same. It's only more...

KING: I heard there's a difference, though. Isn't there a difference between a magician and an illusionist?

HORN: Yes a magician really manipulates with his hands. An illusionist walks with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the audience all over, the entire spectrum of it.

KING: Are you both?

FISCHBACHER: We're more than that.

HORN: We are...

FISCHBACHER: I would say, I'm the magician, and he brought the magic into it, you know.

KING: He's the illusionist.

FISCHBACHER: I am the illusionist. Well actually in his mind, he's more of an illusionist than I am.

HORN: He calls me a "fantasist."

FISCHBACHER: In order to be a good illusionist, you have to be very realistic, and sometimes I am too realistic. But he's always up there and...

KING: Let's get a little history. You're both from Germany.

How did this come about, Roy? How did you two meet?

HORN: Well, we met on an ocean liner. I run away from home as a young boy.

KING: Where was home?

HORN: North Germany, Primahathen (ph).

And on the ship, I met Siegfried. He did magic act.

FISCHBACHER: On the side, it was my hobby. Magic was my hobby, you know.

KING: Were you working on the ship doing another job?

FISCHBACHER: Yes, I was steward and bartender, and I entertained the -- one day the captain. The captain saw me and he says, well, you're going to do it for the passengers, and became very successful, and one day Roy saw me there, was also a steward, and he saw when I took the rabbit out of the hat and vanished birds and so on, swallowed razor blades, and he said, if you can do that with a rabbit, could you do that with a cheetah? And I didn't know he had a pet cheetah. So that's a little story.

KING: Stop right there.


KING: What were you doing with a pet cheetah? Most people don't have that.

HORN: It sounds very unlogical, but it was very logical for me. I was, as a child -- I was not very good in communicating with people. We came from Germany after the war, so we didn't have a whole lot, and I trusted more in my animals than I trusted in people.

KING: Still true?

HORN: That's still true.

KING: You trust...

FISCHBACHER: More actually, more.

HORN: It's true. Animals are my passion, so -- and magic became my life. So together I have both.

KING: Did you form the act on the ship?

FISCHBACHER: That's right.

KING: You started to work together on the ship?

HORN: Begun, yes. KING: Where, for want of a better term, was your big break?

HORN: Monte Carlo.

FISCHBACHER: Monte Carlo was the big break.

KING: Were you called "Siegfried & Roy"?

FISCHBACHER: Yes, but, the big break...


KING: What were you called?

HORN: "Siegfried & Partner."


KING: You changed your name?

HORN: After that. I figured out that he cannot have all the glory by himself, so I put myself into the act.

FISCHBACHER: Well, I could say, the break, for me, the break was at the moment I left my family, home.

KING: Getting out of Germany.

FISCHBACHER: Get out of Germany. Get away from my home town, I would say.

KING: Why?

FISCHBACHER: Because, you know, you've been raised differently. We are, in my time, you know, we had a very difficult family.

KING: Your father was...

FISCHBACHER: My father was an alcoholic and so on, so, and everything...

KING: Alcoholic.

FISCHBACHER: I was always the boy he never can be good. He never will be nothing. He -- you know.

KING: So you got away.

FISCHBACHER: But the farther I went away from home to more secure I become myself. Even my last words, and that sounds a little tough, when my mother said: If you leave now, you don't have to come back again. But that doesn't mean that -- she loved me very much. I know it. But we never could show it. We never...

KING: Did you ever go back?

FISCHBACHER: Yes, of course.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with Siegfried & Roy. And later, you're going to meet some little baby tigers.

Don't go away.


FISCHBACHER: Siegfried was the ship's magician. He had a rabbit. Roy was a steward. He had something better: a cheetah.

Now in show business, you don't have to be just good, you've got to be different, and Roy made all the difference in the world.




HORN: My closest companion and fierce protector.

Together, we would look up across the corn fields to the ships in the distance. Could it be a higher power (UNINTELLIGIBLE) our true desires?


KING: We're back with Siegfried & Roy. Your father fought with Germany during World War II when you were a baby, you were a kid.

FISCHBACHER: Yes, of course.

KING: Your father as well?

HORN: Same, same story.

KING: You wanted to get out, too?

HORN: The same story. He did it in the south. I did it in the north. And we met on the ocean.

KING: Your father was rough on you?

HORN: Rough.

KING: Did you get to go back?

HORN: Yes.


FISCHBACHER: No, he still...

HORN: Back to Germany.

KING: Yes. But, I mean, did your family get to see your success?

HORN: My mom and my brothers, yes. My father never did.

KING: What about your family?

HORN: I lost them before I...

KING: So they never saw your success. All right, what happened in Monte Carlo, Roy?

HORN: Well, Monte Carlo was our big breakthrough. We did a gala for Prince Ranier and Grace Kelly at that time, and the cheetah who was supposed to do the final finale, jump on top, he didn't jump on top of the illusion, he jumped right into the audience, went by Princess Grace and Prince Ranier and went into the kitchen. KING: This made your act. This was the big hit?

HORN: We got a standing ovation. You know, that counted for something.

KING: They thought that was the act?

FISCHBACHER: First of all, they thought this is the act, and secondly we get the standing ovation and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) royalty. And all of these people -- you never have seen so many jewelries in your life. And they give us a standing ovation, we must be good. And I got confidence in myself.

KING: Weren't you a little panicky when the cheetah ran into the audience.

HORN: Sure, but you have to make it look like it belonged to the act, you know?

KING: You faked it?


HORN: Another illusion.

KING: Did you work Europe a lot?

FISCHBACHER: Not so much. We worked more on the ship than, you know, we became entertainers. We changed, actually on the ship...

KING: Did you bring animals on to the ship?

HORN: Yes, the cheetah.

FISCHBACHER: That's right. And we got the cheetah and so on. But with the white tigers and some of the tigers, that started actually...

KING: In the United States. What brought you to this country?


HORN: We...

FISCHBACHER: We had a contract with a lido show in Paris, which at that time that was...

KING: Big show.

FISCHBACHER: ... was the big show and that was the biggest nightclub in the world. And it was a secure job because you had a contract what goes on for two, three years. And with that leader show, we arrived in Las Vegas. This was 30 years ago. And what a wonderful thing is, you know, I...

KING: You went into a hotel in Vegas? FISCHBACHER: That's right. It was -- the first one was the Stardust hotel. And so it went. And we became very successful. A wonderful thing is, you know, I always said the positive thing in this country, the people, the...

KING: You were accepted here.


HORN: Yes.

FISCHBACHER: You never -- I never felt like a foreigner. I never felt...

KING: So you were -- but at the Stardust, you were in the lido show.

FISCHBACHER: That's right.

KING: There were other things in that show, right? Singers and other acts, right?

HORN: That's right.

KING: When did you separate from that, Roy, and become "Siegfried & Roy," just you.

HORN: That was at the Frontier. Well, we became -- later on, we became the last part of the Lido.

KING: The closing act.

HORN: No, we was half of the show, the ending of the show.

FISCHBACHER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because people come back and wanted to see this, what is this? This magician, finally, we get our name on the marquee. Then when the name was on the marquee, then other producers like Irving Felt as you know very well...

KING: I know him well. FISCHBACHER: Irving felt had the confidence to say Siegfried & Roy, you should have your own show. Of course, we had not that confidence. But we did it and it become the successful.

KING: And that was in the Frontier.


KING: And how long were you at that hotel?

FISCHBACHER: Seven years.

HORN: Almost eight, yes.

KING: And Steve Wynn took you from the Frontier to what hotel?

FISCHBACHER: To the Mirage.

HORN: The Mirage.

KING: When he opened the Mirage, right?

FISCHBACHER: That's right. Now we are ten years, and now we have been at the Mirage 4,259 performances.

HORN: You mean you're counting?

KING: In fact, you became the story of the Mirage's opening. There were lions and tigers in the lobby, right?

FISCHBACHER: No, that's what we did. We talked them into it, you know? And what happened was when Steve came to us and showed us the plans of the Mirage Hotel, I realized this was a very special -- going to be a special place.

KING: That room was built for you, right?

HORN: Yes.

FISCHBACHER: Yes, and I realized the guests were going to feel very special, so you have to build a theater where they still feel special. And when the curtain opens up, they have to feel like this is something special.

KING: We'll be right back with Siegfried & Roy. The film will open in IMAX 3D movie theaters in L.A. and New York later this month. It's titled "Siegfried & Roy and the Magic Box." We'll ask about that and we'll meet those baby cubs as well.

Don't go away.


KING: When they came to Las Vegas and became a big hit, you were one of the first acts that didn't use -- feature women and nude women and -- right? You stayed away from that kind of thing? FISCHBACHER: No, well -- no, no. We had to -- in the Lido show, of course it was topless...

KING: In the Lido you did.

FISCHBACHER: ... but when we changed to the Frontier, then we did one show covered off and the second show was, you know, and that became a huge success. And then we had convinced ourself we can do a family show. We attract a different crowd, you know?

KING: Children come to see you.

FISCHBACHER: Children and the whole family can come.

KING: You do two shows a night?

HORN: Yes, 46 weeks a year. FISCHBACHER: Two shows a night, 3,000 people a night, and that's what...

KING: Forty-six weeks a year. OK, now I know you're not going to give us secrets, but you people, for want of a better term, when you see the IMAX film, you make lions disappear. Tigers come on, they go off. They go off. How the heck do you do that? I mean, really, I've seen -- how do you do it?

HORN: You want us really to let the cat out of the bag?

KING: Cute line.

HORN: You know, as an entertainer, you can't disillusion your people.

KING: What's the secret of a good illusion?

HORN: That you mystify the audience, that they forget for a moment that that is all an illusion. If they can think for a moment that it is real, then they have something no one else can give them. And that's what we're trying to do.

KING: Does drawing my attention, is that part of it?

HORN: Of course.

KING: Where you focus my eyes?

FISCHBACHER: I think what happens -- when I showed my first magic trick to my father, it was about eight years ago -- it was the first time I got attention from my father. He even talked to me. You know, I didn't exist before. He said...

KING: So it brings you attention.

FISCHBACHER: He said to me -- yes, how did you do that? You know what that meant to me? How did you do it? And when I, you know...

KING: You've been hearing it the rest of your life.

FISCHBACHER: Yes, of course, of course...

KING: How did you do that?

FISCHBACHER: And then I always have to live up to it. And the other thing is, at the same time I learned the magic by doing it every day, every day, I learned also a little bit how to understand how they think, you understand?

KING: The good illusionist knows an audience, is that right?

FISCHBACHER: Knows an audience, what they think, what is in their head. And that's the way. And you have to guide them. And that's what it's all about. KING: What is the toughest illusion to do? The toughest that you do? In other words, the one that requires, boy, years of experience?

FISCHBACHER: Of course. There is -- and what we're known for is, of course, with the animals is with the tigers, disappearing tigers.

KING: They appear when they're not there.

FISCHBACHER: Yes, and we have about 90 percent of our own illusions, they are our own creations. You know, every one illusion has a different story, a history behind it.

KING: And these tigers can be dangerous, right?

FISCHBACHER: Tigers can be -- of course. It's a 650-pound -- you know, and they're very demanding. It's a very demanding -- as you know...

KING: They go where they want to go.

FISCHBACHER: You know, we have 55 large cats. And as you know, a house cat is only that size, and what that can be and...

KING: What's your insurance like?

FISCHBACHER: The insurance.

KING: Have you ever had them run into -- have you ever had -- you must have had accidents.

HORN: No, actually we have been very fortunate. We have had only one really tough incident, and...

KING: What happened?

HORN: It bears as our tigers consummate their relationship on stage.


HORN: It became a X-rated show, and there was nothing that could follow that. If we took the tuxedo off, turn off the lights..,


FISCHBACHER: ... a tough act to follow.

KING: That's a closer. That packed them in.

HORN: And three months later with had the results. So we was lucky for once.

KING: We'll be back with more of Siegfried & Roy. And don't leave us. We're going to meet some little tigers later. Don't go away.


FISCHBACHER: Magic had broken the spell. For a moment, I saw within my father the wonder of the child.



KING: There are some extraordinary statistics about this group. Since opening at Mirage in 1990, they have sold out at a rate of 104 percent capacity for every show. That's at $90 a seat. For eight straight years, they've drawn 15,000 people a week, 700,000 a year, have been seen by over 30 million people live in Las Vegas. Their gross receipts over the last nine years, more than a half billion dollars. "Forbes" magazine reports Siegfried & Roy the highest paid entertainers in Las Vegas, earning a estimated $58 million, '96,'97, and they have an estimated net worth of more than a hundred million.

HORN: Wow.

KING: How do you explain it to yourselves?

HORN: It's unexplainable really. That sounds wonderful. I feel we're only as good as our last show. And that always has been our philosophy in life. It's really -- the money is important in order to do these things you like to do, which in our case is doing something for animals, is doing for what our being is our passion in life.

But in all reality, when you walk and you're willing to give everything you have, a hundred percent, not less, it becomes automatic. Success is automatic. You just must be willing to give everything.

FISCHBACHER: We just did what we had to do, do you know what I mean? HORN: Do you have any fear of your animals, Siegfried?


KING: You have to have respect.

FISCHBACHER: I have respect. That's all. But I am used to it, you know?

KING: Not worried that anything...

FISCHBACHER: You can't do no mistakes, no mistakes.

KING: Have you been hurt?

FISCHBACHER: So far, so good, no.

KING: Have you been hurt? HORN: No, no.

KING: Nobody ever clamped down on your arm or anything...

HORN: No, I am driving the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I guess.

KING: All right, do you respect them though? You can't take them lightly.

HORN: Oh, yes. It's respect, understanding. Animals have a language by their own, and if you watch them close enough, you can learn that language. And on that, you build trust, and the trust which I do, I meditate with them. I've been part of their life, so therefore, they let me in and what their thinking is. And I understand them.

KING: Where do you get them from?

HORN: Basically, we have our own breeding program. The white tigers is already extinct in the wild. We work to get them at different zoos. We have a breeding program all over the world.

FISCHBACHER: Cincinnati.

HORN: Cincinnati is our major...

KING: Cincinnati Zoo?

HORN: Cincinnati Zoo.

KING: Good zoo. Great zoo.

HORN: Yes, wonderful, wonderful people. And together with them, we are preserving hopefully for the next generation the white tigers and the white lions, and we are now...

(CROSSTALK) FISCHBACHER: Started also three years ago. We started with the white lions of Timbewati (ph), which is a sight the see, and nobody have seen them before, and you see them on our show.

KING: We know that sometimes in circuses elephants pretty much know they're performing. Do any of your animals, do you think, know...

HORN: Every single one of them is a bigger ham than I am, I am telling you.

KING: No kidding.

HORN: When they don't get their applause, I mean -- don't work with children or with animals, right? Old story, right? In this case of course it's great, because they're my family.

KING: They know -- if they don't get a big ovation, they know it? HORN: I have a big 650-pound male tiger walking in the audience, and he looks at the audience like this and if they don't applaud he looks the other way.


HORN: That's him.

KING: Back with more of Siegfried & Roy. And don't forget, still to come, you're going to meet some adorable baby cubs. This is LARRY KING LIVE. The movie, "The Magic Box" -- "Siegfried & Roy and the Magic Box" opens later this month in Los Angeles and New York at the IMAX theaters. We'll ask what they mean by "Magic Box" after this.


HORN: The day I entered Chiku's (ph) den was a very special magical experience. Eventually, Chiku allowed me to put a collar and a leash on him and I was able to take him for walks. How far we could go was, for me, never far enough. I felt something had to change.



KING: I have been saying "Siegfried & Roy and the Magic Box." It's called "Siegfried & Roy: the Magic Box."

What is the "magic box"?

FISCHBACHER: The magic box is life. Life is like a magic box. It's what you make out of it, what you bring out of it, you know. And that's what it's all about.

And very interesting is the way how Roy grow up in the north Germany, I am in the south, but our parallel, how everything...

KING: It was kind of magic that you got together?

FISCHBACHER: Oh, it -- I don't think it's coincidence. It's all meant to be, you know. And I always had a spiritual connection also -- like he has a different way with the animals, his lifestyle; he's completely into it. But for me, it's was always the spiritual thinking of it.

KING: He's more attached than the animals than you.

FISCHBACHER: Oh, yes. For me, it was always a challenge, but now I am also attached to it very much, of course. And that teached me the idea -- I think they made a better person out of me.

KING: You don't declaw the tigers.


HORN: Our animals are -- the only thing you have to worry about the animals is their teeth, that they smile good.

FISCHBACHER: What happens...

KING: But they could bite.

FISCHBACHER: That's right. It's their power. It's not the thing. It's one sweep of a tiger can knock you out.

KING: Do you use force in training them?

HORN: No, I am a firm believer that force will always create force.

KING: In other words, whip them and you make them mad.

HORN: Of course. And then there...

KING: So you didn't like those old Clyde Beatty in the circus and lion tamers?

HORN: No, but we didn't understand it at that time right, because we was looking at animals as a man-eating beast. Today, in a world like ours, you have to understand to live in harmony together.

KING: So you don't like circuses then, with the...

HORN: I don't think circuses do it anymore. If they do it, they do it most probably just for effect. But I think that everyone who has animals would want to treat them as good as they can.

KING: You have 24 tigers, eight lions. They vanish and they reappear, so does an Arabian horse and an elephant.

HORN: Right.

KING: You yourselves appear and disappear.


KING: Well, you have to have certain requirements then. Do you need a large stage? Do you need a large stage? You can't work every theater?

FISCHBACHER: We can do -- no.

KING: Do you need a lot of height?

FISCHBACHER: We need height, yes of course, to make it more impressive.

HORN: Our stage at the Mirage could land very well a 747. That's no problem. We can -- with the lights and what not, we could supply Atlantic City. But that's not always really that necessary in order to bedazzle an audience. You want an audience to let go for a moment. You want to let them dream. You let them go back to their childhoods in you. And if we can achieve that then...

KING: Where are the animals kept?

HORN: At home. We have a...

KING: Do you transport them every night to the hotel?


HORN: ... back and forth. We created at the Mirage a secret garden, which is a place where people can go this close to them, and see, and smell and feel them, because when you do that, then the new generation understands it. It's something actually where you physically can see. It's not where you learn out of books or videos. It is something for anyone who care for -- when they care for, that means they understand it. When they understand it, they want to do something about it.

KING: How much food do they eat?

FISCHBACHER: Anything that they want.


HORN: That would be close, yes.

KING: They eat a lot of meat...

HORN: Yes.

KING: ... one would guess.

Can you train any of them? Or have you had some that were just not trainable?

FISCHBACHER: We don't train them. We condition them, you know. KING: Explain.

FISCHBACHER: We condition them just by being -- you are the expert on that one.

HORN: It has nothing to do with expert. I only can talk for myself, and my...

KING: You don't train them?

HORN: No. I feel that I do not want to change them at all. That's the beauty. That's what I attracts me, is that danger, that underlying danger all the time. But if you understand and if you start learning, you don't need any of that. You can make him do whatever you want him to do, but then there are characteristics where you can never change, and you must...

KING: You want them to be tigers.

HORN: I want them to be tigers, no changes. KING: Let me get a break. We'll be back with more. And in a little while, the cubs.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Siegfried & Roy.

Though the one thing you do have to do, though, is you have them in captivity, right?

FISCHBACHER: That's right.

KING: They're not in the wild.

HORN: You have to create a space, a space where they'll feel comfortable in it and secure, and that's what we...

KING: Have you ever had protests from animal rights organizations or anything?

HORN: No, wonderfully not, because even the animal-rights people, sometimes you can carry it too far and sometimes -- but we all have the best intention of the animals in our mind. And I think we're all doing it, some people in different ways.

But an animal is not that we want to change him, but we want to condition them. But the order is just the same like a child. You have to let him know how far he can go, and they let you know how far you can go.

KING: How important are the people who work with you that we don't see, the people backstage?

HORN: People are very important because you have a big family.

KING: But they know the illusions, don't they? How many people know the illusions?

FISCHBACHER: It's amazing...

KING: How many people? Got to be somebody who knows...

FISCHBACHER: Yes, some of them. But you know, the more they know, the more they respect us, the more they respect what we're doing.

KING: It's never been revealed. I've never saw anyone reveal how you do it.

FISCHBACHER: It's not revealing; it's because they know what it's all about.

HORN: As a matter of fact, it is sometimes quite a task and sometimes extremely dangerous, and you need... KING: Backstage.


HORN: Yes, to go and to do the illusions, see the animals as our family, which means if you're going to be on the team, we play off each other. But sometimes -- I hope he's always in a good mood, because my life sometimes hangs from a split second of his behavior.

KING: Because?

HORN: Because if he's not there at the right time to let me go, then that's it.

KING: You're interdependent physically on each other?

HORN: Of course, yes, in many ways.

FISCHBACHER: We have also -- our crew is exceptional. I mean, we have the best stagehands and everything. And what happens -- the difficult thing was, we introduced to our show and to Las Vegas, the first thing, very technical, all the computers, the lights we had...

KING: Oh, you use all the pyrotechnics?

FISCHBACHER: We use the pyrotechnics. And so that was very difficult for us. You know, for instance, when the dragon -- OK, we have ordered this dragon, cost over $1 million. And the guy says, well, he does every movement like a human being. OK, let me see that. We rehearse. We had big machine there. There are two buttons, one starts, one stop. And I say, OK, I want to see the dragon. What are you going to do? He push the button, start. And the dragon starts to walk, walk, walk, walks right out to the casino.

HORN: Steve Wynn (UNINTELLIGIBLE) FISCHBACHER: Lady comes up, what a great slot machine this is.

KING: Yours is an expensive act then, right? I mean...

FISCHBACHER: It's a $35 million production.

HORN: But something good never can comes that easy.

KING: Right, I mean, but this is no...

HORN: I mean, you have to show where your color's are, as if we are one to believe that you have to give back to your audiences and to yourself. We want to live our own fantasy. We doing the show for -- for the people because the audience is the most important foundation, field for us, because as a child we were starving for love. We was hungry for attention. Our audience gives us that. So, therefore, our audience is the sandbox we wanted to play with and our hero who we never could have as a child.

KING: One thing that you must get a big kick out of, right the moment before you make the lion or tiger or whatever appear, you know what's coming, right? So you've got to get an enormous charge out of watching the audience with their mouths agape.

FISCHBACHER: That's right here, you know? This is priceless.

KING: You make it happen. What a hoot that must be.

FISCHBACHER: This is -- the wonderful thing is when the audience and the entertainer, the magician up there becomes one.

HORN: The magic goes over the footlights, you know? You have them right there, and then...

FISCHBACHER: Then it's the real magic comes in. And that happens not all the time, but it happens. And that's the most beautiful thing in the world, you know? And we...

KING: Are there any young Siegfrieds and Roys around? Do you see any coming along?

FISCHBACHER: Oh, I -- there are fantastic young talents coming up.

HORN: Well, we actually sponsor -- we have the desert magic since many, many years (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: Oh, you look for magicians?

FISCHBACHER: We look to inspire. We try to inspire, you know? This...

KING: You don't want to own them?

FISCHBACHER: I don't -- no.


FISCHBACHER: I want to stay out of trouble about this one, because this is...

KING: Well, they're a special breed, aren't they? You all are. They're a little crazy.

HORN: Well you have to...

KING: You're a little nuts.

HORN: Well, I don't think you're crazy. You maybe -- well they called us crazy in the beginning. Now they just call us eccentric. What's the difference?

KING: "Crazy" is a bad word. You're a little bit off.

HORN: Too colorful.

FISCHBACHER: I don't -- no, the problem is -- and I can say it from my -- when I started in magic, there was nothing else was there. It became an obsession.

KING: Well you were on your own, yes. And most really good ones are obsessed with it.

FISCHBACHER: Obsessed. And there is nothing else to talk about. There was nothing else to think about. There was -- it was like a virus. You couldn't get rid of it, you know?

HORN: It's your life.

FISCHBACHER: But it was great. It was -- it's wonderful, you know? And then when we come to that point, you know, I said to Roy, OK, let's try this out. Now if you're going to make it, I give us nine months' time.

HORN: He always gives me deadlines, you know.

FISCHBACHER: Nine months if you're not there and, of course, nine months later we had been doing the Lido and Paris and so everything works out.

KING: When we come back, we're going to meet two baby cubs. We're going to have them right on the desk here. They're eight weeks old. We'll find out how they got them, were they born, where they were born, and what they do with them as they develop. You'll meet them right after this.



ANNOUNCER: For years, two people have been nurturing and caring for one of the world's most magnificent creatures: the world famous Siegfried & Roy. HORN: And now we're working with Exxon and the Save the Tiger Fund to save more tigers in the wild.

FISCHBACHER: When you care, the results can be magic.

HORN: Help us to save tigers in the wild.

FISCHBACHER: And that will be the best magic of all.


KING: We're back with Siegfried & Roy and two of the cubs. Who's this?

HORN: What?

KING: This one, what's the name?

FISCHBACHER: You have the little girl. That's Magic.

KING: This one's Magic. And this is Illusion. What is that sound? HORN: Well, he's...

KING: Illusion is ticked.

FISCHBACHER: He's hungry. He wants more...

HORN: He's ticked. He thinks he's not an illusion, he's real, because...

KING: Are they brother and sister?

HORN: Yes, they're both born in Nashville. They're part of our breeding program, Global Wide.

KING: Now these are what kind of tigers?

HORN: They are white Bengal tigers.

KING: They're rare?

HORN: They're very rare. They're extinct in the wild. And...

KING: In other words, you won't find them -- where are they originally from? India.

HORN: From India. The maharajah of Riva (ph) found the first strain of white tigers in India and in Boroda and in Riva. And we just found that 49 of our white tigers (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Exxon to save the tiger in the wild, because the good news is that these little guys will go on with saving colors into the 21st century.

But the golden tiger, who lives in the wild, 100,000, we're down to less than, 7,000 tigers in the wild. KING: In the wild.

HORN: So the future for white tigers look very grim. So we all have to do something. It's a project...

KING: All right...

FISCHBACHER: See, you have to understand, when we started out with the white tiger, there was only a handful about 20, 25 years ago. And now there are 200 all over the world, you know? And the same thing going to happen with the white lions.

KING: All right, now, when will they be ready for the show? How do you bring them along?

FISCHBACHER: That's already -- they're starting. This is already a part.

KING: They're in show business now.

FISCHBACHER: That's already in show business.

HORN: They have been on LARRY KING LIVE. What do you want? KING: This is worldwide. This is -- they...


KING: When will -- when will -- when will they go on stage?

HORN: These little ones will not go on stage. They're going -- part of going back to Nashville for the people of the world to see in their surrounds, where they have...

KING: Nashville Zoo?

HORN: Yes, in the Nashville Zoo. But we will bring -- when we have...

KING: What age do you bring them in?

HORN: We bring them in -- what?

KING: In the show?


HORN: Actually, two weeks, three weeks after they've been born, they have already become part of the experience, because wherever I am they're going along with me. So I am sort of their father figure. So wherever I am, they're comfortable. Once they've been on stage they have no problems at all later on with it.

KING: They're very calm, right? I mean, they...

HORN: Like now. I mean, you can see how well they behave. KING: All they drink is the milk?

HORN: But they're -- for the moment. They're just starting a little bit on meat on canine. But really, don't be -- because they're being docile and being friendly, that means that they can't be a real tiger. If they would be in the wild, you couldn't touch them anymore. Look at their claws already. If they're coming out, they have you. You cannot...

KING: Yes, yes, they...

HORN: Oh, yes.


KING: I notice, Siegfried, you're a little like me with this.


KING: Roy sort of takes over this...

FISCHBACHER: You know, but I'm very grateful to be a part of this experience, you know? All my life -- and I remember the first time when I -- when he introduced me to the cheetah, I mean, I thought I was dying, you know?

KING: What great faces they have. What do you -- why do you...

HORN: Yes, they're wonderful. But everybody is different, you know? Even so...

KING: They've got different personalities.

HORN: Oh, yes.

KING: Why do you trust them?

HORN: Well, I -- why shouldn't I trust them?

KING: Because they're living solely -- here's why you shouldn't. They're living solely off instinct. On a whim, this little thing could bite my hand off, just...

HORN: Now there you're talking about...

KING: you know, and go -- huh? Like he don't care.

HORN: Yes.

KING: He has no conscience. That's why you don't trust them.

HORN: That's exactly right. And I guess I'm one of them. That makes the two of us, you know?

FISCHBACHER: I will tell you, they will tell you exactly what's going on in their head. When you know -- and I think he knows... KING: In other words, when you look -- he's now...

FISCHBACHER: He sees that...

KING: This is she?

FISCHBACHER: Yes, the way how they are holding...

HORN: No, that's her. That's OK.

FISCHBACHER: ... or you don't bring them in a situation...

KING: This is the boy?

HORN: Yes.


FISCHBACHER: If it's -- you bring them into a situation where they get scared or something, then something unpredictable can happen, you know? So you just don't bring them into this situation. And otherwise, they let you know exactly what's going on. You can see it on their tail. They have their own language.

KING: How were they treated by the older tigers in your group? Do they play with them?

HORN: Well, no, a tiger is a solitary animal. He loves to stay alone. He's not like a lion, who is a ruler, and he has to have his harem around him.

KING: So the mother doesn't hang around them?

HORN: No -- well, the mother, yes. The mother keeps the little ones with her for like two years in the wild if she can.

KING: Oh, she will.

HORN: Yes, and then they're on their own. That's it.

KING: I love that sound. He sounds like Chance.

FISCHBACHER: But the tigers only get together when they're mating -- mating season.

KING: So other than that then leave me alone.

FISCHBACHER: He takes off and -- yes.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Siegfried & Roy. And don't forget "Siegfried & Roy: the Magic Box," opens at IMAX theaters. That's the 3-D movie by L-Squared Entertainment, it premieres September 23rd in Los Angeles, September 27th in New York, and, of course, they're on deck nightly at the Mirage.

And we'll be back with Magic -- Is Magic and Illusion? Is that their names?

FISCHBACHER: Magic and Illusion.

KING: We'll be back with Magic, Illusion and Siegfried & Roy and the remaining moments of this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Siegfried & Roy and Magic and Illusion. They are eight weeks old. They'll go back to the zoo in Nashville -- if you head that way you'll see them there -- and then they'll come back eventually to you in Las Vegas.

HORN: That's right.

KING: Do you ever have dreams beyond the Mirage?

FISCHBACHER: Oh, yes, of course. We always have dreams, you know?

KING: Like, do you have a goal?

FISCHBACHER: The problem is...

KING: You can't get any bigger.

FISCHBACHER: No, bigger is not always better, you know? I just want to -- one thing when I say -- when I'm on stage, I'm the most happiest one. And there is something wrong when you're just on stage and when you're performing in front of an audience, you're the happiest one.

KING: Do you have any of those...

FISCHBACHER: So now I try to figure out how I'm going to make the rest of my time also happy.

KING: Roy, in other words, you don't ever want to retire?

HORN: Well, I don't think...

KING: You could financially retire.

HORN: Siegfried and I will ever retire, because you're going to be always creating something. It's part of our -- of our makeup, that we always have to prove ourself in life. And I think I'm the most happiest when I'm -- not particular when I have been on stage, of course, it is part of my passion, but when I have been with my animals. And my goal is to have the white lions of Timbewati to see that the next century they will be flourishing.

KING: So you want to be involved with animals always.

HORN: I will always will be.

KING: Neither of you -- you could financially retire, though, couldn't you? You don't...

HORN: Barely, barely.

KING: You don't need the money, so you do it for the love, right? The money is...

FISCHBACHER: No, oh, yes.

KING: The money is an extra...

FISCHBACHER: And for the future of them, for the future of them.

KING: Keeping the...

HORN: That's our family. It's our family. It's our goal. It's our lifestyle, you know? And the people are all a part of it now. And it's just a great thing. And...

KING: Do you -- what's the moments like before -- how much preparation before you go on?

HORN: Well, actually, all day is preparation for a show.

KING: What time do you get in? HORN: We be there like 3:30, 4:00 the very latest, and the show is at 7:00. But it's -- it's -- the whole day, the whole night is basically involved in the show and the aiding of the situations or the caring for the animals. You know, it's not easy to have 53 of them and 16 white lions and a horse and an elephant and et cetera and we have a cast of 160 people in the surrounding stages.

FISCHBACHER: You know, every day is a change. There somebody is somebody sick or this and that, you know?

KING: The one thing about animals you can safely say is they're not predictable, right? They're not as -- or are they? Are you saying you could...

HORN: Well, in certain things they are very predictable. In certain things you can very well predict what they're going to do because you -- but you never put them in a situation where it would be not a right one.

FISCHBACHER: I would say with the animals it's the same like with human, you know? The male is much more predictable always than the female.

HORN: People always...

KING: This is the male. He has not uttered a sound. The female has not stopped complaining since the minute she got here.

HORN: She's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) contract, you know?

KING: You have not shut up, nagging, bugging, take out the garbage. Leave him alone, drink your milk, stop -- do this, do that. Now, as for him, this is a good husband -- a good brother.

FISCHBACHER: He's great -- you know, this is already -- in that age, he already realized they're very content. Usually they can be very flighty or something.

KING: Why isn't all this...

HORN: But see, we have to protect them and we have to make this happening, and then people understand what we had once so we don't lose it again.

KING: Thank you both very much.

HORN: Larry.


KING: "Siegfried & Roy: the Magic Box," an IMAX 3-D movie produced by L-Squared Entertainment will premiere September 23rd in Los Angeles -- she won't shut up -- September 27th in New York. And, of course, they're nightly at the famed Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

We want to thank all of their folks for their cooperation in this presentation tonight.

Thank you for joining us. On behalf of Magic and Illusion and Siegfried & Roy, this is Larry King.

Good night.


KING: We hope you enjoyed this fascinating hour with Siegfried and Roy. We wish them the very best as Roy continues a remarkable recovery

Coming up this week, Della Reese with a major announcement about a fight she's been waging and winning. Also Wynonna Judd whose been battling some demons of her own, but Wynona's back with a new album and going strong. Plus, of course, the latest on the Kobe Bryant case.

That's all next week. It should be a good one. Stay tuned now for more news on your most trusted name is news, CNN. Good night.



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