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What Happens in Vegas…

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doesn’t always stay in Vegas.

By Terri Schlichenmeyer. 

SiegfriedandRoy
Siegfried (r) and Roy.

Remember that goofy trick your Uncle Ralph did, where he pulled a nickel from your ear? Or the one where he pulled his thumb apart?  

Remember “got your nose” and “pick a card, any card”? Guess which hand has the candy, and wanting to kill your little brother for making a quarter—your quarter—“disappear” from the Black Box? Remember being jealous of the neighborhood kid who got a magic kit for his birthday?

Now imagine making a 600-pound tiger appear from a small container on a well-lit stage in front of hundreds of people. But before you grab your magic wand, read The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy (by Jimmy Lavery, Jim Mydlach, and Louis Mydlach as told to Henrietta Tiefenthaler; Phoenix Books).  

Say the words “Vegas” and “tiger,” and most people automatically think of Siegfried and Roy’s spectacular shows at various casinos. And rightfully so—the partnership has included big cats since the two met aboard a cruise ship in the 1950s. Siegfried was a magician even then. Roy was the owner of a smuggled-aboard cheetah, and he convinced Siegfried that a dangerous feline would be a perfect gimmick.

SecretLifeofMoving from Europe to the States and back again several times, Siegfried apparently resisted moving to Las Vegas. Eventually, he embraced Sin City and worked to take the sin out of it. The authors claim that Siegfried & Roy were instrumental in making Las Vegas more “family friendly” by removing topless acts from their show, thus paving the way for other acts at other casinos to follow suit.

Although the performers rose to power and fame and wowed millions of fans with their illusions, the pair was not without scandal. According to the authors, Siegfried could be abrasive, humorless, and a controlling perfectionist with a cruel streak. Roy, much more the animal lover, bounced from idea to idea and often did as he pleased, even if it displeased his lover.

And about that, well, the pair’s pairing was only whispered about until their infamous tabloid confession last year. Yet, everyone seemed to “know,” according to the authors, who compare the dazzling duo to another gay Vegas superstar, Liberace.

While The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy is laden with tiresome faux-German-accented quotes, way more! exclamation points! than you’re used to! in an adult book!, and an aggravating lack of calendar dating, the authors tell a very fascinating story.

Fans who are used to the aw-gawrsh-we’re-just-normal-guys public personae that Siegfried and Roy exhibit will be shocked by this tell-(almost)-all. The authors claw the Delicious Duo’s lives wide open, including the hush-hush homes they’ve owned, the not-for-kiddies vacations they’ve taken, and their wild animal breeding programs that the authors claim aren’t doing wild animal populations any good. Add in a few first-person accounts and you’ve got a book that’s harder than circus peanuts to put down.

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up, take your seat and read this book. The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy is worth reading, and that’s no illusion.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

Photo caption: Hello, kitties: Siegfried (r) and Roy are up to some old tricks and reveal some new ones in The Secret Life of Siegfried & Roy . In it, the authors illustrate how the magical mystery duo has overcome tragedy and years of speculation about their relationship to ascend to Liberace’s queenly throne in Las Vegas.

What Happens in Vegas…
doesn’t always stay in Vegas.

By Terri Schlichenmeyer. ReadOut Shorts by Angel Curtis

Remember that goofy trick your Uncle Ralph did, where he pulled a nickel from your ear? Or the one where he pulled his thumb apart?   

Remember “got your nose” and “pick a card, any card”? Guess which hand has the candy, and wanting to kill your little brother for making a quarter—your quarter—“disappear” from the Black Box? Remember being jealous of the neighborhood kid who got a magic kit for his birthday? 

Now imagine making a 600-pound tiger appear from a small container on a well-lit stage in front of hundreds of people. But before you grab your magic wand, read The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy (by Jimmy Lavery, Jim Mydlach, and Louis Mydlach as told to Henrietta Tiefenthaler; Phoenix Books).   

Say the words “Vegas” and “tiger,” and most people automatically think of Siegfried and Roy’s spectacular shows at various casinos. And rightfully so—the partnership has included big cats since the two met aboard a cruise ship in the 1950s. Siegfried was a magician even then. Roy was the owner of a smuggled-aboard cheetah, and he convinced Siegfried that a dangerous feline would be a perfect gimmick. 

Moving from Europe to the States and back again several times, Siegfried apparently resisted moving to Las Vegas. Eventually, he embraced Sin City and worked to take the sin out of it. The authors claim that Siegfried & Roy were instrumental in making Las Vegas more “family friendly” by removing topless acts from their show, thus paving the way for other acts at other casinos to follow suit. 

Although the performers rose to power and fame and wowed millions of fans with their illusions, the pair was not without scandal. According to the authors, Siegfried could be abrasive, humorless, and a controlling perfectionist with a cruel streak. Roy, much more the animal lover, bounced from idea to idea and often did as he pleased, even if it displeased his lover. 

And about that, well, the pair’s pairing was only whispered about until their infamous tabloid confession last year. Yet, everyone seemed to “know,” according to the authors, who compare the dazzling duo to another gay Vegas superstar, Liberace. 

While The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy is laden with tiresome faux-German-accented quotes, way more! exclamation points! than you’re used to! in an adult book!, and an aggravating lack of calendar dating, the authors tell a very fascinating story. 

Fans who are used to the aw-gawrsh-we’re-just-normal-guys public personae that Siegfried and Roy exhibit will be shocked by this tell-(almost)-all. The authors claw the Delicious Duo’s lives wide open, including the hush-hush homes they’ve owned, the not-for-kiddies vacations they’ve taken, and their wild animal breeding programs that the authors claim aren’t doing wild animal populations any good. Add in a few first-person accounts and you’ve got a book that’s harder than circus peanuts to put down. 

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up, take your seat and read this book. The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy is worth reading, and that’s no illusion. 

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.  

Photo caption: Hello, kitties: Siegfried (r) and Roy are up to some old tricks and reveal some new ones in The Secret Life of Siegfried & Roy . In it, the authors illustrate how the magical mystery duo has overcome tragedy and years of speculation about their relationship to ascend to Liberace’s queenly throne in Las Vegas.

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Terri Schlichenmeyer

Terry Schlichenmeyer is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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