Transcript for 'Siegfried and Roy' tiger becomes confused onstage, Roy Horn falls: Part 5
you for sharing the evening with me. I was with Roy on Thursday night and we had a half-hour conversation about the most miraculous thing about the whole 30 years has been that he made millions of people forget how dangerous this is. Celebration is the greatest thing any man can do at this age. I'm 59, I'm celebrating and celebrating and celebrating. And that was the night before. Had I ever worried about an accident with Siegfried & Roy? Yes, we had considered that grim possibility. When you perform the same thing 40,000-plus times, there is a chance for an incident, and on the night of oct the 3rd of 03, there was an incident. That was a night that was just like any other. This was a show that you had done countless times. That's right. And there had never, ever been a hiccup. Yes. That's a story we always hear about big cat attacks. Oh, he'd never done anything before. Well, cats don't get a lot of chances to attack their trainer. It usually only happens once. It's the 8:00 P.M. Show and everybody is expecting the usual dazzling performance. The crowd is filing in. It's about 1,500 people, and among them are Andrew Cushman and Paul diantonio. We got into the show I'd say 15 minutes before it started, sat down. We were dead center right in front of the stage. We knew we had good seats. We didn't know we had the best seats in the place. Andrew and Paul are seated at a table in row "F," and that's about 20 feet from the stage. And remember as you can see from this photograph in the program, there is no barrier separating the animals from anyone. These animals are right on top of the audience. This is dangerous. You can't look away. It's impossible to look away, because there -- there's tigers that are, you know, 20 feet away from you on stage. And the audience loved it. They just loved it. I mean, 'cause they can touch them. Say hello. Most of the show there's actors and actresses everywhere. There's animals everywhere. 45 minutes into the show, the lights go off, and there's just a spotlight on Roy horn. He just walks out with just a tiger. And he introduced the tiger. This is mantecore. And tonight is his first appearance in front of an audience. And then said it was the tiger's first time on stage in front of an audience, which we have since learned is part of the show, they say that every time. It's a little gimmicky thing to make the audience feel good, and that they were special to be at that show. Someone you like? When, you know, mantecore's in the show every night. It's a little showbiz, a little white lie, we might call it. In any of these illusions, timing is everything. Roy kneels down, puts the microphone in front of his face so they can hear the animal growl. Then Roy stands up. The tiger jumps up, puts his front paws on Roy's shoulders and gives Roy a kiss. When Roy introduced mantecore, he does things what he did 150,000 times. For some reason this time mantecore comes out, and he misses his mark on the stage. Now, there's a lot of disagreement as to what happened next and why, and there is tape of the incident, but the hotel has steadfastly refused to release it. The one thing that is clear is that that night changed Siegfried & Roy forever. What happened was, the animal got confused. Mantecore got confused. I've been in the situation where a tiger is confused as to what's he's being asked. And that night, that particular night, something was different in mantecore's brain that then said, "Not tonight." And Roy gave him a tap on the head, which is a secondary command to obey, and the animal reached up with its mouth, and took Roy's hand and pushed it away. The tiger reached around to the right and grabbed his right wrist. I saw that, and I immediately thought that didn't look too good. It kind of nipped at his hand and he smacked at it. Once the music abruptly stopped, it kind of got quiet, at that point I sensed something was wrong. Roy knew that this was completely off-script. This was way out of line. So Roy knows what you always do is you distract the tiger. So he took the microphone with a soft rubber tip, and he hit him on the side of the head. Which you could hear because the microphone was on over the P.A. System. The sound was just so loud. Just, pow, pow, pow. At some point the tiger has to decide if he wants to listen to this person or not. At that point Roy fell over the right front paw of mantecore, on his back. He fell on the stage. He fell on stage and then of course I thought, oh, my god. Roy is in trouble. Big trouble. Because while nothing has ever happened before, mantecore is a 400-pound tiger, and he has Roy
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