This ABC variety spec combines elements of musicvideo, National Geographic spex, talkshows and Clairol ads (with such moments as a dreadlocked Roy nuzzling a baby tiger lovingly in closeup), but mostly, it’s an infomercial for Siegfried & Roy’s stage show at the Las Vegas Mirage. The crazy-quilt hour is enjoyable because of its sheer looniness.
Near the top of the program, the two stars enter, their capes flowing, floating above the Vegas stage, as an invisible Wagnerian choir sings out “Siegfried! Siegfried! And Royyyyyy!” And the mood never lets up from there.
The TV spec follows the same format as their stage show: illusions, spectacle , some home movies, and philosophizing (“Ve can elevate ourselves to different vurlds … and if ve achieve dat, de sky’s de limit,” Siegfried reminds us).
The producers, director Charles A. Bangert and the crew alternately photograph the magic acts straight on, with an unmoving camera, or do them MTV-style.
The problem is that on TV, the stage illusions seem like post-production effects; tricks such as the disappearance of an elephant look like your average Lucky Charms commercial.
And without the buildup that the duo use in their knock-your-little-socks-off show at the Mirage, everything is so abbreviated that the six standing ovations shown here seem a bit much.
Still, there are moments of unbelievably swoony romanticism (Siegfried levitating Roy above the audience, all of whom sit with cigarette lighters held aloft) and startling self-revelation.
Onstage, the illusionists talk to the audience. Here, they speak to an unseen interviewer, in the manner of an American Express ad. “Siegfried and I are very much different vrum each udder,” Roy confesses. “Ve are like fire and vater, ve are de clash of de titans, ve are sunder and lightning.” Siegfried confides, “De best illusion is to get along wid Roy, I’m telling you.”
He must be kidding. The two of them perform feats like having a white tiger pop out of Roy’s stomach, then look at the audience as if to say, “Even we don’t know how we did that one!” Their goofy sense of fun is contagious.
Technical credits, including Hank O’Karma’s editing and Hiro Narita’s camera, are tops.