Siegfried & Winslow make Vegas debut (10 October 2003)

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (LBOZ) -- Just one week after the sudden mauling of his partner Roy Horn during a performance of their time-tested show, performer Siegfried Fischbacher is moving on, teaming up with former 'Police Academy' star Michael Winslow for a retooled "animal and comedy revue."

While Roy Horn remains in critical condition at a Clark County Hospital, Fischbacher insists that "The show must go on, and Roy would want it this way."

The surprise announcement of Winslow as Horn's replacement comes as a welcome shock to Vegas regulars. One fan, camped out in line three days before the first tickets were to go on sale, remarked, "It's a new era for the Vegas Strip, and I want to be there from the very start."

Winslow, who rocketed to fame with his popular Larvell Jones character in the 'Police Academy' series, is known best for his uncanny ability to emulate common sounds using only his mouth.

"It was only a matter of time before we would walk this path," said Fischbacher. "In fact, we had already been in negotiations to add Michael to the act for many years."

Fischbacher did not elaborate on how Winslow's comedic style would be incorporated into the show, which is known more for illusions and animal tricks. He did acknowledge that Winslow "would probably make funny noises to fool the tigers."

Winslow, 43, is a veteran of the Las Vegas comedy club circuit, and expressed eagerness to add a new layer to his career.

"When they see me with the tigers, they're going to see a whole different side of me, much different from Larvell Jones," said Winslow.

"I'm excited about this opportunity. I'm going to mess with those tigers' heads."

Officials at the MGM Mirage, which hosts the new Siegfried & Winslow show, are nervous about further incidents involving the animal performers.

"After what happened with Roy, I do have some concerns," said an MGM publicist. "I'm not saying they are mistreating the animals per se, but from the rehearsals, it looks like Michael Winslow is not necessarily the best influence for keeping the animals calm."

The publicist went on to describe a sketch featuring Winslow "taunting" the white tigers with siren noises, simulated gunshot sounds, and a Boy George impression resurrected from his mid-80s comedy set.

"Certainly the gunshot noises, while fake, tend to put the tigers on edge, and they seem to be offended by the Boy George impression. Tigers have excellent comedic sensibilities, you know."

Fischbacher, who performed the Siegfried & Roy show for more than 30 years without incident, denies that Winslow's participation is anything but positive.

"This new partnership is even more magical than Siegfried & Roy. Siegfried & Winslow will set the new standard for animal entertainment for the next century."

When asked whether he has any trepidation about working with the famed tigers after Horn's mauling, Winslow simply chuckles.

"I've worked with Bobcat Goldthwait, so I'm not afraid of any tiger," he laughs. "Plus, if I get in trouble, I have some seriously fucked-up sound effects I can do with my mouth that'll have those tigers high-tailing it back to the motherfucking jungle, man."