Friday, March 6, 2009

SARMOTI with "20/20" Vision

Did you watch the Elizabeth Vargas hour on "20/20" about Siegfried & Roy? Of course, we did. If you didn't, go check it out on the ABC site. It's all there, at least it is for now.

Here were some of our impressions:

* Lots of nice tribute material to S&R, reminding us of what made them unique and exceptional. Good to be reminded.

* ABC said S&R sold $57 million in tickets a year. Over a 13.5-year run at Mirage, that's only $769.5 million. We in the media were told last weekend they grossed $1.5 billion. Huh?

* Lots of tap-dancing around exactly what kind of couple they were, which wouldn't have happened if they had been straight and on-again/off-again involved, i.e. Sonny & Cher. But the Siegfried-goes-to-the-Greek-monastery part was fascinating and I wanted to know more about that.

* Speaking of Cher, WTF? How did she land on Planet SARMOTI? By wearing more sequins?

* A reasonable degree of skepticism in Vargas' voice about the "Montecore was helping Roy" crapoganza but no outside tiger experts to talk about how laughable that is. Plus, the comments from famed tiger behaviorist Stephen A. Wynn were utterly maddening.

* No reference at all to the USDA's 233-page report on the incident that concluded it was, in fact, a tiger ATTACK. Also, no reference to the MGM Mirage and S&R getting the USDA to suppress the video from that night. Is it me, or is it odd that a major news network did a one-hour report on a topic and didn't cite the fact that the government did an 18-month investigation and released a massive public document on the matter?

* The comments from the audience members who were at the show where Roy was mauled were interesting but not terribly descriptive. Probably could've saved trouble just by excerpting quotes from news reports at the time.

* I did not doubt that it was Roy on stage last weekend but many other people did and I accepted the notion that if he was switched out I could have missed it. But the "20/20" footage confirmed that that was what I saw, that it was Roy there the whole time. And other footage showing his ability to speak and walk backed up to me that he was totally capable of doing what he did on stage.

* I'm more convinced than ever that that tiger was absolutely, positively not Montecore on stage at the Bellagio, unless they call all of their tigers Montecore. Had it been the same tiger that attacked Roy, much more on that would have been dealt with in the TV special. We would've gotten close-ups of the tiger, we would've seen rehearsals, etc. Instead, Vargas added in that the cat was Montecore at the very end, as an afterthought. Anyone catch a screen cap of the parts where they said the tiger being shown was Montecore? Would still love to compare markings.

* In the same vein, it was odd that Siegfried and Vargas both referred to "the cats" backstage when, in fact, there was only one animal in the performance. Not sure what that's about except that I don't know that ABC got the all-access pass that they claim to have gotten.

* Incredibly touching to see all those ex-castmates backstage after the Bellagio performance. And loved seeing Robin Leach taking those photos that, according to the Review-Journal's Norm Clarke, annoyed the organizers. I say more power to Robin, who deserved something for his yeoman emceeing efforts. (And, no, I'm not just saying that cuz Robin's a little sore at me at the moment.)

So what'd YOU think?


Anonymous said...

you hit it on the head. they're still covering it up. so sad.

Ray said...

I guess I'll have to read the USDA report... But why is "Montecore was helping Roy" laughable? Animals have done stranger things than drag an injured pal out of (perceived or actual) danger. My own cat does things that might be perceived by others one way, but those of us who live with her understand the intent behind what she's doing.

H.Peter said...

Let bygones be bygones?

Legends are built that way.

Anonymous said...

it's laughable because 100s of people saw the tiger attack the man, whip him around and drag him off stage. also, no tiger behaviorist on earth believes that that makes any sense. so you keep on believing your magical theories.

Anonymous said...

In did not surprise me that 20/20 did not refer to the USDA Report or any part of the controversy, I am sure they had to give a large donation to the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in order to get the exclusive coverage (not that I have a problem in the slightest with that), so this was never going to be any less than a celebration of SaR.

As you say, it was an excellent retrospective, the producers did a good job of filling the time and it reminds us of just how good the Mirage show was.

I would have to watch it again, but unless I am mistaken doesn’t the $57 million number refer to how much SaR were paid for the show?