Is The Magic Gone In Las Vegas?

Siegfried and Roy meet the new Hocus Pocus: Hans Klok and Carmen Electra

Posted by MrsRoyHorn

"When I start in magic nothing else was there... It was an obsession... OBSESSED. And there is nothing else to talk about, there was nothing else to THINK about. It was like a virus, you couldn't get rid of it." - Siegfried.

A quick rundown of Vegas magicians, past and present:

Doug Henning – dead.
David Copperfield – makes an annual appearance in Vegas.
Steve Wyrick – who?
Rick Thomas – fourth rate tiger wrangler/magician, a very cheap imitation of you-know-who.
David Blaine – boring as hell.
Criss Angel – magician for teenage girls.
Penn & Teller – to see their best work, watch their show “Bullshit” on Showtime.

Of course, though, the two best magicians to ever grace the stage in Las Vegas are now retired, but not of their own accord. Roy Horn continues to make unbelievable strides in his recovery from the unfortunate event that happened nearly four years ago and the subsequent stroke that left him confined to a wheelchair until recently. Siegfried Fischbacher, his devoted and patient partner, stays at his side and offers his unwavering encouragement -- who can forget him yelling “You’re doing it Roy!” with his thick Bavarian accent as Roy walked in physical therapy in front of a bunch of cameras and Maria Shriver? After nearly 50 years together, the personal magic between Siegfried and Roy is still there, but what of the pivotal role they played in bringing magic to the Strip. When Siegfried told Barbara Walters that the show was over back in 2003, did magic end in Vegas, too?

Well, the head honchos of the Planet Hollywood Casino Resort (formerly known as the Aladdin) don’t think so, and are hedging their bets on a Dutch illusionist named Hans Klok to bring back magic in a big way by giving him his very own show beginning in April. Hans, if you take a look at the photo, with his blond hair and high cheekbones, bears more than a passing resemblance to Siegfried (especially during his Frontier Hotel days with Roy). Klok’s partner in this show is not a brunette with a passion for tigers, but sex kitten and actress Carmen Electra.

Hans Klok and Carmen Electra at Planet Hollywood Las VegasThis, folks, should be very interesting. Interesting because you can’t just create a magic show, it has to be a magic show. What do I mean by that? There has to be a certain amount of chemistry between the magician and whoever is on stage with him at the time. In other words, the Klok-Electra teaming is more of a merging of corporate interests than a merging of personalities. For example, Siegfried and Roy met back in 1959 (some say 1957) -- two poor boys from Germany fleeing miserable lives and who landed jobs on the intercontinental luxury liner TS Bremen.

There is no need to get too personal about their relationship, mostly because they’ve never really talked about it (maybe that’s why they’ve stayed together for so long, and it is none of our business anyway). Professionally, Siegfried and Roy worked their way out of seedy clubs in Paris and Germany and made it to the bright lights of Las Vegas where they were told that magic doesn’t work. They persevered and became the de facto Kings of Las Vegas - earning the fame and riches they’d eventually acquire night after night. There has always been a mystique and aura about Siegfried and Roy, seeing their faces on that huge marquee in front of the Mirage was otherworldly – they were the guardians of Las Vegas Boulevard. There are other magicians on the Strip who have earned a degree of success, but nothing compared to Fischbacher & Horn; and there have been others who have failed miserably in an attempt to be copycats.

I’ve got nothing bad to say about Hans Klok or Carmen Electra – unlike most women I think she is very attractive and smart. I’m not about to bash her out of spite. However, I think that these casino execs who think they can magically conjure up some great new magic show in the blink of an eye are going to find nothing but failure. Audiences know when something is real instead of fake, even in a town where people often take chances. Such chances have to be borne of fate, chemistry, luck, and yes, a little bit of magic in the stars.

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Comments & Discussion

Are you sure they're not winding us up with this whole "Electra Klok" pairing? I'll bet this show will be a real snooze button. If I were an exec at Planet Ho!, alarm bells would surely be going off. Does anyone know what time the Electra Klok show starts? I wonder if they'll do an Unplugged show too. Maybe i've been reading DonnyMac's comments too much? :)

Don't forget Lance Burton... he's been in the witness protection program over at Monte Carlo for 10 years or so.

I forgot about Lance; I had the pleasure to see him a couple of years ago. Excellent stage presence and great illusions.

I am thankful that the author conceded that the personal relationship of Las Vegas’ greatest magicians is none of our business. This reader has to wonder why it was even mentioned. What relevance does it have in a documentary piece about the current quality of magic on the Vegas strip?

i'd say it underscores that their relationship goes beyond the magic - they are bonded for eternity, unlike the pasting together of carmen electra and hans klock. mrs horn was right to outline this strength and mention that the details of how far it goes is nobodys business.

Logical, the point of mentioning their relationship was the fact that you just can't throw two people on the stage together and hope it works -- there has to be chemistry. It is Siegfried and Roy's chemistry that makes them so successful, popular and loved by many. Over the years hotels and casinos have tried different magicians and magic teams and have failed, simply because of the fact there is no chemistry.

My column was not salacious, controversial, nor scandalous. The point of it was indicate that an audience knows true magic and that which is fake.

Thanks, Booze, for your viewpoint. You are on the money.

I wonder if it goes beyond magic and also pertains to the topless reviews in Vegas as well - as far back as 15 years ago, the only place you would be able to see naked women would be a strip club, a topless show in vegas, or if a woman was kind enough to put on a show for a man in the bedroom. Now, you can go online and get ANY type of porn you want. In an episode of the cartoon Futurama, one of the characters joked "Now that I found the internet, I'm bored with sex".

I think magic is going the same route - this is an age of immediate gratification. Someone can just log online to Youtube or some other site and watch any type of video, and not have to go to Vegas to see some guy pull a coin from behind someone's ear.

I think that the chemistry between the people on stage is important, but in the end, if fewer and fewer people care about the act, how long will it matter?

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