Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | 5:18 p.m.
He kept asking, “Have you all had your ice cream?”
Siegfried Fischbacher made sure the dozens of children at who had streamed into a banquet room at The Mirage received their dessert before the main course, which was to meet and greet the tiger cub they had named as part of a countywide contest arranged by the duo and MGM Mirage officials. Students from two Clark County School District grade schools –- a first-grade class from Moore Elementary and a third-grade class from Charlotte Hill Elementary -- tied for first among the 60 classes participating in the contest. The winning name: Star.
Not Ringo. Not Jones. Just, “Star.”
The nimble cat, one of five new tiger cubs featured at the hotel’s Secret Garden, was a handful, climbing up and down Siegfried’s head and torso and let out a few plaintive wails before Melody Hitzhusen, S&R’s fast-responding assistant who holds the title of compound manager, led him away from the cameras. A second cub, a female, was also introduced with its new name: Celestial. Mirage hotel guests were invited to submit names for the female cub, and Jackie Popacio of Cerritos, Calif., and Lori Diaz of Ocoe, Fla., delivered the chosen name, which beat out scores of submissions, including mine (Emil).
The cats are 12 weeks old, born on April 29, and weigh a muscular 28 pounds. They are already formidable creatures – watch your fingers -- and have given new life to the attraction, which opened in 1997.
As for Roy’s health, he moved pretty well – without a cane, on this occasion – even though he is still recovering from knee surgery, which he underwent 2 ½ months ago in Austria. He hopes to take part in the annual 5K Las Vegas Great Santa Run in December. On Sept. 28, the duo will be honored in the variety show A Tribute to Siegfried and Roy at the London Palladium. The event has been organized by the international nonprofit charity organization MagiCares, and will feature illusionists and specialty acts from around the world, including Tomsoni & Co. – billed as “Poland’s Favorite Magicians.” Somewhere, Ed Sullivan is smiling …