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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

A cavalcade of shame!

I was doing some research on Topics (I do love topics), and an errant google search turned up THIS video, which is a live, on the spot, amateur home video taken on the site of David Blaine's most recent publicity stunt. Apparently in this one, he hung upside down for 50 minutes an hour for 60 hours, and then...was lowered and raised on a cable. (Enjoy the shouts of 'are you serious?' at the 2:05 mark) From the home movie version, it\'s Blaine on a wire.

"Okay," thought I, "so the stunt wasn't impressive in person, but that's what TV magic is for, right? I mean, Criss Angel's tricks must not look like much of anything in person since they're all editing tricks, and anyone who just looked over their shoulder would have realized that David Copperfield didn't really make the Statue of Liberty disappear, right?" So I navigated a series of tubes until I found a capture of the televised version. You can watch that HERE. In this version, instead of a booing crowd, you hear a technician saying things like 'let's go' and 'get him out of there.' But visually....it's just the same.

From network TV, it\'s blaine on a wire!

Now obviously, the 'lift him up so he looks like he flew away' gag was supposed to happen during or just after the blinding flash, so that folks couldn't get a handle on it. But since it did have to absorb a fall, the wires had to be a lot thicker than what Copperfield uses to fly around, so they were just hoping they'd be clear of the lights in time. More of a support staff-related failure.

But then I got to wondering how some of his other stunts have done in comparison, since I'm not much of a Blaine fan, myself. So, we turn to the internets!

  • According to his wikipedia entry, the Dive of Death (above) was "not well-received by spectators."
  • During Drowned Alive, he was unable to escape from his handcuffs, "pulled up and out of the water by his support divers" and hospitalized.
  • During Above the Below, a 44 day hunger strike done inside a plastic box, "eggs, lemons, sausages, bacon, water bottles, beer cans, paint-filled balloons and golf balls had all been thrown at the box....and a burger was flown up to the box by a remote-controlled helicopter as a taunt." But this stunt was a success because it only involved enduring, and no magic. Naturally, he was hospitalized immediately afterward.
  • In Vertigo, he sat on a flagpole with handles for 35 hours. It ended with a stuntman-like jump onto cardboard boxes, in which he was concussed.
  • For Frozen in Time, the stay inside a block of ice was supposedly so intense that it took him a month to regain the ability to walk.
  • And of course, there was the hullabaloo around Street Magic about intercutting crowd reactions with studio shots of effects, like 'levitating' with the help of a crane.
  • So what have we learned? That Blaine's a cheater? That's fine. All magicians are. I'm pretty sure most of them don't get caught at it quite so often though. Even if we believe he actually spends time locked in boxes every so often and really suffers the debilitating results, he's still no Guybrush Threepwood - he could hold his breath for ten minutes!

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