I have been back in China performing more big and dangerous escapes for the last ten days.
As you know, on July 26th I was hit by a speeding Roller Coaster while filming my TV special in Beijing.
Two months to the day after having my foot crushed as I leaped almost clear of the coaster, I was in Chengdu, China attempting, yes, another and even more dangerous Coaster escape.
I was chained and handcuffed to the tracks of one of China’s newest and fastest roller coaster. This time I was doing it on a live television show, with a live audience, swarms of media representatives, and, of course, a broken foot.
The escape was to promote many upcoming escapes I will be performing throughout the 61st Anniversary of National Day.
The National Day is actually a week, running from October first through the seventh.
On this day, the Chinese celebrate their victory over the evil democratic Chinese that were forced to flee to Taiwan in 1949 after they lost the civil war.
(So what better way to celebrate this Historic day then to bring in an escape artist that liberates himself from constant live and death manacles and symbolizes Freedom?)
Inside Magic Favorite Dean Gunnarson is one of the fittest folks we know. That’s one advantage of being an escape artist. A recent study by the non-profit (but not by choice) Inside Magic Foundation showed a direct and correlative relationship between the physical fitness of an escape artist and his or her longevity.
To wit: Houdini was the gold standard of fitness for his time. His career lasted for decades, throughout and despite spectacular physical injuries and infections.
On the other hand, Tommy “Binge” Hardy II began his escape career on July 4, 1952 and ended six hours later. It actually took firefighters only four-and-a-half hours to unlock the wheezing and whimpering performer from the portable toilet from which he was to escape.
The Interlake Spectatorof Manitoba, Canada carries the inspiring story of Dean Gunnarson’s visit to a local school to deliver an important message for the kids. "It's important kids learn how important physical activity is," Mr. Gunnarson told those at the Arborg Middle School’s Physical Activity Day. As The Spectator noted, Dean Gunnarson’s “performances require him to hold his breath to escape from certain death.”
We love the turn of the phrase “escape from certain death.” It reminds us of our favorite Houdini poster for The Milk Can Escape, “Failure Means a Drowning Death.”
Dean Gunnarson performed some effects and then escaped from what looks like a rope tie or chain escape. He also shared his secret for success. He told students of his vow in junior high school to live healthy; no smoking, no drugs or alcohol. He made these choices precisely because he wanted to be an escape artist. “These are the decisions I made in junior high school," he said. "You have to be in good shape. What I do is very physical."