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Topic: Publicity stunts!
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Jul 9, 2003 12:34AM)
Looks like being buried alive is the finest example of a publicity stunt I have found. It looks very dangerous. Any help or info on this would be appreciated.
Message: Posted by: James Peters (Jul 9, 2003 03:20AM)

If you're going under for a while (15 mins plus), then this may help. Please do your own research, though ...

You either need a two-way pumped air line (one line pumped, the other is the exhaust to relieve the pressure), or a cylinder of some sort which is concealed in the crate/coffin.

A cylinder is more reliable, as it is under your control, but does make the equipment un-examinable, and is only effective for an hour or so. The air line is good, but then you have to trust someone to connect it properly once you're in. Once connected, you're ok indefinitely (until you die of thirst!)

Don't go for an airhole & pipe; the maximum length is about 8-10 inches if the bore is up to 3/4", and that's if you're breathing directly from it. Any deeper and you end up re-breathing the air you've breathed out. A large bore airhole (6 inches or so) would probably be ok, but then it's pretty obvious to people watching.

One final thing on the pumped airline...make sure the air source is clean (get an electric pump if you can!!) Diesel/petrol fumes in an enclosed space can be a killer...

The other thing is signalling. You should have a way of sending a signal every 30 seconds to someone on the surface. If you miss two signals, they need to get you out pronto. If something goes wrong, you've potentially only got a couple minutes from when you pass out from lack of O2 to death...

With this in mind, go for it! :)

Good luck...

Message: Posted by: Stuart Burrell (Jul 9, 2003 05:52AM)
You could try for Chris Angel's underwater record of 24 hours.

If you get a chance there is a bit of info in David Blane's book that was published last year.

The trouble these days is people need to see that you are still in there.

You could try for a combined underwater/underground escape a la DB but it depends on what you want.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jul 9, 2003 10:17AM)
The masked magician did this one on one of the specials. A much different idea than the real stunt.
Message: Posted by: rondasue (Jul 11, 2003 07:56PM)
Who is Chris Angel?

Never Mind.
Message: Posted by: Stuart Burrell (Jul 12, 2003 08:33AM)
Chris Angel is a magician/performer who has stayed under water for 24 hours in full view. Not an escape as more of a protracted bath.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jul 13, 2003 01:25PM)
There is a book about doing these types of stunts:

[i]Publicity Stunts: How to get your name in the newspaper[/i] by Jon Jensen

Nothing earthshaking in it, but a very good common sense guide that describes the paperwork and preparation in perfoming publicity stunts, developing a press kit/press release that won't get thrown away and other important items that get overlooked along the way.

It also goes over the straightjacket, blindfold drive and other stunts.

Included is a sample waiver/release of liability form, Q&A, and hints.

I gave $4 for my copy, but it probably goes for $20 or $25.

Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jun 27, 2004 07:58PM)
When you say "buried alive," do you mean:

1. Buried alive escape? VERY DANGEROUS! :heckno: Norman Bigelow has come up with the only remotely safe method for this that I know of.

2. Buried alive for an hour+ on the air supply in the coffin?

3. Buried alive with a clear-cut air line, just to show how many days you can lie on your back? IMHO, not a very intriguing idea to begin with; radio DJ promo schtick. :yawn:

Message: Posted by: Michael Lee (Jun 28, 2004 11:29PM)
Hello All

While the idea of the PS Goes back well into the early 1900 , To stand on a pole Today or the 'Live" in a Glass box ...Must have a Reason, Which is one of the reasons that Blaine's Glass box gag.... Flopped!!

Some Months back the American EA Robert Gallop Did I an I am told a Most sensational Glass box Escape, Over 100 feet up , He had a time limit to get out BEFORE the Box would collapse & fall to pieces...Hith him in or "Falling' out of it...

Yes Robert did make it!! NOW THIS is a reason to do a PStunt!!

Michael Lee
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jun 29, 2004 01:48PM)
Publicity stunts are for personal gain or show promotion. Any stunt large or small is dependant on Showmanship, this can only be learnt through doing rather than saying. Don`t forget if a murder takes place on your showday,then you will take second place in the press !
Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Sep 20, 2004 07:30AM)

If anyone is interested I have a copy of 'Publicity Stunts: How to get your name in the newspaper by Jon Jensen'for sale.

Having a bit of a clear out :)


David Straitjacket
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Sep 21, 2004 10:30AM)
A pro will NEVER knock another pro, reputations are worked for all the ******** in the world will never replace experience. I respect everyone in this, my full time job as escapologist, I have felt the pain, the failures and the success that this job can offer. So go forth and do rather than say.
Message: Posted by: WEASEL DANDAW (Sep 21, 2004 11:34AM)
Hear, Hear.

I couldn't have said it better!
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Sep 21, 2004 02:29PM)
Steve Baker was not the only escape artist around in the 60's 70's and 80's, but he was the busiest and most popular and most famous. Steve knew how to gain publicity and he used it to promote himself. The same way that any celebrity promotes themselves. That's all part of the process and Steve was a master.

I didn't watch Steve Bakers Race for Life sitting in a bar, but I did watch it with a group of laypeople who were terrified and thought it was the most incredible escape stunt they had ever seen. I also showed it to some magician friends who agreed it was the only time a televised escape ever made them scared that the performer would die. Most of the stuff you see on TV comes across flat. Robert Gallup's escape from a Steel Cage dropping from a plane was awesome but on TV it just played flat. That isn't to take anything away from him. It's just how audiences typically perceive these kinds of things. For the record I think Gallup is a very fine performer.

Kubdini makes the argument that if Steve tried to come back now with the stunts he did, he'd never make it, he couldn't hold a candle to the younger guys. You know what? Houdini couldn't hold a candle to Steve Baker. Why? Houdini did most of his stuff behind a curtained cabinet. Baker did all his stuff out in the open. A lot of what is presented today by escape artists is less escape and more illusion. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that either. But the argument that todays escape artists are superior to Steve Baker because his stuff wasn't good is silly. Houdini's career speaks for itself. Steve Baker's career speaks for itself. Comparisons are interesting but are of little value. I wonder though, if Steve's stunts are so bad, why his coffin of death was ripped off on one of the Dangerous Magic Specials? Somebody obviously thought it was good enough to use.

You ask, why was he allowed to call himself "the world's greatest"? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know of any board or council that you have to apply to for permission to use the title. And you search through the history of escape artist promotional materials you will find that most call themselves 'the worlds greatest.' In Steve's case it just happens to be true.

"The greatest today would squash him like a bug. Solomon, Griffin, Gallop are just a few names that come to mind who are, today, much better then he could ever have dreamt to be back then." Really? Well, maybe you should ask those guys who their inspiration was to do escapes? Read the Genii Magazine article on Thomas Solomon and you will find see he lists Steve among his inspirations.

You know, I couldn't decide if I should even write anything about this post. Afterall it wasn't' directed at me. The best thing that came out of themagiccafe posts for me was getting a chance to talk to Steve Baker and actually count him among my friends. He is a decent guy who I have the utmost respect for. He had an amazing career and for the past few years has had some setbacks but he is still alive and well. I chose to write because as his friend, I don't appreciate people spewing forth obvious hate towards a guy who frankly kept escape artistry alive during the past 30 years.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 21, 2004 02:52PM)
Carn I'm glad you wrote what you did. I for one got sick/tired of the arguing and I'm impressed that this pot shot is being so well handled and evrey one keeping their Cool. Don,
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Sep 21, 2004 03:04PM)
I've just spent some time writting a come back to kub. Then I thought "B######S! I can't be bothered" and deleted it.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 21, 2004 03:13PM)
Ros keep it up I'm proud of you I think Kub just wanted to get evreyone upset/arguing Again. Don,
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 21, 2004 03:26PM)
Quite right, Don.
We do not need posters trying to start "long-distance urination competitions" on these threads.
This is a friendly discussion site; not a billboard or a war zone.
If you cannot leave your ego at the door, stay home and admire yourself in the mirror.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 21, 2004 03:36PM)
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Sep 21, 2004 04:14PM)
I agree and am going to guess he is probabally a "hit and run poster" though I've met Kub once (don't know if Don knows him) it is a lot of hype.

For me (and others I talked to at Houdini Days) many of us each had just one escape artist in our region, as Mark Cannon said, they had Steve out West, we had Shirk in this area and the East had Norm.

I didn't know about Steve until an old defunct internet board. Norm I knew of but nothing about his escapes.

I believe the internet has helped us to learn about others who have had a life time in the art (including Mr. Mollett) but at the same time it allows for us to learn about stupid people, hit and run people and multipul screen names for one person.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 21, 2004 04:18PM)
I never met Kub. it is also Amazing how these Arguments start with the poster having a very low number of posts.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Sep 21, 2004 04:24PM)
Yes this is a friendly group, so stop it or I will beat the S*** out of you.
The Great Kondini !
Message: Posted by: WEASEL DANDAW (Sep 21, 2004 04:43PM)
I would just like to ask one thing.

Why is it that certain people on this site just HAVE to slag (cockney phrase)other people off. As Kondini said earlier "A Pro will NEVER knock another Pro", but some people on this site just feel they must. In my experience this is only done when people feel insecure about themselves.

P.S. Sorry Kondini for keep following you posts, people will think we are in cahoots
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Sep 21, 2004 04:48PM)
I think Im falling in love!!
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Sep 21, 2004 04:54PM)
It is because the have read too many silly books on Houdini where they think there can be only "one" top guy, and you have to crush all the rest. Just stupid and silly.

I worked with Viano, I don't know how Don feels about this, but I feel if it wasn't for Steve Baker being out there and SEEN; we wouldn't have had as many bookings because people WANTED what they saw.

Now, would Don have rathered it was HE on Dick Clark instead of Steve? Well of course. I'd rather I was with one of the lovely ladies I met at the escape artist convention then where I am at now...

...such is life.

How do we define "best"? To me its the paycheck, but that is not everyones measure.

Bottom line, and having spent three weeks in Florida it was hammered home, better to be a "band of brothers" then a "den of theives".

You know how much I love you all, if someone else is looking for a fight, join the army.....
Message: Posted by: WEASEL DANDAW (Sep 21, 2004 04:58PM)

I'm worried as I was approached by a stuntman who has been on this site and is planning a T.V. expose and wanted me to perform Houdini's escapes and then he was going to expose the secret's. Obviously I declined, but I am worried about the amount of things exposing our methods that are posted.

Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 21, 2004 06:17PM)
>"You know what? Houdini couldn't hold a candle to Steve Baker. Why? Houdini did most of his stuff behind a curtained cabinet. Baker did all his stuff out in the open."

Not to ruffle anyone's feathers, and with respect to Steve Baker, but this is a rather loaded statement, which takes unfair advantage of the fact that Houdini is long dead.

If he were alive today and able to act on current trends, he would no doubt put us ALL to shame.
Houdini also did a great many full-view escapes (just as Steve Baker did a few involving a screen, such as the Water Torture Cell, and the coffin box escape with the truck and dynamite, the box being screened by a close-fitting cover).
Armed with knowledge of what was current and what others were doing, Houdini would strive to do nothing less than top everyone else in the biz. With his knowledge, skill, experience and obsessive determination, I have no doubt he would meet the challenge in royal style.
Houdini was the supreme egocentric, and he and I wouldn't get along at all, but I would definitely not be one to underestimate him were he still with us.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 21, 2004 06:35PM)
I'm ok with Steve Baker the only thing I don't like/want is evreyone at each others Throats. as for being on Dick Clark I may not mind it. but I wouldn't actully want to get paid for it. why because I don't want to be a professional I enjoy doing this for Fun. I do have a New Script that I'm working/trying to memorize but if I were to be on a Live Show I'll have to be sure I worked on evreything and had reliable Back up. even when I first met X-Treme we both watched a video I just done that day I'm glad I had 2 tapes with me because the 2nd one worked better then the 1st I was/am still new at this I'll be the first to admit the video needs work we also just did the first taping. I figure this way on viewing it one can see where the act needs work. I'll never be a Houdini or close to him. but I'm just going to enjoy Escapology. Don,
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 21, 2004 06:47PM)
Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with Steve Baker too. His contributions are an important chapter in escape history. His escape from the manacles and coffin box with the truck charging into it is one of my all-time favorite escape performances.
At the same time, though, the comments made by Carnegie were unfair to a man who is dead and unable to either reply or take action in reponse (Houdini).
As Carnegie himself noted, comparasins are interesting but pointless.
Ultimately, I am with Donster that the cut-throat behavior between 'rivals' is counter-productive to both the art and to the persons involved.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Sep 21, 2004 09:27PM)

Maybe I didn't make my point clear or you misunderstood, or both. Comparing Houdini and Baker and Baker and Gallup or whomever is pointless. Houdini's record stands for itself, I said that before. Steve's record stands for itself. It there had been no Houdini, its very likely there would be NO escape artists today, period. In the same vein, Steve Baker kept escapes alive during his time. My point wasn't to put down Houdini. If you want to read a put down of Houdini, read William Raushers Book on the Houdini Code.
I was trying to defend a friend who I felt was being put down unfairly, that's all.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 22, 2004 01:07AM)
Carn Evreyone has set a Record or done a First etc. Houdini was well Known. but there were other people doing Escapes as well. there was a old picture of a lady Escape Artist/Escapologist on the net standing next to a Milk Can Escape that she did. the main thing is I can't find that picture now. but does anyone here know who I'm talking about etc. Don,
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Sep 22, 2004 03:05AM)
Don, the Magical Pastimes website has been down for a while now, if you click on any link to it the All Magic Guide will come up. Magical Pastimes was the site you are thinking of.

Michael Claxton is the guy who owned the picture on that site, I will look for him email address when I can but I don't believe I have it anymore. There are others out there who own the picture as well.

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Sep 22, 2004 03:37AM)
Houdini (Master Showman) Became the product of his own imagination.Anyone who can self promote to this extent will self succeed, providing you can deliver the goods at the end of the day then promotion / publicity is the name of the game.Please remember we are in the world as entertainers, no escapologist Houdini included is superhuman. Looking at the above posts Mr Baker has achieved his aim,and I bet he is looking on laughing his socks off,well done Mr Baker not only did he believe in himself but all around him believed as well,such is the power of self promotion.
As for myself, I feel very lucky to have made my living from all this, we all measure success in our own way.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 22, 2004 06:53AM)
Shawn any idea as when that Picture was taken. one person told me it looked like it was the 1890's. I've also seen/heard/read other things about Houdini and others and I'll like to be able to seperate Fact from fiction. Don,

I Found the NEW Site for Magical Pastimes http://www.illusionata.com/mpt/ I guess from what I hear someone else is in charge now.
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Sep 22, 2004 08:02AM)
The new site has Claxton's email you can ask him your questions. I know he was woking on a new Genii article that was about Female EA's past and present. That was a long time ago though.

Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Sep 24, 2004 07:47PM)
If you think it was about the "escapes" you miss the entire concept.

If it was about the "escapes" someone would have replaced him.

It was about who he was, and the culture of the times....

NO ONE will ever replace, succeed, or be better than Houdini.

The conditions are just not the same, and never will be again.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 24, 2004 08:01PM)
Quite right, Mark.
Houdini was not a "man performing escapes," he was a "man who was able to escape."
The focus was on Houdini.
Whether doing escapes, mentalism, sleight-of-hand, illusions, or whatever, the focus should always be on the performer.
European magic posters usually had this type of focus, often showing the performer and implying something mysterious, rather than focusing on a specific feat or illusion.

Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Sep 25, 2004 12:08AM)
I personally think the most important thing to remember, and what many forget, is that it is now a very different time than when Houdini came on the scene.

For this strong reason, it is a fact that even the Great Houdini would fall flat on his face were he to present his act today. Certainly he was a trail blazer and a genius in his time but that was then not now.

In his time it worked, today it would fail.

There is something here to consider for any who are beginning is escapes. Namely, to copy the way Harry did things is to ensure failure and a lack of bookings.

I think that many of todays escape performers would do best to distance themselves as far as they can from the name of Harry Houdini. If you want to be known as an individual, then you have to have a unique approach. Living in Harry's shadow brings nothing but lame comparison.

Such comparison may indeed be the hardest thing to escape of all.

Cheers, Steve Santini
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 25, 2004 09:49AM)
Hey Dr. Steven,

I am really surprised, with your icon the way it is, that you are taking such a hard line on Houdini not being able to participate in this discussion. Halloween is not far off. When you say you wouldn't get along with him at all, is that based on a few sharp words scratched out on a slate last time you made contact?


Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 25, 2004 01:48PM)
"For this strong reason, it is a fact that even the Great Houdini would fall flat on his face were he to present his act today. Certainly he was a trail blazer and a genius in his time but that was then not now."

Problematical assumption, since I am convinced Houdini would not remain 'static' were he here now. Even in the Roaring 20s, he updated his act to suit the faster-moving society. Houdini had a very active mind, a strong drive to succeed and an unerring eye for publicity. I feel he would have found ways to 'make people notice' in our age.

In any case, I guess we'll never know.

Dr. Wilson: Despite your apparent faith in my necromantic talents, I have had no more fortune contacting Harry than the late Arthur Ford or anyone else.
As for why we wouldn't get along: Harry was an absolute egocentric. I have little patience with egocentrics. 'Nuff said.

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 28, 2004 01:51PM)

I agree on Houdini. Everything about his life shows a fierce determination to succeed. He tried a few things that flopped: movies and getting famous by being the first person to fly a plane in Australia. He hit it big with escapes and played that for all it was worth.

So what would a strongly determined, energetic person who was a genius at publicity be doing today? It is hard to find a contemporary person who invites comparison to Houdini.