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Good to go – the X-treem invades the Escaporium.

I just returned from a fantastic journey to Owen Sound, Canada as a guest to the Santini family June 17-21st. All I can say is WOW!!!

I flew into Toronto on the Thursday the 17th where the Santini family picked me up and we had a road trip ahead to Owen Sound, on the way we stopped at the Smoking Bull restaurant where I had Suicide Hot Wings (only complaint is that Canadian’s don’t have a clue what hot spicy food should be) from there we continued to the outskirts of Owen Sound where I took in part of this amazing tourist town viewing the beautiful waterfalls. This was followed by a brief stop at the Escaporium on Carneys Lane where I got the nickel tour and was stumped by the Mighells pillory escape.

Returning to the Santini residence I wanted to get right to work, as I knew we had a lot to cover in a short amount of time. Steve not only showed off a load of wild restraints but also taught me how to pick almost every single one; his instructions were so concise that in a matter of a few tries I was opening them like I had been doing it for years. The first night ended with some “one off” gimmick show and tell, each seemingly more brilliant than the one before it.

Friday morning we sat in the workshop for a few hours telling old “war” stories before heading to the Escaporium where Rogers TV came in and did a two-minute spot on the museum. Steve was in high spirits as he had bought a person sized safe which was to be delivered later in the day for us to monkey around with. In the mean time we returned to his house and watched family and press footage of Steve’s two jail escapes that he had done a few months ago, Steve’s ability to talk to the press and his adlibbed humor was on par in the videos especially his adlib about escaping from the Death Row cell.

After supper it was off to the Escaporium again where Steve taught me the ins and outs of the new safes locking mechanism and escaping from it (something I’ve never done) after some brain storming we returned to his house to watch some more videos.

Saturday we returned to the Escaporium where I finally took the time to fully look over the displays of memorabilia and restraints. My time there crescendoed (personally) by escaping from a pair or handcuffs once owned by Houdini, I came out of the museum with a once in a life time chance and slightly cut up wrists. Saturday evening Vera and Shania took me out for more sights, hiking the cliffs that surround Owen Sound.

Sunday was “the big day,” Steve had asked if I had had the chance to look at a newer restraint, I mentioned that I had not had the chance he brought it out of his office and I looked it over, Shania asked Steve to put the restraint on her and, somehow, while we were not watching she actually escaped from the restraint!! It blew our minds! After a half hour of monkeying around Steve finally figured out her secret, the next thing I knew we were in the workshop working on gimmicking the restraint, his concept was bang on and in a few hours we had a one of a kind escape restraint in our hands. After that we went up to his office and looked through boxes and boxes of Steve’s past news clipping, an old book with numerous hand drawn ideas he had in the 80’s and numerous adverts from others who had gone before us.

We went back to the Escaporium to watch some old TV specials on escapes and monkey around some more opening a (hopefully) one – of – a - kind milk can escape, which we lovingly call “the escape artist death trap”.

At supper time Steve made his famous Santini burgers (1 pound AFTER cooking) I polished off my first and he was silly enough to challenge me to eat another one….which I did.

Returning again to the Escaporium it was time to do some keepsake videoing. The video starts off with me restrained with “The Tube” and Grip wrist restraint attached to a waist belt inside the safe. The escape went off incredibly well, minus one blooper. We continued with Steve escaping from his famous “under water box” which was locked shut for the first time with a Chubb Battleship padlock. We continued with Steve escaping a restraint bag he had been legitimately challenged with, the last time he had been in the bag, I believe was 1996. After which I did the bag (hey I’m not stupid, I wanted to watch and copy the master instead of looking like a moron by not knowing what I was doing) the video ended with both of us gap mouthed when Shania actually popped open a padlock she had during her mock safe escape. For a 6 year old, the kid is a mind blower. The day ended with us sitting around on the porch, telling stories and sharing ideas into the wee hours.

Monday, I accidentally woke the entire household up because I did not know how to work the alarm clock, then to brunch with Steve’s parents and a return flight home.

Both Steve and Vera are exceptional hosts often going out of their way for me and little Shania helped me get over my homesickness being away from my own kids.

As long as I live I will never forget my trip to Canada and hope that Steve and I can get together on a yearly basis.

A cleaned up, extended version of this will appear on the EARL soon along with pictures.

Again a big thank you to the Santini family for all they did.
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
The Donster
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Shaun sounds like you realy enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it PM me if you ca. Don,
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Hi Shawn,

I, along with my entire family, am very glad you had a great time "up" here.

You were an excellent guest and it was fantastic to finally meet you in person.

For those that don't know, The X Treem is one heck of an escape artist and he proved his dedication to the craft many times while here.

It was a real pleasure watching you work Shawn.

I hope we can make this a yearly thing too.

Our very best to you and yours, Steve, Vera, and Shaina.

P.S. Shaina continues to do those "accidental" escape and lock effects that blow my mind. Man, if we could only get her to write a manuscript!

BTW, Since you ate two, the Santini burger challenge is now upped to three at one sitting. Do you accept the challenge for next year? Are you, as we love to joke, "good to go", on this?
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Thanks for the kind words Steve and I accept your challenge on the condition that they are bunless.

A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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