Dean Gunnarson – The Coffin Escape Ordeal

Dean Gunnarson Upside Down and Under Water

[In honor of Dean Gunnarson’s most ambitious escape yet, we thought we would re-publish his story from June 3, 2006.

He tells us what it is like to die during an escape].

Dean Gunnarson was kind enough to describe what it feels like to die in the course of an escape that went horribly wrong.

As loyal readers of Inside Magic know, we have a special fondness and respect for escape artists.

It could be because Houdini was an inspiration to all of us to study and perform magic.

Dean Gunnarson has long been a favorite practitioner of this ridiculously dangerous but exhilarating art.

The man is talented, able, charismatic and clinically insane. How dangerous are his escapes?

We was watching a video tape of his escape from a straight jacket while hanging by his toes over the top of Hoover Dam.

Now, we know that he survived the stunt. After all, he sent us the video tape.

But we were so nervous and tense that we actually turned it off half way through, took a break, and then we finished watching.

We don’t want to ruin the show for you but we can tell you that he successfully escaped and survived.

If you visit Mr. Gunnarson’s website, you will see that you can order a deck of bubblegum cards featuring his greatest escapes.


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Dean Gunnarson – Someone Stop Him!

Dean Gunnarson - Always EscapingWe love Dean Gunnarson (strictly in a “fan of great escape artistry” sense) and love means acceptance but we wonder at what point we need an intervention.

(Check out the story leading to our concern in The Prince Albert Daily Herald).

He has hung over the Bolder Dam, been buried alive in concrete, been restrained by two tractor trailers pulling in opposite directions, and even performed the true Buried Alive live on television.

But frankly, we’re worn out.  It is getting close to “tough love” time.


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Brice Thrills with Escape 40 Feet Up!

Nick Brice Struggles for Freedom High Above CrowdFifteen year-old Nick Brice had an exceptional view of the overflow crowd gathered beneath him on the hot asphalt parking lot of the Swift Current Mall.

The excited, curious, and skeptical over-flow audience had an equally fine vantage point to watch the young man struggle with the canvas straight jacket as he swayed and writhed in the 10 mile-per-hour winds dangling some 40 feet above last Saturday.

No straight jacket escape is automatic or easy.

But Nick Brice was not looking for “easy” when he agreed to perform the dangerous stunt.

If he wanted to be safe, or to perform an “easy” escape, he would have stayed planted on terra firma (likely indoors), donned a heavily gimmicked, unexamined straight jacket, and conducted his escape behind an opaque curtain.

Perhaps it is a tribute to his youthful energy and enthusiasm that he was able to fend off fatigue and vertigo to slowly and painfully work his way free of the weighty garment before he would have certainly collapsed from heat exhaustion and his inverted position.

Like many of us, Mr. Brice was inspired by Houdini – someone who never took the “easy” route.

“Probably the most famous magician, Harry Houdini, is the one that really inspires me. He was the first one to do this one at the turn of the 20 century. He was my inspiration to do the straight jacket escape,” Master Brice told reporters.

His usual performance venues are more stable, less dangerous.

“I have done a couple at the library. Actually I normally do it at schools. I am always entertaining the other kids at high school.”

How does he intend to top his latest public exhibition next year?


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Cannon’s Great Escapist Fuel

Nosey Neighbor Close-UpThere are very few in our society who receive and devour magazines and catalogs featuring the very latest in leather tethers, handcuffs, stocks, chains, and leg irons without making it on some government list.

Magicians and legitimate law enforcement are about the only folks who have an excuse for this interest.

We don’t pass judgment on the others who receive such reading material on a monthly basis; but are also careful to avoid passing their house at night or upsetting them in any way.

Canon’s Great Escapes is our favorite place to enjoy our harmless passion.

We haven’t performed an escape (other than a handcuff in-and-out in our current show) in years.

We never owned a Chinese Water Torture Tank, Underwater Packing Box or Barrel Escape, a Milk Can Escape, or even a Substitution Trunk. We have fantasized about each of those devices, however.

Does that make us bad or abnormal? Thank goodness magicians can get away with such daydreams.


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See Dean Gunnarson Live on Radio Tomorrow

Dean “Always Escaping” Gunnarson takes to the airwaves tomorrow from 11:00 to Noon (Wednesday 26, 2008) on Manitoba’s Information Superstation, CJOB out of Winnipeg.

U.S. Magic DXers will likely be able to pick up the signal live in much of the Northern Midwest and Mountain West — we have seen DX reports with a clear signal in Southern Minnesota.

Even if you are not lucky enough to be in Manitoba, you can still hear Mr. Gunnarson’s interview live via the internet.  Head over to CJOB’s web site at www.cjob.com or click on this link to get the station stream.

Mr. Gunnarson said the interview should last about an hour.  He invites fans to call in during the broadcast or email questions to him in advance of the show.

He will be hosted by the talented and attractive Courtney James.


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