It has been talked about all week. Magician and stunt expert David Blaine was going to hang upside down for 60 straight hours and then make a "dive of death" over 40 feet to the ground. Memories of past stunts come rushing back to me. I still remember over 8 years ago, when I was still in 4th grade, watching "that crazy guy in a block of ice". Over the course of the years he has done a number of ridiculous stunts, including standing on a 90 foot tall 22 inch wide pole for 35 hours, and escaping from a gyroscope after 2 days of spinning. But his most recent stunt was supposedly meant to be the most controversial of all. Doctors were concerned that hanging upside down for so long could blind Blaine, along with swelling and cramping his internal organs. His heart would be doing too much work to send his blood up into his legs regularly. Even his short breaks every few hours, where he was allowed to stand upright on a crane, would not help. Watching on ABC, there was an interview with a physician that stated it could take 12-24 hours for Blaine to recover fully, even with those breaks. For anybody who thinks Blaine was cheating by doing this, may I suggest hanging upside down for 10 minutes, getting down for 2 minutes, and then going up again for another 10? Let's see if you feel your normal self after a small break.
But it is not with this that I feel tricked by Mr. Blaine. I hold a significant amount of respect for the man who was able to last 60 hours upside down. But that was meant only to be part one of this "miraculous" stunt. David Blaine was supposed to stand 4 and a half stories above the earth, and dive to an unknown fate. Blaine himself stated he had never practiced this dive before so he had no idea what was going to happen. I thought, "I am either going to be blown away by what he will do, or I will see a man fall 44 feet to his death on live television. Awesome." This was well on its way to being one of the coolest things I had ever seen done. Press coverage only made it even more unbearable to have to wait to see what Blaine would do to blow us all away. Watching the clock in the lower left hand corner of the screen, titled "Dive of Death", slowly tick off more and more time made the suspense practically insufferable. In the meantime we were entertained with clips of street magic performed by the magician. We even got to see him catch a bullet with a small steel cup, which he was holding in his mouth. I was hoping these mind bending illusions were only foreshadowing the impending insanity. Unfortunately, these proved to be the best part of the program.
The time finally came. David Blaine was standing right side up on top of a beam 4 and a half stories in the air. He looks down at the crowd, luring us in, riveting our eyes to him so we don't miss a single move he makes. He stands for a minute longer, milking the anticipation as much as humanly possible. Then, an air of excitement as we see him lift his leg! He is about to jump and after hours of waiting we will finally bear witness to the single most daring stunt Blaine has ever done! But wait a minute...what is that? Is that a harness? As Blaine descends to the ground, an extremely visible rope is attached to him, which allows him to gently touch his feet to the ground. I sit, mouth agape, astounded that I stayed awake to see this. Then they begin to lift him and I wonder, "Was that a joke? Are they going to lift him back onto the beam and disconnect him so he can do the real jump? Was that just to keep the suspense going even further?!" Nope. Blaine is pulled even higher into the air, where he is then pulled away, "disappearing" into the night sky. Mr. Blaine, you are a jerk.
How could he do that? It was planted in all of our minds that he would be taking a freefall to the ground, and he would in some way survive. We were all excited to see the "dive of death", but what we got was the "slow, safe descension to the ground before he is obviously carried away by some form of floating device that would have been easily disguised because it was so late at night". When it was all over I thought that maybe something had gone wrong. Perhaps he was planning on doing something, but there was a problem so they just want to the extremely disappointing plan B. I watched the news and listened to the radio the following morning to see if my theory was correct. It was not. Knowing that, I didn't feel as bad that I changed the channel after David Blaine immediately to Criss Angel. My rating of David Blaine's Dive of Death: (1/10)
(UPDATE: There is actually a video on youtube that allows you to see very clearly that he is being carried away by big black balloons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqRi4QAcJWI&feature=related )