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“I love The Hub. With my current TV series ‘Escape or Die’ that airs on CITYTV every Friday


night at 7 p.m. we have travelled over a 100,000 air miles and each flight started from Winnipeg!” –Dean Gunnarson


Dean Gunnarson Almost 60 years later, Dean Gunnarson, now billed as the


“World’s Greatest Escape Artist”, replicated that feat. On Oct. 31, 1982, when he was just 18, Dean beat Houdini’s re- cord escape time by 20 seconds. Dean, whose bout with leu- kemia as a child left him with a need to defy death, became fascinated with Houdini after reading and rereading a book his mother gave him on his tenth birthday. Although he is skilled in traditional magic, it is the art of


escaping that has always intrigued Dean, who almost died in a Winnipeg escape act in 1983. He was lowered into the Red River in a coffin and had to be rescued by his handlers when he didn’t appear after three minutes. Undeterred – after all, he had faced death and conquered it at a much earlier age – Dean has gone on to perform ever more daring and risky escapes around the world, appearing on television in 165 countries. Dean currently hosts and performs in his own television


show, Escape or Die. Dean is the recipient of many honours and awards. In 2012,


the International Society of Magicians presented him with the prestigious Merlin Award as the “World’s Best Escape Artist”. Te only escape artist ever to receive a Merlin Award, he shares the honour with another Winnipeg-born magician, Doug Henning.


Doug Henning


Doug Henning, born in Winnipeg May 3, 1947, was the best known magician in the world in the 1970s and 1980s. His Broadway production of Te Magic Show ran from 1974 to 1978 and earned him an Emmy Award nomination. He also had a thing for Houdini and, in 1975, he performed Houdini’s famed water torture escape. Te success of this dan-


Dean Gunnarson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPbxsLxGMks


Darcy Oake, Britain’s got talent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO_KyTtJg10


Houdini’s water torture trick revealed Houdini’s most famous stage performance was his dangerous water torture trick, where he was hung upside down in handcuffs in a locked tank filled with water.


46 • Fall 2015


The Hub


Photo courtesy of Dean Gunnarson / www.alwaysescaping.com


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