David Blaine: Frozen in Time

August 2, 2007

Frozen in Time

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Magician David Blaine at age 27, wearing only a pair of pants and boots to protect himself, was frozen alive inside...


...a 6-ton van-sized block of ice, one of the biggest in the world. It is 8ft tall, and completely sealed shut (it lost nearly 1/3 of it's weight in the end).


He was encased between two 8x6x6 ft. halves of the ice. Blaine's body contour was cut into it, welded together, so that Blaine can stand up right with little room to scratch his nose. His only lifeline was a tube running through the ice, carrying air and water, and a catheter to urinate. A medical team was standing by, monitoring his vital signs, throughout the ordeal. He worked out eye signals in case of emergency. 


Blaine was on display in Manhattan's Times Square at the heavily trafficked corner of 44th St. and Broadway. The site was open to the public during the entire time of the challenge so people can walk in, take pictures, and touch the ice. It was in full view of his security guards, friends, and anyone who wanders by.

The rest of the show features prerecorded stunts filmed on location in Italy, Israel, and Indonesia.


He was incarcerated at 9 a.m. on Monday, November 27, 2000. His goal was 58 hours. David Blaine: Frozen in Time aired at 10 p.m. est. Wednesday, November 29, 2000, on ABC. He was released at the end of the special.


"The mythic magician Harry Houdini has been an inspiration for my work," Blaine said. "In his 1922 movie, The Man from Beyond, there is an image of Houdini frozen in ice, although he never actually tried this challenge. That movie premiered at the Times Square Theater at 42nd and Broadway, so I wanted to be frozen in time here in Times Square."

"What David hopes his stunts to accomplish is to bring all kinds of people together, act out for them their common fears" - he lets them look as long as they like - "and help them see their common humanity," says William Kalush, Blaine's closest friend and collaborator. "Seeing someone do something exceptional gives us hope."


He prepared himself by immersing in tubs of ice and attempting to acclimate himself to the cold temperatures. He was only wearing shorts and a pair of boots to protect himself and primitive ointment made for cold climates. He has been learning to sleep standing up, he has practiced 14-hour test in an ice-house in Nyack, New York (afterward, he sat in his car with the heat on full blast; six hours later he was still shivering), and he was also fasting for 4 days beforehand to prevent himself from going "number two".


The two inches of air that separate Blaine from the ice will prevent him from freezing to death, although he says matter-of-factly, "the doctors tell me that blood clot could form that could travel to my brain and kill me. If I fall asleep and my face rests against the ice, I could lose my skin or freeze my brain. If my core temperature drops below 87 degrees, my heart could stop." "Hunger I can deal with. When I was buried alive I didn't eat for 13 days!" he boasted.

"The biggest dangers are loss of circulation and frostbite in his fingers and toes, and the threat of falling asleep, in which case his head could slump, bringing his face into contact with the ice, damaging the skin, " said Ronald Rudin, MD, Blaine's medical consultant. "There also is the danger of blood clots which could break loose and move the brain or other vital organs as David is being broken out of the ice." Some of the other serious dangers Blaine could face is Hypothermia and muscle spasms.


57 minutes is the world record for lying down in an ice encasement. Blaine broke that record and set a new record for standing still in the ice (61 hours, 40 minutes, and 15 seconds).


Celebrities that commented on his stunt include Michael J. Fox, Kevin Spacy, Lenny Kravitz, and he performed a trick on The New York Knicks.


  • A name "Meagan" is thought of by a girl in New York holding a book. The girl says she is 30 years old. David tells her to open the book to page 30, and an "M" is burned in fire on that page.

  • The seven of spades is selected by a Knicks basketball player and appears inside a basketball.

  • David visibly changes the signature of the treasurer on a dollar bill to the spectator's signature.

  • A young woman's ring is dropped into the sewer and magically appears in a small bottle away from the spectators, and the ring is too big to be placed in the bottle.

  • A pigeon is brought back to life by a magical touch.

  • David makes a snake appear out of a borrowed hat.

  • A guy's girlfriend appears drawn in detail on David's stomach.



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Last updated:  August 2, 2007 05:13 AM -0400