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10 Epic Magic Trick Failures


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David Blaine's "Dive of Death"
Magician David Blaine hangs above developer Donald Trump during a press conference promoting "David Blaine: Dive of Death." © Walter Weissman/Corbis
Magician David Blaine hangs above developer Donald Trump during a press conference promoting "David Blaine: Dive of Death." © Walter Weissman/Corbis

David Blaine's magical mishap also aired on live television, this time during his very own ABC special. There had been a lot of buildup to Blaine's 2008 "Dive of Death," without much detail about what was going to happen in the performance [source: Pang]. Blaine's failure was less a spectacular flub, and more a slow burn.

The dive turned out to be a 44-foot (13.4-meter) jump to the ground from a platform above Central Park. Blaine had spent the previous 60 hours hanging upside down above the park, which was supposed to add a death-defying layer to the jump at the end. That's where this slow-motion magical mess began. He took 10-minute breaks every hour, which many spectators considered cheating [source: Thompson]. The negative buzz meant that when it was time for Blaine's televised dive, he was already on slippery footing.

On the evening of the routine, ABC had to push Blaine's jump back 15 minutes to air a televised presidential address [source: Pang]. Really, you can blame George W. Bush for what happened next. During the delay, the wind in Central Park kicked up, and ABC convinced Blaine to ditch some of the trappings of the trick for safety's sake.

After diving straight toward the ground, Blaine was supposed to fly away on magical balloons just before impact. Without the balloons, his performance was more in line with a slow, awkward bungee jump. He leapt down, then his techs slowly raised him back up, and he disappeared. The disappearance part was kind of a neat trick, but a letdown after so much pre-show fanfare. The audience booed; even Blaine admitted later that the trick was a complete flop [source: Pang].