Magic stunts -- Magician David Blaine will defy death (again) for an ABC special

By Matthew Flamm
Updated July 21, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a — guy in a block of ice? Come late November, the General Motors Building at Trump International Plaza in New York will host one of the most voyeuristic stunts yet: Frozen Alive! — in which a real-life superman endures hunger, thirst, and freezing temperatures, not to mention the inability to scratch his nose, for three days. ”I’ll be immobile, unable to speak, unable to drink, unable to eat — and very cold,” says magician David Blaine, 27, who’ll be sealed, virtually nude, between two halves of an eight-foot-tall, five-foot-deep cube of ice on Nov. 27. What’s the point? This stunt will serve as the mega-finale for the magician’s new ABC special. The highlight of the Nov. 29 show will be live and feature the magician emerging from his ice box.

For Blaine, whose previous death-defying stunt was Buried Alive! — he spent seven days last year in a transparent coffin — his confrontations with his fears are the essence of his magic act. ”I like to give people stuff that’s real,” he says. ”They can come and see and touch for themselves, and know that what they see is what they get.”

Well, not exactly. Blaine and his collaborator William Kalush say they are researching ”very ancient and secretive methods” on how to maintain body temperature. These include mental conditioning and ointments used by people living in sub-zero climates. ”It’s a mental state you have to put yourself into,” says Blaine. ”Endurance is the biggest part of it.”