Magic in the nick of time.
Escape artist Steve Baker, the Evel Knievel of escape artists, performed live escape stunts on TV in the 1980s. In these two videos, he performs his famous "Death Race" escape, where he frees himself seconds before a speeding car smashes into him. Of course the car he’s locked is filled with explosives. These escapes were all done for real, and didn’t depend on editing to hype the danger.
I remember when I was younger I saw an escape where the escape artist / magician was locked inside a box filled with explosives, and the box is lifted into the air by a crane and the time runs out and it explodes but then… the guy operating the crane turns out to be the magician! Nope, I didn’t buy it – it was obviously some sort of trick. Mr. Baker’s performances, on the other hand, looked like they involved real danger.
The slow-motion replay really sells it.
The first video is not the greatest quality, but I love the beginning announcer’s "Mission Impossible" voice: "He must escape in ten seconds to cheat death":
Death Race Escape – First time on TV
Death Race Escape on Dick Clark Presents!
– Steve Baker, Mr. Escape>>
– My favorite story he tells, about escaping from a Japanese roller coaster>>
– Great escape: Magician, wife want to free memorabilia, State Journal-Register>>