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Interview With David Blaine

Aired November 5, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, exclusive. David Blaine. He's here, he speaks for the first time since he spent more than six weeks starving himself inside a Plexiglas box high above London. He'll take us inside that box to tell us what those 44 days were like and what that experience did to him physically and mentally.
David Blaine for the hour, your calls included, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

In the second segment of this program, we'll show you the box itself. I'll even get into the box. And we'll go into a whole explanation of how David got into going above London and starving himself for 44 days.

But since it's his first visit with us, a little bit about him.

How did you choose magic as a life?

DAVID BLAINE, ILLUSIONIST: I loved it since I was 5 years old or even, maybe younger, 4. It was just like a digital fixation with cards and math and science and then I started to look at images of great magicians from Houdini down the line.

KING: Studied them?

BLAINE: Yes, studied them extensively. Not just magicians, but guys like Orson Welles, who did "The War of the Worlds," or Buster Keaton and everybody else.

KING: In other words, you liked the different?

BLAINE: Yes. I liked all the great showmen.

KING: That's what they were, right? The good ones are showmen.


KING: Why illusions?

BLAINE: Well, I also love magic, which is, you know, different than showmanship. Magic's an art where you use slight of hand or illusion to create wonder. And I was just intrigued with that idea. I'd do things to my mom and her friends and I was a 5-year-old boy making these adults run around screaming. So, it became addictive.

KING: You were big at Halloween, huh? BLAINE: I didn't -- yes. Just -- I don't think -- I just always did stuff at all times to everybody. Even if I was riding a subway to school, I would just do magic to the people sitting around me, or if I was in a library, I'd do it to the librarians and they were just all...

KING: How did you get well-known? What happened to you to put you on the world scene?

BLAINE: Well, as I was doing magic, I used to always -- me as a magician, I would watch people's reactions, because that's what I love the most, people who have the funniest reactions and the most beautiful reactions. So I would focus on that. So when I was about 19, I shot a tape of me doing magic just to people on the streets, and I would edit together all the reactions and I kept pushing this idea, and then ABC came on board and made my first show. But not a lot of people really saw it, but the ones that did, I think liked it. And I've buried myself alive for seven days and seven nights in New York City, which I thought was the hardest thing ever at that time. Now it's like a vacation...


KING: Yes, we'll get to that in a while. Where did you -- where were you buried?

BLAINE: Trump gave me some land on the West Side Highway by the river, where he was building a new building complex, and I just dug a hole, put a coffin and went in.

KING: Now, how would you make money from that?

BLAINE: I didn't make any money from that, but you know, eventually if I kept making more shows, I would own the rights to the shows and I would film around the world and stuff like that.

KING: So you -- like you, for example, we'll be seeing things tonight in cooperation with your own production company, Channel 4 Television, British Sky Broadcasting, we're going to show a lot of footage. They work with you and you -- you get shown all over the world, right? David Blaine is known everywhere.

BLAINE: A little bit, I think, you know.

KING: Certainly now you are. Could you successfully levitate? You levitate, right?

BLAINE: Right. Well, it's an illusion.

KING: OK. Now it's a -- you're not -- you're not leaving the ground?

BLAINE: I make it look like I am, you know.

KING: How the hell do you do that?

BLAINE: I don't tell. It ruins it.

KING: But you can give the illusion of going up. Do you need props to do this?

BLAINE: No, that's the thing about -- when I started doing magic, I started thinking the best stuff were things that you don't need any props, like because it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I didn't think he would walk around with boxes or props, I figured he would just do with his strength, and my whole concept was to bring magic to people looking as though I have almost nothing. Of course, there is always something, or there's something to do or something learned or something worked on.

KING: So you didn't bring rabbits out of hats.

BLAINE: No, I stayed away from everything everybody else was doing.

KING: Are there some people who believe that there is an occult aspect to this...

BLAINE: Yes...

KING: ... some magical powers?

BLAINE: Yes, there's not -- it's tough when people ask you to do really weird things, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bring back somebody...

KING: You don't buy that?


KING: What do you make -- what did you make of Siegfried & Roy?

BLAINE: I mean, I love them. I feel terrible for what happened.

KING: That happened while you were up there.

BLAINE: Yes. And I didn't know about it until afterwards, really. Somebody wrote a sign, but I didn't understand what they meant. That's horrible.

KING: Yes. In the next segment, we'll talk about the whole box thing and how you got to do all of that.

But driving force in your life, you said, was the death of your mother?

BLAINE: Well, her life is my driving force, because she gave me so much attention and so much love.

KING: Your father left the family early.

BLAINE: I never knew him. I never knew him. And I just told last night, because I saw my mom's brother, who I haven't seen in years, I just heard that the man that I thought was my father maybe wasn't. I don't know if that's true or not. To find out all these strange things, but...

KING: Did your mother encourage what you do in life?

BLAINE: My mother encouraged it so much. She was so supportive. Even if as a kid, I would do the dumbest trick, which now that I look back on some things, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), she would love it, she would say that's amazing, or if I'd make the ugliest drawing, she would hang it up. She was amazing.

KING: Do you -- are you thinking of something to do, like your next thing?

BLAINE: Oh, I've been thinking about that my whole life. The whole time I was in the box, I kept -- I wrote down a whole list of what I need to do. But yes, the next thing I'm going to do is a crazy one.

KING: Can you give me any kind of clue?

BLAINE: I could tell you it has to do with a helicopter and me falling from a helicopter into a river, and it's called the dive of death, and it would be from such a tremendous height that there's only a couple of people that have lived from that height because when you fall from that height it's like hitting pavement.

KING: That can't be a trick.

BLAINE: No, no.

KING: Right. No parachute.

BLAINE: Oh, no, no, no, no. Nothing like that.


KING: There is no way to practice this.

BLAINE: Oh, yeah, there is. For that...

KING: What do you do? Do you do practice someplace?


BLAINE: Yeah, I'm going to do. No, I don't care. Everybody can film me, but I'm going to learn how to hit water from tremendous height -- not the full height that I am going to go, but I will learn how to hit at like 110 feet, which is...

KING: And your belief is that this can be done, right?

BLAINE: It can be done, but it can also go terribly wrong, like everything I do.

KING: So there is a little Evel Knievel in you. A little risk.

BLAINE: Evel is one of the greats. That's what I was hoping would happen in the box -- not that I hoped for it, but I kind of expected it to go really well. I figured -- no, but I figured that like...

KING: If only it would fall.

BLAINE: No, that I didn't want to happen. No, but I figured my mind would start to hallucinate, like after about -- I would go crazy, it would be really interesting.

KING: How said it didn't happen, David.

BLAINE: I'm happy it didn't. It's amazing that it didn't. But yeah, I think that when Evel Knievel crashed over the fountain at Caesar's, it kind of gave you a credibility and then anticipation for everything he did.

KING: He's a good guy, too.


KING: We're going to take a break, and when we come back, the box. And David and I will be with the box. And we want you to stay tuned, and later we'll be taking your calls for David Blaine. What a guy. Don't go away.


KING: We're with David Blaine and this is the box he lived in for 44 days starving.

So the obvious, why?


BLAINE: It was a dream that I had. Like, one day I kind of had this thought. I woke up about a year ago and started to obsess on the idea of living in a box. But a box of mirrors, actually, so I could only see my reflection for 44 days because that's my birthday, April 4. So, that's my lucky number. So I started obsessing on the idea of going 44 days in a box was nothing. But, then the mirrors, I decided would make me crazy. Like my mind would completely flip. So we got rid of it and ended up making it like this.

KING: Why, London?

BLAINE: Just thought London would be a good place for, you know, something different for a change.

KING: Did you need permission as to where -- how high up was the box?

BLAINE: Also, the Tower Bridge was so beautiful. It was a dream to do something off of the Tower Bridge. I originally wanted to hang it off of the Tower Bridge, but we couldn't get permits to do it there. So, we got the field next to it which was good but it was about like 30 feet up when it was windy I they kept it low. But when it wasn't, in case people threw stuff at it, and stuff like that, they would raise it up.

KING: So, they could move it up and down?

BLAINE: Yes. It was on a crane.

KING: Did you expect it to get the attention it got, world wide?

BLAINE: I mean, I kind of hoped it would, but all of my friends told me everybody will be bored. Everybody said don't do it, it's going to get bored except for a friend Harmony (ph) who directed the show. He said, just do it. Who cares? I said, yes, your right, who cares? And we rushed...

KING: Where did you make this thing.

BLAINE: In London. My original idea was we wanted to make it bullet-proof but because we had three weeks from when the deal was made until the show -- when I was going to put in the box, in London, they can't make anything that's bullet-proof. So it's like this. And when people would shoot fireworks at it in the nighttime. Not every night, and not everybody but one in a thousand would do something crazy. When they'd shoot fireworks, I would jump because I was sure they were shooting a gun at me. I could wake up and my heart would start racing.

KING: You had to start to get a little whacked after while right. When people starve they get a little...

BLAINE: I don't think so.

KING: Hallucinating.

BLAINE: It's like a heightened sense of awareness. All the sounds became really intense and the colors were vivid. Blues look different. Things like that.

KING: Who paid for the box?

BLAINE: Sky TV and Channel 4.

KING: They are the ones who showed it in Europe?


KING: They had the rights?

BLAINE: Both of them do.

KING: What's it made of?

BLAINE: This is Plexiglas or (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: How did you pick this size? Why isn't it a little bigger?

BLAINE: It was going to be 7 feet by 7 feet by 3 feet and I had a mock-up made in my apartment. I got in there and looked at it and said, it's too big, could we shrink? So we shrunk it. It now it's about 6'3".5 by 6'4" by 2.5 or something. Maybe still 3 this way.

KING: How did you go to the bathroom?

BLAINE: Well, when you're not eating, you rarely take a number 2.

KING: But you were drinking right.

BLAINE: Yes. There's a hole here and a rubber tube that came up and pulled the rubber tube up and had a cup, a big cup and I would urinate into it, but I wrap a blanket around me at all time. It's crazy when I would urinate people would cheer. It was like nuts.

KING: They knew when you were urinating?

BLAINE: Yes, of course. So, for the first week, it used to take me 10 minutes to pee. I would have to close my eyes and pretend I was in front of a toilet. And I'd have to block everything out. By but like the eighth and ninth day and tenth day, I would pee in like two second with my eyes open.

KING: Were there days you thought of saying bring me down?

BLAINE: There was a couple of times. Like the one time, a guy late at night at 4:00 a.m. climbed up the water tower. Because we didn't have enough security. Climbed the water tower and there we these cables that connected to this. And I think he thought it was what was holding me up and he starting to swing everything and yelling, go back to America. I hate you. I'll kill -- I mean, crazy things. And I was -- it was -- I was waving and smiling but really, I was like this is it, I'm done. At that point, I realized it really got into the psyche of some people in a serious way.

KING: Why? Why did you annoy people.

BLAINE: Well, I think the way

KING: It was a clever stunt, it was cute, it was fun.

BLAINE: I think it would have worked that way anywhere I did it because for people, it's kind of boring in a weird way. It is a guy in a box doing nothing. So they think, well the heck.

KING: Worldwide about a guy in a box doing nothing.

BLAINE: They think what the hell? And I think it reflected more about like how like if I felt a certain way and I came and saw somebody doing this, number one, I would have a tough time believing it. Like it would be tricky.


BLAINE: I would think he was something. You know, it would bother me.

If I was in a bad mood, throw an egg at it. Not to hurt the guy but funny to see an egg blast and the radio stations saying we'll pay 100 pounds if you hit him with an egg. So that -- there was also for every one guy throwing an egg, there were hundreds of people who would wave and smile.

KING: Was it pure water or like Gatorade?

BLAINE: Absolutely Pure water.

KING: Gatorade is electrolytes, right. It would have kept you going.

BLAINE: No. If I had -- wrong. If I had glucose, my body's metabolism would have stayed up encrusted itself quicker and my brain would have been affected more, actually. The glucose would have stopped the starvation process. Because when you are starving your body slows down.

KING: Can you spin around here and explain this? This is the top, right?

BLAINE: Right.

KING: You were trapped in here in a sense?

BLAINE: Right.

KING: How does this work. Because we are going in her folks in the next segment.

BLAINE: But we are going to continue to talk about the starvation process?

KING: Of course.


KING: In there I am going to see what it was like to live. I'm going to go in there.

BLAINE: Yes, this is sealed on. This was -- there's like those two little plastic things that when it was really hot, because it was a heat wave in London which was unusual and sunny every day except for two days. Which is really unusual for London.

KING: Thought it would rain.

BLAINE: Yes. Because it was so sunny, this is like a green house. The temperatures -- it was 114 degrees in the daytime on most days and 34 degrees at night. And these were supposed to be heaters but these were only 130 watts at max. So these are 150 watts. But one of them went out right away. So these provided more heat than these, but this is at the top. And when you're sleeping at the bottom and cold in the nighttime these do absolutely nothing. So, the cold was the top three most terrible things I had to face.

KING: How much did you sleep? BLAINE: In the beginning, I slept pretty well because it wasn't cold at night. It wasn't bad. I had the blanket and I was OK. But like, at the end when you're starving, your body produces a third of it's normal heat so, so it was very difficult to sleep more than two hours a night.

KING: Body odors?

BLAINE: Terrible.

KING: Your own body odors?

BLAINE: Terrible. I had baby wipes but it was terrible. I have the clothes I brought for you.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) delightful. All right We are going to take a break. And when we come back in the next segment, David and I are going to go -- will I be the only other person to go into this box?


KING: David and I are going to go in the box when we come back. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In half an hour, David Blaine is going to complete the most difficult and controversial endurance feat of his career, 44 days and nights of confinement and starvation, surviving on pure water alone. Thousands of people have turned up to witness the end of a challenge that began over 6 weeks ago.


KING: We're back. Two Jews in a box, that's funny. We're back in the world's most famous box -- two guys from Brooklyn in the box, except he stayed in this box for 44 days without food. There was no way to get out of here?


KING: There was no trick way to sneak out?


KING: And get something to eat.

BLAINE: Well, there was paparazzi and people with cameras there at all times during the day and night. So, if I would have snuck out, somebody would have had that picture.

KING: I noticed there's writings here. There's writings on your blanket, writings on the wall, what is that? BLAINE: Well, this is -- it says God, faith, will and water. That's king of what I had to make it through this.

KING: Faith, God, will and water.

BLAINE: God first. Yes.

KING: Are they in order then?

BLAINE: Yes. When I was really miserable, I'd write things that reminded me of how, you know, how to...

KING: You had a pen?

BLAINE: Yes. I had a pen, a journal.

KING: What did you write on your blanket?

BLAINE: There I wrote, 44 days and 44 nights of peace and torment.

KING: You had both, right?


KING: How did you sleep?

BLAINE: This mattress would be unrolled, but it was really thin. You could feel it actually.

KING: Very thin.

BLAINE: Yes. So, this is what I would sleep on.

KING: Don't smell too bad. They fumigated it. So, you lied straight down on that?

BLAINE: Well, the thing about that is when it's cold out, which it was, it was 34 degrees every night, this becomes like a rock. So, the first thing to start me was my back started to kill, because when you're sitting on this all day long day, you can feel that thin pad, it kills. And then when you're laying down on it, it like a rock, your back just begins to ache. That was like the hardest thing right off the bat starting on day two.

KING: Were there always people watching you?

BLAINE: Always. At all times. All day, all night. That was the most ironic thing. It's isolation, but in everybody's view.

KING: What were you out to prove? In other words, not a magical stunt. This is not an illusion. You were not disappearing or levitating. An animal wasn't appearing where a motorcycle was. What were you proving?

BLAINE: For me, I like the idea of endurance. I was obsessed with the idea of fasting and isolation.


BLAINE: Well, yes. Actually, when I would do Yom Kippur, instead of just going, you know...

KING: One day, you do seven, what the hell.

BLAINE: Always. But I would also do the first three days with nothing. No water, nothing. And then sit in a steam room at the end. Or even when I was 11 years old, I would stop eating for nine or ten days. And even now, until -- before I did this, I would go with 20 days without water.

KING: How much weight did you lose?

BLAINE: 54 pounds in about 45 days.

KING: Did they do any studies of you, any doctors?

BLAINE: Yes. The best starvation expert, Paletuck (ph) and his partner. Well, number one, they kept all the urine that I would pee out. They went into a tube that they medically took and they preserve it to study. My key-tone (ph) levels and everything. They kept those frozen or refrigerate and preserved.

And then when I got out, before they refed me, they took tons of vials of blood, which they stored. And the doctor even thought, who was helping me, he thought that I had cheated somehow with vitamins or nutrients or something. Not with food because that's crazy, not with glucose that's crazy, sodium is crazy. But what happened is, when he got the tests back from the blood, everybody in the hospital said at the Independent Hospital in London (ph), suddenly looked at me differently and started to really do research on me.

So now, he's publishing a paper which shows how to refeed people suffering from malnutrition. Because there's nobody that's had documented cases since 1910.

KING: I'll ask you in the next segment, what's first thing you ate. You can't eat heavy, right? When you starve for 44 days.

BLAINE: Afterwards, no. You have to refeed. That's the dangerous part.

KING: You could be killed.

BLAINE: It isn't the starving part, anybody could do -- anybody could be in the box for 44 days just on water. It's true. It is true. But the refeeding, is where most people suffer the great -- that's where all the danger is.

KING: Worst part?

BLAINE: All of it was the worst and all of it was the best, but I think little things start to get to you, like all the little things here, to stay warm, see that?

KING: What are they?

BLAINE: Wool balls. I had a wool thing on and it was freezing so I had to wear it all the time. And wool would be everywhere. So at all times, I had wool balls in the back of my throat. So besides the horrible back, the freezing cold you know, the fantasies of food --

KING: Was anyone talking to you?

BLAINE: Yes. Everybody would yell.

KING: You hear them?

BLAINE: Oh, loud as anything. If anybody said anything right now...

KING: You can hear right through it?

BLAINE; Loud as all. It echoes in here.

KING: Did you know the attention you were getting everywhere?

BLAINE: No, no idea. I just knew that there was a really good base of people here and at nighttime when people were drunk, or when the sun went down, it would change a little bit and some bad people -- not bad but throw things at me. Which I became accustomed to.

KING: No feeling of being closed in?

BLAINE: Only once when Harmony came up. Because, he was directing this film about me. So, when he came up to shoot me, and he's my best friend as well, and he's the one who supported this in the beginning, when I was going to not do it...

KING: So I'm the third person in the box?

BLAINE: No. He came up on a cherry picker. But on the first time, when it was on like day 38, he -- I was seen face to face. Nobody had been this close to me. He looked at me and looked really scared. And so did the cherry picker operator and the other guy Tom, they looked really frightened. Tom's the one that designed this for me. They looked really scared.

And when they went back down, I yelled -- I could open the hole. I yelled, Harmony, what's wrong? He went nothing, nothing. Harmony, what's wrong? I said, Harmony, how do I look? He went, you look good. I said, how do I really look? He said honestly? I said, yes. He said you look gray, white circles under your eyes and you looked really gaunt and sucked in. It's really bad. Then the walls went -- like that. I started to panic. I couldn't breathe. I was...

KING: How did you overcome it?

BLAINE: I just laid down and just practiced focusing my breath for like ten minutes and it went away I never thought about it again.

KING: Did you have any pain?

BLAINE: During it? Horrible pain, because when you're in starvation, when your body is eating your own muscle tissue, your own fat and the organs, so you feel all of your muscles literally like they're being chewed off.

KING: What was the 44th day like?

BLAINE: That was the craziest one, because like day 40, I started to have heart palpitations, but really it was just my heart would speed up or slow down really fast -- abruptly. So when it happens, you can't breathe and there was like, you know, 40,000 people all there and by then, they were really supportive which was amazing, but it was scary, too.

And so, had a pillow and I tried to throw it out to the people that were there. Because some people came every day for 44 days. So I tried to throw it at these girl's direction. I hadn't moved that much in the whole 44 days. When I went to yank the pillow, I had never used that muscle and sharp pains started shooting everywhere. My heart was racing. I couldn't breathe and actually thought I was going to not finish before I finished.

KING: You are aware a lot of people thought it was a trick?


KING: That there was something going on.

BLAINE: They always think that. Because I do illusions, as well. Like when I levitate, that's an illusion, or when I do slight of hand.

KING; You don't pretend that's -- no, that's a trick.

BLAINE: Yes, that's illusion. That's what I love to do. But this is a different thing. This is an endurance piece.

But, the other thing is, like, when I did this, there was no agreements of confidentiality agreements, not from anybody. No security guards. And Sky and Channel 4 hired everybody. So everybody involved, there was nothing. You're getting ready for something, huh?

KING: No. I know we're going to break soon. When we break, we'll come back. Now, tell me about people throwing things at you. What that was like.

BLAINE: Well, it is really loud in here. It echoes everywhere. So, when you're trying to relax and trying to focus...

KING: They would throw eggs? What did they sound like?

BLAINE: Or this gay parade came by and threw sausages at me.

KING: Whoa! Whoa! Hey!

BLAINE: That's what it was like.

KING: Jesus! And you had that any night?

BLAINE: No, no, no. But usually there was only like two thrown, because it was a far shot. Not this close. Not every night. The first ten nights which was horrible.

KING: I'll be back with my hearing aid and David Blaine and we'll be out of this thing hopefully and we'll taking calls and lots more to go with David Blaine, the master illusionist who has proved his point to me. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with David Blaine.

That was quite an experience and I was on the ground. And we will be going to your calls in just a couple of minutes.

You come out. You were crying when you came down. Why?

BLAINE: It was just such an emotional moment for me. At that point, I was living on adrenaline. Everything was rushing through me, and it was sad and beautiful at the same time. Like, to finally be released was just so overwhelming for me.

KING: All right. What's the first thing you ate?

BLAINE: Well, the first thing I had was a -- like, a handful of potato chips. I wasn't supposed to, but five days into it, in the hospital being fed with liquids, all my friends would come and they'd leave their food there, and in the middle of the night, I'd grabbed a bunch.

KING: Because you're not supposed to eat big, right?

BLAINE: No. No, no, no. No. And then I started to have fruit and then there was this one fantasy I've been having the whole time which was a lox and cream cheese bagel.

KING: Funny. I would think the same thing. It's the heritage.

BLAINE: Dreaming about. So I kept thinking about this bagel. So the next thing my friend gave me two of them. And I ate one of them and my stomach was killing for the next three days. So after that, I was really careful and moderate.

KING: You jumped out -- you snuck out of the hospital one day too, to go see -- what? -- "Mystic River"?


KING: Sean Penn's your friend? BLAINE: Yes. Yes. Snuck out of the hospital because I just couldn't be there. I was there for a week and I went to see his movie, "Mystic River." And it so overwhelming, and I had edema -- my legs were swollen from edema and my heart was really weak because it had shrunk in size. And I'm in the movie and it starts to get really emotional and I started to suddenly panic and have an attack and I couldn't take it and I had to leave and go home and stand in front of the hospital. But it was by my apartment before (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And then I got better in a couple of days.

KING: You got mail? People wrote letters to you?


KING: Well, how did they deliver it? David Blaine, care of Tower Bridge, London, U.K.

BLAINE: Yes. I like this one because he drew a little picture of a guy in the box and a stick figure.


BLAINE: Yes. The postlady would just deliver it to the security.

KING: I like that. You see the little picture (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

And how did they get it to you?

BLAINE: They would give it to the -- to the people on site, whether it was my girlfriend or if was the security guards, the post lady would come every day and leave it there.

KING: Were you warned? The British press said you were warned against making love to your girlfriend for awhile because it could kill you. True?

BLAINE: Yes, it is true. And a few nights into it, I did that and I had heart monitors on at all times and they came rushing in because my heart was racing so -- it was -- yes (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: What was the psychological impact of all this, do you think?

BLAINE: I think in a lot of ways it was an amazing learning experience. I learned how to kind of appreciate the things that are important, which are simple things that exist right in front of us. You know, what we have, like a sun rise or a sunset and everything that kind of that God puts in front of us. But as soon as I was refed, it's like I forgot everything. Like all those awakenings I had....

KING: Do you appreciate the incredible ability of the human body?

BLAINE: Yes, which was unbelievable. I read this book, "Fasting Can Save Your Life" and he spoke about how salamanders and starfish -- like, a salamander, when it loses its tail, even if it's starving, it'll digest its body and it'll a tail because it needs a tail to survive to get more food. And so that's what the human body does is, is it learns how to digest everything it has to sort of protect its brain and the brain stays completely functional and -- yes, we're amazing.

KING: Let's include some phone calls for David Blaine. His first appearance since all of this. And we want to thank his production company, plus Channel 4 Television and British Sky Broadcasting for the footage you've have watched tonight, most of the footage.

New York City, hello.



CALLER: David, with the influence of your mother in your life, what are you feelings about fatherhood?

BLAINE: I think I was lucky because my mother had been so supportive. And even though I didn't have a father, she gave me the amount of love that was necessary. She was never on the telephone to her friends smoking cigarettes and she never made the television a babysitter. She would just really dedicate her attention to me. Even though she worked three jobs, she was really serious. I think that's just love from somewhere is all of it we need or...

KING: Are you worried about people trying to imitate you? Go up and starve themselves, young kids affected by...

BLAINE: A little bit, because I practiced and I trained first. It's not like I decided one day to just starve myself. I had done fasts before and i had done slow build-ups and I had built up in weight and I had gained a lot of weight for this one. And then I went and did it with a complete set mind. I practiced meditating. So yes, I prepared.

KING: Hopeful -- Hopedale, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Hi, David.


CALLER: I wanted to know how you handled the negativity of some people and the heckling that you received and if you were surprised by that?

BLAINE: I was a little surprised. I expected it. And in the beginning, it was tough to hear people yelling curses at you and stuff. But I would focus on the good things instead of on the bad things. And in some cases, when somebody would come and, like, wave at me, and when I'd wave back they'd give me the middle finger. Really -- I mean, guys in business suits. So what would happen is it would distract me. And of all a sudden, I'd focus on this guy and wonder, Who is he and what's he about? All of a sudden, two hours would pass -- or if an egg was thrown -- the egg, I'd try to figure out who did it in the crowd and then I would watch, you know, somebody come and clean it up and then, all of sudden, four hours would be gone. So I knew I had a thousand and 56 hours do in the box, and any distraction was an advantage.

KING: Tell me about this journal you -- what, you kept a journal?

BLAINE: Yes. I kept a journal every single day.

KING: Writing -- just show you how this looks. You wrote...

BLAINE: Every thought that I had I would write. I would write and draw and put pictures in. Thoughts. And, yes. Yes.

KING: This is a -- why don't you publish this?

BLAINE: I'm going to do that, I think.

KING: Now, you have a book on "The New York Times" Bestseller called "Mysterious Stranger."


KING: A Book of Magic. And there you see the cover. And in the book, you have $100,000 treasure hunt?


KING: A hundred thousand dollars is hidden somewhere, right?


KING: And we understand, before we go to break here, you're going to give one clue tonight.


KING: Free.

BLAINE: All the clues for this have been cryptography, which are really difficult, nobody broke it. So I'm going to give a clue that's very simple. It's one sentence.

KING: It's in the United States?

BLAINE: Uh-huh. And this is the first clue that I'm giving that's simple, that has nothing to do with...

KING: And this is cash? The person will find cash?

BLAINE: Well, they'll find a ball and they'll find my phone number. Then they'll call me, and then the book publishers have a check for $100,000 that they'll give.

KING: The clue is?

BLAINE: The clue is, if my tattoo is fearless, then climb 10 weeks to find the route, and route is spelled r-o-u-t-e. If my tattoo is fearless and climb 10 weeks to find the route -- the other thing I would say is drop the most common dice number that's thrown on a craps table.

KING: Good luck. We'll be right back with more and more phone calls for David Blaine. Don't go away.



BLAINE: This has been one of the most important experiences in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring a stretcher here. Bring it in here. Guys, behind your backs. Behind your backs.

BLAINE: I've learned more...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it here. Watch your backs.

BLAINE: ... in that little box than I have in years. I learned to appreciate all the simple things in life. A smile from a strange one or a loved one. The sunrise. The sunset. Everything that God has given us. And I thank you all so much. I love all of you forever. I love you all. I love you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you allergic to any drugs?

I mean, you were talking about...

BLAINE: Attractive.


KING: Now this is the first time you're brushing your teeth, right?

BLAINE: Yeah. After 44 days.

KING: That color is what, lack of vitamin C?

BLAINE: Yeah, you bleed all over your mouth. It's from the beginning of scurvy.

KING: What did it feel like to do this?

BLAINE: It felt amazing. It was like all of my senses suddenly came back. And even looking in the mirror was crazy, because I hadn't seen myself in five -- six and a half weeks. So suddenly, I look in the mirror and I'm 54 pounds lighter and I look completely different with a beard and, I was, you know.

KING: The Bronx, New York, hello. The Bronx, are you there?

CALLER: Yes, hi. Hello.

KING: Go ahead. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, David. Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Basically, I wanted to ask, has anyone ever questioned your sanity? And if so, how did that ever make you feel?

BLAINE: They always question my sanity. I don't mind it. I'm used to it now, yeah.

KING: But I guess you've had that all your life, right? Why does this kid like to starve for seven days?

BLAINE: Well, people just always thought I was a strange kid in a lot of ways. I don't think so, really.

KING: Well, you were different.

BLAINE: Yeah, I don't know.

KING: You know anyone else like you?

BLAINE: No. I was competitive in myself in weird areas. That's what it was.

KING: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for David Blaine, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, hi, David. I kept up with your progress on the Web, and was disappointed that we couldn't get the live feed here from Channel 4 when you actually left the box. But my question is, how close do you feel you came to dying? And do you think you're going to live to an old age?

BLAINE: I don't know the answer to that. I know that I'm going to keep doing these things for as long as I possibly can, because that's what I feel my reason is, to be here in a lot of ways. I just love it so much, and I can't answer the how long.

KING: What do you do with -- what did you do with hunger? We all know hunger pains. How could you go 44 days? You wrote hunger on your lip?

BLAINE: Yeah. I had it tattooed. KING: It's tattooed onto your bottom lip, the word "hunger"?

BLAINE: Yeah, right there. As far as hunger goes, I would practice fasting all the time, so the hard part for most people they say is in the first five days, because after that the hunger pain completely goes away.

KING: You didn't have like in the 10th day...

BLAINE: I was ready for it. I was completely -- no, I was ready for the first five days, so it was not like it was a surprise and somebody was locking me away without me knowing. So I was prepared. And then after that, I just didn't feel the hunger anymore.

KING: And there we see a before and after picture?

BLAINE: Yeah, I went in pretty heavy.

KING: Yeah, boy. Curst, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I just want to say thanks to David for the new clue he's given us to solve this $100,000 challenge.

KING: OK, good.

CALLER: And how long, David, do you think it's going to take us to solve it now that we have this final clue we were so close?

BLAINE: That's a very serious clue. I mean, that puts you right there.

KING: Really?


KING: You're close, ma'am.

Phoenix, Arizona, hello.

CALLER: Hi, David. I was just wondering, I know that you've noticed that a lot of people on the Internet are exposing your secrets to your magic tricks.

BLAINE: Right.

CALLER: And I was just wondering how you feel about that.

KING: Is that happening?


KING: People write how you do what you do?

BLAINE: Yeah, it's always happened. I don't mind it. I'm used to it. I think in a weird way, it's good because it motivates me to keep going on with new stuff, to keep working, creating. KING: True, there is a code among magicians you don't tell how a trick is done?

BLAINE: For some magicians. Some of the other magicians are the guys selling the secrets on the Internet.

KING: Have you seen any magician do something that you have no idea how they did it?

BLAINE: Some -- not really like that, but I had a great appreciation for what they have done. There's a lot of great magicians, like my best friend, Bill. He doesn't believe in magic. He's a performance artist. So he sits in his room and does it alone to himself.

KING: Would Houdini have done what you did?

BLAINE: I don't think so, no.

KING: Ellijay, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Thank you, Larry. David, did you hear during your 44- day ordeal, did you hear from Prime Minister Blair or any of the royal family?


KING: How could you have heard from them? They had to go by and yell up.

BLAINE: I was locked in a box. So I didn't really...

KING: New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Larry, David, I wanted to know if David is planning any sort of traditional kind of Vegas or Atlantic City type of shows.

KING: Good question.

BLAINE: I've been working on a show for about seven years, which will sort of bring magic back to the old days of freak performances and phantasmagoria, and it will be scary and beautiful and it'll be kind of like if Barnham put together something.

KING: You're going to tour it or put it in one place?

BLAINE: I'm thinking about putting it in New York City and leaving it in a venue where people can come all day and all night on the weekends and have all kinds of different magic...

KING: And you would do performances?

BLAINE: Yeah, every night there would be a show and it'll be unlike anything anybody has seen. And this is my baby. I've been protecting it, working on it for years and years and years. So yeah, I will.

KING: Back with more moments with David Blaine on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.



BLAINE: Once it was sealed, there would be no way out for a solid three days and three nights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to close it?

If I have to pull you out, we'll cut the thing. All right?




KING: Why would you do that?

BLAINE: I was done with the buried alive and took a little vacation to Jamaica. I was on the plane heading back and it was so warm and beautiful. I started to dream up this idea of how beautiful ice was. I started to think how amazing an icicle would look with something was frozen inside of it.

KING: You want to read something you wrote about cravings in your diary.

BLAINE: This is when I was a thousand ours done, we had 56 hours left, I would map out how many hours. And I was obsessing over this bagel. I told you. The only food I crave now is a bagel toasted with cream cheese and Nova Scotia locks. An onion bagel, I mean. The thought is constant and the only thing I want to eat. I don't just want to eat it, though, I want to marry it.

KING: Wilmington, North Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Yes. I was just wondering where or how do you come up with the ideas for your stunts?

BLAINE: I kind of just have an idea or it might be a dream or just some visual image that I love. And I start to obsess on it. And I start think about how it could be possible.

KING: You obsessed right. It's hot so you're obsessed on ice?

BLAINE: An idea that comes and once it comes to me, it sticks there. I can't fight it. It's like I don't want to give it up, so I keep fighting.

KING: Like the helicopter thing. You think about it more about.

BLAINE: Yes. That's my new obsession.


KING: Maybe the water will be cold.

BLAINE: And also, then the guy that did it in 1887 and survived, Steve Brody.

KING: The famous Steve Brody.

BLAINE: Pulling a Brody.

KING: Brooklyn Bridge.

BLAINE: Then when I was in the box, somebody held up a poster for 1930 that said dive of death and then I suddenly realized that's it. Don't need to be chained like Houdini or something. I can just do a dive from a deadly height.

KING: Warren, Indiana, hello.

CALLER: Hi. You said you don't have a fear of death. But, when you were in the box, you said you were afraid of being shot. You thought fireworks were shooting at you.

BLAINE: Right.

CALLER: So, I don't understand. You said you don't have a fear of death.

KING: Has a fear of getting shot.

BLAINE: No, a fear of like somebody shooting me isn't the same thing. All of a sudden sitting there and a loud noise is banging next to you, it's scary whether no matter whether you fear death or not.

KING: Niagara Falls, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I just want to tell you, you've been a really, really big inspiration for me.

BLAINE: Thank you, man.

CALLER: And I just wanted to ask you, when you're planning on doing your next stunt, dropping from a helicopter.

KING: When?

BLAINE: I'm hoping to do it on April 4, 2004. Which is my birthday, 4/4/4. But I don't know if I can prepare that quickly.

KING: So, you have to practice.

BLAINE: I have to learn how to hit water. Because if you go in even a little bit off, if you're not perfectly straight, you don't pierce the water right. You rip your ligaments off, you're paralyzed, anything can go wrong.

KING: Out of all of the things in history, what's one feat impressed you the most?

I mean, I liked when Orson Wells did the "War of the Worlds."

KING: When he fooled us all.

BLAINE: The radio. And everybody thought aliens were coming down.

KING: Fooled my parents.

BLAINE: Yes, thought I thought was amazing.

KING: My mother and father went running into the street.

BLAINE: I also liked Castro came into power and seemed like a white dove flew out of no where and landed on his shoulder and he just continued his acceptance speech, but you could see a guy throwing the doves from his jacket. That's how I think doves should be used.

KING: One of the great illusions. Use a dove, throw it on your shoulder.

David, this has been a delight. Great pleasure finally meeting you.

BLAINE: Thank you. You, too.

KING: And the helicopter, maybe I'll come and watch you do this. And the ice bit, that was cute. We want to thank David Blaine Productions, Channel 4 Television, British Sky Broadcasting for most of the footage you've seen tonight. The book is the "New York Times," best seller, "Mysterious Stranger: A book of magic."

Our guest has been David Blaine. I'll be right back tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night more on the preliminary hearing of the Scott Peterson case. Johnnie Cochran returns and Nancy Grace. That will not be dull.

And the Schindlers, the parents of Terri Shiavo will be with us on Friday night.


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