Magician, mentalist and (as he’ll be the first to tell you) faker James Randi — better known by his stage name, The Amazing Randi — used to escape from a padlocked can suspended under water a couple of times a week as part of his nightclub act. He found it a lot tougher to get out of Hurricane Irma’s way last week.
The 89-year-old Randi, who lives in west Broward, tried to fly to safety before the hurricane arrived. But as flight after flight was cancelled, he eventually took refuge in a friend’s warehouse. It was, he told The New Yorker, a bit of a professional embarrassment.
“I’m a magician by trade,” Randi said. “I’m used to standing in front of huge crowds of people who are all focused on the stage, on me. As an escape artist, I’ve dangled off the edge of Niagara Falls in a straitjacket. I’ve broken out of more than thirty jails.
“But most of that is something that I can control, by psychological and physical manipulation of the circumstances. When it comes to the weather — when you see the rain coming down, the wind blowing trees over, right in front of you — that’s not something that we entertainers can cover.”
Randi’s escape skills may have failed him, but as a hider-out, he was more successful: The warehouse made it through the storm without any damage. He’s still waiting to see what happened to his house.