Mario Manzini was born in the Bronx, New York City not far from where movie actor Tony Curtis who played Harry Houdini, was born and raised.
At the early age of 4, Mario saw a film clip of the real Houdini, escaping from a strait-jacket while suspended upside down high in the air from a rope tied around his ankles. That made a very strong impression on Mario. From that day on, he wanted to become an escape artist like Houdini when he grew up. Mario would ask everyone to tie him up with rope. His father, cousins and friends. Everyone. No matter how tight he was tied, he always managed to get out.
As he got older, he got better and was able to get out faster. One day he asked his friends father who was a Police Officer, if he could try to get out of his handcuffs. The officer locked his own handcuffs on Mario who went into another room so no one would see him use his method to escape.
In less than a minute Mario returned to the room with the handcuffs off his wrists although they were still locked. The Police Officer was amazed. He asked Mario if he could lock them on him again, this time behind his back. Mario said okay as he turned his back to the officer and stuck his hands out behind his back. The officer locked his cuffs on Mario’s wrists very tightly this time and then proceeded to double lock them. He said Mario would not be able to get out this time. Mario went once again into the next room and returned once again in less then a minute with his hands free and the officers own handcuffs still double locked. Everyone present was really impressed with Mario.
As the years went by Mario started trying to escape from many other devices and restraints such as strait-jackets, leg irons, locked inside of a US Mailbag, safes and vaults, nailed and locked inside of a wooden box and many others.
At the age of 15 he talked himself into a booking at Huberts Museum on Times Square in NYC, the same entertainment spot that Houdini himself started at the age of 18 back in 1893.
He then worked at a show in Coney Island, also where Houdini first worked. Three years later he was signed for a 4 year contract to perform with Ringling Bros and Barnum & Baily Circus. That contract was extended for an additional 3 years.
After getting out of the Ringling contract, Mario began performing at fairs, festivals, colleges and universities. In the late 70’s he was performing at Gaslight Village in Lake George, NY. He planned the famous jump off the Brooklyn Bridge wearing six pair of handcuffs. He escaped the cuffs but was arrested by NYC Police. They locked their own handcuffs on him behind his back and put him a patrol car. While still in the patrol car, he escaped the police officer’s handcuffs. This made world wide news and lead to Mario being booked as the opening for Evel Kneivel’s famous Snake River Canyon Jump.
Although Evel was paid $10,000,000 for his jump attempt, Mario was paid only $25,000 to escape from a strait-jacket suspended upside down 1 mile high from a burning rope. That was witnessed by millions of people world wide at special closed circuit TV outlets and weeks later on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
Right after his Snake River appearance, Manzini was signed by Promoter Mike Rosenberg, the owner of Sunny Side Gardens in Queens, NY. He booked Mario on the Ed Sullivan Show, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas Show, Johnny Carson, That’s Incredible and at New York Cities world famous Madison Square Garden-Felt Forum.
Just like Manzini’s idol-Houdini, Mario has escaped from a sealed and locked coffin submerged underwater in the Hudson River in NYC and escaped in 54 seconds. He’s also escaped from thousands of handcuffs supplied by local Police officers from all over the world.
To date Mario has escaped from 23 locked jail cells around the world. In the past 10 years Mario has performed at many casinos including Caesars Casino in Atlantic City and in Las Vegas. He’s performed throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, South America, Canada as well throughout the USA.
Manzini recently added feats of magic, fire eating and classical illusions presented in a unique way. One of the most beautiful illusions is the Phantom of the Opera Levitation, and the Girl in Cage using a live German Wolf. The feature of the show is the finale. Mario performs the famous Houdini milk can escape. A galvanized can the size of a barrel is filled to the brim with water. Mario is handcuffed and submerged inside the can. The lid is quickly locked on from the outside with 4 massive padlocks. He must escape within 3 minutes or risk a drowning death.
This show is designed for the whole family. A show not seen since the days of Houdini.