Thursday, February 7, 2019

Escape Artist, Magician, Inventor, Honest Cheat: How Following His Passion Unlocked Terry Roses' Career

One of the perks of being a journalist, blogger or freelance writer is getting the opportunity to interview and get to know interesting people They're all around us, actually, but since most of our day-to-day interactions tend to be superficial we never really discover the depths that we could discover if we'd make time to listen.

I met Terry Roses through my association with the late John Bushey, multi-faceted host of the KUMD radio program Highway 61 Revisited. In addition to being a teacher and Dylanophile, John was a master magician and a collector of Houdini memorabilia. His fascination with the escape artist also contributed to his becoming not only a collector of handcuffs and shackles, but of becoming an escape artist himself.

What I didn't know, until I'd known him several years, was that John's mentor in the escape and magic arts was Terry Roses.

They say do what you love, and the rest will take care of itself. That's Terry Roses' career got its start.

Like many a youth (myself included), when Roses was in high school he became fascinated with Harry Houdini. Unlike many, he pursued his passion to the same degree as his idol/hero. He learned everything he could about escaping from handcuffs, ropes and other devices, and followed up with audacious demonstrations of his developing skills.

On one occasion, while in high school, he had himself locked up along with a dynamite bomb that would go off and kill him if he failed to escape in time. (You can be sure no school would allow students to perform that trick today.)

Roses and his friend Bruce Liptak challenged the L.A. police to attempt to bind them "with enough irons that they could not escape." The police accepted the challenge, and the young men succeeded in escaping as promised.

By means of his magic and escape escapades, Terry Roses raised most of the money for his high school prom, which chose as its theme that year Lollipops and Roses, a tribute to Terry. According to Roses, he paid his way through college by breaking out of jails all over the West coast.

The audacious Harry Houdini, in straighjacket and shackles.
Like Houdini, he was much more than an escape artist. Magic, illusions and inventing new tricks opened doors for Terry Roses around the world.

Terry Roses, a Cloquet native, moved to Orange County, California when he was 15, where he lived until returning here to Duluth in 1975. Something he became fond of was entertaining high school students during all-nighters that various schools held. When his young protege John Bushey go bit by the magic arts bug, Bushey would follow this same path, entertaining young people with his own bag of tricks. Together they travelled the world performing magic and rubbing shoulders with the today's greatest living magicians.

Wherever Terry goes he's a good story.
Besides escape tricks, another facet of Houdini's career was disproving mediums and revealing frauds. In this, Terry Roses has also emulated the great master magician. Terry's contemporary application of this was to become The Honest Cheat. Roses became an expert in identifying the ways gamblers cheat, and the variety of ways they mark cards, "load" dice, etc.

It was against this background that Roses began working with many of the largest casinos to eliminate fraud and catch cheats. By means of endless experimentation and research in his "laboratory of magic" Roses developed a low cost device for identifying marked cards called the Inspecta Card Scanner
A recent visit to Roses studio gave opportunity to hear many new stories about this unassuming man whose pursuit of a passion led to a career that opened many unexpected doors.

It's been a privilege getting to know this clever, talented man.

Related Links
The Handcuff Kings
How to Detect Marked Cards

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