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News Walking Through Fires - Big Boy's Story!
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Walking Through Fires (WTF) The Film July 8, 2013

Reason #8 To Join Our Indiegogo Campaign: Big Boy's Story

Part of the story Mark tells in Walking Through Fires is about his Asian leopard. After years of working with big cats Mark decided to get one for his show. Leopards are considered the most dangerous of all the big cats because of their speed and temperament. They are also considered the ultimate cats and they only bond to one person. In 1994 Mark picked out the biggest cub in the litter who was appropriately named "Big Boy".

Big Boy became part of the family. He was so much more than a pet, he was a partner in the business, a star performer, and a companion. In 1996, Mark and Big Boy starred in the film, "Passion in The Desert" where together they performed some of the most dangerous attack stunts ever filmed.

As a magician you would expect that Mark racked up some frequent flyer miles, but so did Big Boy. He flew to Germany and back twice where he performed in over 500 shows! One time a pilot in Phoenix, AZ even let Mark onto the tarmac to check on Big Boy, give him water and portable air conditioning before taking off - totally against regulations.

Big Boy was a great cat, he never hurt anyone or caused trouble, but working with him could be a challenge. He had a thing about fabrics. Give Big Boy a piece of fabric and he would rip it to shreds. Think of any illusion you've seen with a big cat in a cage - it had a cover on it at one point in the show right? You guessed it, Mark had to replace the cage covers on a regular basis.

After the fires in the buildings on Mark's property destroyed so much of the stage props and illusions from his production company, it was tough for him to rebuild the show. To make matters worse, after September 11, 2001, Lloyds of London insurance group went out of business and no reasonably priced insurance for Big Boy was available.

Although Mark did everything in his power to keep the animal he raised from a cub, without the ability to afford new insurance, he had to make some very tough decisions. On a bright, sunny day in 2003 Mark and his son loaded up Big Boy and moved him to a reserve. The heart wrenching moment where Mark and his son say good-bye to Big Boy was filmed for Walking Through Fires in 2006. The leopard in the scene, "Good-Bye Big Boy", is Big Boy's brother BJ, and the score is by Scott Watkins.
So many of you out there are animal lovers, you have pets and consider them part of your family. The fires set on Mark's property effectively ended his pursuit of Magic in the Orlando area, but it also resulted in the loss of Big Boy, his pet and family member. Think about it, if this happened to you, what would you do? Mark made a movie. He wants people to know what happened to him, and he hopes others can learn from what he went through. Mark also wants to help the family of his friend and business partner, Aaron Tucker, who passed away last June, by giving a portion of the money from this campaign to Olivia's education fund.
All animal lovers out there, it's time for you to step up. Please donate $30, get the DVD and see what Mark's story is all about. Can't spare $30? We understand, how about $10? Any amount will help and is greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
WTF Indiegogo Campaign Team
Mark O’Brien, Stacey Putnam and Stephanie Flinchbaugh

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