Mark Mazzarella, 20, takes a last gulp of air before his brothers, Tony, 25 (left), and Tom, 22, stuff his 6'1", 150-pound frame into a 2'6"-by-1'9" tubular tank filled with about 50 gallons of water. He is wearing a straitjacket, and his feet are bound with chains. Less than three minutes later Mark bounces out of the container, dripping wet, to take a bow. The stunt incorporates three of Harry Houdini's greatest feats and explains why the New York Times calls Mazzarella "one of the best escapologists in the country." Mark, who still lives with his hairstylist father and his mother, a pharmacist's assistant, in Southington, Conn., got his start a decade ago when his brothers used to tie him up while playing cops and robbers. Trouble was, Mark wouldn't stay tied. Soon he was performing at local shows with Tom (now a cable TV salesman) and Tony (an insurance agent) as his assistants. In 1978 he entered the University of Hartford on an art scholarship but dropped out a year later to star in the American premiere of the opera Houdini at the Aspen Music Festival. Next February Mark will repeat his nonsinging role when Houdini opens in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, he has been opening for Sha Na Na. How come Mark's so magical? "Well." he winks, "some people say I dematerialize."
Sheila "Mouse" Mullery Doar, 28, has taken a whimsical drawing style and a penchant for puns and parlayed them into a highly successful greeting card company. Called Mullage, Inc. (the name is a combination of Sheila's maiden name and "collage"), the firm was established in 1977 and has increased its line from 12 to 60 designs and its annual gross from $4,000 to $100,000. One of Doar's biggest sellers is a paint box with one color in the shape of a heart. The message: "I love hue." A card with 18 rabbits proclaims, "You're no bunny 'til some bunny loves you." The daughter of a cardboard box manufacturer, Mouse (the nickname her mother gave her when she was an infant) didn't take her hobby seriously until after graduating from Bradford (Mass.) College in 1972. "I majored in getting out," she says, "but I always sketched on the side." Then in 1976 she helped put together a cookbook. Love a Fare, for an American Diabetes Association chapter, including recipes by Mary Tyler Moore and Nancy Kissinger. Spurred on by the book's success, Mouse began Mullage. Today she lives in Winnetka, Ill. with her husband, Tom, 29, a grammar school principal. Eventually she plans to expand her art to sheets and T-shirts, but in the meantime she feels she has already won the, er, Doar Prize—"feeling good and respected in my work."