My Inner Evel Knievel

I was watching a documentary of Evel tonight and I thought of a post I posted 3 years ago that only two people saw so I rewrote the post and updated it.

Whenever I see red, white, and blue not only do I think of the flag but I think of Evel Knievel. A hero to many in the 1970s… He is responsible for more broken arms, legs, bruises, bumps, scrapes than anyone… Kids setting up homemade ramps and then jumping them with their bicycles. I said kids…it wasn’t exclusive to boys because I do remember some girls jumping also.

Riding down hills standing on your seat, popping wheelies, jumping ramps with your buddy stupidly laying in-between. We wanted to be Evel Knievel jumping over those cars or busses.

He was THE Daredevil… There are Daredevils around today but no one has reached the popularity that Knievel achieved. Not only did he jump and crash he looked cool jumping and crashing. He was like a cool Elvis in a jumpsuit jumping various objects.

Another big part of the Evel Knievel experience was the toys. There were not many kids who didn’t have that windup motorcycle (the Stunt Cycle) and Evel Knievel doll…Make a ramp and wind up the Stunt Cycle with the little Evel riding and they would shoot out and go. There was also a truck, a dragster, and the skycycle…I’m sure there were more I’m missing. I only had the Stunt Cycle.

Image result for evel knievel wind up toyImage result for evel knievel rocket\ toy

Evel made over 75 jumps ramp to ramp. He didn’t fail many times…but one of his failures made his career.

Caesars Palace Jump… this one hurts to watch. Evel jumped over the fountain and then crashed as he landed on the ramp wrong… then tumbled like Stretch Armstrong rolling down a hill. His body was like rubber when it hit the pavement. 

The Caesars crash jumpstarted his career as the networks would play the crash over and over again.

Image result for evel knievel caesars palace

Snake River Canyon… I remember the build-up to this jump…Everyone was talking about it…it ended up being the most anti-climactic out of all his jumps… No motorcycle of course…he was basically in a rocket and the parachute prematurely opened and Evel drifted safely to the bottom of the canyon.

Image result for evel knievel snake river

Evel did jump the shark so to speak…

The Shark Tank…no, not the Fonz… It was not televised but in a practice run, Evel jumped a shark tank and then hit a cameraman coming off of the ramp. It did injure the cameraman.

Image result for evel knievel shark jump

Evel left a huge footprint in the seventies. He played hero to a lot of people including me.

His son Robbie has made a career out of doing the same thing. The interest isn’t there as much anymore. There is no more must-see TV with anyone jumping vehicles. Maybe it’s because Evel was the first on that level to do what he did and the timing of when he did it. With Vietnam, inflation, Watergate and the aftermath, he was embraced by adults and kids at a time when people needed a distraction.

I still ride a bicycle at a park sometimes for exercise…I can still see in my mind those old wood planks we used as ramps held up by a brick and I want to do it but…nah….I think I’ll just look for another Stunt Cycle.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

35 thoughts on “My Inner Evel Knievel”

  1. My husband talks about the stunt cycle all the time. Ha! He loved it! He loved Evel Knievel! I remember all the hoopla. Not my thing, but the stunt cycle…I would have played with it if my brother had one…he missed the window.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife actually got one while she was a kid. That had to be one of the most popular toys of the seventies.
      I would be glued to the Wide World of Sports to watch every jump. I had a chance to meet him in Nashville near the end of his life at a signing and I didn’t go…I do regret that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes- exactly that Snake River Canyon jump- Evel did jump the shark- that was so hyped up- and was a total disappointment. I lost interest in him after that…. there was a bio that came out on him about ten years ago- not a good guy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes that was my thought also. My interest dropped off after that. I always wondered why he didn’t do it again.

      No he wasn’t a nice guy…I forgot until last night that he beat that writer with a baseball bat.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Funny, I thought of him a few days back when someone joked about “Super Dave” and I tried to explain to the kiddo that Super Dave Osborn was, I seem to remember, like a comic spoofer of Evel Knievel,,, then of course, had to try to explain Evel K. He was a huge star back then… his jumps were big TV draws, weren’t they? A different age- I mean, there are still boxing matches but people would be hard-pressed to name a prominent boxer, but back then Muhammad ALi was one of the best known people on the planet, and Knievel wasn’t far behind and he jumped motorbikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Wide World of Sports…oh yea the jumps were huge. I would tune in and then afterwards get on my bike and would jump everything possible. I had more bruises and cuts because of that man.

      Boxing to me was killed by 20 different titles…you don’t have one heavy weight title anymore…it’s like so many different ones that no one can keep track…plus the slime you have in that business.

      Evel was huge back then…but like Hans brought up…he was a class A jerk to many people. He beat a reporter with a baseball bat because of a bad writeup.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember when Evel was big news. Never saw those jumps on the video before but I think I saw him try to jump a bunch of buses side by side. I swear, the person who moved that ramp in the night had some big karma to pay off. Amazing his son vindicated his father. Now that is cool! I think one of my brothers had that toy. Every set should have come with an ambulance and stretcher 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL…oh I loved your last sentence! That man caused me many bruises and cuts!

      It was so exciting to me as a kid. That red, white, and blue just popped off the screen…he looked like Elvis on a motorcycle with that jumpsuit and cape.

      His son was really successful…better motorcycles and the helpful use of physics made it a little safer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember all that stuff. The jumps on TV, the toys in the store… That black & white film of him going down, head first and sliding. He always made me cringe. I never understood the canyon thing. LAWD. He was everywhere.

    I learned many years later that he was indeed an ass of a man.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can you imagine when he got older? I bet every part of his body hurt constantly.

      Yea he wasn’t a nice guy at all.

      Like

  6. This takes me way back. I remember anxiously awaiting any jump he had that was televised. He was the man. I had the pull string motorcycle and tried my own jumps to very few victories.

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      1. Yes it did… I had a chance to meet him and I do regret not doing it…he appeared at a Harley Davidison place down the street from work…I wouldn’t have crossed the man.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He was one of those characters that you couldn’t help liking. Even his ex wife still had feeling towards him. You could see the smile on her face. But she was also happy not having to put up with him. I hear you on the regret.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. He was basically Elvis on wheels…the big show, jumpsuit, and cape. It was a show you didn’t miss in the seventies…but man did I pay for it jumping those ramps…and failing at times.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh yeah, Evel Knievel! I had a few friends over and we just chilled and watched films, and I played a retro 70s exploitation movie starring — you guessed it — the stuntman himself. We did switch it off though… the quality was remarkably faded.

    Liked by 2 people

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