Videos: The end of the run for Evel Knievel

posted at 10:00 am on December 1, 2007 by Bryan

Evel Knievel broke every bone in his body more than once, or at least that was the official story. He inspired copy cats and toys and appeared nearly a dozen times on Wide World of Sports, always defying death in some insane way. He famously flared out over the Snake River Canyon, crashed into just about everything even on live national TV, yet kept coming right on back. Who would’ve ever thought that Evel Knievel would die of natural causes? But he did, yesterday, November 30, 2007 at the age of 69.

Here he is jumping 11 Mack trucks, with Howard Cossell and Don Meredith providing the play by play, February 17, 1974 in North Richland Hills, TX.

Another appearance on Wide World of Sports that didn’t go so well. May 31, 1975 in Wembley Stadium in London, attempting to jump 13 double-decker buses.

Here’s the Snake River Canyon stunt, September 8, 1974.

Some biographical video through the years and the jump at King’s Island.

He was a patriot and a superhero who took his greatest leap late in life. They don’t make ‘em like Evel Knievel anymore.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

All the beloved icons of my youth are slowly passing away. Eval was a sideshow spectacle from another time – 100% pure Americana.

HeIsSailing on December 1, 2007 at 10:05 AM

Great post – as usual – Bryan.

Some of my fondest (and earliest)childhood memories involve that omnipresent mid-70′s wind-up Evel Kneivel motorcycle. My little buddies and I destroyed more than a few knick knacks launching that mother off the pool table in our game room. If memory serves, our little plastic Evel met his demise in a spectacular jump off the peak of our two story house that was aimed for a bush but found the driveway.

I love the “he broke every bone in his body” legend. I clearly remember repeating that as a 7 year old. Never occurred to me to ask how he broke the little bones in his hands or feet or ears. But it was unquestionable, gospel truth: Evel broke everything, at least twice.

There aren’t many folks who epitomize America. He’s one of them. I can’t believe he’s gone, or that he didn’t die broken and bleeding at the bottom of some vast canyon.

In the article you guys posted yesterday, one of his friends had a quote that I thought was perfect. He said he couldn’t believe it, because “superman doesn’t just die.” That sums it up eloquently.

I wonder how much those wind-up toys are going for on E-bay. I may have to relive my youth. Kids with their stupid video games have no idea what fun really is.

Sigh. I miss him, and I probably haven’t thought of him in years. Superman can’t just die. Not of natural causes.

I guess God needed a headliner for his Christmas show. After Steve Irwin wrestles Cerberus, Evel is going to attempt to jump right over Hell.

Should be a good show. RIP, EK. You the man.

Professor Blather on December 1, 2007 at 10:18 AM

Speaking of EK and EBay, has anyone seen the Fox Hunt commercial for Ebay where the people are tracking down the Evel Knievel lunchbox?

EK and EBay commercial

Yep, I had one in grade school. I have no idea what happened to that thing. So many years ago…

R.I.P. Evel Knievel. You were childhood hero to many kids in the 1970s.

eanax on December 1, 2007 at 10:25 AM

Great post yourself, Prof.

Mike H on December 1, 2007 at 10:27 AM

BTW, Two days before Evel died, he settled a lawsuit against Kanye West over Kanye’s Touch the Sky video in which Kanye does a skit about the Snake River Jump.

Larraby on December 1, 2007 at 10:39 AM

1977 Evel batters publicist Sheldon Saltman with a baseball bat. Evel said stories of drug use in a book Saltman wrote are lies. “I broke his arms so he couldn’t write anymore lies. I should have killed him,” Evel said. Evel serves just six months of three years.

Yeah, great guy.

Personally, I think that people who go after others with baseball bats should spend much more time in jail. Much more.

progressoverpeace on December 1, 2007 at 10:44 AM

progressoverpeace on December 1, 2007 at 10:44 AM

Go away. No one ever said that EK was perfect, but for boys of a certain age, he was an icon. I don’t subscribe to the Christopher Hitchens school of tearing people apart after they have passed and are no longer around to defend themselves. So just kindly knock off the Evel bashing.

Bryan on December 1, 2007 at 10:49 AM

When you look up “daredevil” in the encyclopedia you’ll find Evel Knievel’s picture.

May God rest his Soul and comfort his family.

Zorro on December 1, 2007 at 10:55 AM

ahhh he wore a cape before Elvis did. Truely though an American icon, with guts too. I remember being glued to the tv when he was doing the snake river jump and watched as his chute prematurely deployed and we all awaited to see if he was ok at the bottom of the canyon.

I hope his son can be equally as impressive but not do anything too dumb though. [like maybe jumping over 24 Liberals with a MAc Truck or something to that effect]

RIP Evel!

johnnyU on December 1, 2007 at 11:03 AM

RIP Evel.

And I want to take a baseball bat to progressoverpeace.

daveintexas on December 1, 2007 at 11:08 AM

Him who Christ has freed, he is free indeed!

We are a new creation, behold, old things have passed away, all things are made new.

Those broken bones have been left behind folks. Those aches and pains are gone.

Nice leap EK, smoothest landing EVAH.

y2church on December 1, 2007 at 11:15 AM

Bryan says:

No one ever said that EK was perfect, but for boys of a certain age, he was an icon.

Well said. It is not so much the passing of a man that I mourn, rather the passing of a myth.

HeIsSailing on December 1, 2007 at 11:17 AM

My friends and I destroyed so many bike parts and a couple of bikes trying to jump everything in the neighborhood. I personally had the lunch box and the wind up motorcycle, man those were good times. Rest in peace.

deadbackpacker on December 1, 2007 at 11:32 AM

He was a super icon of my day. He may have been whacky but man we loved that guy.

May he rest in 1 piece.

TheSitRep on December 1, 2007 at 11:36 AM

Personally, I think that people who go after others with baseball bats should spend much more time in jail. Much more.

progressoverpeace on December 1, 2007 at 10:44 AM

Personally I think if more people had the Malkins to whip someone’s ass when needed this would be a better, less litigious and more gentlemanly world.

TheSitRep on December 1, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Evel was a hero of mine too…so many jumps on our BMX bikes and nuttiness in general were inspired by the man.

RIP.

One of the first memories of TV was that Wembly jump.

benrand on December 1, 2007 at 11:45 AM

Windup motorcycle toy – Check.

Broken bones imitating Evel on my motorcycle – Check.

Strong sense of growing older – Check.

-

deesine on December 1, 2007 at 11:58 AM

Personally, I think that people who go after others with baseball bats should spend much more time in jail. Much more.

progressoverpeace on December 1, 2007 at 10:44 AM

It’s funny. I suppose I could be annoyed at poor (but aptly named) “ProgressOverPeace,” who apparently has neither the class nor the maturity to respect those mourning the recently deceased.

But – although you’re free to ban the childish little punk – I was glad he posted his infantile little attack … because it really made me smile.

I’d forgotten that story completely! And now I do remember it. When a coward – a person sort of like ProgressOverPeace, in fact – Evel Kneivel didn’t cry about it, he didn’t go to therapy, and he didn’t hire a lawyer.

Instead, he went and dealt with it the way men of honor dealt with insults to that honor for most our recorded history. He dealt with it exactly the same way a medieval knight or a Roman noble would have dealt with the cowardly lies.

On his own. Like a man.

Such a rare thing today, in our world of lawsuits and politically correct lunacy.

And no … I don’t condone beating people with bats – well, mostly. That isn’t the point. The point is that when he was slandered … he chose to handle it himself. Like real men have done throughout history. Like every hero you ever had as a boy would have done.

I love that he lived up to his legend. I absolutely love that. And I thank our resident coward for reminding me.

Of course – of course! – you don’t like or respect the iconic legend, son. Someone like you isn’t even capable of understanding him. Or why the rest of us looked up to him.

God bless you for reminding us how small people like you are, and how magnificent people like EK are in comparison.

Professor Blather on December 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM

Personally I think if more people had the Malkins to whip someone’s ass when needed this would be a better, less litigious and more gentlemanly world.

TheSitRep on December 1, 2007 at 11:41 AM

What he said.

By the way … start your bidding.

It’s already over $70.00.

Professor Blather on December 1, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Prof, you are definitely on a roll, my friend. ;)

Mike H on December 1, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Professor Blather on December 1, 2007 at 10:18 AM
&
Professor Blather on December 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM

Damn, if I didn’t know better, I’d say we rode together…you and I.
I truly can’t remember all the great moments Evel gave me and my buddies, how many boards we broke ( after searching for hours for ‘ramp materials’) with our mini-bikes. This was before we could even ride a real motorcycle (like a HUGE 125 or something).
Evel did break more bones than any other human being alive. Hell, I broke 4 just trying to be Evel. And my bud’s…many more and that was just our neighborhood.
A HERO DIED , A REAL HERO. Say it ain’t so.
.
There is a good special on one of those TV channels, maybe the History Channel? or something…2 hours of EVEL. His life, Howard, England, Snake River, VEGAS, and yes, the batting of a weasly journalist…
It can’t do justice to EVEL but it’s a great 2 hours.
.
Prof, keep writing today…it’s been fun.

shooter on December 1, 2007 at 12:27 PM

Man, that crank-up Evel motorcycle figure & bike toy back in the 70′s was pure fun out on the playground…watching him attempt those stunts on TV back then was also quite surreal as a kid. I thought he was older for some reason…what a life, though.

Sir Loin on December 1, 2007 at 12:31 PM

Prof, you are definitely on a roll, my friend. ;)

Mike H on December 1, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Yes indeed. The Prof’s waxing eloquent in this thread is the perfect bittersweet eulogy for EK. Made me smile.

RIP Evel. And well said Professor.

infidel4life on December 1, 2007 at 12:36 PM

Nice post Bryan,
Evel was a real life Superhero. I’m glad he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He mentioned the book “The Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel, it stays at my bedside.

I guess God needed a headliner for his Christmas show.

Professor Blather on December 1, 2007 at 10:18 AM

Professor Blather, you are hitting on all cylinders this morning. Thank You.
Most of you had very nice comments also, God bless you.
May God comfort Evel’s family.

abinitioadinfinitum on December 1, 2007 at 12:38 PM

Sir Loin:

Man, that crank-up Evel motorcycle figure & bike toy back in the 70’s was pure fun out on the playground…watching him attempt those stunts on TV back then was also quite surreal as a kid.

I seem to remember my toy Evel motorbike having a ripcord.

When I was in fifth grade, my school somehow got this George Hamilton movie on reel-to-reel. Every kid in that school was brought into the cafeteria one afternoon, and we all watched George Hamilton ham it up as Evel Knievel. The very last scene in that movie strongly implied that Evel was planning on jumping over the Grand Canyon on his motorbike. Talk about legend building!!

HeIsSailing on December 1, 2007 at 12:43 PM

Prof, you are definitely on a roll, my friend. ;)

Mike H on December 1, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Prof, I emphatically second what Mike H said – someone should get you to write the eulogy!! Great posts!

thirteen28 on December 1, 2007 at 12:44 PM

Windup Motorcycle Toy
My favorite non-star wars non-lego toy of my youth.

I would lauch it down the stairs (12 of em) at a bunch of pillows (ok one small pillow). It would hit the pillow about 35% of the time the remaing 65% of the time it would take a chuck of paint out of the base boards…my mom loved that.

liberrocky on December 1, 2007 at 1:00 PM

Marc Danziger’s got a good one up at PJM too, gang.

Mike H on December 1, 2007 at 1:25 PM

May Christ grant him Rest.

Tim Burton on December 1, 2007 at 1:29 PM

Evel’s legacy lives on in the X-Games. That whole industry of incredible jumps and acrobatics on motorcycles and skateboards can be traced back to the Grandaddy of it all, Evel Kenevel. Today would be a good day to watch some X-Game shows in between the college ball games.

RIP in Christ’s arms Evel.

Mallard T. Drake on December 1, 2007 at 1:31 PM

My friends and I destroyed so many bike parts and a couple of bikes trying to jump everything in the neighborhood.
deadbackpacker on December 1, 2007 at 11:32 AM

Heh, me too, we used to build ramps and had contests on how far we could jump. I once landed so hard I bent the front forks of my bike so that they were “U” shaped.

Yeah, great guy.

Personally, I think that people who go after others with baseball bats should spend much more time in jail. Much more.

progressoverpeace on December 1, 2007 at 10:44 AM

As for the above quote and as SitRep responded, there used to be a day when one was able to defend their honor when others sullied it. In fact is wasn’t uncommon for people to duel to the death over honor.

Now I’m not saying we should go back to pistols at 10 paces but when someone makes such claims as Saltman did Evel had every right to defend his reputation and honor, and he did in a manner that was common in the era Evel was raised and not what is common today, which is to settle such disputes in court. I’m certain Evel gave Saltman every opportunity to make it right and come clean about the truth and when Saltman didn’t (out of greed for money he’d make on his book) Evel settled the matter and defended his honor the old fashioned way.

If there were more people with Evel’s character where honor and your word meant everything there wouldn’t be as much controversy in regard to the overall WOT and our nation would be standing united against the threats we currently face, but alas such character and people are a dwindling resource in our nation and culture.

I too grew up with Evel and will miss not only the man but what he represented and the good things of his era.

RIP Evel, wishing you soft landings on your final jump.

Liberty or Death on December 1, 2007 at 1:52 PM

Damn, the 1970s are fading fast. Rush are still going though.

Apeking on December 1, 2007 at 2:09 PM

The British equivalent was a chap called Eddie Kidd, whose feats were less spectacular, although no less dangerous. He jumped over the Great Wall of China and used to race against Robbie Knievel, Evel’s son. But he was badly injured in a relatively unspectacular crash in 1996, and is now confined to a wheelchair.

Apeking on December 1, 2007 at 2:19 PM

I still sport over 4 scars earned trying to be like EK as a kid.

It was funny, I read the paper this morning and saw EK had passed and I couldn’t help from getting tears in my eyes.

I had to leave the breakfast table. I was totally unprepared for my reaction.

I think his passing also indicates I’m older and have forever lost a cherished part of my childhood. I think in a way I’m grieving for the old days.

Trooper on December 1, 2007 at 2:40 PM

Trooper on December 1, 2007 at 2:40 PM

.
‘sniff’.
Me too, really, on all accounts.

.
oh well, off to play bingo . /heh/

shooter on December 1, 2007 at 3:17 PM

Trooper on December 1, 2007 at 2:40 PM

Ditto

Viper1 on December 1, 2007 at 4:21 PM

R.I.P., Evel. I don’t really have the right words today, and it’s already been said better anyway. But here are a few pictures to bring back memories: the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle that every boy either had or wanted to have, the ad that anybody who read comics back then saw a hundred times, and all the stuff we bought to try to make our bikes look just like Evel’s.

ReubenJCogburn on December 1, 2007 at 4:27 PM

last night, i watched Hot Rod for the first time on DVD, then i heard this morning Evel Knievel had passed away.

i won’t forget that movie since i was thinking of him (and to a lesser extent, Super Dave) while watching it.

here’s to you, Evel. there are plenty of clouds to jump in heaven. God Speed.

madmonkphotog on December 1, 2007 at 7:31 PM

They don’t make ‘em like Evel Knievel anymore.

That’s because they kept breaking…

I’m sorry to see another 70s icon pass, too. Do you think we’ve been lawyered out of another one like him?

Captain Scarlet on December 1, 2007 at 7:54 PM