Remembering Evel Knievel

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, December 01, 2007 at 09:48 AM with 2 comments

Harley Davidson #1 logoYesterday we lost Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel. For anyone like myself who grew up in the 1970’s, you knew all about the great American daredevil known for jumping buses and cars on his motorcycle, not to mention his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. Though he retired in the early 1980’s, he remained a pop culture icon with instant name recognition.

Evel was unique. His name alone – he was “Evel” but not “evil!” He was patriotic in his stars and stripes jumpsuit without being overtly patriotic. He was being himself, yet had a huge following in the US and around the world. But foremost – he tried. Kids didn’t care he didn’t make it completely across the Snake River Canyon. The fact he did it alone was cool, and that’s why kids wanted his wind-up motorcycle and car toys.

When I first heard about his passing, like many others I talked to yesterday I had a loud sigh. Then in the usual fashion of my brain swirling random thoughts came to mind, such as how popular would he be today with the Internet? But the point is moot – the Internet was still being developed and tested when he was out there doing his jumps. He was a man of his time, and our fondness for him also includes those days.

Evel’s own Web site is a well-done tribute to all that he was, and John Wall has a fitting tribute to him using his artistic talents. Now I’ll go see how much his wind-up cycles are on eBay.

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