Channing Tatum May Play Evel Knievel in New Movie [VIDEO]
Evel Knievel was huge in the late 1960s and early '70s. It seemed all young dudes had posters of Evel on their bedroom walls and all the "chicks" thought he was "far out!" As a kid I got to see the famous stuntman in person on several occasions, and you bet I was glued to the tube when Evel took on the Snake River Canyon. That was exciting stuff for the '70s. Heck, that's exciting stuff now! A new movie is in the works about the daredevil stuntman Evel Knievel, and rumors have it Channing Tatum may have the leading role.
Knievel, who died in 2007 at the age of 69, was known for his daring bike jumps and for breaking a whopping 433 bones during his career. He holds the Guinness World Record for that one!
Evel became a daredevil when he was struggling to support his family. Knievel saw a car stunt driver, Joie Chitwood in action and decided he could do the same, only using a motorcycle. He put together the show, on his own, and got a crowd to watch him jump a 20-foot-long box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. Despite landing short and having his back wheel hit the box containing the rattlesnakes, Knievel managed to land safely. Evel Knievel was born!
Possibly the most famous jump he ever did was jumping the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. Knievel wanted Wide World of Sports to air the jump, but ABC declined, but said that if he had the jump filmed and it was as spectacular as he said it would be, they would consider using it later.
Well the jump was great, the landing was not. Knievel came up short which caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them onto the pavement and skidded into the Dunes parking lot next door. As a result of the crash, Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles and a concussion that kept him in a coma for 29 days.
After his crash and recovery, Knievel was more famous than ever. ABC TV showed the jump, paying far more than they originally would have had they televised the original jump live.
Then came the rumors that Knievel was going to jump the famous Grand Canyon. Knievel tried for years to get the government to give permission for the jump, but to no avail. The U.S. Department of Interior denied him airspace over the Grand Canyon. Evel being Evel, he decided he would jump the Snake River Canyon. Click here for cool details on the preparation for the jump!
This is my favorite quote from Evel Knievel:
I've always said that when the canyon jump comes, if I miss it I'll get somewhere quicker where you're all going someday. ... Dying is a part of living and none of us is going to get out of here alive."
That's only a fraction of the daredevil life of Evel Knievel. It's odd, because it seemed Evel failed more times than succeeded in his jumps. Yet, he was a role model for so many, especially young boys.
I think it was fearlessness, determination and sheer guts, that made him a superstar!
First Jump on Wide World of Sports in 1967
Last Jump at Wimbledon in London in 1975