CULT FACTION

For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

Moments of Cult: When Evel Knievel jumped the fountains at Caesar’s Palace!

Evel Knievel did things differently. In his time, there was no genuine science behind motorcycle jumping. Instead, calculations were on the back of a cocktail napkin (if there were any), ramps, angles and lengths were eyeball estimates, and speeds were judged by the seat of your pants.

Only nine months before, Evel had first tasted fame when Wide World of Sports broadcast his jump of 15 cars at Ascot Speedway on their weekly show (about 95 feet). Then, in November 1967, he landed his biggest jump ever, but that was still just 100 feet, and to clear the fountains, he was going to have to fly 140 feet.

But Evel was as much a madman as he was a biker, and he jumped over the fountains (or failed to) because he knew even a failure would make him world-famous. In order to make the jump happen, he pulled the sort of con that is a trope of popular media: He called the casino using different names and voices asking about the jump, then pretended he was his own lawyer angry that Caesar’s had been using Evel’s name. According to John Derek (Linda Evans’s husband and a filmmaker making a documentary at the time), Evel confessed to him the night before that he didn’t think he was going to land this jump successfully, but he still drank a shot of whiskey, strapped on his helmet and faced his fate.

When he hit the take-off ramp, he felt the motorcycle unexpectedly decelerate. The sudden loss of power on the take-off caused Knievel to come up short and land on the safety ramp supported by a van. This caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them onto the pavement, where he skidded into the Dunes parking lot. Because 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.

Next time you get anxious before a job interview or a flight in bad weather, think of Evel stoically hopping on his bike to face injury or death, but maybe skip the whiskey.

Related Posts
Zaphod Beeblebrox – Science Fiction’s most misunderstood metaphor

Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed ex-President of the Galaxy in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is one of the most distinctive and memorable characters in the series. Through Read more

Why The X-Files needed Dana Scully…

Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, served as a central character in the popular sci-fi series The X-Files. She worked as both a foil and a partner to Fox Mulder Read more

Why are Tarantino films so rubbish now?

There's a scene in the Wizard of Oz. Having killed the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy returns to the Emerald City. The Wizard delays her request to grant her well-deserved reward Read more

Who really were the N.W.A. in Hot Fuzz?

It was 2007 when director Edgar Wright dropped Hot Fuzz on us. The film was written by Wright and Simon Pegg and featured long time collaborator Nick Frost. It is Read more

Who is the best Spider-Man?

The record-breaking Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer finally revealed some of what we can expect from the much-anticipated third Tom Holland Spider-Man movie this Christmas. And it turns out what Read more

Who is Saw Gerrera?

Since the release of Rogue One people have been wanting to know more about the character Saw Gerrera (played in the movie by Forest Whitaker) - so we have dug deep into Read more

Who are The Inhumans?

We all know about Marvel’s current urgency to make The Inhumans the centre of their universe. It is clear to see that with the upcoming rebranding of Scarlet Witch and Read more

Whatever happened to The Ex-Presidents?

In July 1991, Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break arrived at the cinema and clashed with Terminator 2: Judgment Day's (directed by Bigelow's then husband, James Cameron). Whilst Terminator 2 would dominate, Read more

What To Watch Next: The Knick

Period dramas have become a popular genre of late with series such as Downton Abbey and The Borgia’s grabbing big audiences. The Knick however is a a  period drama that Read more

What makes a video game a classic?

In this blog I will be running through the Classics, but before we go there, we have to know a few things first. To understand what makes a game a Read more

What is A113?

One imagines there are many secrets contained within the corridors of Disney. Was Walt really cryogenically frozen? Just who was responsible for 'Treasure Planet'? How come Donald Duck doesn't wear pants? One thing we Read more

What ever happened to Bill and Ted’s Excellent History Presentation?

Back in 1989 two dudes known as Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves) - together they were known as Wyld Stalyns -  needed to Read more

What does it mean to be a “Gamer”?

I say to people I am a gamer, and to me being a gamer means spending at least 3 hours a day with a mouse and keyboard or controller in Read more

What Are The Top Ten Stephen King Books?

Stephen King, an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy is one of my all time favourite authors. His books have sold more than 350 million copies Read more

Twin Peaks – Season 3: What we have learned so far…

At 2am on Monday the 22nd of May I raised my cup of Damn Fine Coffee and re-entered the realm of Twin Peaks. There was a deep humming noise. There Read more

Top 10 Stephen King Film Adaptations

We seem to have been pummeled by Stephen King film adaptations since the late the 1970’s, if I’m honest most are terrible. Being an avid fan of Stephen King’s writing, Read more

The worst Doctor Who episode of the modern era?

With the exception of series 1 and 10 every season of Doctor Who has that one episode the fans don’t want to talk about. You know, watch once and then Read more

The Rise of Skywalker – One 40 Something’s ‘Obsessed Fanboy’ pre-release thoughts…

No one likes an 'I told you so', so let's get the unpleasant bit out of the way. I told you so. Back in Feb 2018, whilst I was still Read more

The Polar Express – A Christmas Horror!

Robert Zemeckis 2004 film ‘The Polar Express’ was in the main panned by critics on release and was not as successful as distributors Warner Brothers would have liked. It has Read more

The Mystery of Morley Cigarettes

Morley is a fictional brand of cigarettes that has appeared in various television shows, films, and even video games that otherwise have no connection to each other. The iconic, fictional Read more

Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

%d bloggers like this: