|Evel Knievel, American daredevil of the 70's|
The article in question was in the TM's Flashback series, and revolved around Kelly Knievel remembering the exploits of his famous stunt-riding father Evel Knievel, who (I read somewhere) died in 2007 at the age of 69.
Albeit just a few hundred words, the feature was interesting, not least to discover that Mr. Knievel (that sounds so wrong, like calling Big Daddy the wrestler Mr. Daddy) went from fame and fortune, getting $6 Million for a show at Wembley in 1975, to being bankrupt just two years later.
But why, you are wondering, is Evel Knievel of such import to me?
Well, let us travel back in time to the mid 1970s (harps sounds, picture wobbles, sepia tones apply).
|The Evel Knievel Stunt Bike. Yowzer!|
Yes, we just saw little Gareth playing with his Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. Ah! halcyon days. How many times can a poseable figure fly down the stairs to crash at the bottom? How many stars are in the sky? How many Jammie Dodgers could a young boy munch in one sitting?
After all, what could be more exciting than having your very own daredevil flying down the stairs?
Little Gareth could so easily imagine a grown man on a roaring bike flying over umpteen double deckers, or his own little (carpeted) mountain. And despite the crashes, spills and Evel being generally thrown off his bike in the most startling of bone-crushing ways, the hero would live to tell the tale and do it all over again just a few moments later.
Simple fun. Violent in its own way, but nobody was hurt and innocence was retained.
|How the Stunt Bike worked. Stairs were way better, PJs optional.|
I remember learning progressively to jump down the stairs from an ever higher vantage point. How on earth I didn't end up in the Royal Infirmary (for that) I'll never know. Evel Knievel was always able to do better than me, yet invariably ended up having to be twisted back into shape (possibly in 'real life' too).
I am sure, back in the day our little hero (Gareth, not the wee man on the bike) thought he was playing with "Evil" Knievel, no doubt because the naughtiness of sending a motorbike crashing down umpteen flights of stairs went against all pre-conceived ideas of what was proper behaviour in the home (being told off umpteen times for jumping down the stairs being a prime example).
I don't know about you, but when I come across things as I rush around being a working dad that remind me of specific things from when I was a child (every time I see a snotty tissue I can't help but remember a gypsy child in the waiting room of Cardiff's Royal Infirmary putting used tissues from the floor in his mouth! Arrggghhhh!), but as my own children say, "yes Dad, but that was before the war."
Cheeky little scamps.
Now, if I ever catch them jumping down the stairs there'll be what for! ;-)