Friday, November 30, 2007

So Long, Evel Knievel

I hate to post three obituaries in a row, but I can't let this one pass without mentioning it. CNN reports that Evel Knievel has died today at the age of 69. His action figures were the "must have" toys when I was in second grade. Long before I was aware of professional sports or movie stars, my room was adorned with Evel Knievel posters. I had the Evel Knievel lunch box, and even his full length LP, an odd mix of songs and interviews. He retired in 1980, but had enjoyed something of a revival as a pop culture icon in recent years. The report says that he had been in poor health for several years.

Looking back, it sure seems like his success rate wasn't too high. His attempt to jump over the Snake River Canyon was a bust, and his jumps at Caesar's Palace and Wembley Stadium ended with an ambulance ride. Still, you can't deny that he was a remarkable showman, and he came around just at the right time. A guy like that would never get a chance to become an international celebrity today.

And a final bizarre footnote, the wire services were reporting just yesterday that Knievel had settled his lawsuit with Kanye West after the rapper visited him at his home. The articles included a strange photo of the two, probably taken just two days ago.