Friday, November 30, 2007
Evel Knievel, one of my childhood heroes, has passed away.
I idolized this man. Although I didn't figure it out until much later in life, jumping a motorcycle over obstacles is a potent symbolic act, one that transcends all language (no wonder Evels fame was globe-spanning!) It is a visual metaphor for triumphing over whatever adversity is in front of you - by literally taking flight, and soaring over it.
I found an old review that I wrote in February of 2001 about his film Viva Knievel!
"Like a moth drawn to a flame, I find myself rewatching this movie time and again, and let me tell you- it's a hoot, and a unique little gem. Evel positively IS the '70s. It amazes me that the writers of this film actually were able to concoct a plot where, at a key moment, the criminals can only be foiled by a guy with the specific ability to jump a motorcycle onto a moving semi trailer. Not a biopic, Viva Knievel! is a fictional crime drama, featuring the kind of villians who mug & cackle so broadly that you'd think they were in a silent film. .......Leslie Nielsen heads up the bad guys in such a hammy, telegraphed fashion that you half expect him to hand out black wool caps and masks and 'loot sacks' with dollars painted on the side. You'd swear it was one of his post 'naked gun' performances. Evel Knievel plays himself, and delivers his lines with a surprising charm and machismo as he gamely shares scenes with Red Buttons, Danny Kaye, Lauren Hutton and Frank Gifford. Everyone seems to be gunning for Oscar gold, playing their ridiculous little roles as if they're dropping the bomb on Hiroshima.... MORE"
I loved you, Evel, and I will always think about you. I hope that if you're in heaven, you get to fucking JUMP OVER GOD.