Evel Knievel: Still Dead (2010 Edition)
Evel died three years ago today; here's some stuff that happened over the past year in the Knievel Universe...
Probably the most public display of Evelness was by Stephen Colbert, who wore a Knievel getup at the October Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear... Also in October, Dax Shepard's character wore an Evel costume on the Halloween episode of Parenthood...
No, that's not Dax Shepard -- it's a monkey dressed as Evel for a Dodge commercial. However, PETA complained, so Dodge digitally erased the little guy from the ad, resulting in an invisible monkey... Evel himself appeared in some old footage used in a GM commercial, which aired last week during a Thanksgiving NFL game. In it we see Evel helped to his feet after his Wembley Stadium crash, a visual metaphor of the government's General Motors bailout. Deep.
At the movies, Ryan Dunn attempted a "Snake River Redemption" stunt in Jackass 3D -- watch the clip here... Meanwhile, Steve Carell's Dinner for Schmucks character made a diorama of a mouse in a tiny Evel suit jumping some tiny buses on a tiny motorcycle...
On the family front, son Robbie did just two jumps this year (Texas in June, and Georgia in July). He announced he would jump 16 buses at London's new Wembley Stadium in May, but the deal fell through. (Evel crashed trying to clear 13 buses at the old Wembley Stadium 35 years earlier.) Still, here's a promotional photo shot in London...
Other son Kelly was instrumental in the "True Evel" exhibit that ran over the summer at Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Museum; the exhibit will begin a tour of Europe next month. Kelly continues hawking Evel stuff on eBay -- besides the usual memorabilia, he also sells weird stuff like Evel's speeding tickets and business correspondence... I already reported that Evel's younger brother Nic died in September; September also saw the passing of Bob Truax, the guy who designed and built Evel's Sky-Cycle for his Snake River jump (and who Evel mercilessly blamed for its failure)... Then Leslie Nielsen died on Sunday -- he was a villainous drug lord who tried killing Evel in Viva Knievel!.
Not news, but something I just noticed a few weeks ago: Evel's "second career" as a painter has always been suspect, but check out the paintings above. The one on the left is a 1975 Time magazine cover; Evel's version on the right is obviously a copy (which he claimed was partially colored with his own blood). But what I never noticed before was how Evel (or, more likely, his ghost painter) turned Mother Teresa (an Indian, like, from India) into a Native American (an Indian, you know, from America)... But why? In any case, Evel titled the painting "Spirit."
Things to look out for in 2011: the Evel Knievel rollercoaster at Six Flags in St. Louis will be renamed American Thunder, ending a licensing agreement just three years after the ride opened... A new Evel biography by big-shot sportswriter Leigh Montville is due in April -- mixed feelings about that one... As usual, Robbie still half-heartedly talks about attempting his own Snake River jump... Meanwhile, this daredevil chauffeur has plans to jump his "Sky-Limo" across the Grand Canyon on Memorial Day.
Here's what I wrote about Evel on this day in 2009 and in 2008.
UPDATE - 12/19/10
Paris Hilton looked
They should disinfect the saddle.