Evel Knievel combined content and commerce a full generation before the concept of integrated marketing was born. He was the show—and he knew how to rev the mass media’s engines. In skin-tight star-spangled jumpsuits, riding motorcycles that at times were (supposedly) rocket propelled, he jumped canyons, Greyhound buses and live sharks. He drew huge TV audiences. For jumping bikes over sharks. It was a different era—and this man was one of its most colorful icons. George Hamilton portrayed Knievel in a biopic. Classy! Evel starred as a crime-fighting version of himself in Viva Knievel, one of the goofiest yet most entertaining films ever made. Wanna know his secret? He was genuine: There was always a chance he’d wind up dead. Captain Lance Murdoch on The Simpsons is based on Evel. Evel’s Stunt & Crash Car was a cool toy. There’s one in my parents’ basement, next to the big Godzilla with the missile-firing claw. When I visit for the holidays, I’m jumping that car over the big green dinosaur. This stunt’s for you, EK. The Daredevil died Friday at age 69.
—Posted by David Gianatasio