Yep, as painful as the passing of Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen and even Pat Morita, Evel Knievel's death is like losing a crazy grandpa. Personally. It's the passing of the manliest of manhoods. It's a significant death in the breed of men who, with little technical skill, mount a beastly motorcycle, point it at a ramp that's aimed at the heavens, fly at it at close to 90 MPH, launch up and then belly-flop into the earth with nothing more than a helmet. Sorry, but those are balls the size of Dallas. And, if you would rather call it stupidity--it's a stupidity that's unmatched in the history of man.
He got his start as a miner in Montana and was fired for working an earth-mover into a wheelie. I can't make this up. Next thing you know, he's pulling stunts like this:
Then there's this one from Caesar's Palace. This was before the blue stripes with stars that would later be the trademark garb for Evel. This is some killah footage right here.
And, perhaps, my favorite Evel video out there is his failed attempt at jumping Snake River Canyon when they deploy the parachute on his rocket while it's still full throttle. I gotta think that might have something to do with not reaching the other side. He's no rocket scientist. The best part about this clip is the poetry recalling his career as a daredevil.
We'll miss you, Evel. Here's to jackasses dressing up and driving motorcycles over a series of large objects--it's the American way.