Brit Fan Hails 'True American Original'

Knievel was 'NASA, Elvis, Barnum & Bailey rolled into one'
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2007 7:11 AM CST
Daredevil Evel Knievel and his son and fellow daredevil Robbie Knievel embrace at the top of the landing ramp prior to Robbie's successful 180-ft jump during the fifth annual Evel Knievel Days in Butte,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Like thousands of children growing up in the 1970s, Daily Telegraph columnist Damien Lanigan played with an Evel Knievel doll, delighting in the indestructibility of the figurine. The man who inspired the toys—and delighted a generation—proved to be less enduring than his plastic manifestations, but his legend survives on both sides of the pond.

One of Knievel's few regrets was not repeating his 1975 jump of a dozen English buses at Wembly Stadium. “I should have come back and done it properly, with bigger buses, these red ones,” he said. But Lanigan delights in the brazen glory and "tacky glamour" of Knievel's failures as well as his triumphs, despite the torment it left him at the end.