Evel Knievel made his name attempting some of the most heroic feats ever attempted on a motorcycle. The act of jumping a motorcycle to unthinkable lengths made him a hero. Breaking every bone in his body, and coming back for more, made him crazy. But what do we really know about Evel Knievel?
True Evel, premiering Monday, October 14, at 10 PM E/P on the Discovery Channel, traces Knievel’s life from growing up in the rough mining town of Butte, Montana, to his outlandish stunts including the infamous jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas through his final days in which he ended up penniless. It also gives an inside look at the horrific crashes – of which there were many – and how Knievel recognized the power of publicity and marketing to capture a crowd.
Driven by ego and fearlessness, he had a haunting ambition to succeed at any price. To the public, Knievel was an American hero and dedicated husband and father. But behind-the-scenes, there was a much darker and violent side. Using archival footage and candid interviews with family, friends and colleagues, Discovery Channel unravels the true story of the man behind the myth told by those who knew Knievel best.
“He would [tell] kids – study, go to school, get good grades, treat your mom and dad right,” said motorcycle racing legend Skip Van Leeuwen, who was friends with Knievel. “Two hours later, he’d be chasing 15 girls naked around his boat. It was nuts.”
Knievel wasn’t simply just a stunt man. He became an American brand; inspiring countless entertainers, a line of toys and even a Marvel Comic. The 1-hour special explores how Knievel invented himself and his business by jumping, crashing (again and again) and miraculously recovering – all the while promising even more outrageous stunts to an adoring public.
To learn more about True Evel, go to www.discovery.com.