In Rome they call it il spettacolo, the spectacle, the challenge that gives rise to heroes. It underlies the ancient rituals of Imperial pageantry from the thundering chariot races at the Circus Maximus to the gladiator tournaments on the other side of Palatine Hill at the Coliseum.

American ingenuity found locomotive mayhem to be a workable substitute where heroics were harder to come by, as in the train-wreck shows that swept the plains over a hundred years ago, sometimes with fatal consequences for paying customers pressing forward for a good view of the collision zone.

It was all chalked up to the cost of doing business, and the American Spectacular traveled time and space from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to the biplane barnstormers to NASCAR and the Superbowl. Walk to the corner and it's playing right now with Yoda and the new Star Wars picture.

Then there's Evel: reprieved, regenerated, resurrected, isolated a tight close-up, cowboy style. His skin is red and healthy, his shades are tinted royal blue, and his dome is crowned by a trident of pure white hair. The guy is Old Glory in the flesh.

This is a man who never chased the styles. Now the entire nation has come back around to his. Thirty years ago Evel Knievel billed himself as a cycle-powered gladiator. Today he's more than that. He's the Last American Jedi.

Chapter Eight: The Evel Boogie >>

hank williams 3
Hank Williams III
Talks to Five-O about Superjoint Ritual
The Man Who
Fell To Earth
Evel's Omega Years
pray for the wildcats
Pray for the Wildcats
TV Movie Mayhem
from '74
Evel Knievel
Full Photo Coverage!
The Mothman Prophecies
Interview with Director Mark Pellington
50 Years
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Life Magazine
40 Years
Playboy - July 1962
tom t. hall
30 Years
Tom T. Hall
Greatest Hits
judas priest
20 Years
Judas Priest
Screaming for Vengeance