Evel Knievel jumps across Madison Square Garden

EvelknievelmsgAnyone who was a kid in the 1970s remembers Harley-riding daredevil Evel Knievel—and the avalanche of toys and action figures that hit TV and toy stores in the wake of his popularity.

His biggest stunts took place out West. But in July 1971, he brought his act to Madison Square Garden, which was hosting something called the Auto Thrill Show.

At the Garden, Evel revved his bike, sailed off a ramp, and cleared 10 cars. It wasn’t a record; only 10 cars could fit in the space he had in the arena (viewable here via YouTube).

The New Yorker covered the jump in the July 24 issue: “The ice-cream hawkers and the guards stand in the exits, watching. The audience moves to the edge of its seats,” reported The New Yorker.


“Knievel’s Harley can be heard, and then suddenly he is tearing out of the wings—a flash of white suit and gleaming white helmet—and up the ramp, and he is free; he is in the air, standing over his motorcycle, flying in a graceful arc over the ten automobiles; and he lands smoothly, halfway down the far ramp, and is almost instantly out of sight again in the wings.

“The crowd roars, screams, cheers, applauds, and then Knievel rides back into the arena, one arm raised to receive the wild adulation of the crowd. The challenge has been met one more time.”

[Second photo: Dan Farrell/New York Daily News]

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3 Responses to “Evel Knievel jumps across Madison Square Garden”

  1. mickey2travel Says:

    This is a great memory! I probably saw every show he did in the Astrodome in Houston, when I was a kid. And yes, I had the Knievel toys, action figures, and clothes to go with it! Of course, my attempt to be Evil Knievel on my bicycle was a futile attempt, and ended up with a broke arm….

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. FGFM (@FGFM) Says:

    Worked out better than his later jump at Chicago International Amphitheatre.


  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I can imagine all the emergency room trips kids took after trying to imitate that guy. ER docs must have been deluged!

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