Evel Knievel SkyCycle X-1

This item was sold on eBay on December 16, 2007 for $2,700 by Doug Malewicki, the inventor/engineer of the SkyCycle X-1, who worked with Evel Knievel, the internationally renowned daredevil and famed LAST GLADIATOR from 1968 through 1973.

Here is a photo of the X-1 SkyCycle in flight, arcing across the canyon.  The rocket motorcycle's two wheels are clearly visible.

(Hold on - Wait a minute - Evel never made it across the canyon - what is this?)
OK, OK - faking such stuff with today's digital special effects and PHOTOSHOP is simple. But, how did we do that back with 1970's 35mm film technology?? Basically, I built a scale appearance model of the proposed concept for Evel (the very static appearance model being auctioned here) and had my buddy, Keith Niskern, crouch down and gently toss it in the air above his head to try to get a dramatic picture.  The location was my back yard way up on Skyline Drive in Laguna Beach, CA - overlooking that neat canyon and hills!   Each time Keith tossed it, I snapped a picture of it as close to the apex of the toss as possible.  We used a roll of film doing it over and over while having a hearty laugh the entire time.  When we got the prints back, most of the shots were a hilarious joke - this one, however, was PERFECT!

This is the 17" long display model that Evel subsequently used to interest such sponsors as Olympia Beer (excellent water for the steam rocket!) in his dream.  I am estimating that it has to be some 37 year old.  As you can see  the model includes the steam rocket exhaust nozzles and parachute canisters for a little extra touch of realism.  As expected, the model has a few dings over the years, but that is exactly how it was sold and it was not retouched or repainted.

Other EBay ads I noticed offered the George Hamilton EVEL KNIEVEL DVD.  It was interesting that the movie box cover shows Evel's rocket motorcycle poised to take off at the edge of the canyon!  Guess what - that is just a model!  This MODEL!  Did I get a royalty payment?  No.  (Hmmm? Think I will have my lawyers look into this.)   Next is the actual photo and an explanation of how the shot was made.

I am guessing that this shot was probably taken in late 1970.   Had to be when I moved into my new Laguna Beach hillside home and in the time period before I put in a lawn.  Just piled some of the dirt up on the edge of my hill and took a bunch of low angle photos. 

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