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cheap the north face on concrete before finally coming to a rest. The jump left him with a broken skull


Early Career

Evel Knievel: Early Career

Knievel launched himself into the public eye one New Year’s Eve, 1967, with a jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for Knievel, he also launched himself into a lot of other things on that day, too.

While Knievel cleared the 151 feet (46 meters) of fountains at Caesars Palace, he failed to stick the landing, vaulted over the handlebars of his motorcycle and slid 165 feet (50.3 meters) on concrete before finally coming to a rest. The jump left him with a broken skull, pelvis and ribs. He spent nearly 30 days in a coma and millions of people watched the accident on television.

The fact that the jump wasn’t technically successful didn’t seem to matter to Knievel. The jump (and the crash) had won him legions of fans as well as regular appearances on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Between 1973 and 1976, Knievel appeared on the Wide World of Sports seven times, jumping everything from wrecked cars to double decker buses. His jumps were some of the highest rated episodes in the program’s history.

In 1974, Knievel was paid $6 million dollars to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. For the jump, which required him to clear 1,600 feet (487.7 meters), he used a specially made rocket propelled motorcycle, dubbed the "Skycycle." While the launch portion of the jump went well, the parachute on the jet bike deployed too early, causing the entire rig to float down into the canyon.

Knievel’s next stunt was also unsuccessful, and one of the most famous of his career. In London’s Wembley Stadium, Knievel was slated to jump 13 buses in front of 70,000 fans. On his Harley Davidson, he hit the ramp at 90 miles per hour (144.8 kilometers per hour), and barely cleared the 13th bus. But once again, the landing wasn’t so smooth. But what shocked his fans the most wasn’t the spectacular jump or even the grisly crash it was what Knievel said only moments after the impact.

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Four longtime Journal News reporters share their insights about fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short stories by bringing books discussions online and exploring the local literati scene. Lots of people say they are booklovers, but Elizabeth Ganga, Barbara Livingston Nackman, Ken Valenti and Randi Weiner really are!

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Book Notes: An ongoing chat about events, authors and news items about books, libraries, authors and everything literary from metro news reporters Barbara Livingston Nackman and Elizabeth Ganga. Barbara has been a reporter for The Journal News since 1997. She covers municipalities in Putnam County and keeps track of book events everywhere - and began her career writing about books and libraries. Lisa has been a reporter for The Journal News since 2000, after working at several newspapers in Connecticut. She has covered cities and town in sourthern and northern Westchester and is a big Jane Austen fan (though she reads everything from history to mysteries). Both reporters work out of the Mount Kisco bureau and frequently trade tidbits about books and events.

Novel Pursuits: Ken Valenti sheds light on his ongoing experiences as a novelist and poet.  He talks about his trials and tribulations including musings about projects, readings, successes, and even insights into what he is reading and finds interesting. A reporter for The Journal News and its forerunners for more than 20 years, Ken now covers transportation. His first love has been writing fiction, but he's only begun pursuing that dream in recent years. He has been a reader and fiction editor for the journal Inkwell, and has published one short story in another fiction journal.

Seasoned Works: Randi Weiner dishes up an ongoing discussion about all books - old and savory. Though Randi keeps readers abreast of school issues most days and reads lots of children's and young adult books, current science fiction and murder mysteries, her overriding passion is older works generally written before 1940. She chats online about favorites and newly discovered treasures as well as book exhibits and talks related to the dusty, the musty and the marvelous illustrators of the past. She has been a reporter since 1976, with Gannett since 1989. And for the record, she says she has a personal library of more than 4,000 volumes.

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