Though by nature a loner, Evel is an eminent
social animal. He's a veteran VIP, an instinctive people pleaser
with cowboy charisma to spare. He's been signing for a couple
of hours. Meanwhile his jumps, crashes and jinxed experiments
in rocketry loop in slow-motion on big screen TVs around the
Finally, flanked by his security troops, Evel rises and makes
his way along the line to shake hands, sign
loot and send everyone home happy. As he finishes, something
unexpected happens. Something uncanny, unscripted, something
I can only call The Evel Boogie.
Evel dances. Evel literally begins channeling Soul Train,
rocking out at Galpin Ford as the people clap in time with
his house band, San Diego's Bowevel Brothers, as they croon
"I Will Survive." Evel spins his three showgirl
assistants around the floor. He bops. He improvises. "I've
got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give,"
as the song goes, "I will survive. I will survive! Hey,
At this point I could hardly be more floored if Muhammad
Ali, Bruce Lee, John Wayne and Jerry Garcia parachuted into
Galpin Ford and linked up into a kick line, but you cannot
deny what you see with your own eyes. Evel is back, people.
And more than that, the feeling is back, with
interest, like the Spirit of '76.
"I've got a lot of living to do these next few years
and I'd like to do it with you," he tells the folks in
The greatest death-defying showman since Houdini almost went
down quietly. He almost died largely misplaced in the instant
amnesia of popular culture. Evel Knievel won't make that mistake
twice. The King of the Daredevils is back in the game.