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Captain America: How Stuntman Evel Knievel Got His Chance To Jump The Caesars Palace Fountain 50 Year Ago

Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel poses for a photo Dec. 28, 1967, before his attempt to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace. CREDIT: Don Englist/ Las Vegas News Bureau

Daredevil Robert “Evel” Knievel was so determined to jump the Caesars Palace fountain that the then-novice stuntman not only created a fictitious corporation called Evel Knievel Enterprises, but he also posed as a lawyer, a representative from ABC television and a Sports Illustrated writer in making calls to pitch the event to Caesars Palace founder Jay Sarno. Eventually, Sarno agreed.

At 141 feet, it was Knievel’s longest attempted motorcycle jump to date. And it almost killed him. The near-fatal stunt, which occurred on December 31, 1967, left the 29-year-old in a coma with a crushed pelvis and femur and fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles. He was hospitalized for a month. His dangerous failure, however, turned him into a legend overnight and led to a long stunt career that lasted well into the next decade.

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