There are men. There are manly men. And then there's Hal Needham.
Now 80 years old, Needham has done more in one life than most men have done in ten. He's just published a book, Stuntman!: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life. And in it, he recounts his days doing one or more of the following:
• Stunt-doubling everyone from John Wayne to Kirk Douglas to Burt Reynolds.
• Jumping trucks and boats, leaping out of buildings and off of planes, and breaking many, many bones.
• Orchestrating a team that drove broke the sound barrier.
• Creating a NASCAR team from scratch, racing against Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, and doing a pretty damn fine job of it.
• Driving in the Cannonball Run, then creating the movie of the same name.
• Writing and directing Smokey and the Bandit.
That's not bad. We discuss all that and more in our chat. He's a hell of a lot of fun, and this podcast'll put hair on your chest. Even the ladies, so listen with caution. And after the jump, check out a couple of Needham's trademark stunts.
As always, we welcome your thoughts, ideas, and recommendations on the podcast. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to call our direct podcast line at 678-389-9173 and leave a comment or question for use on a future podcast. For now, though, click the little arrow below to play the podcast or right-click the link to download. Use the iTunes link to subscribe for your iPod, and use the RSS link for everything else. Enjoy!
Here are a couple of Hal's early stunts. If your back isn't hurting after these, you're not watching closely enough: