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.
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Here are a couple of Hal's early stunts. If your back isn't hurting after these, you're not watching closely enough: