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5.6.07

Evel Knievel - Toy industry






Robert Craig Knievel is born on Oct. 17, 1938, in Butte, Mont. The name Evel Knievel comes about when a prison guard joked that he had local gangsters "Awful Knoffel" and "Evil Knievel" in his jail at the same time. Knievel likes the sound of the name "Evil" and adopts it. He later changes the spelling to Evel to avoid upsetting religious fans. In 1965, in attempt to attract locals in Butte, Mont. to his motorcycle dealership, Knievel jumps and clears a mountain lion but lands on a box of rattlesnakes. In 1977, he goes Hollywood, playing himself in the theatrical feature Viva Knievel!, a fictional action picture in which villains attempt to have the daredevil killed in Mexico so they can use his truck to smuggle drugs into the United States. In 1978 Knievel is credited with re-vitalizing the poorly performing toy industry in the '70s after Evel Knievel toys, as well as such other products as pinball machines, bicycles, watches, radios and other accessory items, draw more than $300 million in sales.

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