Dec 29, 2012

Alan Gibbs

In the 1960's, Alan Gibbs (1940-1988) was working as a bartender at a restaurant called Edna Earle's Fog Cutter in Los Angeles. His neighbor was stuntman Chuck Bail, and on the weekends, he would see guys falling off a tower in Chuck's backyard. Curious, Alan went over and found out they were stuntmen practicing high falls. He struck up a friendship with Chuck and one day said, "I think I could be a good stuntman." Alan went on to become a great stuntman, doubling such actors as Jack Nicholson, Charles Bronson, Burt Reynolds, and Dustin Hoffman.

Below: Alan Gibbs falls from a roof as stuntman Gary Kent watches in "The Savage Seven" (1968.) The stunts were coordinated by Chuck Bail.

Below: That's Alan being pulled off a motorcycle while on fire for "Werewolves on Wheels" (1971)
and he also performed this body burn.

Below: Alan (right) appeared with Ryan O'Neal (left) in Peter Bogdanovich's "Nickelodeon" (1976).

Alan performed this famous car jump in "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977)
Along with second unit directing duties, Alan (left) also played a biker roughing up Jerry Reed.

Dec 14, 2012

Joe Canutt

Son of the legendary Yakima Canutt, Joe Canutt was a very talented stuntman and worked closely with Charlton Heston.

Below: Joe Canutt's most famous stunt was in "Ben-Hur" (1959.) Doubling Charlton Heston, Joe was driving the chariot and hit a half buried telephone pole, which the horses were trained to jump over, to force the chariot up in the air. Joe was thrown up and over the front of the chariot. He walked away with a small cut on his chin. The stunt was left in the film and they picked it up with Charlton Heston climbing back into the chariot.

Joe (right) fights with Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes" (1968)

Below: Joe performing a stunt in "The Wild Bunch" (1969)

Below: Joe had a small acting role in "Skyjacked" (1975) starring Charlton Heston and Yvette Mimieux.

Nov 24, 2012

Walter Wyatt

Walter Wyatt (1939-1986) was raised in Bakersfield, CA. He grew up around horses and cattle. He became interested in rodeo. He finished fourth in the country among steer wrestlers in 1966 and was in the top ten in two other years. He won most of the rodeos held annually in California two or three times.

Below: Walter and stuntman Jim Burk (left) are up to no good in a movie called "Hijack" (1974) starring David Janssen.

Walter (center) appeared in the Steve McQueen film, "Tom Horn" (1980) along with Jim "Two Dogs" Burgdorf (left) and stuntman Jerry Wills (right)
He also performed this saddle fall.

From an early age, Walter had osteomyelitis (infection of the bone or bone marrow) and passed away at the age of 46.  

Nov 16, 2012

Dale Van Sickel

Dale Van Sickel (1907-1977) worked as a stuntman for over 40 years. He appeared in hundreds of films. Dale was the first president of the Stuntmen's Association.

 Below: Dale was an All-American football player for the University of Florida. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975. He worked as an assistant coach for a couple of years and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the movies.

Below: Dale doubled Dick Purcell in the 1944 Republic serial, "Captain America."

Dale appears with Helen Talbot in "Federal Operator 99" (1945)

Below: Dale, doubling Charles Quigley, leaps off the wall at stuntman Tom Steele in the 12 chapter Republic serial, "The Crimson Ghost" (1946).

Below: Dale (left) in a scene from the Republic serial, "The Phantom Rider" (1946) with Peggy Stewart (center) and Robert Kent (right).

Dale takes a punch from Roy Rogers, as Dave Sharpe (right) looks on, in "Bells of San Angelo" (1947)

Dale appeared in many Republic serials including "Man with the Steel Whip" (1954). Left to right: Dick Simmons, Lane Bradford, and Dale Van Sickel.

Four great stuntmen (left to right) Dale Van Sickel, Tom Steele, Duke Green, and Ken Terrell.

Nov 14, 2012

Bobby Sargent

Bobby Sargent, a Texas born gymnastic and diving champion, had been traveling the world performing a high diving act. After returning home to Austin, he came to the attention of stunt coordinator Carey Loftin, who was working on the movie, "Outlaw Blues" (1977). Loftin was impressed by Bobby's gymnastic talents and hired him to perform stunts and double star Peter Fonda. When Bobby moved to Los Angeles, he was chosen by Hal Needham to be Burt Reynolds' stunt double. Bobby went on to coordinate stunts and direct. He also formed his own production company.

In 1973, Bobby won the famed Acapulco cliff diving competition. In the photo below, Bobby prepares for a practice dive for that contest.

Below: Bobby Sargent performed this 125 ft. high dive at an expo in Canada.

 Below: Bobby dives out of the path of a speedboat in "Outlaw Blues" (1977)

Below: Bobby performed this high fall for a movie called "The Pack" (1978)

 Bobby fell 130 feet from the Monument bridge in St. Louis for the film "Stingray" (1978)

Bobby doubled Kirk Douglas in "The Villain" (1979) which co-starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ann-Margret. Director Hal Needham can be seen walking behind Bobby.

Bobby doubled Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit II" (1980)

Doubling Jack Starrett, Bobby falls out of a helicopter in "First Blood" (1981) starring Sylvester Stallone as Rambo.

Below: Bobby appeared in the "Deadly Ambition" episode of "T.J. Hooker" (1982)

Here is a stunt Bobby performed on an episode of "T. J. Hooker."

Nov 10, 2012

Bill Hickman

Bill Hickman (1921-1986) was a stuntman and car specialist. He was involved in two of the greatest car chases ever put on film, "Bullitt" (1968) and "The French Connection" (1971). Bill spent some of his earlier days as driver and friend to James Dean, teaching him some driving techniques. When Dean was killed after a roadside accident, Hickman, driving the Ford station wagon and trailer that hauled Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder, was first on the scene.

Below: Bill played a guard that whips Elvis Presley in "Jailhouse Rock" (1957)

Below: Bill (2nd from left) appeared in the "Batman" episode, "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin" (1967)

Bill drove the Dodge Charger and played the driver in "Bullitt" (1968)

Bill coordinated the car chase and was Gene Hackman's driving double in "The French Connection" (1971). He also played the part of Mulderig. Here, he appears with Eddie Egan (right). Gene Hackman's character, Popeye Doyle, was based on Egan.

Nov 5, 2012

Tom Steele

Tom Steele (1909-1990) was a skilled horseman and played polo competitively prior to becoming a stuntman. He worked extensively at Republic Pictures and appeared in many of their serials and B-Westerns. He doubled actors including Wild Bill Elliot, Rod Cameron, and Clayton Moore.

Below: On the set of "The Plainsman" (1936). Left to right: stuntmen Bud Wolfe, Tom Steele, and Buster Wiles.

Below: Tom had the title role in the 1943 Republic serial, "The Masked Marvel" but received no screen credit for his work.

Below: Lobby card for the 1944 Republic serial, "Captain America." Left to right: George J. Lewis, Tom Steele, and Dick Purcell.

Below: Tom performed one of the first full body burns in "The Thing from Another World" (1951)

Below: Tom, between Ernest Borgnine and Gene Hackman, appeared in "The Poseidon Adventure" (1973)

Below: Tom, with stuntwoman Evelyn Finley, had an amusing bit in "Freebie and the Bean" (1975)