Thursday, October 11, 2007

One More Rider

I'm not sure how many mystery fans this will appeal to but I know plenty of crime buffs who like to settle in with a good Steve McQueen movie every now and again, be it Bullitt or The Great Escape or that Peckinpah classic The Getaway.McQueen was close friends with a hotshot motorcycle racer and stuntman named Bud Ekins. It was famously *not* Steve McQueen who made the 65-foot motorcycle jump pictured to the left, but instead his mate Bud Ekins, who performed the first $1,000 stunt in the history of the movie business.

Bud was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. And he died on Sunday, at the age of 77.

You can read a very well-written obituary at the Times here, and an interesting latter-day interview with Ekins here. It's also worth looking at Bud's entry at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

For an interesting look at the world that McQueen and Ekins ran in during the 1950s and 60s, you can read my interview with another Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, Ed Kretz, Jr., here. Ed was friends with James Dean, McQueen, Ekins, and many other hell-raisers of the day, and drove McQueen's motorcycle in the 1965 International Six-Day Trials on the Isle of Man.

On a brighter note, it's Elmore Leonard's 82nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Dutch. You don't look a day over completely cool.

You can read a mostly unpublished interview with hisself about his latest novel, Up In Honey's Room, here. It's also worth noting that a nifty little hardback edition of Elmore's 10 Rules For Writing will be published by William Morrow on October 23.

See you on the other side of the fence.

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