Crazy stunts have become a ubiquitous source of entertainment for Americans, from the classic daredevil antics of Evil Kneivel to the lucrative “Jackass” franchise. With images of risk-taking as fun becoming more and more common, parents may be concerned that their children will put themselves in danger in order to imitate their famous idols. While it is true that the power of suggestion can influence children, parental supervision can counteract the unrealistic, glamorized images of such stunts and give children the perspective to keep entertainment separate from reality. At the same time, parents should not be ruled by their worries; crazy stunts have been well-publicized for years, through public events and traditions such as the circus, and generations of children have survived unscathed.
Crazy public stunts may have been around for years, but they have certainly evolved and taken on a new flavor in this digital age. One of the most enduring form of public stunts is the Niagara Falls-related stunt. It is illegal to attempt going over the falls in a barrel; however, that has not stopped daredevils from continuing to do so. In recent years, technology has allowed the few adrenaline lovers who have braved the falls to document the view. As the illegal stunt has become better-funded, the equipment has been upgraded from a literal barrel to padded, reinforce pods with a viewing window that allows the ride to be videotaped. People who want to live vicariously through the risks of daredevils can search for these videos online.
Another famous stunt is tightrope walking across the Niagara Falls gorge, a feat that has been repeated numerous times. The first woman to complete the act, Maria Spelterini, did so in 1896. Each new attempt becomes a national spectacle, as the rare form of crazy stunt that is driven by focus and grace rather than force and resilience.
Crazy stunts can be inspired by long-standing attractions, such as the Falls, or by innovative scenes in action movies. One of the most career-oriented paths for people who love crazy stunts is to be a stuntman. Athleticism and a daring attitude can lead to jobs performing dangerous moves for actors in films, or choreographing such sequences. Stuntmen have been an invaluable resource in Hollywood for decades, as they enable directors to execute stunning scenes without jeopardizing the safety of the stars.
While the aforementioned stunts range from the shocking to the theatrical, there is another, incredibly common venue for stunts: the circus. The traditional circus, like Barnum & Bailey, regularly showcase trained animals and dizzying displays of risk. Even the refined modern circus, Cirque du Soleil, maintains the formula of dazzling the audience by fearlessly presenting unexpected stunts with the illusion of ease. Cirque du Soleil has taken the core values of the circus and translated them into a mélange of dance and musical fantasy.
Crazy stunts can be watched responsibly with families so that children can have all the enjoyment of marveling at unique spectacles and the hard work that goes into making them possible.