Podgodz 253: Not the most aerodynamic vehicle

Recorded 25 July 2017

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The Devil At Your Heels (1981)



Year 1 (75)

We meet Ken Carter, a 37 year old Canadian cut-rate Evil Kneivel breaking his ankle, again, jumping a shitty car at a shitty race track.

He wants to jump a car, a mile, across the St. Laurence Seaway from Canada to the US in a rocket car.

Aim for the roses, not the trees, cows, or wooden navigation aids.

All he has is a 30K yet car that can’t make it and no sponsors.

Detour to his childhood Montreal slum, left school in the 4th grade at age 14!?, and we see the groundwork in his inferiority complex.

Oh god, his replacement driver doesn’t even have his own, lets call it a crash helmet. But hey, lets fire up the yet car while its still on the truck! Do we ever see that jet car off the truck? NO!


Year 2 (76)

Sports and business manager acquired, money problems solved. ABC is in for a quarter of a million dollars.

50 acres are cleared just for the audience.Too bad it seems to rain a fuck ton in Morrisburg. Everything is behind. The ramp will refinished.

Mean whiling Chicago the designer braintrust duo areon the job. They created the Blue Flame Special world faster car, at that time.

The car? a Lincoln Continental. Surely not the most aerodynamic choice.

The training? getting flown in a biplane doing loops which Ken Carter could not really handle. 16 days to go.

ABC is worried, so they send noted racist and violent felon Evil Kneivel to check on things. Rain won’t hurt, but wind will. They will get the ramp ready (they will not)

Evil also thinks this is dangerous and you better have people to get you out of the water. They do not get the Kneivel sign of approval.

But, Ken will have oxygen and frogmen, not to mention the car will float.


More training. Ken finally gets in a rocket car…but oddly not his own rocket car. What ever happened to it?

Does Ken bring a helmet or safety gear? Oh fuck no. Has he ever gone faster than 90 miles per hour? Fuck no.

Ken comically squeezes into a safety suit that you really don’t need. But, because of it he can’t fit in the car, so off it comes. Jeans, a t-shirt, and bread bag booties it is.

Now Ken is ready, almost 250MPH. Ken has to be going 280 when he takes off.

4 days to go. Road isn’t ready, car still in Chicago with too many unknown factors. They will not sign off on the car. Ken Carter is sick to his stomach. The jump is off. Knievel called it suicidal.


Year 3 (77)

A new crew! The jump is on with a new manager and backers. All Canadian!


That’s some quality Montreal engineering! Will it be ready? No way.


The car is in Montreal. They just need to put on the wings and fuel tanks. Why wings? Stability. STABILITY! The car absolutely will make the jump!


Oh no. Tom and Dave blew up the front of the car. That’s why they tested it. They replaced the tank.

Oh no. The ramp doesn’t fit. The engineer has no time for interviews. All the equipment keeps getting bogged down in the mud.


Tom and Dave also blew up the tank again. They will make the tank themselves this time. it blew up too. They gave up and went back to Chicago. The jump is off.


Year 4 (78)

Does ken live in Florida? Fuck yes he does. It’s where he makes fake phone calls on camera about being the first civilian astronaut.


Ken explains his dual personality.


They finally managed to get a tank that won’t explode.

We meet Slamming Sammy Moore.. who crashes the car because the wings…generated lift. Maybe there are design problems, luckily this was only minor damage maybe caused by a crosswind.

No backers, no money, no jump.


Year 5 (79)

Ken won’t sell tickets, to dangerous, the backers will only film it.

Sammy lies to Ken about the thrust. And I think he is really mad and trying to cover.


The big jump at last!

The lead up road is VERY bumpy, but the backers are out of money and upping the pressure.

Ken is mad. No white line


It’s only bumpy because he was off the power!


No jump, a secret deal has the backers pulling their support and crew. No one showed up!

Ken is staying until the car jumps…this week…then Ken leaves.


2 weeks later, Ken is faking footage for the new Hollywood backers and we meet Kenny Powers, friend and stunt driver.

Kenny fucking Powers people.


Jump day. But the jump has to go in secret. We meet Jim Deist, car specialist, and Dar Robinson, stunt man who jumped off the CN tower.


Dar notices the wind is going the wrong direction.


The crew goes on strike for more money.

Ken explains how dangerous everything is to the firemen.


Money arrives, 5pm, time to go.

Rescue boats are ready.


6:45 Kenny in the car, they have to jump between boats.


And we have an abort…but everything is under control.

Sammy freaked out, the tank vented, a valve broke. No jump today. 5 minutes later it is dark, the rescue boats have no search lights.


7 days later.

The weather is bad, no ground crew 2 boats and a barge are replaced by 2 guys in a dingy. No firemen, just a tow truck and a bored kid. Less than 50 people.

Ken is in the car, but keeps doing checks, until it rains. But rain wasn’t a problem earlier.

The jump is off.


2 days later.

Kenny mother fucking Powers has the support of the backers.


KENNY POWERS is ready to go. Too badge forgot his special back brace.

It’s a race against time and Ken Carter finding out!

Kenny wants to GO!


AND IT GOES. It disintegrates and falls into the water so close to shore everyone just wades out.


Kenny Powers is fucked up, even more so than his wives ‘eyebrows’


And here is where Gio cuts in the Gordon Pinset narrated failure sequence. Bumps lead to the body breaking, which kind of made everything explode. And the wings? They ripped right off.


This is the best documentary about failure.


A year later? Ken is still going to jump the car a mile.


Nope, he dies 3 years later when his car lands upside down in a shallow lake in Peterborough.


Lady and Gentlemen you better just have watched The Devil at your Heels!


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Time to put the Crown Royal sack back on the microphone.

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