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The History of StuntsIn the early days of the film industry, no thought was given to professional stunt performance. Yes, it seems these days the director more often than not prefers his actors to do the work unless it really is too dangerous.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming - Wow!
Umm, yeah, thanks for the information on how to become a stuntperson, but I think I'll pass.
Well, we at Barnstormers would like to celebrate these brave men and women by including your treasured photographs of them for all to see on this page. Remember – the motorcycles have to be pre 1945, and we need your permission to publish the photograph (or if the photograph belongs to somebody else we will need their permission). Early photographs of female motorcycle riders are scarce with the sport of riding motorcycles regarded as the domain of men. Well, the article below escaped from that cycle and first appeared in an interesting monthly publication called Roll Back the Years that covered the early days of Taumarunui and its surrounding areas. It is reproduced here with full acknowledgement to the efforts of Ron Cooke who was the editor and publisher of Roll Back the Years. The postcard reproduced above has been loaned by one of our subscribers, Don Sanders, of Hamilton, whose father Dolf is shown proudly standing with his brand new Bradbury bike.
The first sale of a motor-bicycle in the King Country was recently reported by the Taumarunui Press. Mr Sanders tells us that he purchased his fathers old bike after it was found under a house where it had lain for many years. Footnote 2016 – Don Sanders is no longer with us however he did complete the restoration and used it on a few rallies. The Barnstormers library has slowly been amassing some more photographs of early motorcycling in New Zealand and it is about time to do something with them.
Another photo postcard, this one still has the message on the back, though hard to read and not of motorcycling interest. An original photograph with the caption on the back “taken at Motokarara about 23 miles from Christchurch, where 300 of us motored. These are of Ted, his bike (an AJS) and possibly Teds wife and child in what looks like their Sunday best. Good quality photographs of early motorcycling groups are quite hard to find, so when this scene came our way I definitely thought that it was worth sharing. The photograph was taken outside the Fielding Post Office about 1912 (a general consensus amongst a few knowledgeable people). Time is definitely marching on for our old hobby, and with it more and more of the pictorial past is disappearing. Here’s an article written by Les Elmer about his Dad, Arthur, and a couple of his exploits as a pioneer motorcyclist.
In 1938 prior to WWII, Dad rode a Levis 350 cc of which he was inordinately proud, as can plainly be seen from the snappy suit and his stance in this photo.
Rex Knight is a person who probably has his own interesting stories about motorcycling having grown up with a father who was already into bikes and finished his last restoration of a long stroke featherbed Manx Norton at the healthy age of 84. In the 1990s New Zealands custom and modified non Japanese motorcycle magazine called Twin Eagle used to have the occassional page with very early photographs titled Blast From The Past.
Not much information on this photograph except the rider was a boarder called Jack and he must have stayed for quite a while because when he finally left he had much less hair than shown in this photograph. At this time of year it gives us all a chance to reflect on our lives and to be thankful for what we have. Based on all the comments from folks in Taiwan and Panama the ground crews have done a wonderful job with the renovations and field maintenance operations of Rod Carew Stadium, Panama  and New Taipei City Stadium, Taipei. As part of the planning for the upcoming WBC in Panama, the federations in Nicaragua and Colombia will be hosting mini-camps in their countries in order for their team to train before the WBC event. New Taipei City stadium also known as Xinzhuang stadium is preparing for the WBC qualifier.
Everyday it has rained extensively and unlike previous post rain field surveys, now you can’t find a puddle on the field after a big rain. Over the past couple months i have spent some time checking up on some ballparks for the upcoming winter league in Puerto Rico.
In addition  larger venues are undergoing improvements such as Manati ( Below), Junco and Hiram Bithorn. Armin Wolfe Arena has now hosted to major tournaments.  By taking their 1000 seat ballpark and turning it into a 5000 seat facility with separate locker rooms and office space,  they were able to provide a great venue for both the fans players and staff that worked the event. A great first day for the two clubs at the renovated ball park in Regensburg for the World Baseball Classic.
Its been another crazy summer for maintaining baseball fields around the country considering the 100 degree days,  not to mention the pressures of  keeping them playing safely and looking great.
Staten Island Yankees baseball field managed by Ryan Woodley Sportsturf Manager and his crew.
First,  it feels a little weird not having baseball or softball in the Olympics this year after working on baseball and softball fields during the past 3. It was the first time all these guys were together and you would have thought they had known each other forever.  We did a slide show to talk about materials and maintenance processes then went to the field for hands on training. Fun stuff.   Thanks to Ellier, Chad, Juan and the entire Latino Americano grounds crew for their  help. Havana –   After a crazy rain delay USA battles Cuba in the opener of the freindly series 4-3.
If something risky needed to be done for a scene, the producers would hire anyone crazy or desperate enough to do it.
As we are just the custodians of our old motorcycles so that they may be preserved for future generations to enjoy, previous owners regarded them as lifelines for survival. To contribute to this series contact us with what you would like to submit, including a brief description on the year (if known) people (including relationship to you) , place, and motorcycle (if possible) in the photograph(s).
So it was a pleasant surprise to come across a photo postcard depicting what looks like a female rider dressed and ready posing in front of an early fixed speed Triumph. The problem is that most have disappeared into the dusty archives of historical libraries or into skip bins full of old waste paper to be recycled for more newer interesting articles on motoring. That was 35 years ago now and even though the first volume has gathered a little bit of dust sitting on my bookcase it still provides an interesting insight into how things were and how far we have come.
We have arranged a selection of interesting machines and riders, in a few the quality is not what a lot of people would expect however some are over 100 years old and the messages shared with some of them, or the detail held within makes them well worth putting up on the site.

The make is unknown but the condition of the motorcycle would indicate that it is not very old which could date it as pre 1910. Possibly a combined dealer advertising venture on the enjoyment of motorcycling as the machines have their makes advertised on the front mudguard instead of their registration number. Photo postcards were personal photographs made into post cards that you could send to your friends.
Good shots of a well used pre 1925 Harley Davidson and sidecar taken around the early 1930s. The unusual aspect of this photograph is that the motorcycle is fitted with disc wheels, seldom seen but really easy to keep clean.
We have managed to put up a few more period photographs of the early years including an interesting page from a photograph album from 1929.
However Rex has a different tale to tell, this one is about a person he met through his friend Jim Stevens by the name of Jack Kirner. This would never be more true than for the residents of Christchurch and more so for those who perished in the recent earthquake on February 22nd. These were contributions from readers and there were some very interesting scenes including this one titled 4 Generations. Canada moved up a notch with a win over GB 11-1 that was ended in the 7th due to the 10 run rule. Typically hands-on means most are watching but this event had all of the guys heavily involved. The importance of their steads was also reflected proudly in photographs, some that now lie in old shoe boxes in the bottom of the closet waiting for the dustbin in the next spring clean. The cleaness of the machine and the glean of the paint work would suggest that the motorcycle is quite new. And these gentlemen believed that the world should know how proud they were on their machines. Interestingly this motorcycle has been fitted with acetylene lights, most Harley Davidsons sold were fitted with electric lights. Sidecar is fitted with an all weather hood so the rider must have thought a lot of his passengers comfort. The bikes all appear to be single cylinder machines with belt drive, some even appear to be fixed belt drive.
Of course motorcycles were, and still today considered by many, inherently dangerous, although probably more so for the bike rather than the rider in the 1930’s, when speeds were slower and the mostly gravel roads less forgiving. Jack was a friend of Bill Stevens, Jims grandfather, and the two of them spent many a happy trip touring the South Island breaking in new tracks in the 1920s. From the innocent life of a 9 month old baby through to people in their 70s the quake was random in its destruction, deadly in its blow. The great grandfather is sitting on a early Indian and sidecar, and the grandfather is on a Reading Standard which would have been quite rare compared to Harley Davidsons and Indians of the time. According to newspaper reports from that period the trials were run by the New Zealand Motorcycle Club and started from their club’s rooms at 52 Willis St in Wellington. The riders are well dressed and with goggles and flat caps cut dashing figures that are clearly out for a good days ride.
If there is one thing that has come out of this disaster is unity, locally from caring neighbours, to those who have no names but are visible by their actions, to the whole of New Zealand, and then the rest of the world.
We have left the bottom photgraph in even though it is outside Barnstormers pre 1945 ideals as it is an acknowledgement of the complete 4 family generations. If they needed a scene where a man hung from a steel girder hundreds of feet above the ground, they didn't make a fake steel girder a few feet above a padded mat -- they found an actor willing to hang from an actual steel girder. It will take a long time for the wounds to heal, and for some this will never happen, but one thing that will remain unchanged is that for the 168 people declared dead (so far), and for the 50 that are still missing and may never be found their families can be rest assured that they will not be forgotten. The modern action movie didn't exist yet, so most stunt work was done for slapstick comedies.
Should any of our readers recognise the family we would be very interested in contacting them for any additional information that could be added to this page.
The lady rider experienced a mishap negotiating a water-course approaching Waikanae and retired. In fact back in 2003 during the Olympic Qualifier we had similar rains fall but the field was only a few years old and handled the water pretty well.
This ragtag gang began as prize fighters, race car drivers, circus acrobats, strongmen, clowns, roustabouts and vaudevillians.
Great Britain and Czech  fared well but they didn’t have the pro guys that  they will have for this event. They were a wild bunch, up for nearly any stunt the Sennett writers could concoct, and left behind a hilarious legacy of diverse performances.
They were doused in oil, tossed off rooftops, launched into the ocean, butted by wild animals and plastered with pie. Wenger was an adventuresome young woman who trained as a rodeo rider and found her way to Hollywood through her friendship with western star Tom Mix.
She was in great demand as a stunt woman and it wasn't long before she was tapped as a full-time double for serial star Helen Holmes. These adventuresome young men turned to exhibition flying and thrilled live audiences around the country with acrobatic flying and stunts such as wing walking.
Hollywood directors quickly seized this new talent, hiring the best of the barnstormers to create and execute flying stunts in their films. Many lives were lost to that irreversible downward spiral.Stuntman Ormer Locklear, the first of the wing-walking barnstormers, does a handstand on the wing of a Curtiss JN-4D Jenny biplane in 1920. Locklear was killed in a movie stunt in the same year.The 1930's marked the beginning of Hollywood's glory days. Moviegoers fell in love with the romantic vision of cowboy heroes and their adventuresome heritage.
They quickly hired up all the rough range riders and rodeo stars they could find, and set them to work, creating and executing stunts.
Their goal isn't to accomplish the highest jump, biggest explosion or craziest stunt; their purpose is to create a realistic visual effect on film by performing a carefully choreographed and planned sequence. While a stuntman isn't going out of his way to do something dangerous, creating a realistic stunt often requires high-risk action. Training and technology help make stunts a lot safer than they were in decades past, but if all stunt sequences were perfectly safe, stunt people wouldn't be needed at all.A stuntman is called in to a movie or TV set when the scene requires skills or risks beyond what the actual actor is capable of, or willing to do. For example, if the script calls for a sword fight, it's safer and often cheaper to use a stuntman with training in stage combat than to spend weeks or even months training the actor to fight.

If the main character in a movie falls from a building, stunt people not only have the training to fall safely, but if they're injured their absence won't derail the entire production. Thus, it makes financial sense for directors to use stunt people.Despite every safety precaution, every stunt carries some risk.
California state laws and Hollywood union rules have added regulations to protect stunt people and film crews over the years, but injuries and sometimes death are always possible. The Howard Hughes air combat film “Hell’s Angels” suffered from numerous crashes and three (or four, depending on who you ask) fatalities.
Several high-profile deaths have captured media attention, such as the decapitation and crushing by a crashing helicopter of actor Vic Morrow and two Vietnamese children during the filming of “The Twilight Zone,” and the death of actor Brandon Lee when he put a “blank” gun to his head and fired while filming “The Crow.” Many more are the nearly anonymous stunt actors who have been killed or seriously injured creating the high-action entertainment that film-goers love.
A shoot can often take place in uncomfortable situations -- they might spend hours partially submerged in water or have to do a location shoot on an icy mountain or a hot desert. Pay for a stuntman can vary widely based on their experience and the specific stunt they'll be performing on a given film. Only a very few top tier stunt people make six figure annual incomes.The reason for the long hours is that a stunt requires planning, preparation, rehearsal and probably several retakes. Most stunts involving cars will require measurements and the setting up of ramps and crash barriers. All stunts should be rehearsed as closely as possible to the actual stunt, without any of the risk factors.
For example, a car chase could be run through at low speed or a sword fight practiced with plastic swords. Once the actual stunt is filmed, it should be very predictable for everyone involved.Some stunts may need to be filmed multiple times to catch additional camera angles or because something wasn't quite right the first time through. If the chase culminates with an explosion and a car crash, it becomes prohibitively expensive to destroy multiple cars for the sake of capturing the perfect shot. This is another reason that a huge amount of planning and rehearsal goes into stunts -- the crew has to make sure the shot is captured right the first time to avoid costly and dangerous second takes.While the director is in charge of his or her movie set, chances are he or she doesn't have a background in stunt work. The coordinator hires the stunt people he feels are best suited for the job, plans out the stunts, makes sure all safety protocols are followed and keeps the stunt crew working smoothly. Because stunt scenes rarely involve the actual actors in the film, the second unit can shoot those scenes while the director is shooting scenes with the movie's big stars.
For example, in a car chase, the second-unit director shoots the cars themselves and all the exterior action as they careen through the streets. Meanwhile the director is in another location shooting close-ups of the actors inside the cars (or mock-ups of cars), talking, acting like they're driving at high-speed and reacting to the chase. Later, the two shots are edited together to make it look as if Harrison Ford is the one actually driving a car at 90 mph through a subway tunnel.Second-unit directors often have a background in stunt work, and many of them were stunt coordinators at one time. However, the second-unit director's focus is on shooting the scene -- the stunt coordinator remains in charge of the stunts themselves.Stunt coordinator Dan Bradley holding Martin Klebba.
Experienced Hollywood fighters know how to use camera angles to make their fake punches look like they really connected. Guns are either props or loaded with blanks, ammunition that makes a loud noise but doesn't shoot a bullet. It should be noted that blanks can fire compressed gasses or bits of metal, so they're still dangerous, especially at close range. A squib is a small explosive charge (today a pneumatic charge is often used) taped to the victim's body in the appropriate place, with a small bag of theater blood on top of it. The whole rig is backed with a metal plate, protecting the actor from the charge and projecting it outward.
The charges are set off remotely, or by the actor himself, via a button hidden in his sleeve, timed to the firing of a gun in the scene.
When the charges go off, it rips through clothing and spurts the fake blood in a convincing facsimile of a gunshot wound [Source: Baxter]. Bullet hits on other surfaces can be faked by drilling the proper holes, covering them with painted putty or paper, then setting off charges to blow away the cover and reveal the hole. He originally wantedto squeeze a peach, which would have been juicier, but peaches were out of season, so they injected the pear with water.High fallsA fall from a great height was once the bread and butter of stunt people.
Today, these stunts are often accomplished with editing and green-screen, or digital special effects. When a true high fall is done, stunt people rely on one basic idea -- make sure the falling stuntman doesn't hit anything hard.
In the past, or for shorter falls, cardboard boxes with the corners cut off were used [Source: Emmens]. Modern high falls often use a bungee cord device that allows the stunt person to fall almost to the ground before bouncing back up unharmed.Stunts With FireAny scene where fire is involved is a dangerous one. They're modified with added safety equipment such as a roll cage and on-board fire extinguishers, rigs for placing cameras and any gear needed to accomplish the stunt itself. If the ram points down, it can be triggered by the driver to fire a pole at the ground, propelling the car into a flip. And this year, the Academy is presenting Vic Armstrong with a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for development of the Fan Descender and use of it throughout the years. Today's stunt industry is peopled with second, third, even fourth generations of founding performers.
Joe and Tap Canutt joined the stunt community early on and dedicated their careers to continuing their father's legacy of safety and excellence.
Each started as a stunt performer, worked up to a coordinator position, and each focused on building and maintaining a safe work environment. Paul Stader, John Epper and Carey Loftin also came up through the ranks to emerge as leaders of this generation.
Stader was an incredible water man and diver and he helped train and guide up-and-coming stunt performers. Epper, the head of a stunt family dynasty, was a tremendously respected all-around stunt man. Loftin's specialty was car work, most notably the car chase in Bullit.The Taurus World Stunt Awards Foundation not only gives stunt people their own awards at an annual show, but offers financial support to stunt people worldwide who have been injured while on the jpb. 2008 Taurus World Stunt Awards NomineesBEST FIGHT1.300Spartans fight the Persians with swords and spears in a bloody battle. Fight progresses to a down and dirty brawl, sending male double backwards out a 3-story window, careening off a catwalk and airduct then to the ground.

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