The original daredevil had a rap sheet that was as long as his list of injuries
“Skinny little, rotten little bastard. I shoulda killed the little prick.” Sheldon Saltman was not one of Evel Knievel’s favourite people. A Hollywood promoter and self-confessed con man, he had worked with Knievel on the ill-fated Snake River Canyon jump promotional tour and, in August 1977.
He’d also published a book called Evel Knievel on Tour. Knievel was not amused with the contents. Not amused at all. “He said I was a drug taker and that I hated my mother. He said I’d fucked every girl in Butte, Montana. My kids even had to quit high school over that book. And it broke my mother’s heart. I’ve never taken a drug unless it was prescribed by a doctor. That guy was just a filthy stinkin’ little liar.”
Despite having both arms in plaster at the time, Knievel decided to get revenge on Saltman. He tracked him down to the Twentieth Century Fox studio lot in Los Angeles where he and an accomplice (who Knievel always refused to name) grabbed hold of Saltman while Evel repeatedly beat both his arms with a baseball bat.
The beating was so fierce it left Saltman with a compound fracture to his left arm and a broken right wrist, along with a multitude of bruises, aches and pains. Saltman’s left arm was so badly broken it required surgery to insert a metal plate to piece it back together. And the reason for Knievel specifically wanting to break Saltman’s arms? “So he don’t write any more goddamn books.”
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