Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: One of the stunt shots in the beginning of the Fall Guy was not even done by a stuntman.
The theme song to Lee Majors’ TV series, The Fall Guy, about a Hollywood stuntman, was titled “The Unknown Stuntman,” and had lyrics such as:
I might fall from a tall building,
I might roll a brand new car.
‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.
I never spend much time in school
But I taught ladies plenty.
It’s true I hire my body out for pay, Hey Hey.
I might jump an open drawbridge,
Or Tarzan from a vine.
‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.
The opening credits for the series always had a number of notable film and TV stunt shots.
Amazingly enough, one of the more prominent stunts (it appeared in the opening credits the whole run of the show, unlike most of the other stunts, which were cycled out over the years) was actually NOT performed by a stuntman, but by the actual actor from the film!!!
In the 1976 film, The Sky Riders, James Coburn plays a man who….okay, prepare yourself for the plot of this film….must help his ex-wife’s new husband when Coburn’s ex-wife and his children are kidnapped by terrorists. All attempts to rescue her have failed because the bad guys are hold up in a mountain cliffside fortress that is inaccessible by most means of transportation. So Coburn hires a crack team of (wait for it) hang gliders and he and the hang gliders go to rescue his kids and his ex-wife.
Well, at one point in the film, the bad guys are attacking Coburn with a helicopter, and he actually jumps on to the chopper!
The picture quality isn’t great, but you can tell that it IS Coburn (I’ve watched the scene – we don’t actually get to see him jump on, we just see him later as he is hanging on to the helicoptor).
Well, during the Fall Guy opening credits…
There is Coburn, featured as Lee Majors sings about being the “Unknown Stuntman” subbing in for all the stars!
Pretty funny (and quite impressive on the part of the late, great James Coburn to be willing to do that stunt himself, even if they were certainly hooked up with lots of safety equipment).
The legend is…
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