Jan 24 2017

Mystery Foto #3 Solved: The Greatest Car Stunt in Film History in the “Man With the Golden Gun”


This weekend's Mystery Friday Foto was considered by many (especially me) as the greatest car stunt in film history.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • In which film did this car stunt appear? Provide the film's release year and its major stars.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) starring Roger Moore as James Bond with Christopher Lee, Pritt Ekland, Maude Adams and Herve Villechaize (Tattoo!). 

  • Where was this stunt filmed?

Along the Mae Klong River, 30 miles from Bangkok, Thailand. Accordingly to Masslive.com,  "A ramp was built on each side - one for launching and one for landing.  American engineers were flown in to oversee the piledriving of 62 piers and the construction of a concrete road leading up to the "bridge." The ramps were then camouflaged to look like an old bridge whose center has deteriorated and fallen into the river over time." The stunt was successful in the frst and only take.

  • Identify the manufacturer of the car and its model.

A modifed AMC Hornet hatchback There was only one backup AMC Hornet for the stunt.

  • What was the name of the stunt driver?

Lauren "Bumps" Willet. Note the correct spelling of Bumps' last name.

  • Why is this car stunt credited with making cinematic history?

It is the first car stunt created by a computer simulation program. Race car driver and motor show producer Jay Milligan, Sr. worked with Raymond McHenry, head of the engineering mechanics in the transportation research at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (now Calspan Corp.). McHenry obtained a patent on the car stunt in 1974.

  • What was the major criticism of the car stunt as seen in the film?

A slide whistle sound was dubbed over the car stunt.

  • When and where was this car stunt first performed prior to appearing in the film?

The car stunt was tested three times in 1971 at the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory grounds grounds in Buffalo, New York using a modified 1972 AMC Javelin SST.

The first public performance of the car stunt succesfully debuted before 66,000 people in an AMC Javelin at the Jay Milligan Hell Drivers Thrill Show on January 15, 1972.

  • What was the official name of the stunt?

Astro Spiral Jump

  • Has this car stunt ever been successfully replicated?

Yes, the Astro Spiral Jump toured with the Jay Milligan Thrill Show in the 1970s.  The British televison show Top Gear unsuccessfully tried to replicate an accident-free Astro Spiral Jump in 2008 and 2014. In 2012, Brent Fletcher succesfully completed a "World Record Corkscrew" jump in a high performance buggy.

 

# Comments: 20

Congrats to Ron Ridolph, Mark DeSantis, Chuck Rudy, Dick Gorman, Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner), Steve Lucas (see Lucas' Learnings), Tim Ivers, Greg O., Manny, Jerry Giarratana, Frank Femenias, Simon Favre, Don Jr., Dean Butler and Ron Sieber for identifying The Man With the Golden Gun.

Congrats to Greg O. for correctly identifying and spelling the name of the stunt driver in the Man With the Golden Gun  and discovering the 2012 buggy corkscrew jump by Brent Fletcher.

Enjoy,

Howard Kroplick


The Creation of the Astro Spiral Jump

Mister Supernatural by Karl Ludvigsen
 
Automobile Quarterly, First Quarter, 2004

Thus it's ironic that the Astro Spiral, by far the most spectacular and most public event with which Bill Milliken's been associated, didn't find him behind the stunt car's wheel. Its first tests were run on the concrete apron adjacent to the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) in upstate New York, where Bill was director of the Transportation Division until his retirement in 1976. On this same apron Bill had demonstrated the self-limiting handling of a VW Beetle to a new employee by circling a research airplane at higher and higher speeds until the Bug's inside rear wheel lifted, providing automatic speed control. "People were peering out the windows," recalled the new hire, "wondering when Bill would crash into this invaluable test aircraft."

The new CAL employee was Ray McHenry, who would turn to Milliken in 1968 to get real-world validation of a computer program he'd created to simulate the motion of a car over irregular surfaces. They did it by bouncing cars over the ramps of a stunt-driving team, which put them in touch with this arcane genre. To push his program to the limit and demonstrate its versatility McHenry contacted the All American Hell Drivers run by W. Jay Milligan, Jr. Together they came up with the astounding idea of a ramp-to-ramp jump in which a car turned 360 degrees in the air-a barrel-roll, if you will. It was a stunt that could only be computer-generated; no trial-and-error effort could ever have achieved it.
 
To test the ramps that McHenry's computers designed, they fitted the trial Javelin with a modified cruise control to hold its speed, automatic steering, and remote-controlled braking as an abort system. These guided three unmanned jumps that showed that the stunt worked-surprisingly well. Although observing these unorthodox proceedings with a jaundiced eye, CAL's top brass allowed them to go ahead. "There were those in CAL's management who were hoping it would crash so they'd be done with it," McHenry recalled. "The spiral jump would never have gone ahead without Bill. He had tremendous influence on CAL's chief, Ira Ross, that let him get away with things that others wouldn't have."
 
Three manned jumps on CAL's apron followed the unmanned launches before the Astro Spiral was debuted inside Houston's Astrodome on January 15, 1972. Fifty thousand Texans went berserk at the incredible sight of a barrel-rolling Javelin, applauding and hollering. Among the race-suited ramp hands were McHenry and Milliken, arch-intellectuals given a rare moment in the limelight. The later jump for the James Bond cameras in Thailand was, according to Bill, one of the best they'd ever had. The resulting publicity was such that CAL's Ira Ross sold many more of McHenry's programs-giving a hint as to why Ross was willing to tolerate Milliken's less conventional initiatives.


Film Clips" The Man with the Golden Gun" e.


The car stunt shown with and without the slide whistle: 1 minute and 33 seconds.

In 2010, "Tabanger" took out the "Evel Knievel" line, silenced the slide whistle, added an engine rev as it jumps, added a small wind effect (it sounded weird completely silent), slowed the jump by 20%, had to redo the car landing sound (because it had slide whistle all over it), and added the brassy James Bond theme to finish it off."


The entire car stunt sequence: 5 minutes and 41 seconds


This handheld movie sequence is of an actual automobile stunt which was used in the James Bond film 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. Note: The real time was much faster than it appeared in the film.


This computer graphics was created in June 1971 at Calspan in Buffalo, NY as visual output from their Highway Vehicle Object Simulation Model (HVOSM) computer program.


2009 Interview with Jay Milligan


The practice car stunt at Cornell: 0:49 seconds to 0:56 seconds

The public debut of the car stunt at the Jay Milligan Hell Drivers Thrill Show held on January 14-15, 1972 at the Houston Astrodome: 0:57 seconds to: 1:03 seconds.

Testing the car stunt.

The Astro Spiral Jump using an AMC Javelin at the Houston Astrodome.


Top Gear's Two Attempts to Replicate the Car Stunt


The British television show Top Gear failed twice to complete an accident-free relication of the Astro Sprial Jump..


Brent Fletcher' World Record Corkscrew Jump


In 2012, Brent Fletcher succesfully completed a "World Record Corkscrew" jump in a high performance buggy.


The Astro-Spiral Jump Patent

On November 13, 1972, "Inventor" Raymond McHenry of Calspan Corp. filed this patent for the Spiral Jump Stunt Apparatus. It was accepted on June 4, 1974.

Submitted by Art Kleiner.


Scientific Paper "The Astro Spiral Jump- An Automobile Stunt Designed via Computer Simulation"

Raymond McHenry of Calspan Corp.'s  scientific paper on "The Astro Spiral Jump." Submitted by Art Kleiner.

Submitted by Art Kleiner.

Submitted by Art Kleiner.


Lauren "Bumps" K. Willert

The obituary for Bumps Willert (1935-2016)


Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

Bumps Willert


Lucas Learnings (Submitted by Steve Lucas)

Jimmy Canton and Jay Milligan with a January 10, 1975 dated photo proving the stunt was done at least once post-1974.


King's Gold (Submitted by David King)

 David King: Ian Fleming: The Man With The Golden Gun (first edition). Even with the great stunts, read the book, don't bother with the movie!



Comments

Jan 20 2017 Ron Ridolph 3:21 AM

Hi Howard:
  The stunt is from the movie:  The Man With The Golden Gun starring Roger Moore
as James Bond from 1974.  I believe the stunt is called an Aerial Twist or Astro Spiral.
The car is a AMC Matador and was filmed in several locations including Thailand.

            All The Best Always,  Cordially,  Ron

Jan 20 2017 Mark desantis 3:25 PM

1974 RED AMC HORNET X   CORK SCREW JUMP IN THE MOVIE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN IT WAS THE FIRST COMPUTER SIMULATED JUMP
CONCEIVED BY JAY MILLIGAN
FILMED IN RURAL THILAND
8 CAMERAS TOOK THE FILM
THE STUNT WAS PATENTED SO NO ONE ELSE WOULD US IT

Jan 20 2017 Chuck Rudy 9:31 PM

The stunt is from the 1974 “The Man with the Golden Gun” with Roger Moore as James Bond an also starring Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Marc Lawrence.

The car is an AMC Hornet.

The stunt on Youtoob.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzCIbhLUUA0

The science to the stunt first performed at the Astrodome in an AMC Javelin and was known as the Astro Spiral Jump and conceived and first completed by Jay Millikan.  I recall reading about this back in the early 70’s.  As I recall he was to perform 2 jumps however on the first jump the car lost oil pressure and was unable to start for a second attempt.  So somewhere there is a famous Javelin that can’t start.
http://jalopnik.com/the-james-bond-corkscrew-jump-was-the-first-computer-mo-1711459704

The Bond stunt was performed in 1973 in Thailand for the movie by British stuntman Loren “Bumps” Willard and credited as the first computer simulated/aided car stunt.  It was accompanied in the movie by an unfortunate slide flute sound which was condemned as minimizing the danger and mastery of the jump.
https://jt78.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/the-man-with-the-golden-gun-corkscrew-jump/

.....and lastly…...In 2008, the British automotive show, Top Gear, tried to recreate the cork-screw jump but failed to pull it off. Top Gear claims the stunt has never been successfully recreated.

Jan 20 2017 Chuck Rudy 9:33 PM

.....and lastly…...In 2008, the British automotive show, Top Gear, tried to recreate the cork-screw jump but failed to pull it off. Top Gear claims the stunt has never been successfully recreated.

Jan 21 2017 Dave Russo 9:50 AM

This is an easy one.

This is from the Dukes of Hazzard, filmed in Hazzard County, GA. The car is a 1969 Dodge Charger was known as the “General Lee” and was owned by cousins Bo and Luke Duke.  They were probably being chased by Sheriff Riscoe Pico Train who was supervised by Boss Hogg. This must have been a trailer of some sort because the “01” is not on the car door yet nor is the confederate federate flag on the roof. What a great show!

Ok obviously this is not correct but hopefully brought back some memories!

Jan 21 2017 Dick Gorman 2:20 PM

Mystery Foto #3…This stunt appeared in the Bond film called “The Man With the Golden Gun” Released in 1974, starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland and Maud Adams. The stunt was filmed in Thailand. The car was an AMC Hornet driven by Loren “Bumps” Willard. The cinematic history regarding this stunt was… First car stunt to be computer modeled or simulated so that could get it right without killing someone. The criticism of the car stunt was a rather poor, hokey sound track.
Stunt first performed prior to appearing in the film was 1972 in Houston Astrodome. The stunt name was “Astro Spiral Jump” or “Bond Corkscrew”.
This stunt was replicated by Hollywood stuntman Brent Fletcher. He accelerated his buggy at a scientifically pre-planned speed of 54 mph. He sped into a split-level ramp which enabled the car to “corkscrew” through the air at a rate of 230 degrees per second.

Jan 21 2017 Art Kleiner 3:18 PM

In which film did this car stunt appear? Provide the film’s release year and its major stars. : 1974 James Bond film “The Man with Golden Gun” starring Roger Moore with Christopher Lee, Pritt Ekland, Maude Adams and Herve Villechaize. 

Some movie clips of the stunt.
http://jalopnik.com/the-james-bond-corkscrew-jump-was-the-first-computer-mo-1711459704

https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s—MaYGl9Ol—/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1299822428119295528.gif

Short versions
https://youtu.be/fzCIbhLUUA0
https://youtu.be/trJocyjCBzo

Long version
https://youtu.be/sCU8fVgGsPg

Where was this stunt filmed? Thailand

Identify the manufacturer of the car and its model.  AMC Hornet X

What was the name of the stunt driver?  Bumps Willard

Why is this car stunt credited with making cinematic history?  First automotive movie stunt extensively using computer modeling.  Also was successful on the scene’s first take (thankfully).

What was the major criticism of the car stunt as seen in the film?  The whistle heard during the stunt.

When and where was this car stunt first performed prior to appearing in the film?
The stunt was patented in 1972 (patent documentation being sent to Howard along with more).  It was first performed that year in the Houston Astrodome.

What was the official name of the stunt? “Astro Spiral Jump”
 
Has this car stunt ever been successfully replicated? No

Jan 21 2017 Art Kleiner 3:34 PM

I’m going to revise my earlier answer to the last question and say it was performed after the movie as documentation by its originator says it toured as stunt before and after the movie.

Jan 21 2017 Steve Lucas 5:24 PM

That stunt was from the 1974 James Bond film “The Man With The Golden Gun” starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, and Herve Villechaize. The stunt was filmed in Thailand and used an AMC Hornet Sportabout Hatchback Coupe. The driver was Loren “Bumps” Willert who is often incorrectly identified as “Bumps” Willard. It was the first movie stunt that was computer modeled before filming and it was accomplished in one take. The major criticism was the addition of a slide whistle sound effect during the jump. The stunt was first performed using an AMC Javelin in 1972 at the Houston Astrodome during an automobile thrill show and was officially called the “Astro Spiral Jump”. It was performed a few times after 1974 by Jimmy Canton, who was a friend of “Bumps” Willert, as part of Jay Milligan’s “Hell Drivers” stunt shows.

Jan 22 2017 Tim Ivers 11:37 AM

1973, Thailand. With 8 cameras rolling and ambulance crews, divers and cranes standing by British stuntman Loren “Bumps” Willard drove an AMC Hornet at a wooden ramp at 40mph executing one of the most daring and memorable stunts in cinematic history. A 270 degree barrel roll across a narrow river. Willard was paid £30,000 for pulling off the stunt in a single take.
The US racing driver Jay Milligan conceived the stunt and even performed it in 1972 at the Houston Astrodome in an AMC Javelin, christening the stunt ‘The Astro Spiral Jump”. Milligan contacted the Bond producers with the stunt who promptly protected it preventing it appearing in any other preceding films. Milligan was the stunt driver in the AMC Hornet for the other scenes of the film but was called away from filming before performing the Corkscrew Jump. 15 AMC Hornets were used in filming with 2 set aside for the Corkscrew Jump.

The Stunt is credited with being the first to be computer simulated. The software had been developed by Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory for use in a road safety applications. More information can be found on this here.
The movie was The Man With The Golden Gun (James Bond) and the feat was labeled “The Corkscrew Jump”.

Jan 22 2017 S. Berliner, III 1:49 PM

It may well be the “Greatest Car Stunt” (or the most fool-hardy) but, for me, absolutely NOTHING can ever top the indefatigable Bertha Benz’s 66 mile (106km) jaunt in August 1888 from Mannheim to her mother’s house in Pforzheim in company with her teen-age sons Eugen and Richard.  It was without Karl Benz’s knowledge or any official sanction and took several days but racked up so many firsts as to be almost unbelievable.  It’s worthy of a whole post of its own, especially after yesterday’s marches and our President’s denigration of women.  Sam, III

Jan 22 2017 Greg O. 6:20 PM

Knew it in an instant. My first James Bond movie theater experience with my father at 6 years old, and still one of my favorite Bond stunts.

-In which film did this car stunt appear? Provide the film’s release year and its major stars.
James Bond! 1974; The Man With The Golden Gun Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee

-Where was this stunt filmed?
Thailand

-Identify the manufacturer of the car and its model.
1974 AMC Hornet X

-What was the name of the stunt driver?
Loren ‘Bumps’ Willert (proper spelling)

-Why is this car stunt credited with making cinematic history?
It’s the first stunt of any kind to be computer modeled.

-What was the major criticism of the car stunt as seen in the film?
I’ll assume you’re going for the poorly chosen slide whistle sound effect overdub.

-When and where was this car stunt first performed prior to appearing in the film?
Houston Astodome in 1972 by Jay Milligan in an AMC Javelin

-What was the official name of the stunt?
‘The Astro Spiral Jump’

Has this car stunt ever been successfully replicated?
In 2012 by Hollywood stuntman Brent Fletcher.

Jan 22 2017 Greg O. 6:22 PM

Knew it in an instant. My first James Bond movie theater experience with my father at 6 years old, and still one of my favorite Bond stunts.

-In which film did this car stunt appear? Provide the film’s release year and its major stars.
James Bond! 1974; The Man With The Golden Gun Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee

-Where was this stunt filmed?
Thailand

-Identify the manufacturer of the car and its model.
1974 AMC Hornet X

-What was the name of the stunt driver?
Loren ‘Bumps’ Willert (correct spelling)

-Why is this car stunt credited with making cinematic history?
It’s the first stunt of any kind to be computer modeled.

-What was the major criticism of the car stunt as seen in the film?
I’ll assume you’re going for the poorly chosen slide whistle sound effect overdub.

-When and where was this car stunt first performed prior to appearing in the film?
Houston Astodome in 1972 by Jay Milligan in an AMC Javelin

-What was the official name of the stunt?
‘The Astro Spiral Jump’

Has this car stunt ever been successfully replicated?
In 2012 by Hollywood stuntman Brent Fletcher.

Jan 22 2017 Manny 8:34 PM

Man with Golden Gun 1974, Roger Moore, Christopher Lee
Thailand
74 AMC Hornet
Bumps Willard
One take, first 360 jump, computer calculations used.
Bad sound effects- slide whistle
72, Houston Astrodome
Corkscrew or Astro Spiral
No

Jan 22 2017 Jerry Giarratana 8:52 PM

1974,man with the golden gun,roger Moore,stunt filmed in Thailand,AMC Hornet,First corkscrew stunt on screen and use of computer aid technology, the first time this stunt was successful was in houston astrodome 1972,the stunt name is corkscrew

Jan 23 2017 Jeff payne 12:08 AM

Mystery photo
1 live and let die
2 roger Moore Christopher lee 1974
3 Thailand
4 American Motors AMC HORNET X
5 Bumps Willard
6 computer aided effect
7 see 6
8 ?
9 ?
10 no

Jan 23 2017 frank femenias 3:26 PM

I think I got this. 1974, “The Man with the Golden Gun,” starring Roger Moore (James Bond), filmed in Thailand. “The Astro Spiral Jump” performed in the movie was achieved on first attempt using a modified AMC Hornet X, its steering wheel relocated in the center for stunt driver Loren “Bumps” Willard. This was the only time an AMC was used in a Bond movie. The jump was conceived and performed two years earlier at the Houston Astrodome by US race driver Jay Milligan using an AMC Javelin. Another first was that computers were used to compute and simulate a movie stunt using crude vector graphics in 3D. The car had to reach the first ramp at nearly 40 MPH to begin rolling fast at about 230 degrees/second. The recorded jump had to be slowed down for the theatres. Criticism probably stemmed from Secret Agent Bond actually driving an AMC, or the comic slide whistle used when the car was airborne. 
Years later the “Joey Chitwood Thrill Show” used AMC Javelins for more jumps. In 2011 Chevrolet used a Chevy Sonic renaming the jump, “Kickflip”
https://youtu.be/esSRxB_xYCg?t=62
http://jalopnik.com/the-james-bond-corkscrew-jump-was-the-first-computer-mo-1711459704

Jan 23 2017 Howard Kroplick 10:15 PM

From Simon Favre:

I recognized the picture immediately.

The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland,
Stunt filmed in Thailand. Car is an AMC Hornet, driven by “Bumps” Willard.
The stunt was designed and computer simulated by Cornell Aeronautics Lab.
The stunt was criticized for the goofy slide whistle sound effect.
The stunt was part of the All American Thrill Show billed as the Astro Spiral before it was picked up for the film.
Top Gear failed to reproduce it.
All info from Wikipedia and IMDB.com

Jan 23 2017 Howard Kroplick 10:34 PM

From Don Jr.:

Hello Howard,
I know that car and stunt all to well. I personally know Jay Milligan Sr. from Hamburg, NY who spent hundreds of hours figuring out this stunt and building ramps. I know a few years ago the ramps were behind his office (JM Productions). Exciting to see your post.
I will let other people figure out the year was 1974, name was “Astro-Spiral” stunt, the place was in Bangkok, Thailand for the James Bond Movie, “The Man With The Golden Gun.”

I look forward to your emails every week,
Thank you,

Jan 23 2017 Howard Kroplick 10:50 PM

Dean Butler:
You must know the “serial jump” story is published in Bill Milliken’s autobiography “Equations of Motion.” I think it would be cheating a bit to did out the answers from that book, but I suggest that, in your next discussion of the spiral jump, you credit Bill for doing the math and setting up the stunt — ramp, speeds, etc.

Bill told me the story of this stunt fifteen or twenty years ago. (Bill passed away a few years ago at 102.) Bill told me the stunt driver was rather terrified when he saw his task. Bill simply told him that, if he did everything exactly as told (especially getting the speed perfect at certain points on the ramp) that the stunt would work — and it did!

I think (without looking at the book) that Bill told me the stunt was done in Thailand.

Jan 26 2017 Howard Kroplick 10:47 PM

From Ron Sieber:
I remembered seeing that stunt in a Roger Moore-as-Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. I was living in St Thomas at the time, and that was an interesting location in which to watch such a movie, to say the least.

The car was an AMC Hornet. I subsequently read up on this stunt in Jalopnik and found all the relevant facts which you already have seen, so I won’t pretend that I know all of the details. I related what I thought were the most important.

I agree with you that this was a most awesome stunt. Too bad it wasn’t part of the stunt sequences in a more serious film such as Bullitt. For that reason, I think that the maneuver is very under-appreciated as it was real and not CGI.

Best to you,

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