When Sam Elliott made his first appearance on NBC’s Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson’s doppelganger from Pawnee’s neighboring town of Eagleton, he was kind enough to hop on the phone with me to do a Random Roles interview for the AV Club. The end result remains one of my favorite conversations for the feature, but during the course of our chat, I also briefly asked Elliott about a past project that I’d wanted to spotlight for Pilot Error, a column I’d been doing for the website Antenna Free TV. As that site is no longer a going concern, however, I wanted to rescue the anecdote from oblivion and post it on my site.
It’s not a very long audio clip, but sometimes short and sweet is all you need to make an impact, and this is definitely one of those instances.
All you need for a set-up is this: once upon a time, there was a very famous daredevil named Evel Knievel. He had endorsement deals with motorcycle companies. He inspired toys based on him and his various stunts. In 1971, they made a movie about him, starring George Hamilton as Knievel, and in 1974, they even tried to make a TV series about him, this time with Knievel being played by – you guessed it – Sam Elliott.
The series never got beyond the pilot stage. It was not, however, forgotten…and Sam Elliott is not exactly thrilled about that, which you can confirm by pressing the “play” button directly below.