Guy Stunt AKA “Stunt Guy”
Closest possible estimates place Guy Stunt’s birth date at February 29th 1912, although this cannot be confirmed. Scientists have speculated that his being born in a leap year may account for the fact that photographic evidence shows no change in his physical appearance since 1939.
Born in England to the Marquess and Marchioness of Stratford, Guy Stunt’s family took him to London Zoo when just a toddler. Disaster struck, though, when the young heir’s nanny left his pram unattended with the brake off.
After rolling some twenty metres at high speed, the pram ran into the back of an ice-cream seller and its three year-old occupant was catapulted right over the fence of the dingo enclosure. Fortunately the young Stunt Legend landed on the other side in the middle of an inexplicable but conveniently placed pile of empty cardboard boxes. He remained with the dingoes throughout his formative years, learning the wild ways of the pack and subsisting largely on a diet of barbecued possum and crispy-fried koala noses.
After some years of living in the zoo, Guy Stunt was found one day in the crocodile enclosure, enjoying a friendly wrestle with the eldest and grumpiest of its occupants. The spectacle drew a large crowd and, encouraged by his success, Guy Stunt took his croc-wrestling show around the backstreets of London for the amusement of adoring (and scruffy-looking) crowds. The act gained notoriety and this eventually led to the auspicious meeting between Guy Stunt and the international impresario Chamberlain D’Anger, who loved Stunt’s act so much that he offered him a place on the line-up for his travelling show: ‘Chamberlain D’Anger’s Spectacular Extravaganza!’ appearing as Stunt Guy: King of the Crocs.
Stunt Guy’s croc-wrestling act soon won top billing on the show, as they travelled throughout Europe, the Far East and finally North America. Throughout this time, Stunt Guy honed his act, introducing acrobatics, pyrotechnics and knife-throwing elements to draw bigger crowds (the introduction of sparkly outfits for the crocodiles did not improve ratings, although many complimented him on his use of colour and sequins). As a result, Stunt Guy began to diversify, eventually leaving the ‘Spectacular Extravaganza’ behind and taking bookings for any local event that might involve varying degrees of death, under the moniker of Stunt Guy.
The Stunts: Birth of a Legend
All of which brings us up to 1942, when one night Stunt Guy attended a fateful knife-throwing show in Cincinnati, only to find that he had been double-booked with the notorious female rodeo act Howlin’ Gail. Outraged, Stunt Guy insisted that he take the role of knife-thrower and this female pretender could double-up as his glamorous assistant if she liked. However, Howlin’ Gail insisted that it was clearly he who was the ‘glamorous’ one and that her superior Texan knife-throwing skills were the obvious choice for the main event. The ensuing fight led to both Stunt Guy and Howlin’ Gail strapping themselves to rotating discs and, each with one free hand, hurling knives at each other at breakneck speed to determine the more skilled knife-thrower. This spectacle proved a huge hit with the audience, which included the Hollywood producer and talent scout Jim Dangerass.
Dangerass loved Guy and Gail’s act so much, he approached them afterwards (still not having ascertained a clear winner) and offered them both a job as the stunt team on his new ‘talkie’. Stunt Guy and Howlin’ Gail agreed that, while they still didn’t think much of one another’s skills, the money would be useful and so they agreed to take the contract, thus beginning the longest and most legendary stunt partnership in history…