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November 2, 2002
7:08 AM   Subscribe

"A man can't just sit around." This summer marked the 20th anniversary of the guy tying balloons to a lawn chair and floating along two miles high, shivering and brandishing his pistol at bewildered passing airline pilots. Also this year, the historic lawn chair was finally found.
posted by luser (17 comments total)

 
Just wait until the terrorists hear about this one...
posted by Space Coyote at 7:50 AM on November 2, 2002


That is so cool. I'm just amazed he never fell out of the chair at altitude.
posted by bwg at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2002


Looking at the pictures, it appears that he was strapped in somehow.

What an absolutely bizarre thing to want to do, but really cool, too.
posted by eilatan at 8:40 AM on November 2, 2002


Is this what happens when the Darwin Awards go horribly awry? We need a new set of awards where people got away with doing stupid shit.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:40 AM on November 2, 2002


A few years later the man killed himself. It's a rather sad story.
posted by kayjay at 8:42 AM on November 2, 2002


It amazes me what kind of legs this story has had. This story resurfaces from time to time, and it still continues to make me smile. I think that in spite of this guy's incredible stupidity, there's also a renegade ingenuity to this stunt. He's like an American Don Quixote.
posted by Gilbert at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2002


"shivering and brandishing his pistol"
It was pellet gun. Does the record reflect he was "brandishing his pistol" at the pilots?

Pilot: wha...what the hell is that...?

Co-pilot: "why, it is a man in a lawnchair with balloons strapped to it.

Pilot: "Is that a pistol?"

Co-pilot: "you thinking a skyjacking captain?"

(fictional account of events)

LONG LIVE LARRY.
posted by clavdivs at 9:45 AM on November 2, 2002


Was Lawnchair Larry's exploits instrumental in spawning an extreme sport?
posted by madamjujujive at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2002


"If the F.A.A. was around when the Wright Brothers were testing their aircraft, they would never have been able to make their first flight at Kitty Hawk"

But Larry... Oh, nevermind.
posted by 2sheets at 10:00 AM on November 2, 2002


I about fell out of my chair laughing when I read the part about the airline pilots seeing a guy floating around in a chair at 16,000. Truly something you don't see everyday.
posted by Ron at 10:25 AM on November 2, 2002


On the resurfacing of the historic lawn chair:
Then a miracle occurred on March 12th.
[…]
It was as if I had found the Ark of the Covenant!
Truly we live in a marvelous age.
posted by sherman at 11:36 AM on November 2, 2002


"A man can't just sit around"

Funny, considering that the core of his adventure consisted almost entirely of doing just that. Indeed, in a sense it was the ultimate expression, yea, the apotheosis of the sitting-around ethos..
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:11 PM on November 2, 2002


There was a mini-musical made about this last year. It was called "Flight of the Lawnchair Man," and it was part of Hal Prince's "3hree," which was comprised of three short musicals. It ran in Philly and in L.A.

I mention it because not only was it one of the funniest things I've ever seen on stage (with absolutely amazing songs), but I've heard that it's being developed into a full-length musical.
posted by adameft at 12:11 PM on November 2, 2002


Have a look at John Ninomiya's recent cluster balloon flights or this past mefi thread.

Yes, I still want to try it.
posted by roboto at 4:58 PM on November 2, 2002


Quick draw madamjujujive! MeFite y6y6y6 has some cool photos on his homepage.
posted by roboto at 5:11 PM on November 2, 2002


The best thing about the cluster balloon guy is that he actually controls his altitude by using a knife to cut loose balloons.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:06 AM on November 4, 2002


I seem to remember Cutter John and Opus doing something similar in Bloom County. In fact, in the pictures Larry looks a bit like Cutter...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:38 AM on November 4, 2002


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