The Mad Canadian
September 24, 2004 9:03 AM   Subscribe

A man and his rocket car. As documentaries enjoy an unprecedented level of popularity and financial success, it's high time that an obscure Canadian National Film Board doc from 1981 was (re)discovered. The story of Ken Carter, who spends several years and millions of dollars of other people's money in the single-minded pursuit of one goal: jumping a jet-powered car across the St. Lawrence River from Canada to the United States. What is it with Canadians and insane dreams?
posted by The Card Cheat (10 comments total)
I should add that the last link contains the extremely unlikely event that you are able to find a copy to rent. Citizens of Toronto: the public library system has a copy available for checkout.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2004

Thanks for this! I remember the ramp. North side of the St. Lawrence somewhere west of Long Sault Parkway. I was young, coming home from my Grandfather's, it was some time after the jump, long enough for sight of the bridge to charge my memories of the television coverage.

An inauspicious description, this.
>Carter, slightly deluded, cross-eyed, overweight and gimpy

I don't think there is any such organisation:
>The Candian Fire Department stands ready in case of catastrophe.
posted by philfromhavelock at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2004

You're right. It's the Royal Canadian Fire Department.
posted by teg at 10:47 AM on September 24, 2004

"Oh Lord, protect this rocket house and all who dwell within the rocket house" (Homer)
posted by leapfrog at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2004

Good find, thanks.
posted by the cuban at 1:04 PM on September 24, 2004

I have a copy of the documentary on video. It's awesome. Really worth watching. Especially for Ken Carter's girlfriend -- she can't be older than 16, but wears more make-up than a 40 year-old streetwalker.

This link, while great, really doesn't do the film justice. Maybe I missed it, but does it ignore the Kenny Powers aspect of the jump. If I remember correctly, the jump was Powers's idea. Then, at the last minute, he backs out -- "The jump's impossible" he's told "there's no way to make a rocket car out of a Lincoln Continental."

And maybe there isn't.

Then Ken Carter steps up to the plate. To say more would spoil what comes next. But if you can find the film, I recommend it highly. Great cheeseball stuff.
posted by herc at 2:50 PM on September 24, 2004

Forgot to mention, on my version of the video, the film is called: "Stunt-Mania" and, after the rocket-car jump, features an unrelated segment from "That's Incredible."
posted by herc at 2:52 PM on September 24, 2004

Damn, I've gotta track this thing down now.

Thanks, The Cheat! Of, uh, cards!
posted by arto at 11:08 PM on September 24, 2004

> If I remember correctly, the jump was Powers's idea.

Well, not's a bit complicated, but Powers does end up making the jump, not Carter. As for what happens after that...the last link tells all.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:00 PM on September 25, 2004

Ahhh my favourite documentary of all times. Ken is an insane genius and his story is truly one for the ages. I need to get myself a copy of this film for it has been too long since I last bathed in Ken's lunatic glow.
posted by urban greeting at 7:28 AM on September 27, 2004

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