“Crasharama,” a film by John Milne
Video | One of the more exciting things to see is a good automotive thrill drivers stunt show. Cars on two wheels, launching off ramps and jumps, smashing other cars and generally doing the type of fancy driving we expect from movie stunt men. Sacramento man “Jumpin” Johnny Wisner has been doing this type of show for years with his traveling act the Black Cat Hell Drivers.
Normally the show would take place at a fairgrounds somewhere. But once a year or so, for many years, Johnny would put on a performance in the street in front of his house in an industrial neighborhood of Sacramento. Oh the cops knew about it. Off duty guys would ride their motorcycles over to drink beer and watch the action. At its peak four or five hundred people would come to see the spectacle. And that’s exactly what it was, an amazing counter culture spectacle. There would be a band on a flatbed truck and people selling T-shirts and ice-cream. Bikers would keep the crowd back and assist Johnny.
He would do the stunt and then crawl out of the smashed car, wave to the crowd, get his big old fork lift and move the debris out of the way. Then on to the next stunt. The show ended with Johnny riding his old Harley through a burning section of wooden fence. When the lot next to his house was bought up and developed there was no room for the spectators and so with a couple of super stealth exceptions he has stopped the show on his street.
As an aside, note how the cars do not explode on contact like they do in the movies.
Sacramento film maker John Milne has filmed several of the Crasharamas over the years and has generously let us share one of his short films with you.