My first encounter with the Wall of Death was at the Bloomsburg Fair circa 1984. The Fair (or "the Fer", as it's referred to by the locals) is sprawling state fair-type set up, complete with livestock displays, carnival games, and church dinners. Growing up in the inner ring suburbs of Philadelphia, I hadn't spent much time in the country, and as a result, I was never exposed to what passes for entertainment in rural America. Walking around the Fairgrounds for the first time, I was fascinated by the old timey attractions the Fair offered. One such attraction was the Wall of Death, a thrill show that featured stunt riders on vintage Indian motorcycles navigating a three story high wooden cylinder.
In this video, the Wall of Death concept is updated as the Vortex of Terror. The first time I watched this clip, it brought me back to my first visit to the Bloomsburg Fair. Though likely filmed at a bike event, it's easy to picture this taking place at a County Fair or at some other community gathering offering a genuine slice of Americana. Take a few minutes to watch Jesse navigate the Vortex, and while you're at it, contemplate how old and new thrill seeking elements are seamlessly blended, making this stunt as timeless as funnel cakes and winning a cupie doll for your sweetheart. Enjoy!