An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine
April 23, 2011
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Actually, it’s “Jack Kochman’s Hell Drivers” and the clown is “King” Kovacs. Saw this show play opening day (Sunday) of the Bartholomew Co. Fair (Columbus, IN) several times in the 1950’s.
Thanks for the ID, I took a guess that it was an H not a K at the begining of the name.
I remember king Kovac 1970 at the san jose speedway the had all mopars in white where on car would drive up one small ramp to launch up e side wheels and I think they had a car jump also it was only 47 years ago.
Am quite sure that at 77 I am the only passenger that Jake Plumsted had in the ramp to ramp jump I..it occurred at the World ‘s Fair in New York the Dodge dealer announcement show in Reno Nevada and in Plattsburgh and Malone New York where we had Dodge dealerships.
Also to be noted that it was Irish Horan Hell Drivers, and the announcer who started with him was Bob Conto named by “himself” the World’s fastest talking man. My father who was a friend of Irish Horan introduced them at our home during the 1950 Franklin County Fair in Malone NY. Bob went on to the Jack Kochman show as General Manager and announcer. As an aside I worked as a “fill-in” clown from about 1961-1969.
Bob Conto was quite a man ,,,his vision for the business of hell driving was unpredictable…many many stories of his predictaments that he solved. I have many photos which will be posted soon. There was NOT a finer gentleman than Jack Kochman
My great grandfather was one of the stunt drivers for Kochman Hell Drivers, Neil Hamilton was his stage name because his real last name, Reyngoudt, was too difficult for announcers to pronounce. I wish I could find more information about the hell drivers and pictures of my grandfather in action.
Have some photos and know your great grandfather was in at least one remember people did not take too many pictures in the 50-60’s
I never had the pleasure of meeting my father in law. He drove with the Kochman Hell Drivers from 1965 around the World’s Fair up until 1976. His name was Jerry Lackey. Were you involved during any of these years?
Jerry I remember well during the 70-80’s I was not involved directly with the show except when they needed a clown and I had seen the acts so many times it was very easy for me . Jerry as I remember was a very polite educated man that the Kochman Show was striving to employ. He was always clean never heard him use any language and always there to help. I think he only drove….did not do the auto-bats on top of the cars or any other act. Would hope I have photos of him but as I said before photos were not that popular in that era…..I will look however.
My dad, Louie Owens, worked with your great-grandfather. My mom occasionally traveled with Dad and the show and she remembers your great grandfather.
MY DAD LITTLE SONNY SMITH SAID THE CLOWNS HAD THE HARDEST JOBS I REMBER YOU TO
Do you know a hell driver with Jack Kochman named Leon Anderson
Never knew that name but contact Tonny Petersen. He is on Facebookand if anybody does…I he will. Ernie Mason
If you want to see the kochman’s hell drivers in action watch the Mexican movie “Pilotos de la muerte” (death pilots) that movie was made in 1962 good memories and regards from Mexico.
MY DAD SONNY SMITH “LITTLE SONNY SMITH” FROM GILYROY CA DROVE FOR FOR KOCHMAM 1957 TO THE MID 60S
I was a kid and every 4th of July my Uncle Joe would take my 3 cousins and I to Paterson,NJ to see Jack Kochman’s Hell Drivers and fireworks. Great memories.
My dad, Louie Owens, was with Kochman’s in 1952-1954. He started out doing maintenance, then rode a motorcycle & did some stunt driving, but the thing I most remember hearing about was the Captain Dynamite stunt. Dad died in 1992 but my mom is still alive and she would love to hear from anyone who remembers Kochman’s during this timeframe.
I recall seeing the Kochjman Hell Driver show at the Vermont State Fair in Rutland, VT. Driver Bobo Canupp ended up rolling over one of Jack’s ’57 Plymouths. Bobo looked furious. I wonder if he had to pay for th e repairs.
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