In the 1960s toy manufacturers were at the top of their game. Barbie, GI Joe and Hot Wheels were just a few of the memorable toys from that golden era of toy manufacturing. As the 1970s approched toy sales were on a decline. It seemed toy manufactures had run out of the innovative ideas that captured our imaginations for so long.
On December 31st, 1967. Evel Knievel made his not so successful jump over the fountains at Ceasers Palace. The popularity of this new dare devil struck a cord with the american public. Ideal wanted to cash in on this new "american hero" and quickly signed Evel to a deal. Ideal designers began working on what would later be called the "Gyro Powered Motor". An ingenious design which required no batteries, yet could propel the Stunt Cycle at break neck speeds. When the Stunt Cycle made its debut in 1973, it sold out in no time! With the success of the Stunt Cycle, Ideal decided to make an entire toy line based on Evel Knievel. Soon store shelves were packed with Scramble Vans, Trail Bikes and many other Evel Knievel related toys.
By 1977 Ideal had grossed over $350,000,000 on the E.K. toy line and was credited with saving the failing toy market. The future looked bright for Ideal and Evel, but soon it would come to an abrupt end. Upset over allegations printed in a book, Evel decided to confront the author with a baseball bat. After Evel's arrest, Ideal thought it was in their best interest to cancel their contract with Evel. Production was immediately halted and stores cleared out their remaining merchandise.
Ideal didn't want to let a good thing go, so they did a quick makeover of the E.K. line and renamed it the Team America line. Although it still retained the basic theme of the E.K. line,it lacked the quality and magic. Because of this, the Team America line soon became a memory as well.
Nearly 50 years later Evel Knievel is still as popular as ever! Thanks to eBay, many fans are still able to purchase items from their past and relive those magical moments. In 1998 Playing Mantis released a new version of the infamous Stunt Cycle and now plans are in the works to reproduce most of Ideals E.K. Line using the original factory molds! Now a whole new generation can enjoy the fun we had so many years ago. The future certainly looks bright once again!
Although the E.K. line was about the most successful toy line in history, virtually no information exists on it today. A few websites contain brief mentions or photographs, but nothing indepth. This website was created to honor the most beloved toy in american history and provide the most indepth information for collectors and fans alike. Did you know that there are over 10 different variations of the Stunt Cycle alone? Or that some other Ideal toys were made from the E.K. molds? The E.K. line contains just as much history as it does fun. So why not takes a few minutes out of your busy schedule and go back to a simpler time when all we had to worry about was losing the Stunt Cycle down the sewer!