Thursday, March 5, 2015

Amazing Vintage Photos of Early Women Motorcycle Stunters

When Margaret Gast made her first attempt at conquering the Monodrome (a.k.a. 'The Wall of Death') back in the early 1900s, no one would have dreamed of sporting the pink leather chaps or high-healed riding boots found in modern motorbike dealerships.

In fact, it would not be until the age of disco when a women named Kerry Kleid fought for her right to race that the AMA gave out its first professional license to a female rider. It probably didn't hurt that she had a reputation of being able to wheelie whatever she was riding...

Those pioneering women of motorcycle stunt might just say that girls like Tena "Stunt Blondie" Colbert, JoJo Farmer or Suzanne "Gixxie" Hamilton have it too easy these days. But the truth is, these girls are still raising their front wheels in a largely male dominated sport.

Below is a small collection of some of amazing vintage photos of early women motorcycle stunters.

Lillian La France was one of the first, and also one of the most popular, female Wall of Death riders of the 1920s & ’30s.


Cookie Crum on the Wall of Death

Cookie Crum riding side saddle

Lexington motorcycle Police stunt display

Lillian La France showing off her balance



Unknown woman


(via Moto Lady)

47 comments:

  1. Concur. B & W was pretty rare in the 70s. Technology wise everyone wanted the latest thing and so color photos were the norm.

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  2. Oh,,BS. Fast food was everywhere in the Seventies.

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  3. Cadillac was still the dream luxury car until the late Seventies. Mercedes were expensive and considered hard riding, Jags were trouble, BMW wasn't a luxury make yet,so Caddy and Li

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  4. There weren't a lot of chains in the 70s. There weren't that many malls in the early 70s. The chains I remember from then were Woolworth's, Horn and Hardart and A&P. Other than that there were mostly independent stores in neighborhoods.

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  5. yeah, there were some, but national chains like mcd's and bk and stuff like that were wayyyyy less represented. for instance, when I moved here in 94, 6th avenue between 42nd and 14th was pretty much all factories and warehouses, things like that. Now, all national chains. If you walk in new york city and see a national chain, there's a great chance it wasn't there when i arrived here in 94. I literally can't think of one.

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  6. At that time Duane Reade was a drug store on Duane and Reade Streets

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  7. These are great. Miss Woolworths and the Checker cabs.

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  8. Re WOR, TV moved into that building about 1971, I can remember the man who hired me for my first real job, in Jan 1972, mentioning having had the studio floor poured, as if it were recent.

    WOR Radio, both AM and FM were in 1440 Broadway at the time. I worked for FM most of 1972 then the parent company moved me to Florida.

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  9. I lived there all through the 70's and it doesn't seem long ago at all. But these pictures look ancient. It amazes me!!!

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  10. That is exactly the case. I think these were ripped from anthologies about Harlem and the Lower East Side and poorer New York neighborhoods slated for redevelopment. The pix from midtown are contemporary except for the cars.

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  11. Why on earth is this group of photos called "amazing"? Was the editor born yesterday?

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  12. Obviously, you are one of the masses that have flooded NYC and have now made it Pretentious, Overpriced, Homogenized and Dull. Thank you for gutting the creativity and originality from a great city. Yes, I grew up in the "gritty" seventies and every decade since has been slightly different but the mass ejection of the middle class really started around 2000 and onward.

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  13. Excellent. On behalf of the New World Order and the Illuminati our work here is done. Sorry it took so long. Obviously.

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  14. Fuck Rudy.

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  15. Deepsville.

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  16. By the 70s the Automat on 14th had already become a MacDonalds. If you were single and young in the 70s the City could be a blast, but a family with kids had very little to do after dark. I would drive in, find a parking space, remove the radio/tape deck and leave the car doors unlocked so if someone wanted something they wouldn't break the windows. I worked in Bushwick which became a dead zone in the 70s. I look back on b those days with absolutely no nostalgia. When my daughter was in college in the early 2000s I felt she was safer taking the LIRR into the city for a night out than driving around Hempstead Turnpike. Rudy Giuliani made that happen with Bratton, Jack Maple and the men and women of the NYPD.

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  17. The photograph of Fulton Avenue and Crotona Park South is from the 1980s, not the 1970s.

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  18. Franchot RichardMarch 8, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Amazing amazing memories of a city that still doesn't sleep

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  19. Franchot RichardMarch 8, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    And yes Rudy did bring nyc back from the brink of social and financial destruction

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  20. You clearly didn't live in NYC in the 70s. (nor did the others who defend Il Duce Giluiani here.)
    Many families lived here, and didn't flee to the burbs as part of White Flight.
    Bushwick was a dead zone because it was primarily an industrial neighborhood.
    And no Automat on 14th St became a McDonald's. In fact, there were only a handful, literally, of McD's by 1980.
    I know. I lived here daily.
    And, NYC voters overwhelmingly despised Giuliani by Sept 10, 2001, and only his grandstanding after 9/11 convinced some - and many non-NYCers - that he was some kind of hero. He was not. He was a bully and a philanderer who brought his mistress to Gracie Mansion it f*ck while his wife and kids slept down the hall. Gee, even his kids hate him now.

    I am so glad my parents kept me in the city, and i so disdain the suburban tourists who flock to Manhattan now, looking for the Disneyland of their Dreams, and retreat back to their cul-de-sacs as midnight approaches

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  21. Bushwick, industrial???? That would be a shock to the families that sent their kids to the four Catholic schools and the 11 public schools in the community. So industrial that in 1975 the Board of Ed created district 32, totally within the confines of the 83, Bushwick's precinct. Devils Rebels, Savage Skulls, these were the Puerto Rican street gangs that ruled Bushwick after dark. Go dig out an NBC network news report from 1975 on Bushwick. It ran on the Huntley report and after watching it, my dad, a true tough guy asked me, " That's where you work!?". Not only that but I actu ally had taught the gsno leader they interviewed. I grew up on 17th off 3rd in the city. Me mom had a kettle to Gramercy Park. I spent four years riding subways in the military uniform of XAVIER HS on 16th street.
    Don't even begin to think you can contest my NYC bona fides. Oh and those suburbanights tourists pay the sales taxes and geneat the businesses that provide employment and provide marXi st mayor deblasio the monies he spends on his socialistic endeavors

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  22. notice the lack of almost any foreign vehicles. rock solid American steel/metal.

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  23. It's always an interesting study to see so many conflicting opinions and even dissent....and with NYC as the subject, it shouldn't be any other way. Still, I can't agree that a bunch of homogenized businesses are an improvement over the independently owned shops run by hardworking individuals who have largely been phased out. I wish that we could have had mayors other than Rudy G. and also Bloomberg, savvy enough to have made many necessary improvements without turning this city into a giant chain. Last night while I was walking through the E. Village, I couldn't believe how many businesses have been phased out in only the past ten years, and the plethora of Dunkin Donuts, Subway and McDonalds that have replaced them. Sadly, only the big chains can afford the massive rent increases that have infiltrated every neighborhood. And regardless of where you stand, I am sure there aren't many people (other than landlords) that are happy with their 10X plus rent increases. It still is wildly unbelievable that an apartment that used to rent for under 500 a month in 1976 can go for 6, 7 or 8000 now with the added amenity of painted hallways.

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  24. I worked at 1430 Broadway 74-77

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  25. yep - these are the pics in my mind when I think about NYC. When I go to visit it's a totally different place - some better- some worse - but very different - sigh

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  26. I would give anything to live in this New York of excitement, danger, glamour and grit!

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  27. My shop rent on Christopher when I started my business back in 1965 was $110. per month.


    It is now just under $22,000. per month...with annual escalation.

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  28. Specifically, violent crime started falling precisely 18 years after Roe V. Wade (fewer abandoned adolescents roaming the street), which was around the same time the crack epidemic started to be old news.

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  29. The Cimarron and the V8-6-4 introduced in 1981 was (almost) the death knell for Cadillac.

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  30. Dmitry RabinovichMarch 10, 2015 at 3:23 AM

    Very good

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  31. In one email you call Bushwick a "dead zone", then you mention how many Catholic and public schools it has. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

    As far as suburban kids from L.I. coming to party and trash our neighborhood: keep your brats back in the burbs. We don't want them peeing, vomiting, fighting, screaming - keeping our families awake all night. See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z_gde0ZflE We would take the drug dealers any day over these galoots.

    Stay in the burbs, with others of your mentality.

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  32. People had little choice in leaving. And you weren't there in the 70s when the gangs ruled or the 80s when residents who fought the dealers now have parks named after them, postumpusly

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  33. wow what an amazing picture, i really like it , for sure, thanks for sharing this
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  34. "People had little choice in leaving."
    Nonsense. My parents didn't flee to the sterile suburbs. They simply moved to safer neighborhoods in NYC, like so many others.
    When I left home, my economic condition necessitated I live in rougher neighborhoods. I didn't mind. I never got beat up, and got robbed only once - of 25¢ - a price worth paying for living in the city when it was a city, not like it is now, a sterile Disneyland for tourists and suburbanites like yourself.

    Furthermore, don't tell me where I was or wasn't in the 70s and 80s. I traveled all over the city, and lived/worked in some very dodgy neighborhoods. I didn't need to walk around in a make-believe soldier's uniform to prove anything.

    And, one more time: we oldtimers will take the drug dealers any day over the suburban and B&T kids who come in nowadays to ruin our neighborhoods on the weekend. Did you not see what it is like living on the LES nowadays, did you not watch the video? If not, do so, before making ridiculous comments. Keep your rowdy brats in their cul-de-sacs, not in my neighborhood

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  35. Sterile suburbs??? Right!! As for old timers. I'm probably a good deal older than you. I was a kid in the 50s not the 70s. Take the drug dealers would you. I taught in a Bushwick Catholic school from 1971 to 1979. There are a score of kids I taught who dI'd from the hero in and angel dust plague. And you know what I will tell know it alls like you anything I want whenever I want and if you want to test thatI'll send you my address if you want to do something about it. Guy like you would have lasted an hour in my old Babe and less in the Bushwick of the 70s.

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  36. Yes, that was the moment when masses of potential customers went "Yuck!" and they were right. But the reality is that GM had been cheapening Cadillac for 15 years prior.

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  37. unbelievable....how high must one mark up their merchandise...

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  38. liked Rudy...

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  39. I was a child of the 50s, moved to Manhattan in the 60s, enjoyed a vibrant city in the 70s and 80s while you vegetated in the suburbs, had 16 years of Catholic education, and if I ever want more shit of you, I'll squeeze your head, Mary.

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  40. Steven Hans LindnerApril 7, 2015 at 6:42 AM

    Hello, I would like to know who put these photos in this collection on the web?

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  41. Intense racial discrimination that has continued and increased under Liberal leadership.

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  42. The third photo from top 34 years later:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.743166,-73.951279,3a,75y,295.26h,96.44t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s1GZ4RvmVsuQ0_Qqtf44GGA!2e0

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  43. Kid, unless you were drinking when Ed Koch was Mayor, I can't take you seriously. MY NY was like something out of Dickens. Filthy, dangerous and FUN FUN FUN!!! Loonies with meat cleavers in the subway! Pollution so bad that every trip downtown ended with picking black filth out of your nose. No, we didn't blow the nose. We were punks. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am glad I got to see it, live it, love it.

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  44. I'm a city native and I remember those times, as well as the time before that when the city was both authentic AND safe. If you really enjoyed that shit then you were probably one of the guys causing the mayhem. Glad the city is safe for all now.

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  45. I LOVE LOVE LOVE watching these pictures/movies about NYC in the 70s. I was born in 1987, but NYC fascinates me, especially the griminess it had in the 70s, well before the crack epidemic and well before Giuliani cleaned it up. It brings a nostalgia that I never experienced. The weirder part is that I'm from California, and only visited NYC several times.
    Maybe because it brings close memories of my family and I watching movies like Serpico, Annie Hall, The French Connection, Taxi Driver and Mean Streets. I cannot imagine how the NYC of today is the same place as those movies' plots.
    I'm also a big fan of the film noir and neo-noir movies of LA during the 20s-40s. I'm in LA often and just love the history. Movies like Chinatown, LA Confidential, The Changeling, and the Postman always Rings Twice (which is technically a full blown noir movie).

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