Frank "Cannonball" Richards

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Frank "Cannonball" Richards (February 20, 1887 - February 7, 1969) was a carnival and vaudeville performer whose act involved taking heavy blows to his stomach.

Richards began by letting people (including heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey) punch him in the gut, he then progressed to letting people jump on his belly, being struck by a two-by-four, being struck by a sledgehammer, and finally being shot by a 104-lb. (47 kg) cannonball from a spring-loaded 12 ft. (4 m) cannon.[1] Richards limited his cannonball act to twice per day, as performing it more often was too painful.

A short clip of Richards performing his cannonball trick has become a well-known example of stock footage and well known in popular culture, some notable uses of the clip include appearing in the cartoon television show Freakazoid!, to films like the 1977 documentary, Gizmo!, a parody in the "Homerpalooza" episode of The Simpsons, a still image from the clip was used for the cover of the album Van Halen III, and the clip was referenced by Jerry Seinfeld in the episode The Apology. It was also shown in The Fairly OddParents episode "Fairly OddBaby" and in the Chuck episode "Chuck versus the Fear of Death".


  1. ^ Wallechinsky, David (1978). The People's Almanac Presents the Book of Lists. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell. p. 351. ISBN 0-553-11150-7.  With photo.

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