NATIONAL ENQUIRER – inside

NATIONAL ENQUIRER – inside

GREAT WALLS A FIRE !

He worked for the National Enquirer…..

I recently had the opportunity to meet with and interview a veteran stuntman who happened to also be a Hall of Famer, Ricky D.

We had time to talk about what it was like to work for the National Enquirer, producing the double truck centerfolds, why he did stunts and gags and many other questions. Here is some of that interview originally for the French Magazine, New Look. (Ricky D pictured at his office below)

Now retired, Ricky D is the CEO of The Extreme Sports Network, pictured at his desk in California Headquarters for TV Station.

Ricky, the National Enquirer huh, what was that all about ? Tell me about how you got the gig and sold over 4 million copies the weeks you were featured.

I have worked for hundreds of magazines around the world an I’m extremely proud to have been apart of those publication records. By the way, that was 4.2 million magazines in one week. I was told the cover makes you pick it up and the centerfold makes you buy it. That’s a good reason to put color and pop in that crucial spot. Some of the greatest stuntmen in the business were working for the National E at that time.

Well, on my first job for the National Enquirer I was stoked, but it was still very early, just after 5am. However, I jump ahead. Lets go back to how I was considered for the job at the National Enquirer.

My first encounter with the World’s #1 print syndication was with a gentleman who called from the National Enquirer and identified himself as The Chief Photo Editor. He said, “He’d heard about me leaping my Jet Ski over ten (10) motor boats and wanted to know if I could do anything else cool.”

I went through a litany of gags and I swear, I could hear him Yawning. So, it was at this point I told him about my ‘Incredible Boat Crash’ gag where I would take a nitrous oxide injected, one off fabricated Jet Ski and crash into a yacht. The hull was specially hand built with bullet proof, cross stitched, baked carbon Kevler 49 and patented bullet proof fairing. (I was a stuntman not a daredevil) I’ll bring the watercraft to top speed at over 60mph and crash into, a 40 foot, 20,000 pound, 1 inch thick mahogany planked with 1 inch steam-bent oak ribs motor yacht and careen all the way through it….. He slammed the damn phone hard up and down into the desk several times and said, “Hey babe, you said your gonna crash your Jet Ski though a yacht.” I said “yes.” He bangs the phone on the desk several more times and repeats himself. He did this several more times. He couldn’t believe it. We made a deal and bam, my first job for the National E.

Ricky D pictured, Just another day at the office for the Hall of Fame Stuntman from Sacramento

Now I have to ask the obvious, why ?

…..people always ask why. FOR MONEY, cash, dead presidents, scrilla, paper, mulla, scratch, cabbage….. I was a stuntman not a daredevil.

That’s incredible, was it a real boat ?

Yes, Very real. That question has been asked of me over the years and I think I’m asked because no other person has preformed it. The National Enquirer had a verification and affidavit that it was in fact a real boat. This was done in an effort to stop speculation as to the credibility of this outrageous gag. Yes, they actually verified the gag.

Iconic Stuntman, Richard ‘Ricky D’ Ditlevsen Jr

That’s interesting Ricky.

Let me ask you what’s the difference between a stuntman and a daredevil ?

…For me, a stuntman plans it out and is sure it’ll work……. a daredevil plans it out but, he’s not as sure it’ll work. ….its a fine line,  just think about it.

What kind of person would try such things as these ? I mean, it seems too many, a death wish.

One of the Greatest Stuntmen of all time, Yakima Canutt

The suicidal, the crazy and the courageous.  I would more precisely define it like this. If someone is willing to commit suicide, they would risk their very existence. The crazy fears nothing and the courageous have fear, but still do it.

Those are the only people I know of who would risk the very existence for money. One caveat, I have meet a lot of people who bloviate but when it came time to actually perform the gag, no one has ever came to me and said,  “Hey Ricky, let me do that right now instead of you.” Stuntmen don’t have a death wish, I assure you.

Were you ever afraid ?

Every damn time. Scared, oh yes, every time. I got used to it after a few years. Now the people around me, well, it took its toll on them as much as myself. Yeah, I was miserable for about two weeks before gags. I couldn’t help it. I think it was the hard realization I had just sold my life for the price of a cheap house.

Are you guys born this way or what ?

Dar Robinson, HOF

Ah…… Yes, we are. We are known as “T” type children. Doctors and nurses can spot us from the other new born right from the jump.

Who would you say are the legends of the Stunt biz ?

Dar, Yakima Canutt, Domokos and one of my all time favorites Spanky Spangler. To me, he is the ‘Stuntman of Stuntmen.’

Spanky Spangler, Hall of Fame Inductee, 1991

Do you miss the action ?

Doug Domokos, known worldwide as “The Wheelie King, HOF inductee 1991

No, not any more. Why, do you have a good paying gag in my field of expertise, watercraft and physical ?

Any funny stories that are G rated you can share ?

I’ll share one.

I once told Bill, The Chief Photo Editor at the National Enquirer during this time, “I really want to do a great job for you and the magazine, but I am concerned about the fact I could be killed. That may have an adverse affect on the tabloid.”  He said, “Don’t worry, we’ll sell even more magazines if you are !”

Would you try to make a living like this ?

Are these guys nuts or what ?

Aubrey Newsome, NY Sports Blog, llc. –Freelancer

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