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Man completed feat 40 years ago, and plans to do it again


Forty years ago today, a French magician named Philippe Petit stunned an enthralled audience as he pranced on a wire tied between New York City's Twin Towers. The fearless 24 year-old high-wire artist declined even the faintest safety precautions of a harness or net when he sashayed across the 130-foot gap between the buildings, balancing on a one-inch thick steel cable illegally strung at a height of 110-stories.

Petit had been inspired to attempt the feat after seeing a photo of the Twin Towers in a magazine in a seemingly ordinary dentist's office, according to MSNBC. Petit spent the next six years of his life planning for the dangerous act.

He never received formal approval for his walk, instead relying on the help of friends to secretly string a 65 yard-long cable between the buildings, according to Long Island's Newsday. Then on that fateful morning in 1974, he tip-toed onto the cable and bounced 110 stories high in the air for 40 minutes. Below, pedestrians paused their days to tilt their heads upward in amazement.

Afterwards, Petit was arrested, jailed and taken for a psychological evaluation before he was finally released, but not in vain. The stunt transformed the Frenchman into an international celebrity and aesthetic hero -- leading New York City to drop formal charges.

Decades later, his story was retold in the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary, "Man on a Wire," that detailed his crime and the challenges he overcame to accomplish perhaps the most graceful crime of the century.

To commemorate the anniversary of the performance, Petit plans to reconstruct the walk in a less dangerous setting as a benefit for LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York, using the same equipment from four decades ago.

Petit talked to Newsday ahead of his anniversary performance.

"Every year I see that it's going to be the anniversary ... but they are years that are not very interesting: 17, 21," said Petit. "But 40 is a great number, and because I am still here, still doing my art, I must be on the wire that day."

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lidodex August 07 2014 at 3:02 PM

Still amazing, even 40 years past. Surprised he was able to make it across balancing both himself and his enormous set of balls!

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2 replies
tcellguru lidodex August 07 2014 at 6:50 PM

Especially since being top heavy cause his enormous balls were in his throat.

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FlyerHockeyPride lidodex August 07 2014 at 9:59 PM

I grew up in New Jersey, not overly far from Manhattan and when I was growing up, I was told often about this act and still it blows my mind...talk about being incredibly brave and having nerves of steel, most of us wouldn't even dare try it, but he did and he made history as a result too! :-)

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generaljimt August 07 2014 at 4:12 PM

Without question...the most daredevil act of all time...barring none...

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1 reply
rob000000 generaljimt August 07 2014 at 4:33 PM

Apollo VIII and XI--first flight to and landing on the moon, respectively? They would be on my list of tops.

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1 reply
tewdeeq rob000000 August 07 2014 at 8:04 PM

This is nothing compared to a flight to the moon. The flight to the moon is something via man- made. What he did was man himself.

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SKCRCPUSCG August 07 2014 at 2:57 PM

I clearly remember the 1974 walk... Don't remember how many crossings he made that morning but it was more than one.... The man is fearless and amazing really. He should have been honored and awarded, not arrested. Even so, it is my recollection, NYC cops handled him with respect and awe... Understandable so.

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EzinWy August 07 2014 at 3:37 PM

Why vs why not ? A never ending discussion leading to nowhere ...

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buhroto August 07 2014 at 3:52 PM

I have watched the man on wire dvd obout phillppe crossing the world trade centers.
but people like and watch him but the cops arest him.

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2 replies
tewdeeq buhroto August 07 2014 at 8:01 PM

Keep in mind that the "new world order" would be very afraid of someone with the mind capable of doing this.

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Laurak303 buhroto August 08 2014 at 6:02 AM

It was a very good documentary. Anyone who hasn't seen it...it's well worth it!

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BipDBo August 07 2014 at 3:10 PM

Is that The Doctor?

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1 reply
hoags62 BipDBo August 07 2014 at 3:51 PM

I was checking to see if someone else came up with that!

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themevariations August 07 2014 at 5:06 PM

Science shoul be focusing on this guy capability ,I am sure studying his brain may results of unknown issues that we, as "normal" people ,deal with everyday.
I cannot believa that the city of New York didn t know anything..how can a group of people can instal a huge steel cable connected between the 2 towers..That puzzles me also.

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3 replies
cdjcn August 07 2014 at 3:28 PM

The Wallendas are the greatest high wire acts.

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2 replies
vstlvlvaccaro cdjcn August 07 2014 at 3:43 PM

Watching the old man fall to his death must have made the family wonder if it was all worth it ....

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generaljimt cdjcn August 07 2014 at 4:13 PM

Sorry cdjcn..this guy blows them away...

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cowboy August 07 2014 at 4:14 PM

Hope he has contact with the air traffic controllers these days.

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lebo12reese August 07 2014 at 2:48 PM

40,000 Christians are on the verge of extermination within the next few days in Kurdistan. Is this the best you can do in terms of the news?

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9 replies
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