AMERICA'S ORIGINAL CRASH TEST DUMMY
Well, it seems you're never really accepted in your hometown if you're a celebrity or slightly eccentric. And, that certainly can be said to some degree for Jim "Crash" Moreau who promotes himself as "Lincoln's Daredevil", the "Human Bomb","The Last Deathrider" and, "Crazy Crash Moreau" among other things. He'll be our fourth "interesting person" we've featured in the section of www.lincolnmaine.us over the past three years and probably the most controversial. But this section is called "Interesting People", and that he certainly is!
"Crash" wasn't always smashing into other cars, riding through flaming pile-ups or rolling his car over naked, as he did once in Cleveland, Ohio. No, he was quite normal - once. Jim, now 60 years old, was born in the Old Town Home Private Hospital in 1948. Soon his family moved to Lincoln and he attended Lincoln area schools. He resides to this day on Railroad Street with a half dozen or so junk, oops - I mean used, vehicles that now comprise his unique sculpture, much to the chagrin of some of his neighbors. Call it what you will, it is different and has become sort of a tourist attraction for outta towners passing through the town. IF they can find it. He was once accused of having a unlicensed junk yard on his property by the former Lincoln Town Manager, but nothing ever came of it. And he'll tell you, "Every vehicle on my property has been or can be used in my work when I go on the road."
But I digress from the story of our subject, Mr. Moreau. One of the few true "hell drivers" or "auto daredevils" remaining, "Crash" saw his first auto crashing/jumping show at the impressionable age of 9 years old. It was at the Bangor State Fair, and from that day on he was hooked!
During his early teen years he performed numerous stunts when the opportunity presented itself, and by the time he was 17 years old was driving stock cars at the local Springfield Fair. By that time he had pretty much determined that when he grew up he "wanted to get into car accidents"! By 1967 he had grabbed the attention of one of Maine's legends in the business, Joey Chitwood, and soon found himself as a part of Joey's traveling show that took Jim from Maine to North Carolina and back again. With a lot of stops, er crashes, in between.
Soon he was featured with the Buddy Wagner Show, and, was jumping motorcycles, not cars! He was finally hooked on being a true "daredevil" and from there he never looked back! Sometimes he'd perform in over 250 shows a year across the Eastern United States, but always returned home in between to the town he loved, Lincoln, Maine. He promotes himself as "America's Original Crash Test Dummy", but as he heads into his 60's he's finding jobs are getting fewer and fewer. It's not just his age. With the costs of doing his type of show, and the insurances, etc, bookings are getting harder to come by. He was booked up in Presque Isle at this year's state fair, but it was cancelled when a crane needed for his "kamikaze death drop" stunt couldn't be arranged. So, instead of doing at least 30 stunt shows a year as in the previous couple of decades "I don't do as many now", he said with a look of disappointment on his face. "Lincoln is and was always my home" he declared with a smile, and Crash can be found more often these days at the local coffee shops reminiscing about the glory days of being the "fearless Crash Moreau".
Although he'll be performing in such places as Smethport, PA and others this summer, and says he'll never retire, he might not have much choice. "There's only two others doing what I do now," he exclaims, " and they're both in their 70's!" And, he says when asked why he still does what he does, "I'm too damn lazy to work, and, too damn scared to steal." Well, after 42 years of "work" Crash Moreau is finally getting some respect for his years of dedication to the business. He has been featured recently in five segments of "Wacked Out Sports" that were broadcast on WLBZ-TV in Bangor and on SPIKE -TV. A movie production company has produced a movie about "Hell Drivers" and Jim's featured in one of the segments, part of which was filmed here in Lincoln, Maine. Their web site is http://helldriversmovie.wordpress.com/. The film premieres June 13th, 2008.
Over the years he's been lucky. Other than a punctured abdomen and a few concussions, all he's ever broken is one finger! Today, the few stunts he does, fully clothed I might add, are carefully staged to see that they won't be his last! But, he says, "I'd do almost any stunt for 500 bucks". Hmmmm.
There are plenty of Interesting People around here! Click the photos below to learn more about these wonderful gentlemen.