The Mighty Cannonball Guy

We’ve all seen the stock footage of the man who gets shot in the stomach with a cannonball (or one of the many parodies). What I would like to know is… Who is he?

I know the footage you are thinking of, and I know that it was part of a montage that I used to see pretty frequently. I think it was in the opening credits of a television show. Just for everybody’s reference, in case it would help people remember the footage you are talking about… can anybody remember what that show was?

You mean “Cannonball” Frank Richards?

I don’t think that cannon was fully loaded…

thank you so much!!!

i’ve losing sleep over you he was for two weeks.
you are my hero

FYI, I believe the cannon was spring-loaded rather than with explosives. The cannon ball weighed 102 pounds (The Super Athletes, by David Willoughby).

As Willoughby describes it, Richards began by letting people punch him in the abdomen (including Jack Dempsey, the heavyweight champion). This progressed to using a two-by-four to ram him in the gut. Then a sledge hammer. Finally, the cannon. Richards did it twice a day in vaudeville, but more than that gave him headaches. (Video of the cannon shot shows Richards being knocked backward several feet into a canvas screen.)


I did a little poking around, but couldn’t find any information about when he died, or whether he suffered injuries from these stunts. Perhaps the lack of info suggests he wasn’t quite as invulnerable as he seemed.

Homer Simpson had a little thing catching cannon balls and the vet told him something like:

He died in 1969 in California, in his 80s.