When the world saw footage of Philippe Petit’s daredevil tightrope jaunt between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, he became the most well-known high wire artist in history. This Saturday, Petit will regale an audience at UCSB’s Campbell Hall with accounts of his mind-boggling feats.
The star of the 2009 Oscar Award-winning documentary “Man on Wire” — which chronicles the six years he and his accomplices spent planning the walk — will appear at Campbell Hall at 8 p.m.
In 1974, when Petit pulled his famous stunt — which at 1,350 feet above the ground more than doubled the previous Guinness World Record for highest high wire walk — he was 24-years-old. He accomplished this exploit by illegally smuggling his equipment to the rooftops of the towers. Before he was pulled off the steel rope by a half-dozen policemen, Petit crossed the 400 meter high wire eight times, with no safety equipment aside from a pole used as a balance.
Although Petit was detained at first in 1974, the charges against him were eventually dropped, according to a press release. In fact, the police were more interested in what he had learned from his six years of sneaking around the Twin Towers before the stunt. At Saturday’s event, Petit will discuss this and other acts of daring artistry.
Saturday’s event is sponsored by KCRW radio, Inn of the Spanish Garden and CASA Magazine. The 8 p.m. presentation will cost $15 for UCSB students and $27 for the general public.