About a year and a half ago I helped some producer friends shoot a “punkin chunkin” themed segment of a popular cable TV show. I had initially talked with them about building a catapult for the scene, but they were able to locate a guy who has his own oversized pumpkin-launching “potato gun,” so they asked if I’d just help out by appearing in the bit as one of the good ol’ boys having a laugh and firing off some shots of the cannon.
The launcher we used was a short length of large diameter steel pipe, capped off on one end. The triggering mechanism was a spark plug connected to an ignition coil, which unfortunately had the tendency to foul up quickly and had to be cleaned and replaced often. Word of warning: I strongly advise against using this method of pumpkin launching — it’s far too dangerous to play around with the explosive forces involved, and tends to be somewhat unreliable anyway. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing, actually.
The pumpkins were pretty tender and mostly ripped themselves to shreds upon firing, but the guys finally got the cannon dialed in and we blasted some good shots. In the segment, a pumpkin supposedly hits a guy who is stealing pumpkins far off in the field. Sorry to ruin the illusion, but this scenario didn’t really happen in real life — but we did have a lot of laughs that day. Watch the video at the top of this post and check it out. Also, notice my pal Chris in it as the DIY Technology Expert. I love that we got to appear in the same clip together.