“MythBusters,” a reality series we now know is a darling of conservative Republicans, decided this week to bust a few myths in the San Francisco Bay Area (that epicenter of liberalism) by firing a cannonball that crashed into a house, tore through an occupied bedroom, careened across a six-lane highway, skimmed another house and then attacked a minivan, which surrendered immediately.
It all started when those smarty-pants at “MythBusters” were trying to make some point or other about homemade cannons — we hope a point such as, “Never ever shoot a homemade cannon within 10 miles of a residential area” — by firing a homemade cannon at large containers of water, which were supposed to absorb the impact.
Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, whose Discovery Channel brings you “MythBusters,” was quick to note that the show is produced for Discovery Channel by a company called Beyond Productions; that it was filming on a closed set at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office bomb range in the San Francisco area; that Sgt. J.D. Nelson, public information officer and bomb technician for the sheriff’s office and “a regular safety explosives expert” for the show, “was on site”; and that “all proper safety protocol was observed.”
Unfortunately, Discovery acknowledged, “during the testing, a cannonball took an unforeseen bounce from a safety berm.”
And by “unforeseen bounce,” Discovery means that the cannonball — which was between softball and cantaloupe in size, according to various reports — missed the water vats and blew through a cinder-block wall late Tuesday afternoon.
Then, according to news reports and statements from the sheriff’s office, the errant cannonball stormed off the set and headed over to a residential neighborhood, bounced off a sidewalk, tore through someone’s front door, zipped up the stairs and through an occupied bedroom, blew out the back of the house, blasted over a six-lane thoroughfare and skimmed the top of another house, before brutally attacking a parked Toyota minivan.
So cannonballs can bounce. Another myth busted!
The bomb-disposal range has been shuttered while its safety procedures are reviewed. No one was hurt in the made-for-TV science experiment.
Discovery says that Beyond Productions also is “assessing the situation and working with those whose property was affected.”
The show’s two hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that they planned to meet with the owners of the damaged homes and the family of the late lamented minivan.
Here’s the local ABC station news report: