This happened 40 years ago today.
Philippe Petit left a crowd of thousands breathless as he traversed a wire strung between the Twin Towers. Eschewing a safety harness or a net, the 24-year-old walked and danced across the 130-foot gap between the towers, balanced on a one-inch thick steel cable strung at a height of 110-stories.
In later accounts, Petit traced his inspiration for the performance back to the first time he saw a photo of the Twin Towers. He was at a dentist’s office with a toothache when he came across the image in a magazine. The 18-year-old ripped the photo out and left the office. He spent the next six years planning for the death-defying act.