There was a whole series of self-destruct items — a “Gothic Castle,” among them and perhaps the most bizarre — “A Wild Elephant — A Ferocious Beast That Belches Fire, Goes Mad and Destroys Itself!” 

George Plimpton–like the George Plimpton–ran around Chicago as a kid setting off fireworks? And never really got over it, and wrote a book about it, and hosted an A&E home video about it, and was appointed as the Fireworks Commissioner of New York by John Lindsay?

I did not know that. Anyway, here’s an excerpt from Fireworks: A History and Celebration.