What would Billy Jack do? He'd start by rubbing his face with his hand, saying, "I want you to know... that I try. When Jean and the kids at the school tell me that I'm supposed to control my violent temper, and be passive and nonviolent like they are, I try. I really try."That just made my day!
So Mike and I have been all Billy Jacked-up since our trip to Prescott last weekend, right? Well, last night we were at our Henderson Writers' Group meeting and somebody brought in a bunch of books to give away. And look what I just happened to pick up:
Yes, that would be the screenplay by Frank and Teresa Christina of the greatest youth culture movie of its time, published in 1973. (lightning36, your quote is on p.40.) Although it endured years of red tape to get to the theater, the movie cost $800,000 to make and grossed over $65 million. So I guess that little independent film was pretty successful.
Its hard to believe, but Tom Laughlin, the good looking guy who wrote, directed and produced the movie, is almost 82 years old now. I've done a little research--he's very interesting!
- He began acting in the 1950s, but in the early 60s, he temporarily left his film career behind to start what would become the largest Montessori preschool of its kind in the U.S. Once of its students was Christian Brando, son of Laughlin's friend, Marlon Brando.
- He's done extensive research and written several books on Jungian psychology and alternative cancer therapy treatments.
- He once beat up actor Gene Wilder when they were in Washington High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- After working on a film with Laughlin, Robert Altman once called him "an unbelievable pain in the ass."
- In real life he's been married to Dolores Taylor, who played Jean in the movie, since 1954. That year he wrote the original screenplay for Billy Jack after witnessing the treatment of Native Americans in Taylor's hometown on Winner, South Dakota.
- He ran for President of the United States three times (1992, 2004 and 2008).
- He once said that the day OJ Simpson was found guilty was "one of the sickest, sorriest days in our culture."
- Since 2001, he has had a serious of health issues including cancer of the tongue, an auto-immune disorder, and a series of strokes.
- If you go to his website, you'll see videos that show he's still speaking out--even saying that John Travolta is being blackmailed.
But isn't it weird that I probably went close to 35 years without the thought of Billy Jack crossing my mind and the day after we get home from Prescott, where filming for the movie began, we come across this book? I mean seriously, before you read about him lately in this blog, when's the last time you thought of Billy Jack?