Tuesday, August 7, 2012

If you thought I was done talking about Billy Jack, you're mistaken

Awesome comment on my last post from lightning36 answering the question, "What would Billy Jack do?" about the increasing demands employers are making on job candidates:
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.
Don't tell me you didn't learn something today.

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?


Mimi said...

Isn't it amazing how something like this happens?
Billy Jack definitely has some message for you at this moment.
That Tom Laughlin sounds a fascinating guy, and I like that he speaks out. Just what we need these days.

Lex Taylor said...

Thank you for talking about Billy Jack. Best wishes.

I Hate to Weight said...

so, i'm watching my favorite show, Wheel of Fortune (no comments please) and i start thinking about Pat Sajak and his career, remembering his ill-fated late night talk show and wondering if he's done anything outside of Wheel of Fortune since then.

the VERY next day i open up the newspaper and the front page of the entertainment section has a whole huge story on Pat Sajak and how he's about to star in a stage production of The Odd Couple.

it was a very Billy Jack moment.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

@ Mimi: I agree--Tom Laughlin is fascinating. I wish I'd followed him more closely over the years.

@ Lex Taylor: Your welcome! (Any relation to Dolores Taylor?)

@ I Hate to Weight: Well, well... now I know what you have in common with my mother. Don't you just love synchronicity?

Debbie said...

My old boss knew and worked with him ... on Billy Jack! She was a production assistant (she's an attorney now) and she said he was really nice but had a terrible temper and would get crazy and his wife was a sweetheart. I'm going to check out his website now.


Fragrant Liar said...

Aaah, the legend of Billy Jack! I remember in high school, being in the theater watching that flick with girlfriends and we were all swooning and making smartass cracks about him. He was fine back in the day!

Julie D said...

I've had a mad crush on Tom Laughlin since this movie came out and I was just a young 10 year old girl. If you look at my history with men, there is a lot of similarities in looks and build between him and most of my boyfriends! And trust me, you don't ever want to watch that movie with me. I sit and quote lines through the whole thing.

Aaaaaaand...now I'm sitting here singing One Tin Soldier. LOL