The New Religious Horror Stories thread

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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by Strelnikov » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:31 pm

Dr. Gene Scott, 1929-2005

Image
https://vimeo.com/282582500 (The man in full bombast during the 1970s.)


Werner Herzog's God's Angry Man (1981).


The "FCC Monkey Band", a revenge for the FCC stripping Scott of a number of radio and TV stations.

I neither met not watched Eugene Scott, I found out about him through the Internet. Literally for a time he was the Cool Preacher of religious TV, wearing a huge number of funny hats, and having Jake Hess and the Statesmen Quartet perform on Sundays. Scott can be heard today on the Internet, certain AM and FM stations, and through shortwave radio. His widow, Melissa Scott, keeps his memory alive by rebroadcasting his old Festival of Faith shows when she isn't doing her own preaching.

"Git on the telephone!" he would yell at his TV congregation, because he needed cash constantly to keep his broadcasting empire going.
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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by Strelnikov » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:26 am

From Dangerous Minds "God's Angry Man: Dr. Gene Scott, Live in Concert"

This is a 2013 recounting by Richard Metzger of a 1993 Easter Sunday down at Scott's United Artists Theater (the original) in Los Angeles. He went with a British female friend to gawk at the weirdos and the experience turned on him:

....So on Easter Sunday, at the appointed time, we showed up at the United Artists Theatre in downtown Los Angeles at 927 S. Broadway. Twenty years ago, downtown Los Angeles was only barely starting to become gentrified and the stark human horror the area was then known for has been gradually moved east since that time.

This was not the case in 1993 and I assumed that the United Artists Theatre would just be some shithole that Scott and his low rent hijinks were taped at.

Au contraire! In fact, this was not just any old United Artists Theatre, it was THE United Artists Theatre that was built by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin.

It’s an incredibly opulent movie house—one of the greatest in Los Angeles—a Spanish Gothic masterpiece with marble floors and brass accents. Flanking the stage there was an amazing tapestry curtain made from when the Theatre originally opened depicting scenes from famous silent movies with a big UA logo when the curtains were closed. My memory of the tapestry is that it was around 150 ft tall. Even in the late 1920s, something this elaborate and this size, still would have cost over $100k. I couldn’t believe that Gene Scott owned this building.

Before we could poke around for more than a single minute, we were warily greeted—if that’s the right word for it—by the woman on the phone who identified herself as “Doc’s assistant.” She was a mean-faced middle-aged Korean lady and she sternly told us not to whisper to each other, not to fidget, not to do anything that would break his concentration or disturb “Doc” in any way, not to go to the bathroom and don’t dare yell something or else we’d be in “big trouble!”

After that stern warning, she told us that these two security guards would take us to our seats. They did and then they sat right down on either side of us!

The lights went down and the service started soon enough. The stage was huge and a large group of musicians, the sort you might see at the Grand Ole Opry, walked on and started up on a Statler Brothers-sounding hymn. Then they started to build the suspense for “Doc” who soon arrived onstage with diamond-encrusted sun glasses (we were inside of course), an expensive black suit, and cowboy boots. He was greeted like he was Elvis. Exactly like he was Elvis.

Scott immediately sat down on a chair, crossed his legs and lit up a cigar. His opening remarks had to do with marrying a couple in Saratoga, where he’d gone to watch his horses race, the day before. They were sitting in the front row and he made reference to the fact that they’d both been committing adultery behind the backs of their previous spouses and he laughed about it, like it was all a big joke to him.

Like “Doc’s assistant,” most of his congregation, more than half, were of Korean descent and then the next largest group was a mix of what can only be described as cowboy hat-wearing rednecks and their families, but they were a “type” that you do not get in Los Angeles, but that you would see in Texas maybe. Hispanic cowboys, too. There were also several members of the audience who didn’t fall into either of those disparate camps, Korean or cowboy, but who appeared to be people who’d come in from local homeless missions. And us. We were probably the most conspicuous people there, in a sense.

After some decidedly non sequitur preaching, the proceedings went right off the surrealism scale when “Doc” announced—by grabbing a mic, pulling it close to him and saying this in way that you could tell it was a sort of anticipated catchphrase of his—that it was “Offerin’ time!”

The entire audience jumped to their feet and started waving sealed tithing envelopes around, like they were on the fucking Price is Right or something. It was super tweaked. I wasn’t about to give a dime to this dude, so I merely sealed an empty envelope and stuck it in the plate when it was passed to me.....

And here is Metzger's description of "Doc's" early TV period:

Dr. Gene Scott was the utterly unhinged UHF television evangelist who grew in fame (and apparently fortune) during the Reagan era with his berserk, conspiratorial lunatic rantings that occasionally—only very occasionally—mentioned Jesus or had some sort of what most people could agree was “religious” content. Mostly he talked about UFOs, gambling on horses and his much-hated ex-wife. I first became aware of him on WPGH, a Pittsburgh market UHF station. He must have purchased late night airtime from them and from a number of other channels around the country. As the 1980s wore on, Gene Scott became very, very hard to miss on cable: If you were flipping channels, depending on the time of day, the guy might be on as many as five of them simultaneously. He continuously boasted of being broadcast in South America, South Korea, and the Caribbean. That in America, he was on, somewhere, during each hour of ever day, seven days a week, 52 weeks out of the year.

Now that’s a lot of TV, you might be thinking, and you’d be right, but Gene Scott could talk. And talk and talk and talk. Like a speedfreak can talk. And smoke cigars. And stare directly into the camera, refusing to “preach” unless the donations started to roll in. When Scott’s show first came on, it was extremely low budget. Often—very often—Scott’s show would consist of him sitting in a chair on a bare studio floor with a chalkboard behind him, holding a stack of index cards. He would pretend that on each of these cards was written the sum of a very large donation that had just come in over the telephone and he would rattle them off, rapid-fire, and throw the cards over his shoulder as he did so. Scott would have you believe—although it was an obvious lie—that he was getting a thousand dollars, not twenty bucks, not even $100, but a thousand dollars—if not more—from each and every caller!

In a flat monotone, Scott would say “Dallas, TX—$1000. Portland, OR—another $1000. Phoenix, AZ, a donation of $3000—see they aren’t CHEAP in Phoenix like they are in Portland an’ Dallas—Scranton, PA—that’s $4000 from Scranton. Maybe I will preach after all…” and so forth and so on. He would often claim five figure donations several times an hour. To hear him claim even that a $100k donation had just come in hot off the wire was not unusual in the least. What did the IRS make of all this, I wonder?

It was patently obvious that Scott was lying, but even if the threadbare set and the absurd amounts of the supposed donations he was claiming didn’t clue you in immediately, the band who “appeared” (after he’d ask for a “little tinkle on the keyboards”) were from another show entirely, like he had purchased stock footage from another low watt religious broadcaster. Or something. He would pretend they were in the studio with him, even though they obviously weren’t. The phone bank operators that he cut away to, they, too, were from someplace else entirely, but he would pretend they were in another room, just down the hall. It was absurd. He would have no interaction with them, because, of course, no interaction was possible! Scott was crazy enough to think that no one would notice, but everyone did. I’d guess that he had no more than three or four crew members to begin with—when Scott’s show first came on, it was extremely low budget—but his operation seemed to grow pretty quickly. Eventually he hired an actual band, a bigger studio, and real phone operators.

....Another distinguishing characteristic of Gene Scott’s enigmatic TV preacher shtick was that he always sported different kinds of hats, like a pith helmet, a fisherman’s cap or a sombrero. On more than one occasion he wore a handkerchief tied in four knots like a Monty Python “Gumby,” with square Johnny Rotten sunglasses. One night he would have long hair and a beard, the next night, the beard was gone and the hair short again. The night after that, he’d have a new mustache. His glasses changed a lot, too. Every night he would look totally different.

***

What Metzger may have not gotten is that Scott's TV engineer was possibly mixing reruns with more new stuff; I think Scott was careful not to say the day's date while recording shows so they would be "evergreen" programs. Scott got his Ph.D. in Education from Stanford, so he is a doctor, just not of medicine.
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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by ericbarbour » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:01 am

Strelnikov wrote:Before we could poke around for more than a single minute, we were warily greeted—if that’s the right word for it—by the woman on the phone who identified herself as “Doc’s assistant.” She was a mean-faced middle-aged Korean lady and she sternly told us not to whisper to each other, not to fidget, not to do anything that would break his concentration or disturb “Doc” in any way, not to go to the bathroom and don’t dare yell something or else we’d be in “big trouble!”

After that stern warning, she told us that these two security guards would take us to our seats. They did and then they sat right down on either side of us!

Not surprising--Scott attracted a LOT of hecklers. Some of them probably paid by his competitors.

Now that’s a lot of TV, you might be thinking, and you’d be right, but Gene Scott could talk. And talk and talk and talk. Like a speedfreak can talk. And smoke cigars. And stare directly into the camera, refusing to “preach” unless the donations started to roll in. When Scott’s show first came on, it was extremely low budget. Often—very often—Scott’s show would consist of him sitting in a chair on a bare studio floor with a chalkboard behind him, holding a stack of index cards. He would pretend that on each of these cards was written the sum of a very large donation that had just come in over the telephone and he would rattle them off, rapid-fire, and throw the cards over his shoulder as he did so. Scott would have you believe—although it was an obvious lie—that he was getting a thousand dollars, not twenty bucks, not even $100, but a thousand dollars—if not more—from each and every caller!

In a flat monotone, Scott would say “Dallas, TX—$1000. Portland, OR—another $1000. Phoenix, AZ, a donation of $3000—see they aren’t CHEAP in Phoenix like they are in Portland an’ Dallas—Scranton, PA—that’s $4000 from Scranton. Maybe I will preach after all…” and so forth and so on. He would often claim five figure donations several times an hour. To hear him claim even that a $100k donation had just come in hot off the wire was not unusual in the least. What did the IRS make of all this, I wonder?

So? Benny Hinn was even better at this. So were the Bakkers and John Hagee and Copeland and Swaggart and etc. In America, everything is vaudeville. Nothing is too sacred for the soft-shoe routine.

The difference with Scott was that he was a true outsider, and developed a fan following of hipster/artist types who didn't care about any "Christian message".

PS, wanna see something really horrifying? Jim Bakker and his "PTL Network" are back.....
https://ptlnetwork.com/

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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by Strelnikov » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:14 am

ericbarbour wrote:
....PS, wanna see something really horrifying? Jim Bakker and his "PTL Network" are back.....
https://ptlnetwork.com/


Yes, him and his "survival buckets":



And his weird dreams:



His son Jay is trying to be a progressive Christian minister, thinks religion should be kept out of controversial topics.

I think I posted this at the old board: Frank Schaeffer talking to a camera for Samatha Bee's show Full Frontal back in 2016.


Frank is the son of Francis A. Schaeffer, founder of the L'Abri Fellowships; Frank grew up in Huemoz-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, the son of two American missionaries who went to Switzerland under the auspices of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, broke from that, and then founded L'Abri (French for "The Shelter") in 1955. Francis Schaeffer was a left-oriented Fundamentalist and religious art historian who got into that most Catholic of obsessions: abortion. That happened somewhere in the Carter years and he worked with C. Everett Koop to write a book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? which Frank made into a five-hour film series of the same name around 1978-79. This was shown to Jack Kemp and his wife around 1980 and suddenly abortion was another target of the Reagan administration and the GOP - it had been dragged into the Protestant world almost singlehandedly by the Schaeffers, with Francis lecturing audiences of Fundamentalists on the topic until he died in 1984. For a period Frank Schaeffer was the guy the media went to for TV spots presenting the ranting Fundie worldview, but he gave up (I think) before Reagan was re-elected; it got to the point where he couldn't look at himself in the mirror anymore. After that he went through a long religious journey changing sects of Christianity (including Eastern Orthodoxy at one point) until he went atheist, and he wrote books about all of it. For a while he did YouTube videos and they are fascinating.
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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by ericbarbour » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:50 pm

The Schaeffer interview is great and I wish it was broadcast in full. A major 1980s evangelical figure openly, aggressively defaming the entire movement and its bizarre now-institutional hatred of abortion (which was little noticed before Schaeffer's father was involved, yes it was originally a Catholic-only thing).

We don't see that kind of takedown happen often enough--as Frank says, the money is very seductive.

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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by Strelnikov » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:47 am

ericbarbour wrote:The Schaeffer interview is great and I wish it was broadcast in full. A major 1980s evangelical figure openly, aggressively defaming the entire movement and its bizarre now-institutional hatred of abortion (which was little noticed before Schaeffer's father was involved, yes it was originally a Catholic-only thing).

We don't see that kind of takedown happen often enough--as Frank says, the money is very seductive.


I knew the jig was up with abortion as a Fundie issue when I was asked to write a paper on the subject in the late 1980s and the local public library only had books written by this Father or that Monsignor, and they all dated to the 1970s. I had to go to the school's Crazy Fundy library to get their view of it and they were all short books full of Bible verse notations. At least there weren't a lot of gory dead-fetus photos, which brings me to another point: the growing extremism of the anti-abortion movement. Long before the Army of God clinic bombers and doctor killers they were making short tapes out of 1940s medical school footage and video of dead fetuses in jars (which were stolen from medical waste sites by Catholic activists.) I was forced* to watch such a tape in the early 1990s and it was just pointless grossness. What made it worse a few years later was that I was going to this community college and one of the board members was a blonde pudding-brained plant named Rebecca Clark who did everything her minor-politico mother told her to do, which included letting the local anti-abortion group (Operation Rescue?) park their gory aborted fetus van at the outlet of the utility road that ran around campus and connected to a freeway on-ramp. If there was a line, you were stuck looking at this barf-bag image of a dead Caucasian fetus that had been cut into six pieces. I think they would move it every day, but this shit went on for a week or more at the beginning of the semester. I should have bought a roll of paper towels and some duct tape and covered over the image, then let the air out of their tires.


Schaeffer talking last year about how the Evangelicals wanted to change their name, because it is dirt after thirty years of culture war.


Schaeffer explaining why Mike Pence will run in 2020, because he isn't damaged goods like Trump, and because Pence is a true believer in the theocracy the Fundamentalists want to bring forth, and he is deeply plugged into their network.

We don't see that kind of takedown happen often enough--as Frank says, the money is very seductive.

Frank can write novels and paint - most of the people inside Fundamentalism at an executive level can only wear fussy church clothes, do their preaching in the rambly-ornate style that their followers like, and count money well, because they sure as shit can't sing at all. Without that church world, there is no life for them - they'd have to become tow-truck operators or Wal-Mart clerks to pay their rent. So even if they doubt the whole thing, or have quietly gotten into other weirder sects like Mike Wernke (who was both a Fundy preacher and a bishop of the Syro-Chaldean Church in the 1980s) that money keeps them lashed to the pulpit.

______________

* Another awful Wednesday chapel, this time at a now-defunct ACE school run by Foursquare loonies where I wasted my sophomore year of high school. And it was a "high" school - those people were on another dimensional plane.
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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by suckadmin » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:28 pm

Strelnikov wrote:Dr. Gene Scott, 1929-2005
.....
Literally for a time he was the Cool Preacher of religious TV, wearing a huge number of funny hats...


I first encountered him while turning through broadcast channels in the early 2000's and he was wearing a chromed army helmet!

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Re: The New Religious Horror Stories thread

Post by Strelnikov » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:54 pm

suckadmin wrote:
Strelnikov wrote:Dr. Gene Scott, 1929-2005
.....
Literally for a time he was the Cool Preacher of religious TV, wearing a huge number of funny hats...


I first encountered him while turning through broadcast channels in the early 2000's and he was wearing a chromed army helmet!


I've seen him in pith helmets and French army kepis, anything to keep people tuning in. The way to tell what period the video was shot in is if he is wearing a suit or not: after 1979 he started wearing three-piece suits (grey pinstripe), before he was in turtleneck shirts, corduroy jackets, etc. Last years of his life he wore tracksuits on camera.
Still "Globally Banned" on Wikipedia for the high crime of journalism.

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