And there's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it.
Neil Shurley, from the final frontier, asks, “Wait—do you own a Billy Jack hat? Have we seen a photo of you in a Billy Jack hat? I would like to see that!”
Neil, thank you kindly for your question. I’ll see if I can scare up a photo or two.
I have been obsessed with the Tom Laughlin (1931-2013) character Billy Jack since my good friend Darren Critz first turned me onto him in my late teens. It’s not for everyone, and I guess by now, it’s somewhat troubled with cultural appropriation, but this seminal, one-of-a-kind 1970 film is considered to be a pioneering effort in independent cinema.
Its perspective is quite unique, although I suppose terrifically American as well: an avowed pacifist repeatedly relies on violence to bring about his objective of peace. In the late 80’s, I was just mainly over the moon about this anti-hero, who would show up out of nowhere on either his horse, his motorcycle, or in his jeep, and deliver some vigilante justice. The best version of his disciplinary action was executed after calmly removing his cowboy boots and then whupping his foot upside the baddies’ heads. Billy Jack brandished impressive hapkido techniques, adding to the character’s popularity just before Bruce Lee arrived with Enter The Dragon.
My best friend, the hilarious, muckraking artist Pat Riot, shared my love of this character, so we would create scenarios in which I might show up and dispense some Silver Lake justice of my own…
Billy Jack: Just a person who protects children and other living things.
Muleteers, go ahead and hate your neighbor. Go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, you can justify it in the end. There won’t be any trumpets blowing, come the judgement day. On the bloody morning after…One Tin Soldier rides away.
It’s important to me, for some reason, that you know I didn’t have to look up these lyrics. The opening sequence of Billy Jack is powerfully impressive, as scored by Coven’s “One Tin Soldier”.
You can get the full complement of offerings here, including my timely waxing about films from the early 70’s. Next week: Walking Tall. Not really, that one does not hold up. Anyway, hit that button above to subscribe, or this one to share with a friend: