It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gene Scott, R.I.P.

Dr Gene Scott passed away today at the age of 75. If anyone is going to heaven by flying saucer, watch him now as he departs.

Dr. Gene was a televangelist, or so he claimed. He was a Christian pastor, led a Los Angeles church, and appeared on T.V. However, he was about as close to the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as Christopher Walken is to Gort the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still. He was the kind of pastor who would have playfully teased the other two while blowing smoke rings in their face. I suspect he would have smacked Jimmy Swaggart over the head with Jimmy's big, floppy Bible. Jim Bakker would have been growled at within an inch of his life. I can just imagine Dr. Gene running over Benny Hinn in a golf cart.

Dr. Gene's idea of teleevangelizing was to sit in front of the camera in a comfortable chair, smoke several cigars, and occasionally, through the haze of smoke between him and the lens, offer up a devotional or Bible lesson, or suggest that if you've learnt anything from him, you might send in a check of support, or to run video footage of his show horses several thousand times. He had eccentric views on the pyramids and other phenomenon that would have made Erich Von Daniken scratch his head and ask, "Vat ist dat man smoking in his cigars?" Whereas you sensed that nutters like his contemporary Hunter S. Thompson were working really hard, and ingesting lots of chemicals, to create the effect of being eccentric outsiders, Dr. Gene settled into the part as naturally and easily as he sank into that tobacco-stained chair of his.

His views were not always coherent, or even readily available if he was in one of his horse-obsessed months, but he radiated a hypnotic charm and unmistakable faith in his Saviour. This is a chap who launched a several month-long fund raising campaign, to save a downtown L.A. church, just to see the words "Jesus Saves" over the city skyline. He was a televangelist for hippies and beatniks, eccentrics and outcasts, which covers a lot of human ground. 2 a.m. just won't be the same anymore for many of us.

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