Seriously…that was Pat Boone?
In honor of Easter, Turner Classic Movies last night showed “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” the 1965 epic biblical story that I saw way back in the fifth grade.
I was in Catholic school at the time and my teacher, Sister Joseph Goebbels, suggested we see the movie or we’d surely burn in Hell for all eternity with demons gnawing on our genitals…or at least that’s how I remember it.
The film had an all-star cast, of course, but the only actor I was interested in seeing was David McCallum as Judas Iscariot.
You young people out there may know him as cranky old Doctor Ducky from NCIS, but back then David McCallum portrayed the young Russian badass Illya Kuryakin in my favorite TV program of the moment, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” a Bond-era spy show.
Each week I’d watch Illya and Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) take on the dirtbags from THRUSH, and so getting to see one of my heroes in a different role was a real thrill for me.
I did a little research about TGSET and I was shocked to see just how many stars were in this all-star extravaganza.
In addition to Illya Kuryakin, the picture featured Max Von Sydow as Jesus, Victor Buono, Richard Conte, Jose Ferrer, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Van Heflin, Charlton Heston, Martin Landau, Jamie Farr (Cpl. Klinger in “M.A.S.H.”), Roddy McDowall, Sal Mineo, Claude Rains, Ed Wynn, Michael Ansara, Robert Blake, David Hedison, Robert Loggia, Shelley Winters, and, as the Angel at the Tomb, yes, ladies and gentleman, put your hands together and give it up for the one and only Mr. Pat Boone.
I had no idea all these big names were in this movie, but then I was just a youngster scarfing down popcorn and trying to avoid a rendezvous with Beelzebub.
And, I say this with love, but I despise Pat Boone—God forgive me. His singing, his politics, his face, his very existence irritates the ever-loving shit out of me.
I know we’ve gone through many years and several presidential administrations but I still feel like asking for my money back after putting up with that sanctimonious hump…adjusted for inflation, of course.
There are tons of intriguing factoids about this flick.
For instance, Telly Savalas shaved his head for his role as Pontius Pilate and he stayed with that look for the rest of his life, thus serving as an inspiration to a generation of hairless men, like yours truly.
And Savalas, Donald Pleasance, and Max Von Sydow would all go on to play the very same Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Bloefeld, in three different 007 flicks.
I have very few memories of this movie, but I do recall how Hollywood had to change the demise of Judas.
Instead of hanging himself, Illya Iscariot tossed himself into a flaming pit—and checked out rather quietly for a man who had just gotten a full-body hot foot.
I haven’t seen the movie since that first viewing and I didn’t watch it last night—God forgive me—and naturally when I woke up this morning I regretted that decision.
This is Easter, you’re supposed to get into the spirit of the season and this movie seems like a good way to do that.
And since I’m still pretty much housebound it’s more important than ever that I connect with my faith, seeing as how getting to church is a bit of a struggle.
Today I’ll be celebrating Easter at my sister’s house and it’ll be nice to see my loved ones outside of a hospital, which I had to do on Christmas Day.
We’ll eat, drink, tell stories and do our damnedest not to talk about Pat Boone. God forgive me.