Legend Of Billy Jack

This time of year, most of the TV shows we keep up with (which aren’t that many) are in between seasons, with the season finales all coming to a close, and now we wait, with little to keep us occupied in those precious moments between supper and bed. So last night flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, I stumbled across the old Billy Jack movie. I was 10 years old when this movie came out, and I went to the theater with a friend of mine and caught it. I may have caught it piece meal a bit here or there since, but never really sat down and watched it all again, till last night.

All I could think was that aged blonde heroine who ran the school, her voice was like a screeching blackboard to my senses,  her delivery is almost as painful, and she has a LOT of dialogue. There were kids that delivered their lines better. The action scenes with Billy Jack while as a kid I thought they were pretty cool, now I can see the cut and paste style that screams cheesy. The storyline however does stand the test of time. I can’t help but root for the underdog in most cases, and fighting against the injustice of racial discrimination, bigotry, and the corruption of politics is one of those things I think most of us can get behind. All far too common circumstances of our human affliction.

At the end of the movie they played a few lines of the song One Tin Soldier Rides Away (The Legend of Billy Jack) I must have heard that song a thousand times as a kid. I remember it being a nifty song with a catchy tune, and had a vague understanding of the story. Now as an adult with a few years of wisdom under my belt, and the beginnings of a spare tire under that same belt, I have a new found sense of appreciation of those lyrics. (I looked them up this morning)

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago
About a Kingdom on a mountain
And a valley folk down below

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath a stone
And the valley people swore
They’d have it for their very own

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

But there won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill
Asking for the buried treasure
Tons of gold for which they’d kill

Came an answer from the Kingdom
With our brothers, we will share
All the riches of our mountain
All the secrets buried there

Now the valley swore with anger
Mount your horses, draw your swords
And they killed the mountain people
So they won their just rewards

Now stood beside the treasure
On the mountain dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it
Peace on Earth, was all it said

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 judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

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 judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

If those lyrics don’t capture the envious, destructive nature of our species I don’t know what does. The religious justification for the vally folk’s actions really aren’t that subtle, and as I have mentioned before here and there, is some kind of universal constant. Yes as a kid this song inspired me in ways I hadn’t thought of before about the kinds of injustice in the world. Today, as a grown man with a broader understanding of our true nature and the lengths that people will go to, as well as the religious justifications used to rationalize the actions they might take, it brings a tear to my eye. Maybe I’m getting to be an old softie, maybe I know too much…

EDIT: fojap kindly reminded me that the actor who played Billy Jack, Tom Laughlin only recently passed away.  http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/17/billy-jack-star-tom-laughlin-dead-82-152756

Also,  just because I was curious I looked up the thing about the trumpets blowing on judgement day. I had always wondered what that meant exactly. Apparently Muslims believe there will be two trumpet blasts on judgement day. The first will kill everyone alive and even in heaven. The second blast will revive them all for some kind of glorious something or other. Once one starts making claims of non existent events in their made up religions, all I can think is it is of no use to argue the color of a leprechauns underwear. Once you go down the road of making stuff up, it all converges into a huge pile of something that carries with it a foul odor. So, I am no closer to getting it now than I was a few minutes ago…I wonder who blows the trumpet? Will the first blast kill them? If not, why not? If yes, who blows the trumpet the second time? Problem with making up stupid shit, it just leads to more stupid questions.

http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=9218&CATE=1410  I didn’t see any x-ian references in my Google search. Not that it matters.


2 thoughts on “Legend Of Billy Jack

  1. Yes I was aware of his passing. It didn’t occur to me to include that in the post…didn’t seem relevant at the time. If you don’t mind I’ll copy your link and edit my post. Heck, probably half of that cast is 6 feet under by now 😉

    As movies go, it was pretty awesome when I was 10. (It was re released I think in ’73, that may have been when I saw it? Would have made me 12 then.) Now, a generation or two later, meh. Movie making has come a long way since 1971. Please if anyone reads this and has a calculator, please keep that number of birthdays to yer darn self 🙂 It ain’t how old ya is, it’s something more like how many miles..no that ain’t it…Just nevermind!

    I believe there were 4 Billy Jack movies in all. I have only seen the 1st two. if they are any indication of the other two, I will be signing up for free shock therapy instead. Free shock therapy, no one wants shock therapy, but if you are a cheap s.o.b. it’s hard to pass up.

    With all of that said, I would recommend everyone at least sitting through the 1st one. It represents a period in our culture where a younger generation was stretching its wings and not being afraid to confront the corruption, and racism issues at the time. I don’t think either of those issues are as well resolved as they should be by now, but anyway it is interesting in that aspect…IMO. Plus Billy jack was the original hard ass. In a way he kinda paved the way for Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.


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