...and began hammering out the first pages of what was to become his seminal film, "Billy Jack".
He didn't really understand it at the time, but what he had seen and heard that day before Christmas 1953 had set him on a mission that would take almost two decades to complete, and culminate in the most successful independent film in history.
Made for $360,000 Billy Jack went on to gross over $98,000,000. How does a tiny independent film made on a shoestring, bounced through three studios (AIP, Fox, and Warner Bros.), tied up in two lawsuits, written, directed, and starring an unknown husband and wife team accomplish such a feat? The simple answer was it wasn't a film project for Tom Laughlin and Delores Taylor, it was a mission.
Tom and Delores met in college. He was a football star, she was a - naturally - cheerleader. Tom was from the comparitive metropolis of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Delores was from Winner, South Dakota. Tom went to visit Delores during winter break 1953 and was exposed to the shock of his life.
Winner is in the heart of Indian country. Pine Ridge and Rosebud indian reservations are neighbors. The main street of Winner, only partially paved, ended at a place the locals called Indian Town. A collection of Indians that huddled in the sweltering heat of summer and deadly freeze of winters hoping for odd jobs or help from the locals. Tom couldn't believe what he was seeing. He'd never imagined that human beings could be treated this way. And he vowed there and then to make a difference.
New Blu-ray Set from Shout!Factory
We are excited our new partnership with Shout!Factory has resulted in all of Tom's Billy Jack films being released - for the first time - as an all-BD set!
The new Billy Jack Blu-ray Collection is available now directly from:
A new film by McG features a clip of the classic standoff between Billy Jack in Posner in the park with two of the characters in the film beautifully acting out the parts while the movie is projected on the side of a garage. It's beautifully done. We are grateful to McG for both his enthusiasm about Billy Jack and his handling of the clip. If you are a horror fan, check out McG's "The Babysitter" on your viewing list.
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