Thursday, May 19, 2005

Gay Jesus Film Hoax?

On the always interesting FilmChat, Peter Chattaway has a post on the fascinating topic of Him, a film allegedly made by a certain Ed D. Louie in 1974, the topic of which is Jesus' sexuality:

The Gay Jesus Movie -- Hoax or Fact?

It seems that there is a very good chance that no such film was ever made and that the idea that there is such a film in existence goes back to a spoof entry in Harry Medved and Michael Medved, The Golden Turkey Awards, a book that actually announces that one of the entries in the book is a hoax. However, Peter points out that a recent website, The Weird World of 70s Cinema: Lost Movies, lists the film as genuine and even reproduces the movie poster (also copied in Peter's blog entry). I must admit that the alleged poster looks distinctly bogus to me, but it may simply be that this is a weird and poor film with a weird and poor poster.

One of my favourite websites, Snopes, has some reference to a related urban legend under the heading Gay Jesus Film.

It will be interesting to see if Peter's enquiries or blog post bring us any closer to a solution to this odd business. I am reminded of an unpublished article I have on Urban Legends, called "The Tale of Theresa Banyan" and since it is now pretty unlikely that I will get it published anywhere, I'll upload to the web once I've dug it out. It concerns the fascinating ways in which urban legends proliferate on the internet, with multiple variations based around a couple of basic versions.

On the Gay Jesus film, it's interesting that the date given is 1974, just a year after the publication of Morton Smith's two books on Secret Mark.

I have tried some of my own googling, along the lines that uncovered some of the detail for my earlier article on Theresa Banyan, and like Peter, I can't find anything at all extra on Him. And Ed D. Louie is nowhere to be found, not even in variant spellings, as far as I can see.

Update (Sunday, 22.25): more in comments from Thomas Anderson, Arts and Faith forum.

Update (Sunday 23.55): Steven I. Weiss comments on The Canonist and is also on the watch.

Update (Monday, 16.59): On FilmChat, Peter Chattaway is trying a promising new tack: Tracking down the Golden Turkey Hoax. By going through the Golden Turkeys one by one and cross-referring to the IMDb, he has isolated the possible hoax to two films, Him and Dog of Norway (1948).

The interesting thing is that others on the net seem to think that the hoax film is, in fact, Dog of Norway. Here's the relevant quotation, on a Snopes forum of March 21 2001:
The fake film was "Dog Of Norway" featuring Muki the wonder hound.

The dog shown illustrating the film (page 129 in my edition) is the Medved's own dog.

The clincher is that the dog appears with the Medveds on the "meet the authors" page (page 6 in my edition).
Sounds pretty persuasive, in which case Him really does exist. See also a comment on another board on non-existing movies and other bits and bobs claiming that this is the case, e.g.'s Cult and Exploitation Cinema Discussion has four reasons for suspecting Dog of Norway including, "The Medved brothers dedicated one of their books ("The Hollywood Hall Of Shame", I believe") to their dog Muki - the same name as the dog in DOG OF NORWAY" (Keith Bailey, 12/07/2003).


Thomas Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephen C. Carlson said...

I suppose that the funny point about including a hoax film is that one would be hard-pressed to distinguish the hoax film from the "genuine" ones.

A lot of hoaxing involves the playing around with our culture's notion(s) of "authenticity."

Phil Hall said...

Medved told me in 1980 that "Dog of Norway" was the hoax.

Anonymous said...

The movie was made and exhibited at the 55th St. Playhouse. see link