Wheatandweeds Defends Jehovah's Witnesses
Alanis Morrisette and New York Rock and Roll

Farewell Again to Mickey Spillane

Oh, for crying out loud! What is it with you, Sheepandgoats? How many farewells are you going to give this fellow? Didn’t you already do it here and here? Give it a rest, already!

Yeah, I know, I know. But I can‘t help myself. One more time.

It’s just that, if you read his interviews, he sounds like he would have made such a great grampa!

Read up on him, and you will see you see his genuine interest in people (you might not notice that when Hammer is blowing em away) coupled with an absolute lack of pretence....an irresistible combination!  And a classic personality trait of old-timer JWs.

And who could resist his lines? Such as when being interviewed and conversation veered into politics, which Mickey hated, but his wife enjoyed. So the wife started to hog the interview. Mickey got things back on track:

"Can I ask you a question?" he asks her.
"Sure." 
(she knows what's coming)
"Why don't you get me a cup of coffee?"

And I’m not sure if, as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses (wasn't he in and out a few times?) he didn’t take the truth where it otherwise might not have gone.

Some pioneers were talking shop a while back. 'I’ll bet John Wayne was really rough to witness to', suggested one. [John Wayne was a super patriot, and super patriots aren't always fond of Jehovah's Witnesses, misinterpreting our stands on neutrality and flag salute] But the circuit overseer was with us that week, and he cut us short will an account we hadn't heard. Back in a prior assignment, he said, some brother had called on John Wayne, who could not have been more kind or respectful. He had the highest regard for Jehovah’s Witnesses, he said, though he himself would never become one because he felt unable to live up to their standards.

Is the story true? I have no idea. But the fact that the C.O. would relate it does give it weight.

Now, where might John Wayne have gotten such a favorable impression of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Read Mickey's words below:

I played in a movie called Ring of Fear …..This was where I got the Jag. The guy wrote and directed the picture had problems, but John Wayne who produced it, never gave up on his friends. Duke was having a bad time, going through a divorce, and they needed to fix the script. So they're thinking who could do it, and someone says, Spillane's a writer, he could do it. Now I'm playing ME in the picture, for pete's sake. They called me up in Newburgh on Wednesday, I'm already back home across the country, and said come back and fix it. So I took my Wagner records, flew West, and worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday. They set me up in a beautiful hotel suite, and I worked. …..And they wanta pay me for the script but I won't take nothing for that, it was a favour. But Duke says, 'he was looking at those Jags in the lot next to the Cock and Bull'. One night, I'm back in Newburgh, it's snowing, and out in front of my house is this beautiful Jag with a red ribbon around it, and a note that says 'Thanks, Duke'.

………………….

Starting with "I, the Jury," in 1947, Mr. Spillane sold hundreds of millions of books during his lifetime and garnered consistently scathing reviews. Even his father, a Brooklyn bartender, called them "crud."

"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar," Mickey observed.

Spillane flaunted his lack of authorial polish claiming (mischievously) never to introduce characters with moustaches or who drank cognac because he didn't know how to spell the words.

After a screening of "The Girlhunters" (1963), he came up…..in the lobby afterward and said, "Boy, that was awful. All I did was take that dumb raincoat on and off". Mickey was right. The movie was awful, but he was so much fun.

……………………

Over the last decades (to his disgust, one suspects) he received increasing critical respect for his contributions to the idiom of crime fiction and for his having played a pioneer's role in the postwar paperback revolution.

……………………

Mickey was one of the most friendly and disarmingly pleasant people that I've ever met. - Alan Rode

And please don't go thinking that Mickey was one of those JWs who, after he hit it big, never talked about his faith, as if he considered it a career liability. Get a load of this interview:

You were raised a Catholic, right?

No I wasn't raised either one (Catholic or Protestant). I'm one of the Jehovahs Witnesses.

You joined in the fifties?

You don't join that, you have to be a witness. Witnessing is an active word.

The word apocalyptic keeps coming up in criticism of your work. Do you believe in the second coming?

The word coming is a misnomer. The word used is parousia in Greek, and it means 'presence'. Take President Clinton. Do you know him? No. But you feel his presence, all the taxes he lays on you. We feel his presence because we have to live under his direction. So when these things were asked of Jesus they asked 'what will be the sign of your presence, and the end of the system of things...now that was translated in the King James Bible as the end of the world. Now the word 'world' and the word 'earth' are two different things...the Bible says the earth abides forever. It's the simplicity of it, religion has turned everything inside out! Someone says how'd you like to be able to live forever? You say, oh boy would I liketa live forever, there's so many things I'd like to do, I used to be able to pass a football with either hand, now I can't throw from here to the wall...there's so many things...I think the best time for me was around 35...but if you're not a wise guy you can put up with those things...I know too many guys my age, they walk around, like they're crippled. I try to stay in good physical shape, I don't smoke, I don't drink...I'll have a beer once in a while. People say,' you have a beer, you're a Jehovah's Witness...but the Bible doesn't proclaim against drinking, it proclaims against drunkenness...anyway, someone says how'd you like to live forever...we know what death is, you can kick a dead dog, it won't bite you...but Jesus makes the greatest remark I think it's so funny nobody pays any attention, he says 'this means everlasting life', and they say what, 'you gotta stand on your head, you gotta pay knowledge, what', and he says it's taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and that's so easy...I get so excited about this, I'll keep talking to you like this if you don't say that's enough, but this is why people think you're a nut, they say, don't people turn you down, I say 'they don't turn me down, they turn God down'. That's why people can't stop drinking, do drugs, that's why the world's the way it is...do you know a stable country in the world?

Okay. That’s my third Mickey Spillane farewell. I’m done.

For now.

Some quotes are taken from the following sites:
http://www.crimetime.co.uk/interviews/mickeyspillane.php
http://books.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1823306,00.html
http://www.filmmonthly.com/Behind/Articles/MickeySpillane/MickeySpillane.html

Vanity Fair     December 2003

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