Friday, August 21, 2015

THE RAINBOW MAN/JOHN 3:16 (1997)

Short (41 minutes) and interesting documentary about how strange life can really be.

If you're old enough, you might remember Rollen Stewart from back in the 80's as the crazy dude in the rainbow wig and John 3:16 signs that seem to show up at all kinds of different sporting events flapping his arms around, dancing and tugging on his beard like a maniac.  Well, it ends up he was a maniac.

Rollen was born to alcoholic parents.  His father died when Rollen was 7.  Later his mother died in a house fire and his sister was murdered.  He married a woman who cheated and left him.  After that Rollen began smokin' lots of weed and somehow came to the decision to make himself into a celebrity by acting like an asshole while wearing a rainbow-colored afro wig at nationally televised sporting events. Strange thing is, it worked...kinda.

Starting in 1977 Rollen drove back and forth across the country for over 60,000 miles a year living in his car and begging for free tickets.  Once inside he'd get on camera as much as possible.  Somehow this actually worked and he even showed up in a Budweiser commercial!  Three years later the lonely Rollen saw a late-night religious program about the apocalypse and replaced his Rainbow Man shtick for the John 3:16 shtick. Driving all those miles, Rollen must have hit one too many potholes and knocked a screw loose because in 1992 he became convinced that the rapture was gonna happen soon (like this week!) and that he needed to warn as many people as possible. So in order to get a large audience fast he set off a series of stink bomb attacks (to show people that "God thinks this stinks.") then kidnapped a hotel maid and held her captive while smoking a joint.

Arrested and sentenced to three life sentences Rollen doesn't look too good (in 1997). His eyes are a little blank, but man he sure can spout off some amusing jibber jabber..."Society is bigoted towards Jesus Christ and I'm their scapegoat." According to Wikipedia he's still in prison and was most recently denied parole in 2010.  I know he did some dangerous things, but (without knowing all of the evidence and facts of the case) it seems to me that Rollen would be better suited for a psychiatric hospital than prison.

Not the most fascinating documentary of all time, but it's a fun, easy watch. Definitely worth checking out.