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Tom Laughlin (1931 - 2013)


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Tom Laughlin was best known for his BILLY JACK films. He didn't invent indie film-making but he used it well. BILLY JACK supposedly cost $800k to make and grossed $65 million.


None of the other films made that impact, but we'd see Howard Hesseman go on from his small BILLY JACK role into Dr. Johnny Fever in WKRP.

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TCM aired "The Delinquents" (1957) in 2008:



"The Delinquents": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Delinquents_%281957_film%29


Laughlin was in "Gidget" (1959) too...


Don't know if TCM could get its hands on all the "Billy Jack" films and air them at some point with "The Delinquents" and "The Master Gunfighter"???


"The Born Losers" (1967): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Born_Losers


"Billy Jack" (1971): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Jack


"The Trial of Billy Jack" (1974): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trial_of_Billy_Jack


"Billy Jack Goes to Washington" (1977): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Jack_Goes_to_Washington

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I half expected NOT to see any mention of Laughlin in this forum.


He wasn't a "classic" film star or film maker. Nor an Oscar winner. Nor a well known name among the man-on-the-street.


To the few who were aware of him, mostly from "Billy Jack", those people are surprised he had a history in conventional film. A navy pilot in "South Pacific", a surfer in "Gidget". He also did some early TV work and founded a Montessori school.


The method he used in promoting his "Billy Jack" franchise movies is still being used by major distributors today. He was a true independent spirit.



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