THE AMAZING CRISWELL
Posted December 2, 2015on:
I found out about this guy when I was reviewing the legendary Plan 9 From Outer Space for my film blog. Criswell is the guy who book-ends the film (usually regarded as one of the worst ever made), appearing at the beginning and the end, to inform us of dire events which will come to pass. With his coiffed, blonde kiss-curl hair, bow-tie, and constant use of the words “my friends”, he’s like a cross between an evangelical preacher and a life insurance salesman. What I didn’t realise was that this strange person was actually playing himself.
Born Jeron Crisswell King in 1907, and going under the stage-name The Amazing Criswell, he was also famous for issuing many predictions over the years. He started out as a radio announcer, and then in the early 1950s began appearing on television, advertising the Criswell Family Vitamins.
Although he never claimed to be a real psychic, Criswell appeared on Los Angeles television broadcasting his predictions, all of which were quite startlingly imaginative. For instance, he foresaw a world where mass cannibalism would run rife in Pittsburgh in 1980, and that his friend and client Mae West would become the President of the United States, whereupon she, Criswell and Liberace would take a rocket to the Moon!
In March 1963 though, he appeared on TV to predict that John F Kennedy would not be running for re-election in 1964 … because something would happen to him in November 1963. In that one, tragically, he was accurate.
Criswell produced a book of his predictions in 1968, under the title Criswell Predicts: From Now To The Year 2000! And in 1970 he produced an album of his predictions, in which he said there would soon come a time when men and women would dress puritanically, shunning the beads and bangles of that era, and would both wear the same make-up and wigs.
Some of his other predictions were that children would be educated via television, not teachers, that there would be homosexual cities, and that the United States would be swept by an “aphrodisiacal fragrance”, which would fill every man and woman who inhaled it with “uncontrollable passion”. This was supposed to happen from 1 May 1988 to 30 March 1989. As I’m sure you are probably already aware, it didn’t occur. Nor was Fidel Castro shot by a woman in August 1970, or New York deserted due to drought and plague in 1977.
His predictions seemed to largely centre on the United States, although he did predict that London would be destroyed by a meteor in October 1988.
Mr Criswell wasn’t to see much of the outcome of his predictions. Sadly, he passed away from a heart-attack in October 1982, well before the devastation of his final prediction was due to hit – that of the complete destruction of the world on Wednesday 18 August 1999. “That day, every point on Earth will be covered by a black rainbow … it will draw the oxygen from our atmosphere … Hour after hour, it will grow worse … we will go silently, we will go gasping for breath, and then there will be only silence on the earth”.
Well. We are still here. Just.