In an excerpt from the upcoming book, Tom and Delores recall one Senator's
vendetta against Billy Jack Goes to Washington
from the The Amazing Story Behind the Legend of Billy Jack
The personal theater in the Laughlins' Brentwood home was filled
with celebrities and powerful politicians. Indiana Senator Vance Hartke
was there with his wife, Diana. So was Lucy Arnaz, and her legendary
mother, Lucille Ball, and all the contacts the powerful usually bring
along. They had gathered in the Laughlins' Rockingham home that night
for a special screening of "Billy Jack Goes to Washington."
The screening seemed to go well. Generous comments
were exchanged, and the small, but influential, crowd appeared to be gripped
by the action on the screen. But when the final credits rolled through the projector
and the lights came back up, Laughlin was greeted by an unexpected scene.
The Senator from Indiana got up and started screaming
at him -- You communist son of a bitch! I absolutely guarantee you,
you will never get this picture released. Everything you have, this house, everything,
in one year -- gone! You're dead.
Then, kicking over chairs he charged
at Laughlin, but those around him were able to restrain the enraged
Senator who was now storming
out of the house and violently pushing the gate open with such furious
force that he broke the electric motor. Hartke's wife was in tears,
Delores and Lucy were trying to comfort her, as she apologized for an outburst
that had surprised and hurt her more than anyone in that room. It was an
awkward moment, and it lingered until the celebrities and politicians
said their goodnights
and filed out of the house.
As it would turn out, the small group gathered
at Rockingham that night had attended one of the only screenings "Billy
Jack Goes to Washington" would ever have. The picture would never
be released, just as Hartke promised.
After viewing the Collection, I feel Billy
Jack Goes to Washington is by far the best of the series...The
acting and performances blew me away.
- Garrett Miller, Lake View, SC May, 1999