Pasadena Star-News – News First the good doctor Hunter S. Thompson and now the crazed out whacked in the head enigmatic mega broadcaster doctor Gene Scott is gone.
For those of you who were never bored enough to actually sit through any of Dr. Scott’s television, and that is probably most of you, he was a sight to see. Dr. Scott was a megalomaniac who would smoke cigars, talk about UFOs and the Lost Tribe, berate his audience for not sending enough money in, and come up with complex graphical biblical teaching on a big white dry erase board. When he got tired of talking he’d run video loops of his horses running around or other similar nonesense.
Dr. Scott was the pastor of the Los Angeles University Cathedral but he was so much more than this. In the past few decades most televangelists have been easily identifiable as cheap hucksters and hypocrites with very simple business models that prey on the weak — folks like Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart. Dr. Scott preyed on the weak as well but he was never as easy to figure out and remained a constant enigma to those who might run across him while channel surfing UHF back before cable or satellite tv. He was a Stanford educated preacher who definitely had more than a few screws loose.
Dr. Scott was very direct in his request for money. He oftentimes would punish his viewers by refusing to talk until a certain amount of money was sent in. It was comedic. He would say the most outrageous things in his bully like demands for people to give up their money. You were definitely going to hell if you didn’t give and your place in heaven was largely a determination of how much you gave.
Rotten.com has a pretty good bio on the doctor that includes some classic quotes:
“A skinflint may get to Heaven, but what awaits him are a rusty old halo, a skinny old cloud, and a robe so worn it scratches. First-class salvation costs money.”
“I want 300 people to give $1,000 by June 30 to humiliate Satan’s efforts to destroy us,” Dr. Scott commanded in a Web site missive. “I also want 700 to commit to $10,000 by Christmas. I’ve been trying to lighten the staff load for five years! I won’t take responsibility for things I have no assurance I’ll ever see!”
Dr. Scott railed against the FCC, told jokes, played the saxophone and showed off video footage of him sitting poolside with bikini clad women along with his horses. His program was broadcast in eight languages and in 180 countries. He broadcast 24 hours a day throughout the world and more recently had set up a live internet stream. I’m not quite sure why he was never able to crack cable or satellite tv more significantly but he was the master of the crazy obscure OTA programming.
Dr. Scott was a character. Though the world may indeed be a better place without him one can’t help but chuckle at his antics and weird behavior that was the sideshow along the way as he ripped off his flock.