By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
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"Don't mess with Pat," Burnett cautions. "Those temporary tattoos, sometimes when you wash them off, the skin turns red. Other times, not all the tattoo comes off no matter how hard you scrub, and there'll be this little wingtip from the Harley eagle and it'll be there for like two more days! That's badass."
Interestingly enough, the next night on channel 58's Gospel America, Boone reappears (he's a devoutly self-marketed Christian, his mockery of the dead notwithstanding) as guest host in slightly more dignified garb--a turtleneck shirt and a sport coat--exposing his inner RV salesman. Of course, if you've seen 1989's triumphant infomercial Pat Boone Hits the Road: The RV Video Guide, you already know all about Boone's inner RV salesman.
In this 53-minute bit of pimpery, Boone and part of his hideous brood take us on an informative--yet commercial--tour of a giant RV sales lot. Boone--who could not be more vacantly, brainlessly sunny if he'd had a lobotomy and one of the space shuttle's landing lights shoved up his ass--hits lows that would shame even Troy McClure, The Simpsons' has-been celebrity guest host ("You may remember me from such films as Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! and Francis, the Groovy Mule!"). At one point, he extends his arms (none too vigorously) inside a living module slightly more roomy than a U-boat's torpedo room; there is scarcely enough room for a large housecat to fit between his hands and the walls. "Spacious!" he beams, apparently utterly insane.
"Gee," he muses throughout the video, "can ordinary people own RVs?" Or is there some lengthy indoctrination process or secret handshake? Astoundingly, it turns out that RVs are owned by people who are just like you or me, only $7,000 to $80,000 poorer. At one spot in the video, he marvels at windows that admit air and light--both ways!
Of course, we're lucky that nowadays Boone limits himself to fairly discretionary indulgences like gospel music and recreational vehicles. An earlier foray into endorsements--in this case a zit cream called Acne-Statin--did not end so well. Boone appeared in advertisements for the product, saying that his daughters used it (as a favor to Pat, we're not even going to discuss the moral debt that bringing Debbie Boone into the world incurs) and that it was swell. It turned out not to be so swell, and in 1978 a Dallas woman claimed that she was facially disfigured as a result of using the cream. She sued Boone, and as a result the FTC introduced federal regulations making celebrity endorsers more responsible for the performance of the products they tout.
Pat Boone: legal pioneer, appalling vacuum, musical lamprey, and the banality of evil in white shoes; few entertainers "get busy" the way he does. Although Bucks Burnett has abandoned his plans for a night of anti-Pat music called "Boonedoggle" ("It would take two weeks out of my life, and by then nobody would give a shit anyway," the perspicacious Burnett observes), he has no plans to abandon his holy war in its more subtle, easily-managed forms until Boone apologizes.
Boone, gutless to the end, has attempted to backpedal away from his merde mot, mewling to a Denton newspaper about being misunderstood, but Burnett reports that Christiansen has told him "that he has the whole thing on tape, and stands behind the quotes 100%."
Actually, Boone has already explained himself, and on Metal Mood, to boot, while singing Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming": "Out there is a fortune/Waiting to be had/If you think I'll let it go, you're mad/You've got another thing coming."
And so do you, Pat.
Street Beat apologizes to any employees or participants in the RV industry who might have been offended by the exposure of the link between that industry and Pat Boone. Let the healing begin at Matt_Weitz@dallas-observer.com.