Tuesday, July 23, 2024

’70s Feud: Singer Songwriter Stephen Bishop Goes “On and On” About “Twilight Zone” Director John Landis, Says “Nothing But Mean Spirited”

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70s songwriter Stephen Bishop (“On and On”) has finally had to it with “Twilight Zone” director John Landis.

Bishop posted to Twitter an unprovoked screed against Landis, saying the director turned mean after his “Twilight Zone” tragedy and became “crappy.”

Landis, who also directed “The Blues Brothers” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” experienced a tragic scandal in 1982 when actor Vic Morrow (the father of Jennifer Jason Leigh) was accidentally decapitated during the filming of “The Twilight Zone.” It’s one of the worst movie production disasters in history, and one that Landis has never been able to escape.

Bishop had a lot of hits in the mid to late 70s, continued into the 80s with movie songs, and is generally considered a nice guy.

But he suddenly writes:

“John Landis. We were the best of friends once upon a time. We met in 1971, before his fame. I had cameos in Animal House, Blues Brothers, Twilight Zone The Movie, and Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller Music Video. I probably have known and worked with him personally longer than anyone else on this Twitter thread. I’ll always be grateful to him for putting me in his films. We were great friends for many years. However, after Twilight Zone, he changed into a person I didn’t recognize. One day shortly after in the mid-1980s, I called his home phone. It had been disconnected. I called him at his office. He said, “From now on, call me at the office, Steve.” From then on when I would call him at the office, his secretary would answer and take my messages. He never returned any of my calls. I felt like I wasn’t a big enough star for
him anymore. He was getting rid of all his old friends. I have seen John at past Animal House reunions over the years, most recently a few years ago, and have remained cordial, but he has been nothing but mean-spirited to me for no reason, he’s childish. Sad, he was a great director, I miss the old John, fame got to him.

PS: I remember a time in the 1970’s when I watched John throw dog poop from his backyard over the fence of his neighbors all the time. So yeah, he’s always been crappy I guess.”

I sort of like the idea that once you’re in your 70s, all bets are off. It’s like Festivus, time to air your grievances.

By the way, totally apart from this, Landis’s director son, Max, is one of the most reviled guys in Hollywood, accused of all kinds of sexual malfeasance and misogyny. He said in a subsequent essay that he’d had a lot of therapy over “The Twilight Zone” incident. I’d post a link to it on Medium.com but he wants to pay for it.

All of this side it’s a shame about Jon Landis. He’s made some wonderful movies. He certainly didn’t intend for Morrow to die. What a mess.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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