The Amazing Criswell

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Jeron Criswell King (August 18, 1907 – October 4, 1982), born Jeron Criswell Konig, and known by his stage-name The Amazing Criswell (pronounced /ˈkrɪzwɛl/), was an American psychic known for wildly inaccurate predictions. In person, he went by Charles Criswell King, and was sometimes credited as Jeron King Criswell.

Criswell was flamboyant with spit curled hair, a stentorian speaking style and a sequined tuxedo. He owned a coffin in which he claimed to sleep. He grew up in a troubled family in Indiana with relatives who owned a funeral home, and said that he became comfortable with sleeping in caskets in the storeroom. The casket appeared in one of Wood's later works, the 1971 pornographic film, Necromania.

Contents

Career

Criswell said he had once worked as a radio announcer and news broadcaster. He began buying time on a local Los Angeles television station in the early 1950s to run infomercials for his "Criswell Family Vitamins". To fill the time, he began his Criswell Predicts part of the show. They made him a minor, off-beat celebrity in Los Angeles and around Hollywood, and his friendship with old show-business types like Mae West and rising fringe celebrities like Korla Pandit made Criswell an entertaining presence at parties. His fame brought him appearances on The Jack Paar Show (1957–1962) and he published two books of predictions. Criswell found cinematic infamy in the movies of Ed Wood.

Filmography and Television Appearances

Predictions

Criswell's predictions were nationally syndicated and he appeared on the television show Criswell Predicts on KLAC Channel 13 (now KCOP-13) in Los Angeles as well as being recorded for syndication. His announcer was Bob Shields, who later played the judge on Divorce Court. Criswell wore heavy makeup in public after his live program was broadcast in Los Angeles. Only selected people were allowed in the KCOP studio during his broadcast. They were often taken to the Brown Derby restaurant afterwards as his guests.[citation needed]

Criswell wrote several books of predictions, including 1968's Criswell Predicts: From Now to the Year 2000. In it, he claimed that Denver would be struck by a ray from space that would cause all metal to adopt the qualities of rubber, leading to horrific accidents at amusement parks[1]. He predicted mass cannibalism[2] and the end of planet Earth, which he set as happening on August 18, 1999[2].

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