Pat Boon Berates Destruction of American Image


One-time teen heartthrob Pat Boone has slammed the modern television and movie industry for its lack of morals.

Speaking to FOX News, the 87-year-old actor reminisced about the golden age of Hollywood as he stars in a new faith-based film called The Mulligan.

‘The film industry was a great export for America for so many years,’ he said. ‘We were showing America in its best light.

‘Even though crime was dealt with – because bad things do happen in life – but almost all American movies ended with good triumphing and good people doing righteous things. Criminals were always apprehended and punished.

‘But now, the whole thing is upside down,’ Boone claimed. ‘Some of the biggest films now show people getting away with the worst things.

‘Lawbreakers are even celebrated. The criminals are becoming bigger. Heroes are doing worse things than the criminals and are being rewarded for it,’ he said.

‘The movies being made now are immoral,’ Boone concluded. ‘They’ve lost their meaning.’

‘I don’t know how to put it strongly enough, but I think the film industry is committing suicide.

‘It’s killing itself as far as I’m concerned,’ Boone said, noting: ‘America’s image is being destroyed.

‘High ratings have become more important these days, he claimed, saying: ‘We used to put our best foot forward.

‘Sure, people can criticize those films today and call them unrealistic, but we were being altruistic,’ he said. ‘We wanted to present people in the best light.

‘Now, we’re just taking pleasure in profit, presenting people in the worst light and celebrating it.’

Boone specifically went after Netflix’s adult animation series Big Mouth, which premiered in 2017 and follows Andrew, a nerdy child as he goes through puberty. It is rated TV-MA.

‘Here’s a nerdish young kid – and he and his friends are learning about maturation, oral sex – all kinds of things,’ Boone said of the show. ‘And this is on Netflix.

‘I don’t even know how they can defend it, but it’s there, it’s all out there.

‘Parents will just see it’s an animated show and think it’s OK for their kids to watch it… I mean how bad can we get?’

‘And it’s not just on streaming services,’ he continued. ‘Nothing short of actual pornography is being celebrated on television now.’

But back in his day, he said, he actually turned down a role starring alongside Marilyn Monroe because he thought it was too scandalous.

‘I would have loved to do a movie with Marilyn Monroe,’ he told FOX News, noting they were both under contracts with 20th Century Fox at the time.

‘But I thought it was an immoral story in which a younger guy gets involved with a still beautiful, but slightly over-the-hill cabaret performer played by Marilyn Monroe.

‘He’s just a college kid and she’s much older. She was lonely. She allows herself to have an affair with him, breaks his heart and then leaves him.

‘It’s supposed to be a bittersweet memory – no harm, no foul,’ Boone recounted. ‘But the story just didn’t sit right with me.

‘I remember Buddy Adler, the head of 20th Century Fox, said to me “You’re under a seven-year-contract. We could suspend you, and if we suspend you, the musician’s union may cooperate with us. You’ll be through from recording. You won’t be able to record for movies. You won’t be on television either.”

‘We had a couple of tense meetings in his office,’ he admitted. ‘I finally said: “Mr. Adler, you do what you have to do. But I’ve got to follow my conscience.

“I’ve got millions of teenage fans,”‘ he recounted. ‘”I’d love to make a movie with Marilyn Monroe, but I can’t make this immoral story. Teenage fans will undoubtedly get the wrong message and think it’s OK to have an illicit affair. I just can’t do it.'”

By 1962, Monroe had died of a barbiturate overdose – and the studio instead went with Joanne Woodward and Richard Beymer for the film The Stripper, which Boone said was a ‘terrible flop’ that lost the studio money.

Of his decision not to do the film, Boone said he always remembers what one of his teachers once told him: “It’s always right to do right, and it’s always wrong to do wrong.”

‘It sounds so simple, but that’s one of the lessons I still try to follow, even in my career,’ Boone said in the interview. ‘It was a moral lesson.’

Because of that rule, he said: ‘I’ve turned down songs with lyrics that I just couldn’t sing. It just didn’t feel right for me to do. The same thing applies to movies and television.

‘My form of entertainment has made me who I am,’ he said. ‘I’m not about to change that now.’

Boone’s entertainment career began with performances in Nashville’s Centennial Park, before he got a gig emceeing a teenage talent show for radio and television. For that role, he earned a Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour amateur show and an Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts show, according to his IMDB.

He began recording music in April 1953 for Republic Records, and then for Dot Records in 1955.

That year, his version of Fats Domino’s Ain’t That a Shame was a hit, setting the stage for the early years of his career, which were focused on covering R&B songs by black artists for a white audience.

By 1956, Boone was one of the biggest recording stars in the United States, with Billboard ranking him just behind Elvis Presley. Several film studios then pursued him for movies, and he decided to go with 20th Century Fox – which also made Elvis’ first film.

The studio reworked a play he had bought, Bernardine, into a vehicle for Boone, and it became a solid hit, earning $37.75 million in the United States.

He went on to do even more successful works like April Love in 1957, a remake of Home in Indiana, and Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1959.

By the time he was 23, Boone started hosting a half-hour ABC variety television series called The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, which aired from 1957 to 1960. Many musical performers including Johnny Mathis made appearances on the show, and Boone’s cover versions of rhythm and blues hits had a noticeable effect on the development of rock and roll.

In the heyday of his popularity, Christian organizations like the Legion of Decency and the Protestant Film Office tried to sway Hollywood from storylines they found to be immoral.

But The Protestant Film Office closed up its advocacy offices in 1966 after some denominational funding was pulled. Shortly thereafter, film critic Dr. Ted Baehr said Hollywood started creating X-rated movies.

‘The change that took place created a culture—because culture is downstream from the mass media of entertainment—created a culture which…got new scripts of behavior,’ Baehr told Charisma News.

‘The new scripts of behavior [were], “Let’s all go out and have sex out of wedlock, take drugs, and enjoy ourselves.”‘

Shortly before that change, though, as he was enjoying the height of his popularity, Boone and his wife, Shirley Lee Foley – the daughter of country music legend Red Foley – became more religious.

‘There was a time after we moved to California and I was a big star and everything was going so great when I would simply put my arm around Shirley or want to kiss her on the cheek [and] she’d say, “No Way!” Every time we have any kind of affection, for some reason, I get nauseous, and I can’t help it,’ he recently told the Christian Post.

He added that he wanted her to see a doctor because she thought she could ‘get past this,’ but she eventually did and they found cysts on her ovaries that developed after their four children were born.

The actor revealed that those troubling times lead him to turn to God, and that gave them a second chance in their marriage.

‘That trouble led to us receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which as good, churchgoing Christians, we were taught that all those wonderful supernatural things that happened to Christians in the first century, were not for today,’ he said.

‘We weren’t expecting anything supernatural in our lives, but now as we experienced the deliverance from this malady, [we] see even the pain and the suffering for a while had its purpose. [It] not only show[ed] us there needed to be something corrected, which would have gotten worse and worse in her life, … but also during that time, we learned that we could have the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit through the baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ he added.

Boone is now continuing his career in faith-based films, and told anyone with a moral script to send it his way.

‘I just want to do good in my profession and not succumb to anything,’ he told FOX News, adding: ‘I’m not scrapping my moral code for the box office.’