My original father, Charles Templeton and tent preacher Billy Graham (and some other guy) pick up some lovely ladies for a night of worshipping God together back in the forties.


I try to lead an odd life.  I have sought out bizarre places and unusual experiences, with social tastes that include Mennonites, strippers, TV celebrities, magicians, bisexual nudists, rock stars, and comic book artists…all are welcome at the Templeton home.

But it’s starting to get weird around here.

I just found out my father was actually Martin Landau ( the man in charge of the runaway Moon) and an agent of Satan.  And it’s somehow the fault of the beast-man from a Disney movie.

THAT’s the kind of weird I can enjoy.

Come to me, my child, for I am your father...your FAAAATHER!


This used to be my dad. Before the recent revelations.

Charles Templeton (my original dad), was a professional cartoonist, journalist, inventor, politician and a fixture of Canadian television for decades.  He tossed off a bunch of best selling novels (one of which killed Elvis) and wrote the story for a crappy Bill Shatner movie that no one saw.  Dad was also one of the more important figures in 20th Century evangelism, who, along with his partner and friend, Billy Graham, built up the YOUTH FOR CHRIST ministry in the thirties and forties—until father got some book learnin’, lost his faith, and walked away from the God biz.  To make things worse, Dad more or less shuffled evangelism onto TV along the way, for which our family owes humanity an apology, and I give it freely and often.  SORRY, humanity.  Our bad.

Billy Graham is a very famous preacher (and not-as-famous anti-Semite, as the Nixon  tapes ably demonstrated).  Billy believes in God all the time.  He super-believes in God.  More than you do, trust me.

Look at me. This is my "believing in God" face!

Martin Landau (my new dad), is a talented actor, who was in Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST, played a screen vampire in ED WOOD, piloted a rogue moon in SPACE 1999, and killed bad guys while wearing a rubber mask on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.  That’s all damn skippy-cool, and every one of you knows it.

Martin Landau. New Taste Dad.

Robby Benson is an A-list cartoon voice, and a B-list actor turned C-list director.  Like most of Western civilization, I don’t think about Robby Benson unless the singing teapot is on my TV.

Robbie Benson in his best known screen performance as a drawing.

Satan. Religious tempter.  Tricky lawyer.  World’s second best fiddle player.

Charlie Daniels cheated somehow, I swear it.



In 2008, cartoon lion-man Robby Benson, directed a film about the early years of Billy Graham. It’s supposed to be a true story.  Robby called it “BILLY: THE EARLY YEARS” because that’s the keen, inventive mind working inside the Benson skull hole.

The poster of the Movie of the Century.

I first heard about this film last year when my brother, Brad Templeton,  sent me to the movie’s promotional website (here) and there was a clip with actor Kristoffer Polaha.

Young dad, from Billy: the Early Years.

(from Mad Men) playing my father as a young evangelist.    I’m not fond enough of Billy Graham to sit through some two hour hand-job docu-nonsense, just to catch a scene where someone plays my dad, so I watched the YouTube clip and thought little more about it.

Dad on his death bed. Clearly having a pleasant time.

But my brother found a DVD copy of B:TEY (as the fans call it) last week and watched it.  He reports that Dad ain’t no cameo character in this here picture.  Instead, the story is told entirely from the point of view of my aged father (played by Martin Landau), opening up a floodgate of Templeton memories about young Preacher Billy, and their time together, in a deathbed interview that dad gave to some reporter, days before the end.  Pops tells the eager scoop-monger a golden age buddy picture tale, featuring two cocky church boys, fightin’ for Christ, with Billy the smiling, blonde hero, and my father an agent of Satan who works to tempt away Graham’s faith and destroy the church from within.

Yup.  An agent of Satan.

Say.... Wouldn't you rather do something evil?

I haven’t seen it yet but, according to my brother Brad, in the story, Dad tempts Billy.  He lies to God.  He fakes his way to the pulpit, more or less as an agent of the dark lord, and converts to Christianity with his fingers crossed behind his back, so it doesn’t count.

Fooled ya! I'm so clever like that.

When I was a kid, and my father would spank me for setting the back yard on fire, I suspected he was an agent of Satan.  Now I have proof.

But I am confused.  See, my father suffered from Alzheimer’s in the last years of his life, and couldn’t tell his wife and kids from a well stuffed throw pillow, let alone give death bed interviews to anyone.   If  Dad was as likely to have a conversation with an oak tree as a reporter in those final weeks of his life, then the entire premise for this “true story” is invented bullshit, pulled directly from the asses of screenwriters WILLIAM PAUL McKAY and JANA LYN RUTLEDGE.

The screenwriters, in their best known photo.

William Paul McKay came to this film after a lifetime of no screenwriting credits whatsoever because one  doesn’t want one’s authors tainting up their vision with prior experience or a familiarity with “formula”.  And you can’t toss a rookie at the blank page without a well-seasoned old hand  like  co-author Jana Lyn Rutledge to guide them.  Jana  penned a single  episode of a Christian Children’s Show called CIRCLE SQUARE a mere thirty one years previous to this epic flick.

With these savvy show biz veterans at the helm, it didn’t matter if they didn’t research their subject, talk to his family, or discover that Dad had Alzheimer’s.  Those were “facts”, and with any film about religion, you can’t let irrefutable facts get in the way of a good yarn.    It turns out I’m not the only offspring of Jesus-Starsky or Christ-Hutch in this religious buddy road-trip that didn’t like this goofy flick.  Billy Graham’s son thinks the movie is crap, too.

How come I never worked on this series?

But it got made. It exists, and perhaps dozens of people have seen it.  And now I get to count Martin Landau as my father figure since the original model passed away– and I’m comforted to know I have a direct family connection to THE EVIL DARK LORD, should I need one.  Some Marvel Artists get to draw Son of Satan, but I get to live and breathe it, man!  Ladle some of that crazy sauce into your life, and see how it tastes.  I wonder if I went to Martin Landau’s house, would he’d let me sleep over?  Probably I should call first.

By the way, the actor who actually does look like my father, Harry Shearer refused to be involved in the project after watching a thirty-one year old episode of CIRCLE SQUARE which he described as “just awful, even in the CIRCLE SQUARE sub-culture”.

One of these is my father, and one is Harry Shearer, but I can't tell which is which.

Go here, to my brother’s blog and read his review of this Bullshit Billy film.  Later, I’m surfing for a copy to download illegally, as I don’t want to give these folks a dime to watch their monkey theater puppet show.

Ty the Guy


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  1. Wow. Just wow. Y’know that another name for Satan is The Beast. Robbie Benson – tool of the dark lord. Or just a tool. He did name his kids Lyric and Zephyr.

  2. The movie is told from his viewpoint, but in the DVD version they cut the Landau’s scenes a fair bit from the movie one, and removed the death scene and final meeting with Graham. So Landau is on screen only a modest amount. There’s a lot more in the book.

  3. Also, I had to watch Circle Square as a child and anyone related to the project in any way actually deserves to be forced to eat one of their own fingers. That show wasn’t just preachy and inaccurate, it was also horribly made. While other kids got to watch Sesame Street, I had to watch that crap.

  4. Travis Pelkie

    Wow, that is some crazy stuff. I’m glad I saw a link to your site on CSBG (a Bill Reed Sunday Brunch post), and then subscribed.

    Um, I thought Martin Landau was dead? Am I wrong?

    But if you’re Martin Landau’s son, that means that your (half?) sister was Dru on Buffy/Angel. That should make for cool conversations at family reunions.

  5. Find a sleazy lawyer (working for Satan of course) and sure the religious zeal right out of their stupid a$$e$$. And if you ever meet that idiot Benson, just drop kick him.Then crack him over the head with a hardback version of Frank Miller’s Sin City. Apologize to Frank later.

  6. I met “sue” not “sure”.Satan made me mess up.

  7. To Mr. Templeton,
    you can call me anything you wish. I’ve had a long career trying to do my best – and unfortunately was approached with no time left for preproduction on the Billy film. I actually believed your dad was the most fascinating character and even shot it that way. The film was then taken over by producers and even Mr. Graham’s family and completely cut to their liking. I wish your dad got the screen time and the representation he deserved in the film. I’m so sorry as a father that you, as a son, are unhappy with the portrayal. I am too… P.s. I’m not a beast; satan or anything with evil intentions: just a person who tries to make a living in the arts – and who could’ve just let your blog go to trash or spam, but I think the film hurt you and that is a terrible shame. But, don’t be confused by titles, credits and such until you understand the complexities an unfortunate nuances of show business. It’s a nasty business, except for the “process” which is creative and that is why most of us are still plugging away.
    Sincerely and with respect, Robby Benson

  8. Geez, Ty. Figured all those years you spent working in TV, films, stage on top of comics and illustration would of given you some sort of insight into the complexities and subtle nuances of show bidniz.

    Or, maybe, we’re seeing why Robbie never worked in comedy?

  9. Aw, lay off, Robbie. He probably does have a sense of humour but rather than be misconstrued here on a very sarcastic forum, he just offered the most straight-up, sincere mea culpa and apology I think I have ever witnessed online.

    This beats Edward Norton’s brilliant response to the Hulk fiasco this week.

    Ty, I think Robbie should play you in the follow-up film with Shearer. At least we know he’ll capture your wonderful singing voice.

  10. Ahem–


  11. sure those cartoons are from dreems of satans of human jinni

  12. Hello Ty!
    I read Billy Grahams book “Just as I am” almost 20 years ago, and last evening I saw the movie about Billys early years. Your writing forced me to
    read the book again, and the movie is not that bad in storytelling.
    Anyhow, I am praying that You
    / Stefan, Im a Swedish sailor;)

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  14. Ty,

    I think that you should see the movie, “Billy, The Early Years of Billy Graham.” Your father is not presented in as negative a light as you are stating. The questions that are brought up need to be answered by any Christian. I think that Landau acting is great in this movie. One of the main points of the movie is that Christians, (even Billy Graham), do not have all the answers to life’s questions and must take their belief by Faith. I think that your dad would have been pleased with his representation in this movie, and the final conclusion portrayed.

  15. I could be a nut job. After you watch this movie, watch the video clip, “The Cross,” that Billy Graham did 5 days ago for his 95th Birthday.

  16. Here is coverage of another interview with Mr. Templeton.
    Unless you are too scared, perhaps you should go here

  17. btw, apparently being an anti-semite isn’t such a big deal. Barrack Obama, Jesse Jackson Sr., and Minister Louis Farrakhan have said, on air, much worse than the “famous anti semite remarks from the Nixon tapes.” “The synagogue of satan” is quite innocent compared to hymie town etc… Coming from a Jewish heritage i am not at all bothered by Graham’s remarks as compared to the aforementioned comments.

    • One more thing. It is rather disingenuous and far reaching to take, out of context, Mr. Graham’s word’s. They very article you quote describes the biblical context the phrase meant. No he was not using the Bible to reconcile anti-semitism. Here is another link from the same date, paper, etc. Unless clicking another link and reading a little more is too much for Templeton’s home???

  18. I guess “all are welcome at the Templeton home” except honesty and fairness. How can you hope to make a reasoned intellectual response without even seeing the movie? Your remarks are at best a joke as are the remarks of your toadying followers.

  19. That is quite a powerful interview you linked there!

  20. …or moving, I am still shaken by what Charles Templeton said.

  21. Get a life!

  22. Get a life and actually DO SOMETHING so we can make fun of you, too. Come on, let’s have fun turning your hate around… actually, your hate is probably killing you, so – never mind …

  23. Get a life and actually DO SOMETHING so we can make fun of you, too. Come on, let’s have fun turning your hate around… actually, your hate is probably killing you, so – never mind …

  24. Ty, you should really read the entire interview that is referenced above to see what your dad told Lee Strobel before his death about Jesus Christ:

    • At that stage of his life, my father had trouble recognizing blood relatives, knowing what year it was and often forgot the beginning of a sentence before it ended. He did, however, have a fairly good recall of distant events, and regressed quite a bit in conversation, to a younger self. So if your point is that as my father’s illness progressed, and his dementia increased, he was more likely to think about Jesus and God, I’m inclined to agree with you. Dementia and regression into childhood are often associated with a belief in the supernatural.

  25. Your father was a CrZy and so are you!!! The movie was great!!!

  26. Hi Ty,

    The questions your father asked are very profound and Christians have tried for centuries to answer them adequately. Your father and his questions were highlighted in the 2007 DVD by Lee Strobel, “The Case for Faith.” The actor that portrays your dad in that DVD looks just like your dad’s pictures. Your father is portrayed respectfully, especially since the questions are acknowledged by the theologians in the DVD as being very difficult to answer.

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  28. This woman knows nothing of Billy Graham. He was never alone with a woman. Willing to be bet his wife was sitting right there! This woman is a bitter athiest. Trying to portray christianity in a bad light. Go back to you’re basement girly!

    • Amendment. It’s not a woman. It’s man. Still, you can’t honestly say Billy was a cheater. Lovely ladies? Seriously?? Willing to be his wife was there!

  29. Martin Landau was one of my favourites from Space 1999, but his portrayal of the biblical Jacob in the Joseph epic was a absolute masterpiece.

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