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Origin: Plastic Jesus

DigiTrad:
PLASTIC JESUS
PLASTIC JESUS (2)
PLASTIC MOSES


Related threads:
Lyr Req: I don't care if it rains or freezes (39)
Tune Req: Plastic Jesus (13)
Lyr Req: Cool Hand Luke / Plastic Jesus (61)
Lyr Req: song from 'Cool Hand Luke': Plastic Jesus (15)
YouTube: Paul Newman - Plastic Jesus (36)
Lyr Req: I don't care if it rains or freezes (14)
Lyr Req: I don't care if it rains or freezes long (9)
Lyr Req: Plastic Cheeses (8)
BS: Plastic Jesus (22)
Lyr Req: Plastic Jesus (3)
Info Req: Plastic Jesus (16)
BS: SPAW'S PREDICTION--Wanna' bet? (23) (closed)
Lyr/Tune Req: Dashboard Jesus / Plastic Jesus (2)


zenmatt@sprintmail.com 19 May 98 - 09:08 PM
Will 19 May 98 - 10:38 PM
19 May 98 - 10:44 PM
Richard Wright 19 May 98 - 11:41 PM
20 May 98 - 02:10 AM
Earl 20 May 98 - 10:26 AM
aldus 21 May 98 - 09:37 AM
Rockaday Johnny 21 May 98 - 12:05 PM
Roger Himler 21 May 98 - 06:28 PM
Rockaday Johnny 21 May 98 - 08:15 PM
Joe Offer 21 May 98 - 09:39 PM
Rockaday Johnnie 24 May 98 - 04:26 PM
Earl 24 May 98 - 06:19 PM
Roger Himler 24 May 98 - 07:02 PM
Richard Wright 25 May 98 - 12:55 PM
dick greenhaus 25 May 98 - 03:49 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 25 May 98 - 08:03 PM
Victor 28 May 98 - 11:09 AM
Sir 28 May 98 - 11:59 PM
Earl 29 May 98 - 02:12 AM
Joe Offer 29 May 98 - 04:02 AM
Joe Offer 05 Aug 03 - 06:49 PM
Amos 05 Aug 03 - 06:59 PM
Leadfingers 05 Aug 03 - 07:21 PM
Joe Offer 05 Aug 03 - 07:50 PM
Mark Clark 05 Aug 03 - 08:11 PM
Amos 05 Aug 03 - 08:27 PM
Gurney 06 Aug 03 - 06:21 AM
Ian Darby 08 Aug 03 - 07:58 PM
Burke 13 Aug 03 - 06:02 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Sep 03 - 11:34 PM
Deckman 16 Sep 03 - 11:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Sep 03 - 02:15 AM
artbrooks 17 Sep 03 - 08:45 AM
Renegade 17 Sep 03 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 17 Sep 03 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Dewey sobosb@webtv.net 25 Sep 03 - 12:46 PM
Bill D 25 Sep 03 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Ed Rush 05 Oct 04 - 03:20 PM
Charley Noble 05 Oct 04 - 04:58 PM
The Shambles 05 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Oct 04 - 09:20 PM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 04 - 03:58 AM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 04 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,meee 07 Nov 04 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,ossonflags 09 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM
chris nightbird childs 09 Nov 04 - 11:57 AM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Nov 04 - 07:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM
GUEST 01 Sep 06 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,oldhippie 03 Sep 06 - 10:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Aug 07 - 07:15 PM
Greg B 09 Aug 07 - 08:31 PM
Charley Noble 10 Aug 07 - 08:42 PM
catspaw49 10 Aug 07 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 10 Aug 07 - 10:37 PM
Dave'sWife 11 Aug 07 - 12:49 PM
Mr Happy 01 Jun 09 - 04:06 AM
Mr Happy 18 May 10 - 10:13 AM
Joe Offer 18 May 10 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Gerry 22 Jul 11 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 22 Jul 11 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 27 Apr 12 - 04:19 PM
beachcomber 28 Apr 12 - 07:38 AM
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Subject: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: zenmatt@sprintmail.com
Date: 19 May 98 - 09:08 PM

Dear All:

I am trying to find out who wrote and who made popular the song "Plastic Jesus"? Any ideas?

Please respond to me directly at my e-mail address: zenmatt@sprintmail.com. Thanks.

JM Dorn


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Will
Date: 19 May 98 - 10:38 PM

John Prine? (Purely a guess)


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From:
Date: 19 May 98 - 10:44 PM

RE:/PLASTIC JESUS/http://www.dejanews.com

CLICKHERE


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Richard Wright
Date: 19 May 98 - 11:41 PM

paul Newman sang it in Coolhand Luke, when his mother died.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From:
Date: 20 May 98 - 02:10 AM

www.ascap.com LISTS the following:

PLASTIC JESUS / COOL HAND
Writer(s)
RUSH PAUL EDWARD
CROMARTY GEORGE M

Performer
GOLD COAST SINGERS



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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Earl
Date: 20 May 98 - 10:26 AM

I have it in a songbook that predates Cool Hand Luke by at least five years. I think it is a 20th Century folk song no matter what ASCAP says.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: aldus
Date: 21 May 98 - 09:37 AM

Plastic Jesus has been around for a long time, I recall seeing it in Sing Out Mag. in the early sixties. It is not a John Prine song. I believe it is by Guy Carawan or someone of that type.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Rockaday Johnny
Date: 21 May 98 - 12:05 PM

The person who should get the credit for "writing" actually editing the song is Atlanta songwriter Ernie Marrs - Ernie has written a number of well known topical songs that Pete Seeger has recorded - "The People Are Scratching" being one I can think of off hand. Actually Pete almost recorded "Plastic Jesus" It got as far as being advirtised on a folkways lp before he decided not to record it. Ernie's group did record it for "Broadside" Magazine in the 60's, and it was printed there as well as a shorter version in Sing Out. The Marrs tape was lost sometime in the early 70'2 (acording to then editor - the late Gordon Freison)and unfortunatly never issued.--The only Recording I know of is on an lp called "Here They Are - The Goldcoast Singers" World Pacific 1806- a wonderful "Folkum" (To use the old Little Sandy Review term for Kingston Trio like folk music) Live recording wher they credit it on the record jacket as (traditional Spiritual)????? This is the version that gets play on Chicago's Midnight Special ---(WFMT) The lp also has such Art Thieme favorites as Peace Corps rejects and Please Mr Kennedy. The last I heard Ernie Marrs was still in Atlanta going to every Braves game he could get to...More info on Ernie can be found in Pete Seegers Bio - The Incomplete Folksinger


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Roger Himler
Date: 21 May 98 - 06:28 PM

From the sixties, I had a song book, currently in storage, that included Plastic Jesus in it. It was in a collection of songs guaranteed to offend someone. Boy, I've had this cynical streak for a long time. I have no recollection of any attribution for writing, but I suspect this song has been trampled through the folk process. For instance, I never saw so many verses!!!

Keep on Mudcatting!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Rockaday Johnny
Date: 21 May 98 - 08:15 PM

Just a little bit more info for anyone wanting to do a little research: Plastic Jesus appeared in the April-May Issue of Sing Out (was Reprinted in SO Reprints # 8 -Which wqas reprinted in Sing Out Publications The Collected Reprints Vol 7 to 12. It was also published in Broadside (the NY mag- Not Boston) with additional verses in #39 & # 41. There's an interesting article talking with Ernie Marrs called "Plastic Jesus Investigated" in Sing Out - Nov 1964 page 51 and Pete Seeger discusess it in Sing Out January 1965 Page 93.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 May 98 - 09:39 PM

Hey, Johnny - I really enjoyed the information you've given us so far. Anything more from that article that you can tell us, or have you already told the whole story?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Rockaday Johnnie
Date: 24 May 98 - 04:26 PM

Hi Joe -- It Looks like the original version of Plastic Jesus was an ad for the a company that actually made them and offered them for sale-- I believe they were advirtised aon a number of high powered border stations, such as the one in Del Rio Texas. Pundits began making up their own versions and it was Ernie who adapted it and added some of his own verses that urned into the song we know and love so well.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Earl
Date: 24 May 98 - 06:19 PM

Roger, I'd be ineterested in hearing more about your songbook. What was the title? Do you think its still in print?


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Roger Himler
Date: 24 May 98 - 07:02 PM

Earl,

I said it was in storage. So Sunday is a good day to search in the basement (and thankfully you haven't seen my basement). The book is "The Panic is On (and 62 other songs - outrageous, irreverent, subversive, and far-out)" compiled by Jerry Silverman. It was published by Oak Publications in 1966 (only $2.95!!!). It doesn't come up in a search of Barnes & Nobles or Amazon. I would be really surprised if it is still in print.

Good luck in your search!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Richard Wright
Date: 25 May 98 - 12:55 PM

The interesting thing about the Cool Hand Luke version is that Newman sings it as a hymn, as if it was the only thing he knew that had some spiritual words. It has always stayed with me.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 25 May 98 - 03:49 PM

I THINK I first heard a version of this song in the late 1940's. WWVA (the friendly voice of Wheeling West Virginia) carried commercials for plastic dashboard statuettes of Jesus (along with bullet proof bibles, and glow-in-the-dark Last Supper plastic tablecloths), and the lyrics struck a chord. As far as I know, Mr. Marrs added some verses of his own, and, as was the common practice of the day, copyrighted it.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 25 May 98 - 08:03 PM

Do a Dejanews Search under "Plastic Jesus" and the fairly recent discussions on this song held on the folk newsgroups should come up. One guy wrote a good ecumenical version to include all the religions he could think of.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Victor
Date: 28 May 98 - 11:09 AM

Wasn't that the song that Don Imus used on his radio show for his Billy Sol Hargus theme song?


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Sir
Date: 28 May 98 - 11:59 PM

Isn't the tune for "Plastic Jesus" the same for "Oklahoma Hills"? I dunno it's been a while since I've heard it. If I remember correctly in "The Incompleat Folksinger" Pete Seeger mentions that he liked the song a lot because of it's pointing to how people accept plastic or illusion over substance but he said he decided not to sing the song anymore because he also saw that the reason he enjoyed it might have something to do with his protestant upbringing. He mentioned a Catholic friend who said the image of Jesus should be thought of in the same lines as a picture of a loved one that people keep in a wallet.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Earl
Date: 29 May 98 - 02:12 AM

I agree with Richard that it is a powerful scene in Cool Hand Luke. On one level he's trying to be spiritual but at the same time restating his disbelief.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 98 - 04:02 AM

Sir, I appreciate Pete Seeger's sentiments, but "Plastic Jesus" was a very popular song at the Catholic seminary I attended in the 1960's.
It was a liberal seminary, I'll admit. Most of us discovered the opposite sex and moved on to other occupations.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Origins: Plastic Jesus
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 06:49 PM

I got a wonderful present in the mail from Deckman yesterday - a copy of Broadside Magazine from March 10, 1964. It has an article/letter titled "Plastic Jesus, Part three" - which means there's more of the story to be told. Anyhow, here's the letter:

    DEAR SIS (Cunningham): ——
    Your attempts to track down "Plastic Jesus" are interesting. I don't know if this will help you much, but maybe it will add one more piece to the puzzle.
    From what I can judge, the song has had two distinct forms, the first of which went more or less to the effect
      I don't care if it rains or freezes,
      I am safe in the hands of Jesus,
      I am Jesus' little lamb,
      Yes, by Jesus Christ I am
    There are six texts in the folklore archives at Indiana University which were collected at Michigan State in the early 1950's, the above text being collected in 1952.
    Some years later, the song took on the "Plastic Jesus" theme which has seemingly supplanted the original (?) lyrics. It is a very widely known song In the repertoire of the college student and indeed may be said to be part of oral tradition. I recently collected this version:
      I don't care if it rains or freezes,
      Long as I got my plastic Jesus
      Sitting on the dashboard of my car;
      I don't care if it's dark and scary
      Long as I got my magnet Mary
      Sitting on the dashboard of my car.
      (Chorus) City cop, state cop, county sheriff...
    The informants didn't remember the rest. This is the most complete traditional version I've run across...
    -Dick Reuss-

I'm guessing the line in the original is "I am safe in the arms of Jesus'" since that nomenclature is a little more common. Can we find the rest of the original song? There is an old hymn called Safe in the Arms of Jesus, but that's not the one.
In one source I read, somebody suggested it could be sung to the tune of "Reuben, Reuben." Hmmm. Yeah, that works.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 06:59 PM

Dick, I remember hearing that WWVA rap as late as 1960 -- they were still flogging glow-in-the-dark statuettes and dashboard figurines. It was fodder for an endless array of parodies by smartass kids from the Nawth.

A


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 07:21 PM

I have a suitcase full of music books,one of which is the Reprints from Sing Out with Plastic Jesus in it. Maybe I will have a delve tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 07:50 PM

Hi, Leadfingers. Let me say you some work. The primary version of Plastic Jesus in the Digital Tradition is here (click). It's almost identical to what's in the blue Sing Out! Reprints book, which says this version is copyright 1964 by Ernie Marrs, published previously in Broadside Magazine.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 08:11 PM

I remember some of the mock sales rap that was often done with this song. It's based on the sort of radio ads we used to hear from the Texas border stations (and it's not that far off) but I don't think it came from an actual commercial.
(Put on your best Texas drawl.)
“Yes friends, this program is brought to you by the Pink and Pleasant Plastic Icon Company of Del Rio, Texas. Friends, you can receive, by mail, a different member of the Holy Family each month and I know you'll want to collect the whole set.

Just imagine the envy of your friends and neighbors when they come into your home and there is the entire Holy Family on top of your television set easin' eye strain and bringing in better reception.”


And so forth. You kind of make it up as you go along.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 08:27 PM

And friends and nayyhbors, if yore order is recieved here at dubblya dubblya veeyay within two weeks we will throw in free of charge, believe it or not, a dozen baby chicks, and a placemat with the autographed pictures of Jesus and the Twelve Disciples on it. ... if within three weeks, we will send you two dozen baby chicks and TWO place mats. If you don't order anything from us, be prepared for a really big delivery.....

Oh, dear, Mark, it appears we were nurtured on the same vile humor!! LOL!!


A


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:21 AM

My copy (2nd printing) of the songbook that Roger Himler describes so accurately is entitled '62 Outrageous Songs' although 'The Panic Is On' is in there. Wonder which one they left out?
They'd never publish it now, too un-PC! Jews, christians, kings, plutocrats, welshmen, all getting a rev-up. No bad language, though.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Ian Darby
Date: 08 Aug 03 - 07:58 PM

The King Earl Boogie Band also did a great version on their album 'Trouble at Mill'


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Burke
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 06:02 PM

Joe,
A Google search turns your original verse up in an anecdote about a WWII RAF pilot.

My older brother, Andrew, was a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. At age nineteen he was facing death every day. He would return to base sometimes with an engine or two shattered. On one raid his co-pilot, Gregg, was killed at his side. In these early days of telecommunication the pilots had to speak into the intercom. as they came close to base, so that they could be traced and guided towards a safe landing. So they kept repeating things, poetry they had learned at school, newspaper headings, anything. Andrew told me once, shyly and with some embarrassment, that the call-in lines he most used were these:

I don't care if it rains or freezes,
I am safe in the arms of Jesus.
I am Jesus' little lamb,
Yes, by Jesus Christ I am.

From:
Sermon preached by the Rev'd Dr. J. A. Ross Mackenzie

St. Luke's Episcopal Church
"Good Shepherd" Sunday: May 6, 2001


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 11:34 PM

Richard Wright - 25 May 98 above said:
QUOTE
The interesting thing about the Cool Hand Luke version is that Newman sings it as a hymn, as if it was the only thing he knew that had some spiritual words. It has always stayed with me.
UNQUOTE

I'm interested if anybody is aware of this song being performed in this "serious" style by anyone else, or is it always done as a fast
"satirical/humourous" thing?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 11:55 PM

Joe ... I've always sung it to the Reuben, Reuben melody! Singing it this way always succeeds in insulting the occasional Christians at hoots, offend ignorant neighbors, and really ticks off the neighbors' dog! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 02:15 AM

Sorry, the reference misses me at the moment - a little tired...

Robin


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 08:45 AM

Brothers and sisters, put your hands on the rad-i-o. Feel thet wumpth? Thet's the wumpth of the Lord, comin' to you di-rect from Waco, Texas.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Renegade
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:28 PM

Apologies in advance if I've missed this from a previous post.

Can somebody fill in the blank for me?

I cannot find the 2nd verse of the Cool Hand Luke version.

As I recall, Newman sings:

Candy is dandy but liquor's quicker
all the cocaine's in Costa Ricker
ain't nobody's business but my own...

What is the next line?

I suppose I could rent the damn movie, but I'd get around to that
like never.

By the way, Imus spent a few years here in Cleveland OH in the early 70's, and indeed used PJ with Billy Sol. Funny stuff.
Thank you very much
Bill


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 05:31 PM

Archie McPhee sells a dashboard Jesus on a spring for $5. I think I'm going to get me one. I believe they also have a dashboard Buddha.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,Dewey sobosb@webtv.net
Date: 25 Sep 03 - 12:46 PM

Ed And George used to hawk the record from the trunk of their car. Ed gave me a copy. That was in Monterey California. It as a 33 1/3 LP. There were only two verses of it on the record. I am not sure if Ed and George wrote it or not. But I do think that their version that caused the uproar. The two verses as I remember were, "I don't care if it rains or freezes, slong as I got my plasctic Jesus, glued to the dashboard of by car, You can buy him pink n pleasant, glows in the dark, he's phosforescent, Take him with you when you travel far". The last verse on the cut was "You kin buy a sweet madonna dressed in rhinestones, sittin on a pedestal of abalone shell, goin 90 I'm not wary, cause I got my virgin Mary, guarantyin I won't go to hell". They hawked plastic members of the holy family in between verson. As I recall it was recorded in front of a live audience. I had my copy of the Lp until my place burned down in the early seventies. I will be 75 on Sunday. Ed and George must be around 65 by now if they are still with us. I would like to hear from both of them.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Sep 03 - 01:07 PM

I have 3 MP3s of Plastic Jesus, including the Ernie Marrs version, and two others in 'different' styles, but very similar words (perhaps taken from the Marrs version.)

One is by Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon (*grin*) who seem to specialize in doing the most irreverant things they can find.... and one by Paul King and the King Earl Boogie Band


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,Ed Rush
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 03:20 PM

Well. So now I will solve the Plastic Jesus authorship question for this six year quest once and for all. As bored teenagers in Fresno, California in the late 50's my friends and I used to sit around on hot summer nights playing with a radio to find distant stations. A favorite was (as I dimly recall) a station with the call letters(maybe) XERB, from Del Rio, Texas. The transmitter was just over the Rio Grande, in Mexico, so that they could engage in some questionable transactions that the FCC might not have approved of. They peddled all sorts of tacky quaisi-religious stuff, including plastic statues of Jesus, Mary, etc. These were guaranteed to protect the buyer, especially if he sent cash. One of our favorite programs often featured rousing spiritual anthems, including one song that started, "I don't care if it rains or freezes, leaning on the arms of Jesus..." Being slightly irreverant teenagers, George and I came up with "I don't care if it rains or freezes, long as I've got my plastic Jesus..." etc,etc. I clearly recall rolling on the floor with laughter for about an hour. Several years later George and I attended the same college in Monterey and started singing songs that we made up satirizing all sorts of politcal and social conventions. We sang for contributions from the audience in a joint on Cannery Row called Kalisa's. After about a year of this we decided to try our luck a actually doing this professionally and ended up with a string of club and concert gigs that ground to a halt in November of 1963 when George was drafted into the army. Our last performance was in a club in Victoria BC on the night of November 23. That was the day of the Kennedy assasination and it was a bit wierd to say the least. Poor george had to report two days later. As the Gold Coast Singers we recorded an album for World Pacific/Pacific Jazz Records that included Plastic Jesus, recorded in concert at San Francico State sometime in early 1961. The recollections about the song in some of these messages probably have their origins in the wide airplay of our record in the early 60's. This is also probably where Ernie Marrs first heard it. Although I don't remember selling records out of the trunk of George's VW, it sounds like something we would have done at the time. World Pacific couldn't deliver records to ditributors after the first 25,000 were released because they hadn't paid the record pressing plant for some time. In mid-1963 a Chicago disc jockey played Plastic Jesus several times a day and nearly got fired by his very Catholic boss. So that's the story from the horse's mouth. George died a few years ago, but I'm still around, so to speak.
cheers,
Ed Rush


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 04:58 PM

Thanks, Ed!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM

Snippet in the latest Radio Times. Paul Newman lookes 'emotional' whilst singing the song in Cool Hand Luke - not because of some deep method acting - but because he was struggling to remember them and kept forgetting the words.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 09:20 PM

I think I still like his version very much.


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Subject: ADD Verses: Plastic Jesus
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 03:58 AM

Gene sent me a link to this page which has a number of verses we don't have:

    Plastic Jesus
    (Ed Rush and George Cromarty, Ernie Marrs & others)

    I don't care if it rains or freezes
    'Long as I got my Plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car.

    Through my trials and tribulations
    And my travels through the nations
    With my Plastic Jesus I'll go far.
    Plastic Jesus! Plastic Jesus,
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    I'm afraid He'll have to go.
    His magnets ruin my radio
    And if I have a wreck He'll leave a scar.
    Riding down a thoroughfare
    With His nose up in the air,
    A wreck may be ahead, but He don't mind.

    Trouble coming He don't see,
    He just keeps His eye on me
    And any other thing that lies behind.
    Plastic Jesus! Plastic Jesus,
    Riding on the dashboard of my car ...

    Though the sunshine on His back
    Make Him peel, chip and crack,
    A little patching keeps Him up to par.
    When I'm in a traffic jam
    He don't care if I say "damn"
    I can let all my curses roll

    Plastic Jesus doesn't hear
    'Cause he has a plastic ear
    The man who invented plastic saved my soul.
    Plastic Jesus! Plastic Jesus,
    Riding on the dashboard of my car ...

    Once His robe was snowy white,
    Now it isn't quite so bright -
    Stained by the smoke of my cigar.
    If I weave around at night,
    And policemen think I'm tight,
    They never find my bottle - though they ask.

    Plastic Jesus shelters me,
    For His head comes off, you see
    He's hollow, and I use Him for a flask.
    Plastic Jesus! Plastic Jesus,

    Riding on the dashboard of my car ...
    Ride with me and have a dram
    Of the blood of the Lamb -
    Plastic Jesus is a holy bar.

    [Plastic Jesus has become quite entrenched in the folk tradition, so there are considerably more folk verses than there were original ones. Following are folk additions and emendations, as well as additions from recording artists who have covered this song.]

    Well, I don't care if it rains or freezes,
    Long as I have my plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    I could go a hundred miles an hour
    Long as I got the Almighty Power
    Glued up there with my pair of fuzzy dice
    {Refrain - repeat between every verse}
    Plastic Jesus, plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    Through all trials and tribulations,
    We will travel every nation,
    With my plastic Jesus I'll go far.
    I don't care if it rains or freezes
    As long as I've got my Plastic Jesus
    Glued to the dashboard of my car,

    You can buy Him phosphorescent
    Glows in the dark, He's Pink and Pleasant,
    Take Him with you when you're travelling far

    I don't care if it's dark or scary
    Long as I have magnetic Mary
    Ridin' on the dashboard of my car

    I feel I'm protected amply
    I've got the whole damn Holy Family
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    You can buy a Sweet Madonna
    Dressed in rhinestones sitting on a
    Pedestal of abalone shell

    Goin' ninety, I'm not wary
    'Cause I've got my Virgin Mary
    Guaranteeing I won't go to Hell

    I don't care what they say, I'm gonna
    Keep on prayin' to that pink madonna
    Melted to the dashboard of my car.

    I don't care if it bumps or jostles
    Long as I got the Twelve Apostles
    Bolted to the dashboard of my car

    Don't I have a pious mess
    Such a crowd of holiness
    Strung across the dashboard of my car

    No, I don't care if it rains or freezes
    Long as I have my plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    But I think he'll have to go
    His magnet ruins my radio
    And if we have a wreck he'll leave a scar

    Riding through the thoroughfare
    With his nose up in the air
    A wreck may be ahead, but he don't mind

    Trouble coming, he don't see
    He just keeps his eyes on me
    And any other thing that lies behind
    {as refrain}

    Plastic Jesus, Plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car
    Though the sun shines on his back
    Makes him peel, chip, and crack
    A little patching keeps him up to par

    When pedestrians try to cross
    I let them know who's boss
    I never blow my horn or give them warning

    I ride all over town
    Trying to run them down
    And it's seldom that they live to see the morning
    {as refrain}
    Plastic Jesus, Plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    His halo fits just right
    And I use it as a sight
    And they'll scatter or they'll splatter near and far

    When I'm in a traffic jam
    He don't care if I say Damn
    I can let all sorts of curses roll
    Plastic Jesus doesn't hear
    For he has a plastic ear
    The man who invented plastic saved my soul
    {as refrain}
    Plastic Jesus, Plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    Once his robe was snowy white
    Now it isn't quite so bright
    Stained by the smoke of my cigar

    God made Christ a Holy Jew
    God made Him a Christian too
    Paradoxes populate my car

    Joseph beams with a feigned elan
    From the shaggy dash of my furlined van
    Famous cuckold in the master plan

    Naughty Mary, smug and smiling
    Jesus dainty and beguiling
    Knee-deep in the piling of my van

    His message clear by night or day
    My phosphorescent plastic Gay
    Simpering from the dashboard of my van

    You can buy Him phosphorescent
    Glows in the dark, He's Pink and Pleasant,
    Take Him with you when you're travelling far.

    You can buy a Sweet Madonna
    Dressed in rhinestones sitting on a
    Pedestal of abalone shell.
    Goin' ninety, I'm not wary'
    Cause I've got my Virgin Mary,
    Guaranteeing I won't go to Hell.

    Rain and Snow are not an issue
    long as I got my plastic Vishnu
    Sittin on the dashboard of my car

    When I'm goin' fornicatin
    I got my ceramic Satan
    Sinnin' on the dashboard of my Winnebago Motor Home

    The women know I'm on the level
    Thanks to the wild-eyed stoneware devil
    Ridin' on the dashboard of my Winnebago Motor Home
    Sneerin' from the dashboard of my Winnebago Motor Home
    Leering from the dashboard of my van

    I don't care if I'm broke or starvin'
    As long as I've got a fish named Darwin
    Glued to the trunklid of my car

    God, I'm feeling so evolved
    Drivin' with my problems solved
    Proclaiming what I think of what we are

    Riding home one foggy night,
    With my honey cuddled tight,
    I missed a curve and off the road we veered.

    My windshield got smashed-up good,
    And my darling graced the hood.
    Plastic Jesus, He had disappeared.
    {As refrain}
    Plastic Jesus! Plastic Jesus,
    No longer chides me with His holy grin.

    Doctors in the X-ray room
    Found Him in my darling's womb.
    Someday, He'll be born again!

    I don't care if it rains or freezes
    Long as I got my plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    He's the dude with the rusty nails,
    Walks on water, don't need no sails
    Riding on the dashboard of me car

    I don't care if the night is scary
    As long as I got the Virgin Mary
    Sittin' on the dashboard of my car.

    She don't slip and she don't slide
    Cuz her ass is magnetized
    Sittin' on the dashboard of my car.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 01:55 PM

I think Ed's message solves the origins mystery definitively. It's verified by Smithsonian Folkways. Here are the notes on the song from their Best of Broadside collection:

    Ernie Marrs and the Marrs Family (b. 1932-1988)

    Ernie Marrs was a prolific songwriter and a frequent contributor to Broadside. It was claimed that he wrote 15,000 songs (Sing Out! 43/1:28, 1993). Marrs was born in Oklahoma but later settled in Atlanta, Georgia. During his career, he worked as a stonemason, served in the navy, and was a migrant worker (Broadside issue 2).


    The Best of Broadside: 73. "Plastic Jesus"

    This was one of the most heavily debated sings printed in Broadside, as it had been earlier when it was published in Sing Out! (14/2, 1964). Its publication in Broadside led to a barrage of angry letters from subscribers asking, "How can you publish something so blasphemous?" People canceled subscriptions and claimed they would never read the magazine again. In Sing Out!, articles were written defending the song. Gordon Friesen replied, "'Isn't the song sacrilegious?' We ask in turn, 'Where does the sacrilege lie really, with the song, or those greedy for profits, who debase the Savior by producing and peddling these cheap little trinkets in his image?'" (Broadside issue 39). Indeed, the song still provokes outrage from those who fail to recognize that its target is the purveyors of religious kitsch, not religion itself.

    Marrs arranged his version based on a song that was already in circulation, although it was frequently credited to him. Actually, it was written by two West Coast musicians, Ed Rush and George Cromarty, who were members of the Goldcast Singers. Ed Rush traced the song back to an African-American camp-meeting song with lyrics "I don't care if it rains or freezes, leaning on the arms of my Jesus," which was the theme song of a religious radio program broadcast from Baton Rouge in the 1940s (Broadside # 41). The parody lyrics are based on the line quoted above. Folklorist Richard Reuss found six variants of the religious words in the Folklore Archives at Indiana University (Broadside #41).

    Text and quotes extracted from the notes by Jeff Place accompanying The Best of Broadside.

    Smithsonian Folkways recordings featuring Ernie Marrs: Broadside Ballads, Volume 6 - Folkways 05315; Broadside Ballads, Volume 5 - Folkways 05312; We Shall Overcome: Documentary of the March on Washington - Folkways 05592

I'd sure like to see the lyrics for the religious song. Anybody have Broadside #41?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,meee
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 05:46 AM

i remember once seeing a ink to a website from www.hampsterdance.com which had a load of little dancing plastic jesuses singing the plasticjesus song in high voices. the lin disapered when hampster dance up dateddoes ne 1 no ne thing aboot that?


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,ossonflags
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM

were can I buy me a plastic jesus ?


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:57 AM

You know it might tickle some people pink, but I remember first hearing this song on the "Don Imus" show on WNBC...


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 07:45 PM

ossonflags

Almost any religious supplies store - especially the Catholic ones - look in a phone book. You can also get books, candles, (probably a bell too!), beads (rosaries), communion chalices etc. Lots of interesting goodies.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 08:24 PM

The last time this (or parallel) thread came around, I remember looking at sites in Google and finding a plastic bobble head Jesus.
Neato!


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 05:17 AM

Do you know some links to download plastic jesus mp3?thanks


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,oldhippie
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 10:11 PM

guest, what's your e-mail? I can send you the Marrs mp3.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 07:15 PM

Refresh


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Subject: ADD Version:Plastic Jesus(Ecumenical/Universalist)
From: Greg B
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 08:31 PM

Okay, I admit it. I'm the guy who wrote the Ecumenical (or Universalist)
Plastic Jesus:

I think nothing could be cuter
Than to see magnetic Buddha
sitting on the dashboard of my car
Other drivers they throw fits
Buddha he just sits and sits
sits there on the dashboard of my car      

For safety you can't top the Torah
which explains the huge Menorah
up there on the rooftop of my car
I know I have done my utmost
With my mezuzah on the doorpost
Please touch it as you get into the car

I press firmly on the pedal
protected by a St. Chris medal
fastened to the dashboard of my car
Now I hear he's been demoted
To him we'll no more be devoted
I'll peel him from the dashboard of my car

There's a crystal made of glass
Which creates a blinding flash
Hanging from the mirror of my car
Though it makes it hard to see
It brings the cosmic energy
To focus on the dashboard of my car

With other cars I will not tangle
Long as I have that fine pentagle
riding on the dashboard of my car
My new car it has lots of room
much better than my other broom
I'm getting tired, could you drive a spell?

My view ahead is clear to see
Because an atheist that's me
With nothing on the dashboard of my car
On the road my sole protector
Is a good radar detector
Looking through the windshield of my car

On the road I fear no moron
For I have my trusty Koran
Riding in the glove-box of my car
My faith's as solid as can be
I'll make the mountains come to me
Soon I will no longer need the car

Other drivers they should fear me
for I have their effigy
riding on the dashboard of my car
No more in life will they be grinnin'
After I just shove this pin in
They'll wish they'd never bumped into this car

Though in faith we are diverse
In cars our outlook grows perverse
We drive as though our brains was made of tar
Different idols seem to linger
But every driver has one finger
Waving it at every other car


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Aug 07 - 08:42 PM

Greg-

Very nice but there are a few major religions you've neglected, not to mentions several hundred other religions that are seriously endangered.

I really need to compose a verse about Baja, the Thunder God who may still reign over a small region of Ethiopia.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Aug 07 - 08:52 PM

I thought Baja the Thunder God was the master of projectile diarrhea....................I could be wrong.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 10 Aug 07 - 10:37 PM

A verse I wrote in the '60s for a small metal Tyrannosaurus Rex that was glued to the dashboard of our Volkswagen bus.

To make sure I get good sex,
I've got my metal T-rex
Right there on the dashboard of my car.
No bad guys or sneaky fella
Can defeat Sister Mary Godzilla
Who protects us on the dashboard of our car.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 11 Aug 07 - 12:49 PM

great verses everyone.

The other thread might be about Cool Hand Luke. I posted there last year after getting caught up in Cool hand Luke on cable


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 04:06 AM

This song has always seemed to me to be a parody, perhaps of a hymn, anybody know??


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 May 10 - 10:13 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_Jesus


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 May 10 - 07:15 PM

Click here for another page on "Plastic Jesus." Seems to me that Ed Rush's claim of authorship is credible.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 12:00 AM

Back issues of Broadside have been online for a while now (http://broadsidemagazine.com/ click on Backfile & Indexes). The story as Ed Rush told it above on 5 October 2004 differs a bit from the story as he told it in Broadside 41. There, he wrote, "After getting the words, rather awkwardly phrased, from a Cal co-ed of our acquaintance, we [George Cromarty and Ed Rush] put them into meter, set them to an innocuous (?) melody and surrounded them with dialogue...."

Rush goes on to cite the original, "I don't care if it rains or freezes/Leaning on the arms of Jesus..." which was the theme of a "radio show from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the 1940s. On hearing this, some wag changed the words and 20 years later they ended up in my hands...."

It seems to me that in 1964 Ed Rush was disclaiming any credit for the lyrics of PJ.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 10:08 AM

I can remeber an american singer called Chris Rohmann(?), who was touring with Harvey Andrews at the time, singing it- way, way back........


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:19 PM

I have been trying to find the origins of this song also. I have had for many years an old tape, rather scratchy that sounds like it was recorded in the 40's or early 50's of Plastic Jesus. Several years ago, I digitized it for a mix CD of humorous songs. It begins with an organ and a voice saying "Good morning, friends; this is the hour of reckoning...(then singing) Hello, friends and neighbors; how do you do?"
It sounds like a real ad or spoof ad from Del Rio, Tx with a live audience.
I will be happy to send an mp3 of it to whoever thinks it might help them identify the performers. I can be reached at jdcrump at Yahoo dot com if you are interested.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote & Who Made Popular: Plastic Jesus?
From: beachcomber
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 07:38 AM

Of course you realise "This means WAR !" (Intifada style !)


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