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Rollen The Rainbow Man by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Rollen The Rainbow Man

        I’m going to give you the moral of the story up front: If you have ever thought about being an attention whore, don’t. I won’t even go on about being an attention whore to the degree it consumes your every waking moment. No need to expand, the following story about Rollen Stewart will make this all clear.

    Rollen Frederick Stewart also known as Rock ‘n’ Rollen and Rainbow Man and also as John 3:16 Guy is the ultimate story of attention whoring to the edge of insanity and beyond. Stewart is the subject of the 1997 Sam Green documentary “Rainbow Man.”

    You’ve seen Rollen if you watched any sporting events in the 70s or 80s. He was the guy in the huge rainbow colored afro always getting on camera, dancing like a maniac and sometimes holding up a sign saying John 3:16. He started off innocently, his first big event being the 1977 NBA finals. He became such a fixture that by the time of the 1979 baseball all-star game broadcasters were commanded not to show him.  Still he appeared behind goal posts, near the green at the Masters, near the finish line at the Olympics. He knew where the key shots were going to appear. For his early trouble he was jailed in Moscow during the 1980 Summer Olympics and was parodied on Saturday Night Live by Christopher Walken.

    Somewhere around the early 80s during the time he was digging the attention from publicity stunts and notoriety he became a born-again Christian. How did this new-found religious fervor manifest itself? Simple, Rollen went from Rainbow Man to Rainbow Man always carrying a John 3:16 sign.  He endured hecklers who screamed “Yes, we know God so loved the world… but not enough to keep you out of my face.”
Rollen The Rainbow Man by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles
He showed up at even more events. He was one of these guys who believed the world was ending tomorrow and couldn’t get the message to enough people quick enough. His marriage crumbled. He lived in his car. He begged for tickets to the biggest events. He was called the greatest guerrilla marketer of his time, getting the most pub for the fewest bucks. Still, and this is the crazy part for he had been on television more than most sitcom actors and there was a Budweiser commercial about him, he felt the need to even reach MORE people. He was the Schindler of guerilla marketing “If only I could reach more!” Insanity is swirling here, stay with me.  This is when he came up with the brilliant plan to set off a string of bombs, stink bombs.

    The Orange County Register, The Crystal Cathedral, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Christian bookstore, all became stink bomb targets. The bomb didn’t go off at the American Music Awards but if it had Stewart was prepared to say “God thinks this stinks.” Wearing a rainbow wig for decades could cause insanity, nobody has studied it, or maybe there was a stash of pharmaceuticals in his wig but whatever the cause, Rollen’s obsession ended badly. Tragically, he kidnapped a Hyatt Hotel chambermaid near LAX , covered the hotel windows with “John 3:16” signs and held off the Los Angeles swat team for a day. That was in 1992. The maid was unharmed. He rejected a twelve year plea deal so he could spread his message in open court. He lost and is now serving three life sentences at San Luis Obispo, California.  

    So, you see if you plan to be an obsessed attention whore, stifle the urge. By the way, from his prison cell Rollen runs a blog, a simple blog: John 3:16, John 3:16, John 3:16.

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