Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reeve's And Robin's

I was reading an article about movie and television "predictions" some time ago, when a stray thought hit me: Hadn't Christopher Reeve once, prior to his 1995 riding accident that left him paralyzed from the head down, played a quadriplegic in an old crime movie? I looked it up, and sure enough there were lots of resources on the Internet mentioning it. But it turns out that my memory wasn't completely on the money. The movie in question was the HBO-produced Above Suspicion from 1995, and Reeve "only" played a paraplegic in it...well, there is a bit more to the story actually, but I won't spoil anything for those who want to watch it (f.x. via the youtube link below).

When I finally sat down and watched Above Suspicion the other day, I didn't recognize it at all. The movie I thought I remembered was Deathtrap from 1982, which Reeve stars in together with Michael Caine. The plot and setting is completely different from Above Suspicion, and most importantly Reeve's character in Deathtrap is not in a wheelchair. So somewhere along the way I must have gotten the two mixed up in my head, for some reason. Still, it was a bit of a "wow" moment for me, especially when looking further into things. 

What makes the Christopher Reeve case particularly interesting, is that life seems to have imitated art with very short notice: Above Suspicion premiered on TV only six days before Reeve's accident. That and the fact that Reeve had gone to great lengths preparing for the movie, which was after all just a relatively small TV-production. He even went as far as staying at a spinal cord trauma unit for days at a time, so he would be able to play his role more convincingly. It makes you ponder the possibility that he somehow manifested his own accident, after focusing so intently on it within a fictional setting. Either that, or the universe handed out a particularly cruel dish of irony that day. 

Reeve was by reputation, and by his own admission, a very self-absorbed person before his accident, and he eventually looked back with regret on his sometimes smug attitude after leaving the rehabilitation unit, saying to himself "thank god that isn't me". Despite that, Reeve did make an effort to promote the cause for spinal cord injury victims prior to the release of the movie. "One moment everything is fine and then the world falls apart", as he was quoted saying at the time.

This was exactly the situation he faced after he was thrown off his horse "Eastern Express" during a riding competition on May the 27th, 1995. Reeve broke two of his upper veterbrae in the fall, and it was against most odds that he survived at all, with his brain functions intact. His head was almost completely seperated from his spine and had to be surgically reattached.

Reeve as Dempsey Cain in Above Suspicion (left) and in real life, not long after his injury (right).
That Reeve's accident took place so shortly after the airing of Above Suspicion, generated a lot of discussion at the time. But it also fed into the already existing legend of the "Superman curse", which refers to the many misfortunes that have fallen upon people involved with the Superman franchise. What fuelled it even further was that former 1950's Adventures of Superman star George Reeves was already known for being one of the prior victims of the "curse", dying in obscurity at a very young age. The obvious similarities between the names 'Reeves' and 'Reeve' have fostered a lot of speculation among Forteans ever since.

If you wan't to know more about the Superman curse, there is a good wikipedia entry on it here, but I recommend that you also check out this article, which looks at the matter from a more sceptical angle. Also, a more recent addition to the curse has been put forward by Loren Coleman at Twilight Language. And if you feel like taking it even further, Loren discusses the "name game" qualities of the Reeve/Reeves/Reaves name variants, originally started by John Keel in connection with UFO's, here and in his book Mysterious America

And if you are thinking that a UFO/ET connection sounds ridiculous, you might want to reconsider. Not only is Christopher Reeve by far the most recognized person to ever play Superman - who after all is one of the most famous aliens of all time. In 1995 he also starred in John Carpenter's remake of Village of The Damned, one of the most classic alien invasion stories ever written.

The Black Fox mini-series was filmed in 1993, but aired a few months after Reeve's horse-riding accident.

The Death of Robin Williams

Robin Williams died by apparent suicide on the 11th of August this year, and several "predictions" have surfaced from this event as well. Williams had a very strong connection to Christopher Reeve. They both went to Cornell University, where they were often the only people in their classes. Subsequently they became the only two students to be picked out for the prestigious Juillard school in New York, in 1973. They both studied drama at Juillard and kept a close friendship for years afterwards, while their acting carreers took off in different directions.

Shortly after Reeve's accident, Williams played a pracitical joke on him at the hospital, pretending to be a German doctor who was supposed to perform a rectal exam. Reeve has often stated how much this incident encouraged him at the time, and shows just how strong their friendship was. 

Robin Williams with Christopher Reeve and family, towards the end of Reeve's life.
It is curious that the death of Robin Williams should also be surrounded with "synchronicities". Among the top examples, is the fact that the BBC aired an episode of Family Guy, where the lead character Peter Griffin nearly commits suicide after creating an army of Williams clones, just 10 minutes prior to Reuters announcement of his death

As a spokesperson for the BBC said about the episode: 
 It was scheduled more than two weeks ago so it is just an uncanny coincidence. Some of our people who work here noticed that the death of Robin Williams was announced just as this episode ended. 
The said episode is titled "Viewer Mail #2", and is actually made up of three small segments, all based on viewer suggestions. After watching it I was surprised to discover that the episode included not just one, but in fact two suicide attempts. The second involves Kurt Cobain. Both can be seen in the video below.

Family Guy
came under notable scrutiny in synchromystic and conspiracy circles last year too,
 for it's "predictions" about the Boston Marathon bombings in the episode 'Turban Cowboy'. It even made it into the mainstream media, due to a "hoaxed" video that had been circulating. But despite the questionable editing of the above mentioned video, there were still many details that could not be so easily dismissed. Additionally, the bombings were linked in several ways to another Seth McFarlane creation - American Dad - via the episode 'Missing Kink'.

One has to bear in mind that Family Guy is a hugely popular show in many countries, so the chances of that episode being shown somewhere in the world, at the same time as Robin Williams death, are not as astronomical as you may initially think. But those watching the episode at the time may rightly have been very confused about the news that met them, after having watched Robin Williams and two attempted suicides in the same program, within a matter of minutes.

Another thing that was pointed out almost immediately after the news of Williams death, was that his suicide mirrored that of his character's son, Kyle, in the 2009 movie World's Greatest Dad. In it, the son is made into a legend only after his death, and the story is effectively a social critique of the way society treats its dead (and living). In addition, actor David Carradine was found dead later that same year, due to the exact same cause as Kyle in World's Greatest Dad: erotic autoasphyxation (look it up).

And, would you know, another connection can be made here as well: World's Greatest Dad was written and directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait. Although fairly well known in the US, most Europeans will probably only remember Goldthwait for his role as the edgy and crazy 'Zed' in the Police Academy movies. But he was also a good friend of Nirvana, and toured and performed extensively with the band during their final years. They also did some very weird promotional material together, as can be seen in the clip below.

The ending of World's Greatest Dad has been visually compared to the cover art of the "Nevermind" album and the plot of the movie ditto with the spectacle that followed Kurt Cobain's death, here.

Finally, in retrospect, it is quite eerie to read this IGN forum topic about Robin Williams coming death. IGN is home to one of the biggest gaming communities on the Internet, and the topic was posted by some apparently random user only 3 days before Williams actually died. But perhaps it is not so mysterious after all. As someone mentions later in the discussion, there is actually a chance that Williams could have read the topic and become further motivated to commit suicide, as he was well known for being an avid gamer (he named his daughter Zelda after the Nintendo game series). Of course, we now know that Williams had been battling severe depression and alcoholism for years. On top of that, he had recently been diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinsons disease. So the incentive was there already. But it should make anyone think twice about where and what they write nowadays.

1 comment:

  1. Crazy read. I stumbled by accident to your blog because my name is Robin Reeve and I was sent a Google alert about the title of your post, lol. Crazy.