Thursday, May 18, 2017

Give ear to our Words, O Manos.

O Manos... thou of primal darkness! Thou who dwelleth in the depth of the universe in the black chasms of night! Thou who bestoweth the mother darkness upon thy faithful, to live eternally in her keeping. Thou dost make him most blessed forever! And thou who dost cursed with eternal burning life those whom transgress against thee! Holy art thou, holy art thou, holy art thou! Manos will be done! Thy priesthood remains steadfast, thy priesthood remains constant, thy priesthood remains righteous. Thou hast taught us, O Manos, and we hath listened. Give ear to our words, O Manos, and hear us! Hear us! Hear us! For we are faithful and thou art our God.
This was the monologue my dad aka Tom Neyman aka The Master in Manos: The Hands of Fate, spoke in the film. Although the script was written and the film directed by Hal Warren, dad wrote this monologue because, as he told me "In the original script Hal had me just standing that whole time with my arms spread out to show the robe. I wrote that so I would have more to do"
This leads me to the conclusion that Manos could have been worse, but the thing that strikes me more than that is a post shared by a fan who listens to this Manos prayer in times of challenge to lift him up.

Tom Neyman went to Seminary at TCU and was a youth pastor until he left the Disciples of Christ Church in 1963 and head for El Paso when I was 4 years old. I think my dad would be just stunned to know his seminary training helped someone so many years later. It blows my mind.
It Is The Will Of Manos!

Other than not having enough dialogue in the script, dad had plenty to do to help Hal make the movie dream come true, accepting charge of the sets, props, costumes, artwork,the kid and the dog. Everyone had plenty to do, and did do it for a promise of reimbursement, payment and possible future fame. We did not see payment or reimbursement and dad never was returned The Masters robe mom made or the Master and Dog painting he had painted. Hal kept those and passed them down to one of his children.

It is for certain not one of us could have imagined the form fame would eventually take.

After the premiere of Manos: The Hands of Fate, all who had been involved, scattered for good reason, and very little was spoken about it as everyone went on with their lives.  As an impressionable and observant kid, the film was very important to me because it was something my dad and I did together. It was special, then it was over and it was gone. I cherished the memories and as I got older began searching for the film without success.  Years after I had given up, Mystery Science Theater 3000 played it on January 30th 1993 on Comedy Central,  The Master happened to be watching from his easy chair on the Oregon Coast and got to see it the first time it aired.

To me, The Spirit of Manos evolved initially in the "getting through it" approach people took.  It became a badge of honor and something to share with friends.  It became a way to recognize others from the same tribe of Ironics and Msties.

For many years, Mystery Science Theater was the only way it could be viewed, and most felt it was the only way possible to even want to view it.  The fact it had always been in public domain due to the film not having a copyright, is the only way MST could have screened it, and because of that, it was allowed to become known.

In 2011 Ben Solovey had bought the original Manos work print in an Ebay auction, successfully raising Kickstarter funding to restore it.  Subsequent public screenings of the Restoration then gave me opportunity to attend a few events and talk Manos with fans as one of few surviving original cast members.

About this time is when the trouble started.

The son who boasted in Playboy Magazine that he had the painting on his wall and wears the Masters robe at Halloween began claiming he had a valid copyright on the film and demanded licensing and his permission for anything Manos related that I may want to do.  It became an email battle where I kept asking for proof that never came.  Other Manos inspired projects created by others fell under fire too, adding stress, no resolution and no compromise.  Time passed.

Now, the same son has applied for and been granted Trademark of the title Manos The Hands of Fate. We have kept close tabs on this and are taking every proper step to oppose the trademark final approval.

Why?  Because in his own words, Hal Warren's son refers to Manos inspired project as "tacky projects" which he intends to either demand "cease and desist", or payment in the form of licensing.  Those of us who are inspired enough to create Manos inspired projects are "money grubbers" and he intends to do something about it.  I believe he is over reaching on what a trademark will actually grant but I am quite certain it would be used as leverage to persuade. I also feel reasonably certain that much of the joy many of us get from Manos would be dimmed by all the dissension and negativity.  Time is very short to stop this from happening.  Once the final date arrives, it will be done unless we take action now.

We have filed a 90 day extention that will give time to prepare the opposition and file in time but we need your help.

Ben Solovey and I have a GoFundMe in place to fund the Legal Defense to  #KeepManosFree for all our enjoyment and inspiration.  Please go now and make a donation.  Every bit counts!

Legal Defense of Fate

Thank you and Manos Blessings.