This is my favorite documentary and one of my favorite movies of all time, no doubt. This movie for me and a certain handful of friends is our Rocky Horror, our focal point of bonding. We quote it, we would watch it before going out, after going out, drunk, sober, whatever, and have been doing it for years. A couple of us even made a concept album about it. It’s part of our lingo, our personal code, and we use it to crack each other up. The things these convicts said are pure poetry. I love everything about Scared Straight. It’s a travesty that it’s not better known, and that when I say at a party with mixed company that “I’m in here for murder, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and breaking a dude’s jaw and his woman- both her gotdamn arms…” I just get confused stares. Scared Straight is unparalleled.
In 1993, Ed Grimley level Wheel Of Fortune superfan Raymond Taylor’s dream came true. He made it on his favorite show. And this is what happened.
Isn’t defining “walk” as a “thing” a little sneaky? Wasn’t “Mild Sauce” a pretty good answer? Was Raymond stealing Sajak’s glory? Can you see the lust in Vanna’s White eyes? What happened after the camera’s stopped rolling? Well, as you might guess, it’s a sad story if you give a damn.
Raymond tried to hang around after his run was up. “I wanted to have a life with the show, I loved the show enough to be a part of it.” Enough so that he had to be ejected from the set on 4 separate occasions. Finally, it came to the point that production offices were closed because of “concerns that Taylor may be in the building.” Charges were filed.
Over a chicken dinner, Raymond told a reporter “I just want to work for the staff, and I didn’t know where to go. I said: hey, give me a job. I know everything about TV.” Guess Raymond just didn’t have what it takes. As they say, it’s not what you know but who you know, and everybody in Chicago had no pull out in sunny California.
So what’s the deal? What’s he on? Crack? PCP? Is he tweaking? According to someone claiming to be Raymond posting on bojangles.com, “I have autism not a crack addict thank you.”
Is it true?
Does it matter?
Unless an anonymous user on youtube is playing some strange game of trickery, Raymond Taylor no longer walks the Earth.
“He wasn’t a crackhead! In fact, he was a very intelligent man. A bit different and a tad eccentric, nonetheless a gentle soul. The people that knew him understood him. RIP Raymond E Taylor 2/27/44 – 2/27/2010”
Happy trails, Raymond. You were one of those characters that make the world and interesting place, and I hope you came to reflect on your time on Wheel Of Fortune fondly. May the road rise to meet you.