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Traumafession:: Tomb on That’s Incredible! & the Horror of John Davidson

May 8th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments

One of the staples my misspent youth was enjoying, “That’s Incredible!“. It was a kitschy hodge-podge of stuntmen, magicians, psychics and other dentally challenged fraudsters looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. I loved it! Sometime this show would slip in some really disturbing stuff, and this is prime-time TV mind you. One segment was about this lady who died and had this vision (near death experiences was a T.I. mainstay btw) of Jesus and the Devil battling for her soul! The cinematography was creepy! It was filmed in black and white, and if I remember correctly, they used this low camera with a fisheye lens looking up at these two hooded characters writhing about. And the scenery was like this burned out hillside with a dead tree. Very nightmarish! I wasn’t prepared for that kind of imagery on a Monday night! Might have been the inspiration for the cult art film, “The Begotten“. But who knows. Anyway, the next day, I remember a schoolmate being equally disturbed by that segment as I was. Wish I could see it one more time.

Oh and hey! While we’re on the subject of Creepy and That’s Incredible!, let’s talk about John Davidson! I mean, what’s going on behind those eyes? That smug smile! (Cue psycho shower scene music) My Dad never liked him, ever since that streets of San Francisco episode where he played a cross-dressing (as Carol Channing) murderer, he didn’t want anything to do with him! I later learned that Johnny Depp is also afraid of John Davidson…. so there! I’m not afraid as the aforementioned, but I wouldn’t want to meet him on a lonely road at night.

Tags: Traumafessions

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm


    Wow. This is probably the best episode of any show ever.

  • 2 darkkoNo Gravatar // May 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    I LOVED That’s Incredible! I’d take mine with a side of Believe it or Not.

    John Davidson’s cross dressing scenes are truly horrifying.

    Also, might that DILL-LIGHTFUL sticker be a scratch and sniff? I was really into collecting stickers as a kid, and I know I had that one at some point.

  • 3 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // May 9, 2014 at 2:54 am

    And Darkko, I’ll one up you with a tall glass of Real People.

  • 4 TaylorNo Gravatar // May 9, 2014 at 10:16 am

    That’s Incredible was a bit before my time, and John Davidson himself was already on his way out as a pop culture personality as I was growing up and becoming aware of such things, but I do remember him from two places: 1. Appearing as himself in an episode of Perfect Strangers where Balki desperately wanted to meet him, and 2. In the movie Michael Keaton movie The Squeeze where he bascially played a version of himself being involved in some kind of lotto scam.

    And I’m not seeing the Perfect Strangers thing on his IMDb page, maybe I dreamed it? What the hell kinds of dreams was I having in the 80s??

    That That’s Incredible clip *is* incredible! -ly terrifying. Anything that evokes Begotten is pretty much guaranteed to wet some pants.

  • 5 dvyoung444No Gravatar // May 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Geez, I was so in love with Cathy Lee Crosby that all the disturbing stuff about the show must have flown over my head.

  • 6 Dr. FutureNo Gravatar // May 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    To add to his menace, John Davidson presided as a performer over one of the deadliest disasters in American history – the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire, in which 165 died and 200 were injured in Kentucky (my home state).

    In a way, he served a harbinger of disaster, like a “Mothman of the Mid-South” (come to think of it, the famous Mothman appeared just a few miles away at the West Virginia/Ohio border, just before the deadly bridge collapse – could they be the same person?). Both characters evidently inspire shrieks wherever they appear.

    He also reminds me of the antagonist in the story, “The Man With the Flaming Scar”, who appeared just before disasters in one of my favorite Ripley’s Believe It of Not anthology paperbacks as a kid.

  • 7 jackball74No Gravatar // May 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Any time That’s Incredible or Real People did something about the supernatural it always had a real creepy vibe despite often being low-budget. The Halloween specials always hit the mark. And I remember my friend mentioning one segment he saw concerning EVPs that sounded really freaky.

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