Escape

January 5, 1971
1971 HFP, Volume 3 Number 1

As the old year vanished and an even stranger new year was about to arrive, President Nixon met with Elvis Presley at the White House. The photo of their meeting is still the most requested image from the National Archives.

In Poland, Gen. Jaruzelski's military police shot and killed a group of 44 protesters, ending two weeks of rioting over economic conditions. "The Me Nobody Knows", a musical based on the lives of 200 NYC kids from the ghetto, opened on Broadway. The twin towers of NYC's World Trade Center were completed; they would stand until September 11, 2001. The U.S. was entering its second decade of involvement in the quagmire of Vietnam. And on New Year's Eve, as several million people lined up along Pasadena's famed Colorado Boulevard to wait for the Tournament of Roses parade the next morning, Jesus People hit the streets with bundles of the Hollywood Free Paper.

Street preacher Arthur Blessit of Hollywood's Sunset Strip appeared on the street corner below the HFP offices at Hollywood and Vine wearing a Santa Claus suit and carrying an inflatable whiskey bottle and toy guns. "It's tragic when Christmas becomes only a drunken party, a mythical Santa Claus, and war toys of death," Blessit explained. "This Santa suit I have on was worn last night in a Sunset Strip nightclub act at a nude bar. This is a mockery of the whole meaning of the birth of Christ." Blessit's coffeehouse and ministry, "His Place", was open all Christmas day and night and fed hundreds of lonely young people who were spending the holiday on the streets of Hollywood.

The first annual Jesus People Festival of Music at the Hollywood Palladium had attracted brothers and sisters from as far away as Nebraska and Georgia. We devoted two full pages of this edition to photographs of the festival. A Jesus is the Light Festival was already in the works for late January at the Palladium, featuring Larry Norman, Ron Salisbury and the J.C. Power Outlet, Randy Stonehill, Agape and more.

A Spiritual Revolution Day was in the planning stages for mid-February, with a march and rally at the state capitol in Sacramento. Our friends Pat Boone, Jack Sparks, Arthur Blessitt and others were scheduled to attend, and a movement was underway with the help of state assemblyman Newton Russell to get the state senate to officially proclaim the day as Spiritual Revolution Day.

The Jesus People Training Center was offering a two-year program of one-week and two-week seminars held six to eight times per year about the Bible and Christian ministry. Our "switchboard" section, the Wall, filled three full pages with listings of Jesus houses, Bible raps, coffeehouses and more as the Movement continued to expand across the U.S. and into Canada. Some brothers in Worcester, MA wrote to us, excited about having discovered the HFP. "What a dynamite freak paper," they said, "we wish we could have a thousand of them!" Before long they would have thousands of them, as Worcester (pronounced "wooster") would soon become one of six sites re-printing and distributing the HFP across the United States as the Jesus Movement grew.

Our front page cartoon pictured an "up tight" young man harassed by the conflicting demands of parents, society, school and the draft, and the enticements of sex, drugs, rebellion and even concerns like "bad breath". Our back cover poster featured Jesus the Liberator. It became one of our most popular posters.

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