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References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat; that of being marginalized, trivialized, and fictionalized. Most of the references noted on this site are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society; some are humorous, yet some are disturbing in their associations.
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Shriners
References to Shriners in film and television generally focus on their colourful parades and red fez. Other than the occasional reference to their "party hearty" image, most references are simple depictions of their parades.
Film
Big Fish (2003)
Ed Bloom, played by Ewan McGregor, is given the key to the city and a parade when he leaves his small hometown. The parade consists entirely of Ed, his travelling companion, Karl, and six Shriners in mini-cars [00:30:00]. Directed by Tim Burton, written by Daniel Wallace (novel) John August (screenplay) Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange. (Drama / Fantasy / Comedy). 124 min., USA, English. Colour, Dolby. *
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Janet Leigh walks into a back room where fez-adorned men are discussing charity work. [01:28:00] Directed by George Sidney, written by Michael Stewart, Irving Brecher. Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell, Jesse Pearson, Paul Lynde, Mary LaRoche, Michael Evans, Robert Paige, Gregory Morton, Bryan Russell, Milton Frome, Ed Sullivan, Ray Bloch and His Orchestra. 112 min. USA, English / Russian. Technicolor. *
Conrack (1974)
School superintendent Skeffington has a plaque on his bookshelf which may display the Shriner crescent emblem. [01:17:30] Directed by Martin Ritt, written by Pat Conroy (novel), Irving Ravetch. Jon Voight, Paul Winfield, Madge Sinclair, Tina Andrews, Antonio Fargas, Ruth Attaway, James O'Rear, Gracia Lee, C.P. MacDonald, Jane Moreland, Thomas Horton, Nancy Butler, Robert W. Page, Hume Cronyn, Mac Arthur Nelson. USA, English, 106 min, Mono, Colour. *
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003)
Shriner on a mini-tractor. [01:14:21]. Directed by Troy Miller, written by Robert Brener and Troy Miller,Peter Farrelly, Bennett Yellin. Timothy Stack, Mimi Rogers, Wayne Federman, Lucas Gregory, Derek Richardson, Eric Christian Olsen, Luis Guzmán, Rachel Nichols, Elden Henson, Eugene Levy, Cheri Oteri, Holly Towne, Josh Braaten, Vahe Manoukian, William Lee Scott. USA, English, 85 min, Dolby, Colour. *
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
In a segment where Michael Moore lists U.S.A. President George W. Bush’s "Coalition of the Willing" he uses footage from different countries. At the end of the list the visual shows black and white footage of a Shriners parade while the narrator says, "With our mighty coalition intact, we were ready." [01:18:00] *
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)
In a depiction of a true story, convicted murderer, Byron "Delay" De La Beckwith VI (1920/11/09-2001/01/21)—played by James Wood—is shown driving a car with a
Shriners symbol attached to his rear view mirror and, in several scenes, wearing a Shriners lapel pin. Directed by Rob Reiner, written by Leo Colick. Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods. Columbia Pictures & Castle Rock Entertainment. USA
Guess Who (2005)
A busy hotel lobby scene takes place during a Shriners convention. In the DVD commentary, director Kevin Rodney Sullivan makes several references to Shriners seen in the background of other scenes. Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan, written by William Rose and David Ronn. Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Saldana, Judith Scott, Hal Williams, Kellee Stewart, Robert Curtis Brown, RonReaco Lee, Paula Newsome, Phil Reeves, Sherri Shepherd, Nicole Sullivan, Jessica Cauffiel, JoNell Kennedy, Niecy Nash. 105 min. USA, English, Colour, Dolby.
Gypsy (1962)
Based on Gypsy Rose Lee’s autobiography, the first half hour of this movie emphasizes the reliance Rose Hovick placed on her claimed fraternal associations. Centre place is given to the Elks and Buffalo, but the Shriners are mentioned in the song, "Some People". Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, written by Arthur Laurents (play) Gypsy Rose Lee (book). Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Paul Wallace, Betty Bruce, Parley Baer, Harry Shannon, Morgan Brittany, Ann Jillian, Diane Pace, Faith Dane, Roxanne Arlen, Jean Willes, George Petrie, Ben Lessy. 143 min. USA, English. Technicolor, Stereo. *
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
When Betty Grable returns from what she had expected to be an Elks Lodge convention [00:50:04], she tells Lauren Bacall that she had got married. Lauren exclaims "Not to that Shriner!" [01:40:05]
Betty Grable (1916/12/18 - 1973/07/02), Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall (1924/09/16 - ), David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, Alexander D'Arcy, Fred Clark (1914/03/19 - 1968/12/05), William Powell. Directed by Jean Negulesco, written by Zoe Akins , Dale Eunson. 95 min. USA, English. Technicolor, 4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Sound System). (Comedy) *
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)
Near the movie’s end Robert Morse sings: "Now, you may join the Elks, my friend, and I may join the Shriners. And other men may carry cards as members of the Diners. Still others wear a golden key or small Greek letter pin but I have learned there’s one great club that all of us are in. There is a brotherhood, of man. A benevolent brotherhood of man. A noble tie that binds all our hearts and minds into a brotherhood of man." [01:51:52] Directed by David Swift, written by Shepherd Mead (novel). Abe Burrows (play). Robert Morse, Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee, Anthony ’scooter' Teague, Maureen Arthur. 121 min. USA, English. Colour, Mono. *
Kiss Me, Stupid (1964)
Hanging on a cupboard door in a roadhouse sex trade worker's trailer is a large Shriner crest. [00:46:00]. Directed by Billy Wilder, written by Anna Bonacci, I.A.L. Diamond. Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston, Felicia Farr, Cliff Osmond, Barbara Pepper, Skip Ward, Doro Merande, Bobo Lewis, Tom Nolan, Alice Pearce, John Fiedler, Arlen Stuart, Howard McNear, Cliff Norton, Mack Gray, Mel Blanc, John Fiedler. 125 min. USA, English, Black and White, Mono. *
Lies & Illusions (2009)
An El Katif Shrine float in a St. Patrick's Day Parade [
00:00:00]. Directed by Tibor Takács, written by Eric James. Christian Slater, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Ann Schultz, Christa Campbell, Robert Giardina, Al Madrigal, John Casino, Merritt Yohnka, Lochlyn Munro, Alba Jeanne MacConnell, Barrie McConnell, Tracy Schornick, Kelly Hyde, Andrea Hubbard, Saybher Perrigo. USA, English, 93 min., Colour.
The Making of A Hard Day’s Night (1994)
A documentory of the Beatles' first movie made in 1964. In a New York street scene the day before the release of the movie, a smiling Shriner can be seen walking by the crowd. 60 min. [DVD release] *
Man on the Moon (1999)
Shriners in a Los Vegas audience [01:11:30]. Directed by Milos Forman, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Jim Carrey, Gerry Becker, Greyson Erik Pendry, Michael Kaufman, Brittany Colonna, Leslie Lyles, Bobby Boriello, George Shapiro, Danny DeVito, Budd Friedman, Tom Dreesen, Thomas Armbruster, Pamela Abdy, Wendy Polland, Cash Oshman, Matt Price. 118 min. UK | Germany | Japan | USA, English, Color, Dolby. *
Nashville (1975)
While Ronee Blakley sings at an outdoors concert the camera pans across the audience, several of whom are Shriners. David Arkin, Barbara Baxley, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Timothy Brown, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Robert DoQui, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, et al. Directed by Robert Altman, written by Joan Tewkesbury. 1975. 159 min. USA, English, Metrocolour, Stereo (Drama). *
Road Rage (1999)
A car chase scene includes vehicles driving past a bus painted with Shriners' symbols. Yasmine Bleeth, Ellen Carson, Eddie Madden, Jim Carson.Directed by Deran Sarafian, written by Brian L. Ross, David Taylor. 92 min. USA. English, Colour, 1999 (Thriller) [Unconfirmed]
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Roger hides out in a theatre house, and sees a news reel featuring a Shriners parade. [00:42:00] Directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Gary K. Wolf (novel) Jeffrey Price. Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer, Kathleen Turner (uncredited). 103 min. USA, English. Color, Dolby. *
Literature
Ubik (1969)
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)
In the existential science fiction novel, Ubik, the protagonist, Joe Chip, is thrown into what he perceives to be the past and attempts to explain the parasychological powers of his staff — a very real part of the fictional world of the story — by agreeing that, "in a manner of speaking," they use mystical powers. When he demonstrates by making several predictions about the future, his questioner responds by saying: "I'm a Shriner, myself".
Ubik, Philip K. Dick. New York: Bantam Book, 1977. pb. p. 144.
Further references in literature are found on the webpage Masonic references in literature.
Television
Family Guy (2014)
A dishevelled Meg returns home in the early hours of the morning to find Brian drunk in the living room. [00:14:33] The implication is that she has been partying at a Shriners convention. Family Guy, "Brian's a Bad Father" (Season 12 Episode 11 : (2014/01/26) Directed by Jerry Langford, Dominic Bianchi, written by Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein. Voiced by Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Emily Osment. English, colour, 22 min.
F Troop (1966)
Toy "bang-flag guns" — a novelty joke item dating back to the mid-eighteenth century — reveal flags reading "Souvenir of Atlantic City", "Happy New Year!", "Bang" and one reading "Welcome Shriners". [00:21:30] Season 1, Episode 21 "The New I.G." Charles R. Rondeau Arthur Julian February 8, 1966. Directed by Charles R. Rondeau, written by Arthur Julian. Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Ken Berry, Melody Patterson, James Hampton, Ed Prentiss, Joe Brooks, Don Diamond, Bob Steele, John Mitchum, Frank DeKova, Andrew Duggan. English, Warner Bros., 30 min., Mono, Black and White.
Futurama (2011)
A group of aliens wearing red fezes drive mini flying saucers in the annual Parade Day Parade. [00:01:06] Futurama "Ghost in the Machines". Directed by Ray Claffey, Peter Avanzino, written by Matt Groening (creator), David X. Cohen, Patric M. Verrone. Voiced by Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, David Herman, Dan Castellaneta. 22 min. USA, English, Dolby, Colour. 30 June 2011 (Season 6, Episode 16). *
Kids in the Hall (1995)
A faux documentary on a deceased escape artist includes footage of a Shriners parade. [00:19:07] Kids in the Hall Season 4 episode 2 "The Escapist" (402) 13 October 1993. Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson. Produced by Lorne Michaels, directed by John Blanchard, written by Norm Hiscock, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson, Paul Bellini, Brian Hartt, Garry Campbell, Frank Van Keeken. *
The Simpsons (1991)
Mayor 'Diamond' Jim Quimby opens the 12th annual "Close Encounter of the Comic Book Kind" Convention by announcing: "Well, have fun and be sure to clear out by six for the Shriners." [00:03:21] Later, as Bart leaves, the Shriners can be seen arriving. [00:27:00] "Three Men and a Comic Book." Episode 43, Season 2 (2-21) Written by Jeff Martin. Created by Matt Groening. Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon. 1991/05/09 [7F21] *
The Simpsons (2013)
Another depiction of a Shriners convention complete with fez-wearing mini-car drivers. [00:03:15] The Simpsons, "Homerland". season 25 episode 1. Directed by Bob Anderson, written by Stephanie Gillis, created by Matt Groening. September 29, 2013 RABF20, 531. Dolby, English, Colour, US. *
Print
Rex Morgan M.D. (2012)
The use of Shriners to represent a convention-crowded hotel has become a stock image in fiction. Noteworthy in this 19 March 2012 comic strip is the depiction of a younger Shriner. Rex Morgan, M.D. is an American soap-opera comic strip, created in 1948 by psychiatrist Dr. Nicholas P. Dallis (December 15, 1911 - July 6, 1991) under the pseudonym Dal Curtis. It is currently drawn by Graham Nolan (born 12 March 1962) and written by Woody Wilson.
The Fez
From Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in Sons of the Desert (1933) to The Simpsons, the image of the fez-wearing conventioneer has been used as visual shorthand and for comedic affect.
In the comics, The Yellow Kid (1896) wore a tassled red fez. In one episode of the online cartoon, Home Star Runner (2003) a character named Coach Z wears a crescent and star symbol and a red fez. Middle-aged white conventioneers in fezzes are depicted in Mad Magazine (1998). An episode of The Ant and the Aardvark (1970) shows his fez-wearing lodge brothers. Judge Harry Stone has a fez hanging on his coat rack in several episodes of Night Court. A Shriner fez is prominently displayed in Ted Mosby's apartment, in How I Met Your Mother (2010).
In print, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay briefly introduces two Shriners in fezzes. Ellis Weiner's National Lampoon’s Doon mentions "a convention of Shriners from the Benevolent Planetary Order of Elkoids". And Robert A. Heinlein, in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, uses a semi-masonic subplot dealing with a stolen Shrine fez.
The fez is a common device in film. In Killer's Kiss, (1955) two drunken fez-wearing "conventioneers" have a short but important appearance. An assassin wearing a red fez with tassle appears in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999). Janet Leigh walks into a back room where fez-adorned men are discussing charity work in Bye Bye Birdie (1963). In Check and Double Check (1930) the brothers in Amos 'n' Andy’s lodge, the Mystic Knights of the Sea wear fezzes. Depictions of middle-aged or older men wearing fezzes and driving mini-cars, such as in a 1999 episode of Johnny Bravo, do not need to be identified as such to be recognized as Shriners.
Further examples of the fez are found [HERE].

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