Scientology Crime Syndicate

Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/news.asp?f=000429/275636&s2=national&s3=toronto

Saturday, April 29, 2000
'John! I love you'
Rebecca Eckler

National Post

When you're one of a few hundred fans who show up to see John Travolta in person, you want to leave an impression-- however embarrassing. "John! I love you!"

Somehow, the words just flew really loudly from my mouth. At least I didn't ask him to sing the duet Summer Lovin' with me.

"I love you, too," he responded, taking a seat at a Toronto Chapter's where he was signing autographs for Battlefield Earth, a sci-fi novel written by L. Ron Hubbard.

Battlefield Earth has been made into a feature film, starring Travolta as a nine-foot-tall alien, and will be released in May.

"In the year 3000, there are no countries, no cities ... Earth is an empty wasteland ..." begins the description on the back of the book. Travolta was dressed in a black suit, shiny shoes, and had a new short buzz cut. His eyes are clear blue. He still has a belly, really large feet, and that, to quote the movie Face Off, "ridiculous chin." On his signing table, there was one bottle of Evian water, one bottle of Natural Lemon Flavour Ice Tea, along with no fewer than 20 fine- point markers. (They had run out of markers during a signing yesterday, so organizers were overly prepared.)

Not one person in line -- in the book store -- had read the book, it turned out, though it was first released in 1982, and many had been waiting for eight hours.

"I've been waiting since the doors opened at 9 a.m.," said the first-in- line, 23-year-old Michael Lauzon. He was on page 76. (Battlefield Earth is 1,050 pages long.)

"It's my dream come true to meet him," said the second-in-line Carolyn Wayne, a 17-year-old who skipped school. While waiting, she chose to read, Hey Baby What's Your Sign? and Love Magic.

Lisa Fera chose to flip through What is Scientology?, also written by L. Ron Hubbard.

Everyone knows Travolta is a practising Scientologist. (There were a couple of anti-Scientology protesters outside.)

That book reads on the front; "Across the chasm is a high plateau where things are far better. Scientology is the bridge across that chasm." I have no idea what that means exactly. But who cares? Everyone had come to see Travolta the actor.

"No," admitted 19-year-old Heather, "I probably won't ever read Battlefield Earth. I just want his autograph."

She's seen every Travolta movie including Grease, Face Off, Broken Arrow, The General's Daughter, Look Who's Talking. She's also seen Pulp Fiction 40 or so times.

What's truly amazing about these long-waiting fans, who chanted, "We want John!" and "We love John," is that as soon as they reached him, they were tongue-tied. They beamed and were thrilled with one Travolta handshake and a "Hey, How ya doin'?"

(Except one guy, who pulled out a script he had written and tried to sell it. Later, Travolta's manager, sucking on a cough drop, griped, "Oh, he always does this. All he has to say is, 'Send it to my manager.' Yeah, that's going straight into my bag!")

Travolta did make one fan cry --a 13-year-old boy, who bawled like a 13- year-old girl at a Backstreet Boys concert.

"I just, uh, said, he's, uh, my, uh, idol, and he, uh, said, 'thanks', " heaved Michael Seater, the teary fan.

The young lad said he has seen Grease 20 times, amazing considering the movie is almost twice as old as he is.


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