Fake Movie Friday: The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest

This would be relativly short, about 5 minutes, the length of the song The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest by Bob Dylan. I don’t want to call it a music video (though it is), this was a project I wanted to film back when I was taking a film making class in Tennessee. But I neither had the talent, the number of friends required for this, the infinite amount of time or the resources. The song will be playing in the foreground the whole time, there will be no other spoken dialogue besides what is said in the song, there will be no extra sound effects of any kind. I’ll just be describing the shots along with dictating the lyrics to the song for this. If Bob Dylan sings a line of dialogue, the character would mouth the words at the same time. The “talking” scenes will resemble an old silent film. It will all take place in Nashville, circa 2002.

For reference:

The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest:

During the intro to the song you would see Frankie Lee and Judas Priest playing cards in a room with wooden walls. Before the lyrics to the song started the words “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” would be written out over them in a moving, crayon textured font that sort of mimicd the style of Waking Life.

Well, Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
They were the best of friends
So when Frankie Lee needed money one day
Judas quickly pulled out a roll of tens
And placed them on a footstool
Just above the plotted plain
Sayin’, “Take your pick, Frankie Boy
My loss will be your gain”

The scene will play out just like in the lyrics, when Judas Priest pulls out the roll of tens it will look normal, when he places it on the footstool the money will instead of drawn in a moving crayon texture (just think Waking Life this whole time), but the rest of the scene will be normal.

Well, Frankie Lee, he sat right down
And put his fingers to his chin
But with the cold eyes of Judas on him
His head began to spin
“Would ya please not stare at me like that,” he said
“It’s just my foolish pride
But sometimes a man must be alone
And this is no place to hide”

Frankie Lee’s actions would all be exaggerated, Judas’ cold eyes would actually drawn over to appear frozen. Frankie Lee’s head would literally spin, in drawing form. After the line “Would ya please not stare at me like that” Judas Priest would be shown with devil horns, fire behind him, rubbing his hands together and chuckling to himself while staring. Immedatly after the line “And this is no place to hide,” we should show the outside of the house, we could see them both through the windows, there would be multiple signs drawn that say things like “FRANKIE LEE IS IN HERE.”

Well, Judas, he just winked and said
“All right, I’ll leave you here
But you’d better hurry up and choose which of those bills you want
Before they all disappear”
“I’m gonna start my pickin’ right now
Just tell me where you’ll be”
Judas pointed down the road
And said, “Eternity!”

The bills would literally go “poof” when that line is sung. When Judas points down the road we should the road leading to the horizon, probably West End Ave or Broadway, which would very quickly becomes completely drawn over to attempt to recreate the scene in crayon and a sign would also be drawn that was not there originally, a wooden arrow that has “Eternity” written on it.

“Eternity?” said Frankie Lee
With a voice as cold as ice
“That’s right,” said Judas Priest, “Eternity
Though you might call it ‘Paradise’”
“I don’t call it anything”
Said Frankie Lee with a smile
“All right,” said Judas Priest
“I’ll see you after a while”

When FL says “Eternity” a blue, frozen, word bubble would be drawn from his mouth that had written in it “Eternity?” with the question mark in tact. As JP says “paradise” two cartoon blue birds would be drawn onto the screen with a sash that said “paradise” on it. At this point in the video most everything would be drawn on top of the frames with the exception of the two main characters.

Well, Frankie Lee, he sat back down
Feelin’ low and mean
When just then a passing stranger
Burst upon the scene
Saying, “Are you Frankie Lee, the gambler
Whose father is deceased?
Well, if you are, there’s a fellow callin’ you down the road
And they say his name is Priest”

“Oh, yes, he is my friend”
Said Frankie Lee in fright
“I do recall him very well
In fact, he just left my sight”
“Yes, that’s the one,” said the stranger
As quiet as a mouse
“Well, my message is, he’s down the road
Stranded in a house”

The passing stranger would be a cartoon character who would change form between a drifter looking fellow, to a mouse, to the neighbor boy later on in the song. During these verses the only thing on screen that is not animated is Frankie Lee.

Well, Frankie Lee, he panicked
He dropped ev’rything and ran
Until he came up to the spot
Where Judas Priest did stand
“What kind of house is this,” he said
“Where I have come to roam?”
“It’s not a house,” said Judas Priest
“It’s not a house . . . it’s a home”

Frankie Lee would be running down a real street with a cartoon background to it. The sun would notably have sunglasses on and a smile. He would run to Centennial Park where JP would be standing. The reveal at the end of this line would be the house he is speaking of is the replica Parthanon that is located in Centennial Park.

Well, Frankie Lee, he trembled
He soon lost all control
Over ev’rything which he had made
While the mission bells did toll
He just stood there staring
At that big house as bright as any sun
With four and twenty windows
And a woman’s face in ev’ry one

The Parthanon would have a glow to it drawn out. Instead of all the windows however, there would be women behind each pillar who would all reveal themselves and wave in unison. Non of them would be drawn in.

Well, up the stairs ran Frankie Lee
With a soulful, bounding leap
And, foaming at the mouth
He began to make his midnight creep
For sixteen nights and days he raved
But on the seventeenth he burst
Into the arms of Judas Priest
Which is where he died of thirst

The foaming at the mouth would be drawn in, in this scene when FL bursts he would burst into a cartoon caricature of himself. JP would still be played in real life.

No one tried to say a thing
When they took him out in jest
Except, of course, the little neighbor boy
Who carried him to rest
And he just walked along, alone
With his guilt so well concealed
And muttered underneath his breath
“Nothing is revealed”

The neighbor boy would be a cartoon character . The line “Nothing is revealed” would be drawn in a bubble on the screen. The musical interlude that comes after this line would have be a time lapse of the neighbor boy at the burial site that would pass from morning to night and back to morning. When it arrived back at morning, with the cartoon sun rising, the scene (which is currently all drawn out) would begin to erase into the real world. There would be no one where the neighbor boy was, and the cemetery would end up being the spot where Tower Records once stood in Nashville (RIP).

Well, the moral of the story
The moral of this song
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong
So when you see your neighbor carryin’ somethin’
Help him with his load
And don’t go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road

We would no longer see any of the characters from the previous verses (until the very end). Instead we would be following the director, who would be telling the camera to follow him, he would point to a no smoking sign, which would take up a bulk of the screen we would then pan down to a group of college students smoking under neath it. We would then cut to a run down house in a very dirty and unmaintained lot, where one person would be carrying a bunch of papers and stuff. Another person (played by Hank Azaria if available), would come by and help them carry them. One piece of paper would fall off the pile and land on the ground into a very . First that piece of paper would be drawn over, then the rest of the lot would also be drawn over making a must more beautiful scene. The house would be much grander, the sun would of course be smiling. A garbage can would be drawn into the scene, though there was not one before it. The neighbor boy would come by, pick up the piece of paper and throw it out in the garbage can, then walk off out of the frame and the video would fade out on the drawn scene.


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