Author: Paul

The Watermelon Man

The Watermelon Man

Late comedian Gallagher had a good reason for destroying those watermelons onstage. He’d seen the scene in the 1968 film Network, when a young woman throws herself out of an airplane into a pool of water while her friend looks on in stunned horror. In the script, the watermelons were all she possessed; if Gallagher hadn’t seen that, he didn’t have to bring them onstage.

The Melons At 1:45 A.M. on July 19, 1967, Gallagher walked onstage wearing only his underwear, carrying a melon in each hand. He tossed the melons in the air, then dropped them into the audience, where they landed right on top of two women. Both were asleep. The melons smashed on their heads. By two minutes after midnight, two hundred people had come out to see him.

The most important thing was that the women fell asleep. You’d almost never see the watermelon thing done onstage without anyone falling asleep. People would know he wanted to kill them, and their minds are much more open when they are asleep. He could have easily put them on the ground and walked onstage and killed them. But he didn’t, because he wanted to have a night of sex and a melon. He knew that people’s minds were on the verge of being changed; he’d experienced that himself in San Francisco. To a great extent, Gallagher was the ultimate rock-and-roll imposter.

This was a strange night. There were no guitars, no drums, no saxophone—in fact, he played no instrument at all. He wore only his underwear onstage. Most of the people came on their own, no one had brought a friend. After the show, he danced and chatted with the crowd. He came home with most of the women in his apartment, and he kept most of their clothes when his friends came to visit. The one woman whom he kept didn’t want to leave, and Gallagher brought her food and cigarettes. But she was a drug addict, and she fell asleep on stage.

That night the Watermelon Man said something like, I’m not a monster. I am a very important bandleader. Look at the people and the way

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