The Not-So-Amazing Criswell


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Jeron Criswell King was wrong. A lot.

Better known as “The Amazing Criswell,” King began making off-the-wall predictions to fill airtime while working as a Los Angeles-based radio announcer in the early 1950s. His supposed psychic gift led him to claim, among other things, that between Feb. 11 and May 11, 1983, all the women in St. Louis would lose their hair, blanketing the city in chaos and leading to divorces, lawsuits, and an outbreak of violence toward hairdressers. Crazy? Sure. But eventually, these puzzling prognostications made him a minor celebrity, scoring him guest spots on The Jack Paar Show, a super-sized entourage, and A-list friends such as Mae West — whom he once predicted would become president of the United States, taking him and Liberace’s brother, George, on a rocket ride to the moon.

Like George’s more famous, rhinestone-clad brother — who oddly wasn’t included on the intergalactic guest list — Criswell was a showman. He went on to write newspaper columns and books, work in television, and take bit parts in the notoriously bad science-fiction movies of filmmaker Ed Wood. Known for his spit-curled pompadour, sequined tuxedos, and stentorian speaking style, Criswell made his most famous forecast in March 1963 when he publicly predicted that outside forces would prevent John F. Kennedy from running for re-election in 1964. Still, his claims of being 86-percent accurate and knowing the future through the year 2000 were mostly proved wrong with the passage of time — and the fact that Florida has yet to become the world’s biggest nudist camp. But you can’t be right all the time.

Which brings us to the task at hand.

In our spring issue, devoted to the results of this year’s Detroit Home Design Awards, we made a few errors of our own. Sure, we’re still far more accurate than “The Amazing Criswell” and can honestly claim never to have spit-curled anything, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t correct our errors and give credit where credit is due. Please take a moment to acknowledge the award-winning contributions of these omitted honorees (below), then enjoy this error-free issue of Detroit Home.

In it, we provide a menu for the perfect summer barbecue, go shopping with interior designer Stephen Knollenberg, and feature a historic farmhouse, contemporary architecture in Franklin, and a well-groomed garden in Birmingham. Enjoy.

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