"Heart of the Beholder" - real-life details?

The low-budget indie movie Heart of the Beholder proports to be based on a real-life incident, where religious fundamentalists drove a video-store owner out of business for carrying The Passion of the Christ for folks to rent.

Does anyone know where I can get information on the real-life incident that (ahem) “inspired” the movie? My understanding is that the movie changed names and locations to protect the innocent, so a search there seems futile…?

Your question confused me for a minute there… but you must have meant The Last Temptation of Christ, not The Passion of the Christ.

This seems to have some of the real-life background for the movie you mentioned.

Yes, a brain fart on the movie name. :smack: Thanks!

I am the producer of HEART of the BEHOLDER. To find background info on the story you have to search the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper archives looking for “George Peach” from 1986 to 1992. Any other questions can be sent straight to me at producer@beholder.com.

Darlene Lieblich

Wow! As I “guest” I can’t imagine you’re a regular here. I’m now interested in the story of how you got here so fast! I’m really, really amazed.

And welcome aboard. I haven’t seen your film but I intend to (it’s been on my list).

Don’t know if you’re interested in participating in an internet message board but if so, I think you’d fit right in and make a fine addition.

The OP contains a link to the film’s official site. The referrer logs of the site will contain a line that says:


…for everybody who followed the link from here. Some folks even run scripts so they can see where their hits are coming from, more or less in real-time.

No great mystery. :smiley:

…and I’d very much like to see this film.

This isn’t an accusation, but an inquiry:

Trying to find corroborating information about the video store being put out of business by Peach’s malicious prosecution at the urging of zealots was a fruitless venture. Of course, there’s plenty of information about his fall from grace, but nothing about a stand over The Last Temptation of Christ.

The only hits returned from sources connecting Ken Tipton and his video stores to The Last Temptation of Christ are all connected with the promotion of Heart of the Beholder, beginning in 1998. Given how much attention and discussion was given to the controversy surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ in the late eighties, I’m wondering why there is no trace of Mr. Tipton’s story in any online news archives or usenet discussions.

Can anyone confirm any actual connection between Ken Tipton and George Peach, or find any reference to his stores being picketed by religious zealots?

I am somewhat skeptical given Mr. Tipton’s past association with censorship-related hoaxes promoted via the internet.

(This is in reference to the “ourfirsttime.com” hoax, in which young actors pretended to be virgins intending to webcast their first sexual experience.)


<<This isn’t an accusation, but an inquiry>>


Email me your address and I’ll mail you a DVD of our movie.

You have actually hit on one of the reasons Ken produced the OurFirstTime.com publicity stunt and that was to show that the media will go after any and all stories having to do with sex but not other stories such as the picketing over Last Temptation or what happens to normal people “behind-the-scenes” once they stand up and become targets by religious groups.

It’s not surprising the media didn’t make a big deal out of the Last Temptation situation in St. Louis because it dealt with religion. After all, it’s SAINT Louis, and his stores were in SAINT LOUIS county and also in SAINT Ann, MO, and SAINT Charles, MO, and SAINT Peters, MO, etc. He grew up there a devout Catholic but he never expected to have his family and business terrorized. During the July screening I toured Ken’s former locations and they are all now Blockbusters. But there’s more to that story that will be used in the sequel although a hint is given in HOTB.

During the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase screening of HOTB, many former employees of Video Library and customers came to see it. There was a panel discussion opened to the public and they talked about the picketing and harassment of the Video Library stores and what they had experienced personally. A Post -Dispatch Reporter named Michael Sorkin also brought out more information that the corrupt Prosecutor had embezzled more than $200,000 from the Crime Victims Fund and had his sentence suspended while one of the Madams that supplied women to him got 10 years for tax evasion.

After the screening, a group of people came up to us who were members of the Mid-Rivers Baptist Church in St. Peters, MO as well as former members of Rev. Donald Wildmon’s “National Federation for Decency”, now called the “American Family Association”. Wildmon is still in the business of picketing video stores as this link shows.


The group apologized to Ken and his family after the screening for the harassment they caused at the video stores and their home. It kind of reminded me of the old “we were just following orders” statement but these people were genuinely sorry. They realized that they had been used by people who abused their power - both political and religious.

The Internet is a wonderful way to communicate. But there are times with allegations, innuendo, and half-truths are spread without responsibility.

For the record, I am the 100% owner of HEART of the BEHOLDER and it’s sequel, VIRGIN TERRITORY. I’ve been a TV executive for over 30 years and before I optioned HEART of the BEHOLDER and VIRGIN TERRITORY, my attorneys and I had access to all newspaper articles, court documents, and key people involved with both stories.

Ken signed over all his rights and any financial interest to his ex-wife and kids to be able to direct these films. As a VP at Fox Cable Networks, where I work in Broadcast Standards and Practices aka The Censor, I deal with religious fanatics on a daily basis because of our programming which makes it ironic that a professional censor would hocked her home to make an anti-censorship movie. I have a special waiver from Fox to produce outside projects and Fox has NO involvement with them.

In regards to Ken’s involvement with the OurFirstTime.com publicity stunt, I will admit that what has been posted does have a bit of truth to it, but not the whole story.

After years of up and down development of HEART of the BEHOLDER, Ken did produce a publicity stunt that was about safe sex practices, AIDS awareness, parental communication with teens about sex, and ultimately - sexual abstinence, but the project was hijacked by a pornographer that is currently under state and federal charges and has fled to Thailand. The project was called Our First Time.com.

More information about the Our First Time.com publicity stunt is at -


I am available to answer any questions about either project. What I can tell you is there is so much more to both stories than has ever been told and most of the info on the Internet doesn’t get close to telling what really happened.

The death of the former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader and MTV Real World actress named Michelle Parma hit us all very hard. She was the actress in the Our First Time.com project and was also supposed to play the female lead in HEART of the BEHOLDER. When the time is right, I’ll make known what we are doing on the VIRGIN TERRITORY story that will bring two very powerful people, from opposite life styles, to justice.

Darlene Lieblich