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Wednesday, October 05, 2016

New AMC TV Series: 'Lodge 49'

Television has historically not treated the topic of Freemasonry in particular, or fraternalism in general, very kindly over the decades. Lodges have usually been seen as fodder for comedy, from Andy Griffith (above), and The Honeymooners, to The Flintstones, The Simpsons, and many others. Despite the serious role that fraternal groups have played in the lives of so many millions of members, lodges are usually reduced to little more than hard drinking, stripper-pinching, black-balling, hatwear-challenged parodies of Shriners.

Interestingly, two developments have happened this year that give hope to writers taking a different look at how important fraternalism can be to an awful lot of people. The first was a recent episode of Queen Sugar on the OWN network, which depicted a Prince Hall Masonic funeral service in modern Louisiana.

Now, AMC has announced a new 10-episode dramatic television series - Lodge 49 - that will be hitting the airwaves soon, and it will revolve around a modern fraternal organization. 

From Deadline.com today:
Written and created by [Jim] Gavin, Lodge 49 is described as a modern fable set in Long Beach. It centers on Dud, a deadbeat but charming ex-surfer who joins a fraternal order hoping to reclaim the simple, happy lifestyle he lost when his father died. Through the Lodge and his newfound connection with the other members, Dud will come to find the missing sense of purpose in his life and confront his deepest fears and greatest hopes. Other key characters in the series include Liz Dudley, Dud’s twin sister and Ernie Fontaine, a middle-aged African American and long-time lodge member who welcomes him into this mysterious new world.
Lodge 49 is a show that defies easy categorization,” said Joel Stillerman, President of Original Programming and Development for AMC & Sundance TV. “It is, at once, a show about a loveable loser, the idea that life can be magical if you look at it from the right angle, what it means to be on the fringe, and the importance of community. It’s also incredibly funny, poignant and truly entertaining.”
The series is just beginning the early writing phase, and is being created by Jim Gavin, Peter Ocko, and executive produced by Paul Giamatti.


  1. Due to my extensive travels outside America (I am currently on holiday in South Korea), I sometimes find the criticisms of the American public and our American Masonic brethren against Shriners International to be quite odd.

    It would be quite a shame for a 100% American made organization like the Shriners to be held in higher esteem overseas than it is within it's own native shores.

    I am saying all this because I have just read one of the best short (only two pages long) descriptions of the Shrine ever written in the September 2016 Masonic edition of 'the SQUARE' magazine, a British Masonic publication. My sincere thanks goes to SQUARE editor, Mike Kearsly, for including such an excellent article.

  2. The red fez suggesting the Shrine begs the question if Shrine symbolism and ritual is attractive given the current Middle East turmoil. Moreover, the use of clowns is more controversial than before, as is the use of animals in Shrine circuses: A University of Sheffield study of more than 250 children, aged four to 16, found that kids were very disturbed by the clown imagery placed on the walls of a children’s hospital. Child psychologist Patricia Doorbar said, “Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd.” The staff at the hospital reported that they have since gone back to “plain walls with areas decorated appropriately.”

  3. Haha, I must be from that "different era". Luckily, the leaders of Shriners International are educated and willing to educate others. Freemasonry has always found a way to survive the world's tormiol and so will the Shrine.

    Despite it's 'burlesque' form and appearance there is an esoteric component hidden within the fabric of the Shrine. It is this component which caused a Past Grand Commander of Knights Templar in New York to inform me he felt the Shrine ritual to be one of the best rituals he has ever experienced. And his only complaint were the business meetings which he said were very boring. But I get it. All Brothers and Nobles do not always have that kind of experience. The lucky ones do and hopefully will try to pass the results of their good experience on to others.

    I believe the Shrine Circus is currently in lock step with other non-Masonic affiliated Circus organizations in reviewing it's animal care policies.

    :) I lived and worked in some ugly places in the Middle East while being a known (even among Middle Eastern men) proud Brother Mason and strong Shrine Noble. They knew I would not let them monopolize or dictate to me the usage of certain similar symbolism just because it is native or (more likely) was adopted by their religion.

    Some first time American visitors are startled at seeing the Swastikas beautifully painted on the Buddhist temple doors in South Korea or at the lovely Swastika jewelry worn by some of the native South Koreans. Of course, this has nothing to do with the Nazi party.

    I am still smiling about the whole Clown thing. Some Americans have a way to pervert almost anything. It's almost uncanny. The current news is full of stories about these "Creepy Clowns" who are appearing near people's property with fangs in their mouths. What a bunch of morons. Of course kids are going to be afraid of them! So are alot of adults. Lucky for me, I don't scare that easily.


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