Wild Man Fischer (1944-2011)
Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Wild Man Fischer (2005)
Directed by Josh Rubin and Jeremy Lubin
The film chronicles the life of Wild Man Fischer, an outsider artist who went in and out of several mental institutions when he was a child. It is composed of archive footage, interviews with people who were once associated with him, and interviews with Fischer himself. During the 1960s he was a street singer in L.A., which resulted in a cameo appearance in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In in 1968. The same year Frank Zappa gave him the opportunity to record his first album, An Evening with Wild Man Fischer. Fischer's eccentric personality provided some truly unique music, but his mental problems rapidly ended his career. Fischer suffered from paranoia and schizophrenia and thus became impossible to work with, despite the best efforts of other artists (Barnes & Barnes, Rosemary Clooney, Zappa) to help him. Despite his cult reputation Fischer remained a poor street musician until around 2004, where he was eventually institutionalized and medicated. While his medications controlled his schizophrenia, they also suppressed his creativity.