DALLAS — Life can be a roller coaster. I mean, we’ve heard that phrase, right?
Well, if you talk to Chris Christian about his life...you'd probably realize he's been riding a ride similar to the Titan at Six Flags the last 64 years.
“It’s been a blast,” Christian said. “All these things that happened to me really don’t happen. I’ve seen people struggle and come to Los Angeles, come to Nashville, and it’s just a rare thing when good things happen to you in short order.”
Christian is probably one of the more unique interviews I've ever had.
He's a musician, songwriter, record producer, former film studio owner, and the current vice-chairman for the WNBA Dallas Wings team.
He grew up in Abilene and spent a lot of his childhood getting into music, often thinking about how he could spice up church songs. In the 1970s he started playing for Wayne Newton in Las Vegas.
"A guy from Abilene and Vegas? I mean, you're imagining Mars," Christian said.
But it was a big break for Christian, who shortly was contacted by Elvis Presley. The King wanted to record and perform one of the first songs Christian ever wrote.
Christian, obviously, said yes.
"It's called 'Love Song of the Year' and it's on the 'Promised Land' album, which went to number one on the charts and gold," Christian said.
The 64-year-old remembers meeting Elvis, him leaning over, and then saying, "How do you like what I did with your song?"
"Not one single artist who used my songs ever did something like that, but Elvis did," Christian said.
Christian went on to work with the likes of Olvia Newton-John, The Pointer Sisters, The Carpenters, B.J. Thomas, Cheryl Ladd, Pat Boone, Donnie Osmond, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed.
He even helped launch Amy Grant's career who has sold more than 30 million albums.
Christian even knows the Kardashians. He used to be close friends with Robert Kardashian, who Christian met because Kardashian owned Radio and Records magazine.
But in 1993, Christian took a new career path. He bought the movie studios in Las Colinas which served as sets for movies like Leap of Faith, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, and Robocop.
Children shows like Barney and Gerbert were also filmed there and success immediately followed.
"I got into it, and I got excited and thought...this is really fun!" Christian said.
Christian, however, thought the studios could profit off a tour that showed how movies and shows were filmed.
That tour, which eventually became a reality, also included numerous pieces of movie memorabilia.
"My original goal was to not just be a collector but to provide something for the tours so when people came, they would be really glad they came," Christian said. "At one time, I probably had some of the most iconic movie memorabilia in the United States."
But when Christian sold the studios, his collection moved in with him! The bulk of it is now kept inside one of his homes in North Texas.
And listen, being a huge movie fan...it's awesome.
He has one of the prop benches from Forrest Gump that Tom Hanks sat on, plus numerous costumes from the film.
He has some of the "Curtain Costumes" from the Sound of Music, plus Army outfits from Saving Private Ryan.
He also has a camera from Charlie Chaplin's studios, which is believed to be nearly 100 years old.
He's got a Darth Vader costume made by LucasFilm for Star Wars, a helmet from the Rocketeer, that white Fender Stratocaster from Wayne's World plus drum sticks signed by Rob Lowe, masks from Planet of the Apes, Ted Danson's Red Sox jacket from Cheers, and a number of other props you'd probably recognize.
"Movie memorabilia, it's as close as you're going to get to being there with the cast," Christian said.
Christian said he's sold some stuff here and there, he used to have the original dress Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz and several other Sound of Music costumes that have auctioned for an incredible amount of money.
"I bought the memorabilia so the tours would enjoy seeing it, but over 25 years the value of these things increase tremendously," Christian said.
But Christian said he’ll keep a good amount of what’s left in his collection.
Call it visible proof of a wild ride in the entertainment world.
"These things that happened to me, if they happened once in someone's life they'd be bizarre," Christian said.
Christian's journey through music, film, and the WNBA is all spelled out in his new book called "A Grandmother's Prayer." Christian credits a prayer his grandmother used to say for him to his success.
"She would always ask God to use my gifts for the betterment of his kingdom," Christian said. "Don't follow your opportunities, follow your passions."
If you’d like to read Christian’s book, you can buy it at www.grandmothersprayer.com.