It is less than 24 hours since I have found out that the man who was my first blog interviewee, the man who was a close friend of mine for three years, the man who made this blog possible, is gone. All of the other blog interviews were written by me, but as for the interview with Danny, Danny and I wrote that one together. It is as much Danny’s project as it is mine. For him to trust a guy who had never done an interview before, or even taken a journalism class, to tell his story shows how much trust and confidence he had in me. And it is his trust and confidence that I will always be grateful for and it is his encouragement that gave me the strength to continue to add to this blog and continue to interview many people who are heroes to me as much as Danny was.
After the interview was over, Danny and I stayed in touch. We would talk frequently on the phone, whether it was current events, about a movie or TV show he recommended, if it was my upcoming blog interview or just to chat. Occasionally, we met in person. He didn’t drive, so I often chauffeured him to conventions. For all the people that met him and asked for his autograph, I can tell you he was grateful. And I know before the conventions and this blog interview started, he was not aware of how many fans he had. He leaves the earth knowing you and I loved his work. The last two times I hung out with Danny were for a Phillies Game and for his birthday. I spoiled Danny badly on his birthday, taking him to one of Philly’s best Italian restaurants, a local Philly showing of “Jersey Boys” and a stay at a four star hotel. I was spoiling him because I loved him and because he believed in my writing ability, which led to this blog. If I known this would be his last birthday, I can only wonder what lengths I would have gone to….
Shortly after the birthday, Danny was not himself anymore. He didn’t want to talk on the phone anymore or do much of anything. He was complaining about pain and cataract problems, but didn’t mention anything that sounded life-threatening. I don’t know exactly what was going on with Danny, but it was becoming clear that our friendship was not going to be the same. On his last phone message to me, Danny mentioned that his life had gotten “fucked up” and one day he would sit down and explain to me why he was acting the way he was. That last message was a couple of months ago. I hadn’t contacted him during that time because I figured, at this point, he was going through a funny period in his life and it would be better if I just waited for him to resolve what he needed to and then we would talk. My phone line was always open and ready to talk, but he never called, and now he never will. If there was one thing I could ever change about the friendship (or anything about my life period), is that I wish this was not our last interaction. If there is anything I can say to Danny now, it would be that I forgive you for being the way you were the last couple of months, there is no need to explain why, and I hope you are in a better place now than you were before.
Danny had three films that made an impression, whether it was porn or a cult classic or a Friday the 13th film. Although Danny is gone, they remain for us to appreciate. Likewise, the interview remains, for those who want to know Danny’s life story. And as for me, who lost a mentor and a close friend, this blog remains as a reminder of our friendship and Danny’s encouragement for me to keep writing.