Friday, May 08, 2009

The curtain falls on an instant myth: Danny Gans didn't really close his last show with eerie, prescient Bobby Darin number

In the week since the untimely death of Las Vegas headliner Danny Gans, not a question has been raised by the Las Vegas news media about the exact circumstances of his death, or the factors in his life that may have led to it, Yet while the news pros, from Pulitzer Prize winners to Gay Guide writers, have sat obediently to wait the next press release, much has been done from that first (and last) news to burnish Gans’ myth.

As it turns out, the first has turned out to be untrue.

On Saturday, May 2nd Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke write a column, Gans’ final act leaves mystery, which included quotes from Gans' manager Chip Lightman and focused on an almost spiritual moment in Gans’ last show:

"Something didn't feel right to Lightman.

"Looking back, 'that was the scariest thing,' Lightman said Friday, still in shock hours after the death of Gans at age 52.

"A creature of habit, Gans rarely ended with 'The Curtain Falls,' Bobby Darin's favorite closer.

"Through most of his thousands of shows as a 13-year Las Vegas headliner, Gans preferred ending with 'Apollo,' which featured snippets of songs by Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and others.

"No one will ever know for certain, but just maybe Gans knew something was amiss and sent a message through Darin's curtain closer at the Encore theater.

"… Near the end of Friday's walk-through to capture photo snippets of Gans' backstage life, Lightman brought up the mystery of 'The Curtain Falls.'

"It was one of many why's that didn't make sense to Gans' longtime friend and manager.

"I offered a theory.

"Maybe Gans' switch to 'The Final Curtain' was hinting about his health by channeling Darin for the finale.

"Darin had a meteoric run before dying of heart-related problems at the age of 37 in 1973."

This morning, Norm Clarke retracted the story:

“Allow me to correct something here: On Saturday in this space, I misstated that Gans closed his final show on April 29 with 'The Curtain Falls,' the signature close of legendary entertainer Bobby Darin, who died in 1973 at age 37.

“Gans closed with 'Apollo,' the medley he had ended his show with for years…

“During our interview May 1, the day Gans died, Lightman had noted a delay occurred in the curtain closing, which I mistakenly wrote down as a reference to Darin's ‘Curtain’ closing.

“Gans had performed ‘Curtain’ during his 12 weeks at Wynn Las Vegas' Encore hotel, Lightman said.

“And he said Gans, in his upcoming book that he finished April 29, ended the manuscript with the final words to 'Curtain.'"

Norm Clarke revealed yesterday the publisher of his own newspaper had entered into a deal with Lightman and the Gans family to publish that Danny Gans autobiography. The fact that we at Tabloid Baby have received readers complaints this week that the Darin story was untrue has led others to suspect Clarke and Lightman are in fact writing or completing that “autobiography” as we speak.

Interesting that The Encore website used a clip of Danny Gans singing The Curtain Falls as a tribute after his death.

In any case, add that bit of misinformation that's been spreading around the world for the past week to the Danny Gans mystery, and place your bets on how long the Danny Gans posters, billboards and taxi cab placards will remain in and around Las Vegas.

(The May 21 memorial to Danny Gans is by invitation only. The Gans family asks that cards be sent to Danny Gans Family, c/o Encore Hotel, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89109. Instead of flowers, the family prefers donations be made to Danny Gans' favorite charities, the Junior Golf Academy and the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about the release on fox 5 that lightman released clips of the last show and he was doing that darin song. That was no mistake by lightman. Why would he release clips saying it was the last show when it wasn't.