Tabloid Baby’s determined investigation into the mysterious death of Las Vegas headliner Danny Gans and the equally mysterious lack of coverage by his hometown media has resulted in international attention of all stripes.
One item that caught our eye this morning is a tribute to Gans on the website for the right-wing (anti-Communist, anti civil rights-legislation) The John Birch Society. The last person we heard mention The John Birch Society was Phil Ochs, and he died about thirty years ago, but apparently they're still out there.
Included in the post, ‘Sin City Showman Who Loved Jesus’:
“…Given the other talented headliners that are synonymous with the Strip, like Celine Dion, Wayne Newton, and the Blue Man Group, it was a huge compliment that Gans was voted ‘Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year’ eleven years in a row. Tickets for his sold-out show at the Mirage started at about $100. Earlier this year, Gans had switched to plusher digs at the Encore Theater (seating capacity: 1500), which is part of the Wynn Resorts.
“Not surprisingly, the success made him wealthy, but it also made him generous, Gans had raised two million dollars for local charities. Benny Perez, pastor of The Church at South Las Vegas, told KVBC-TV, an NBC-affiliate, how this unusual showman managed to keep it together in a place that is notoriously nicknamed ‘Sin City’:
"'Danny Gans loved God; number two; Danny Gans loved his family; and number three; Danny Gans loved life. And if we could just do those three basic things - all of us love God, love families, our friends, our people around us, and love life - I think Las Vegas and the world would be left a little bit better. And that's the message of Danny Gans.’
“The athletic Gans never intended to be a variety entertainer. Since age seven, Gans’ dream was to play major league baseball, but an Achilles tendon injury during his time in the minor leagues ended that pursuit. Gans told Bonnie Hunt, who hosts a daytime talk show, that while he was recovering in the hospital from his life-altering accident, his roommate, a man ill with cancer, gave him an odd message: ‘I know why I’m here right now. I’m going to be fine. I’m here for you. I’m your messenger, and my message to you is God has something better for you. I don’t know what that is, but it’s going to make you happier than baseball.’
“Two months after that conversation, the twenty-something Gans was performing stand-up comedy; his hospital roommate/messenger was eventually healed from cancer; and the rest, as they say, is history. .."
As we'd predicted, the Danny Gans legend is already spreading far beyond Las Vegas, and like Elvis Presley before him, Gans promises to become even bigger in his afterlife thanks to tales like those and the the since-retracted story from Gans’ manager Chip Lightman and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke that has nonetheless quickly become part of Gans lore and which caps the Birch item:
"Ironically, Gans closed his very last show with a song he did not typically sing. It was Bobby Darin’s 'The Curtain Falls'..."