Thursday, October 15, 2009

Danny Gans book hits stores today

Danny Gans' autobiography makes its official debut in bookstores today-- the same day that Garth Brooks will announce he's starting a long run at the theatre left vacant by Danny Gans' death.

The Voices In My Head arrives five months after the Las Vegas headliner died of an overdose of the powerful opiate hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid or "drugstore heroin." Gans' ghostwriter-turned-cowriter RG Ryan tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal what he told Tabloid Baby last month: that the book will not address Gans' drug use (or his ownership of a pharmacy supply house), but that "readers may get an idea from the book about why he took them":

"Gans sustained several injuries over the years that caused him long-term problems, including an ankle injury that ended his dreams of becoming a major league baseball player, surgeries, two car accidents and a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis."

The paper says the book "spans more than 50 years, beginning with a brief history of how his parents met and closing with a chapter about how Gans came to be headlining at Encore after a long tenure with The Mirage.

"Much of what's addressed in the book-- Gans' love of baseball, his Las Vegas resume and even his inspirations-- won't surprise readers who are familiar with the entertainer, co-writer Ryan says. But Gans told his story in a way that will enable people to understand what drove him to be the 'man of many voices' and a longtime Las Vegas headliner."

Ryan says he met Gans while exercising at a local gym 13 years ago,and that he proposed the idea for the autobiography over coffee in May 2008. The book, told in Gans' voice, was based on 15 hours of recorded conversations that Ryan transcribed and shaped.

Despite Ryan's insistence that he book was completed the day day before Danny Gans died, the Review-Journal article states that he'd completed only a "first draft" on April 30th. Ryan emailed to correct us after we reported last month that Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke wrote that a "rough draft" had been finished that day:

"The final draft was, in fact, completed at eleven AM on Thursday, April 30, 2009."

He tells the Review-Journal: "The day before he died, at 11 a.m., I sent him a text," Ryan recalls. "I just said, 'Done!!!' He wrote back, 'Great, let's get together Friday at 4 p.m.'"

The first copies of the book were made available Saturday at the Danny Gans Memorial Run for Champions. The paperback retails for $14.95 and is published by Stephens Press, a subsidiary of Stephens Media LLC, owner of the Review-Journal. It's available at Amazon.com (we're awaiting our copy), some bookstores and online at DannyGansVoices.com (see column at right).

Garth Brooks and Steve Wynn are scheduled to announcer the singer's extended stand at the Encore Theatre at one pm.

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