On Monday I will be sharing my interview with Michael Phelps. Author and very good friend of the late David Janssen, star of the TV series The Fugitive and others. Michael had a friendship with David Janssen unlike others. It’s not a tell-all book. I have it. I’m reading it. I am loving it. I wanted to share a short piece of that interview today. He shared so much that it may even be a two day event. The man is open and can make you feel at home telling you about a beloved actor and how he put David Janssen: Our Conversations together.
RW: How does one recall all of those memories you have in your book?
MP: To write this book, I began with the Preface. Here I gave the
background of how Dave and I met, how our friendship developed over time.
Here was this Mega-TV and film star, the same age as my older brother, and
here I was, a “nobody”, not involved in the television or movie business .
. . why would a celebrity like him even speak twice to someone like me. I
learned later that David Janssen was in reality, just an ordinary,
‘down-to-earth’ guy who happened to be a celebrity, but yearned to have
friends outside of his ‘work’ and to be treated as a ‘normal’ guy.
In the Preface, I noted that I have written Our Conversations as close to
verbatim as is humanly possible. I have not exaggerated nor expounded.
Since the publishing of DAVID JANSSEN-MY FUGITIVE, Ellie Janssen’s memoir that I co-authored; many, many of David Janssen’s fans and a few of his
close friends who knew of the friendship Dave and I shared urged me to
write this book. It was CAROL CONNORS who finally inspired me to take it
on. In the beginning, I sat down at my computer and closed my eyes;
thought back to the first time we met. I visualized the scene, and found
I could actually HEAR David’s voice. The conversation flowed easily. I
recalled every topic we discussed in that roughly forty minutes talk. I
recalled meeting Ellie and her words precisely. Going forward, I found
no problem recalling our conversations, whether we were meeting in a bar
or restaurant, or the countless long-distance phone calls. I NEVER
recorded a single conversation with David, nor did I keep a diary.
Initially, I had a problem with the dates and time line.
However re-visiting them from the beginning, and checking some very old
notes, the dates and time fell into place. This was the most difficult because there were periods I did not hear from David for several weeks at a time.
RW: Was there a lot of outlining, gathering of information and the like? For example, did you remember and write in order or did things come and you then had to determine where they fell in the time line?
MP: I started with our first meeting. Then two weeks after our first
meeting he called me and invited me for drinks at The Formosa, a nice
little restaurant/bar near the studios where “The Fugitive” was being
filmed. It was 1:15 AM. That is when I learned a routine day for filming
the television series may last 14 to 16 hours or longer. Also, that David
Janssen always liked to stop (usually at The Formosa) and have a couple of
drinks to unwind before going home.
There is a lot more to come on Dec. 15 & 16 on LitWorldInterviews. I don’t share those interviews that much here, but I will those.
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