Monday, May 04, 2009

GoodBye Danny
It was some time before Danny Gans was a fixture in Las Vegas.  A time when he was a fixture in the Corporate show world.  Danny Gans was king of the hill and everyone who did Corporate shows used his calendar and quotes as a bench mark.  Buyers used to brag that they had once booked Danny Gans act for 10k; it was a statement of how long they had been in the business or how quickly Danny had be able to up his price.  The last quote I heard for a Danny Gans private show was a million dollars. He was a star in Vegas by then and I don't think anyone bought at that price. It was mainly a way of saying he didn't want to do any more Corporate shows. However, the quote did make the gossip circles in the Corporate show field.  Danny and I did a couple of shows together, but it was soon obvious that if Danny was the act for an evening there wasn't a budget left for anyone else.  

It was during those days that Danny and I ended up sitting next to each other in the first class section of a flight going from Los Angeles to Chicago.  We were both flying to do corporate shows for different clients.  We talked for a while and eventually Danny put on earphones and went to sleep.  I dozed for awhile as well, but when we should have been landing in Chicago the Captain interrupted with an announcement. He said Chicago was socked in with a terrible rain storm, so we would circle the airport until it was safe to land.  

Three hours later the Captain broke in and said that we were running very low on fuel and if the storm didn't clear soon we would have to divert the flight plan and land in another city for fuel. An hour after that the Captain said we were almost out of fuel, the storm was too bad to land in Chicago and we would be diverted to St. Louis.  Danny was sleeping like a baby during all of this and was unaware that it was not just a routine flight to Chicago.  

As the plane bumped to a landing, Danny woke up, adjusted his seat, took his headphones off and looked out the window.  I said, "Welcome to St. Louis, Dan."  He laughed and said something like, "Wouldn't that be the deal? Get on the wrong plane and miss the show tonight?".  Just as he was laughing at what he thought was a joke, the Captain broke in with the announcement.  "Well folks, welcome to St. Louis.."  

Danny turned white and began to panic. It took me a few minutes to calm him down and explain what had happened while he was asleep.  There were no cell phones in those days, only an air phone between the seats that we could share. We took turns calling our clients and agents trying to figure out what we could do.  

We sat on the runway at St. Louis for another 3 hours waiting for the storm and fuel.  At baggage claim we waved a quick goodbye and ran different directions rushing to our respective shows.  Later when I attended his show in Vegas he recalled that adventure.  We both made it to our shows with only minutes to spare.

Danny was a good guy. Very talented man who has left us too early.  The irony of moving into that fabulous theater at the Encore only two months ago, with everything set for a very long and successful run at the hottest hotel, and passing away so suddenly, is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.  I will miss his face smiling from the marquee in Vegas.  I am one of many who will miss you, Dan.
As you were,

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