Sunday, January 25, 2015

RIP Joe Franklin

RIP Joe Franklin, the "King of Nostalgia."

Joe Franklin was a class act. He was always very generous with his time and his words. he loved hearing from poeple he liked and was always courteous, promising to call them and follow them and see their shows and read their book. I only knew his for a few years and under limited sucrumstaces, but I always got the sense that he appreciated talent, creativity, and uniqueness.

I first met him back when I was working with Jolie Voltaire at a New Years party. He was hosting his radio show at his restaurant and we talked to him about a creative show idea I had. He was impressed and gave me his phone number. I called him and visited him in his office many times over the next few years. He had me on his radio show once, talking about the trend of swords in movies and I got the famous dancer Jacques d'Amboise on his show also. He came to a couple of plays I did as well as the Big Apple comic Convention once. He always bought whatever videos or CD or publications I produced. I don't know if he ever watched, listened to, or read any of them, but he always had a kind word.

It was thanks to him that I got my "Captain Zorikh" moniker. One of the first things I told him was about my "Captain Marvel Culture" project, he started calling me "Captain Marvel" (I suspect he had a hard time remembering my name). I "corrected" him by saying "Captain Zorikh," and the name stuck. since then he always just called me "Captain."

He was especially interested in the wrestling business in which I was involved. Maybe there was just a little bit of the "D.O.M" in him, but let's face it, it always feels good when someone wants to hear about what you are doing.

There was a constant stream of characters visiting him and calling him at his office. He was always kind and generous with them, often buying them lunch and always listening to their stories and introducing them to each other. I get the feeling that he really wanted to connect people and see them succeed and achieve their dreams.

His office was really more like a big cavern stuffed with records, books, magazines, videos, memorabilia, letters, papers, mementos, and piles and piles of nostalgic crap from decades past. He sat surrounded by all this stuff with his two telephones. Calls would come in and he would have his man (Carlos, I think his name was) answer the phone, or else whoever happened t be in his office at the time. He would find out who the caller was and then tell whoever answered whether he would take the call or to take a message.

When I shot my first short film "Combat Twister," he agreed to do an interview to support it. He was a great sport about it, and did brilliantly in talking about the characters and the action in the film, despite never having actually sen it. You can see that interview, edited with scenes and music from the film, here: Joe Franklin Combat Twister Interview

whenever I called him he always said "Oh, Captain, I missed you" and "I love ya, kid" and made sure to get my phone number, saying there would be big things happening. "Big things" never really happened, and eventually I never got around to calling or visiting him again. I did try to visit him a couple of times when I was in the neighborhood of his office, but he wasn't in.

So yes, this ends with another one of those regrets for losing touch and not calling or visiting him more often or recently. An era of popular culture is ending and the world of popular culture will be poorer without him. He was a good person and I will miss him.