Listening to NPR on the commute this AM was startled when a typical puff piece interview with William Shatner turned to the subject of Incubus, a film produced in the year of my birth by store regular Tony Taylor- we have a signed picture of Tony & Shatner on the Incubus set hanging behind the register. He was a fascinating guy who met a tragic, lingering end from runaway skin cancer which he attributed to too much of the Malibu high life during his Hollywood days.
Medical bills eventually forced him to liquidate his possessions, including an impressive collection of Beat literature & memorabilia which is where we came in. It was the real deal, the sort of stuff you normally don't see outside auction houses or high end trade shows. The internet wasn't around back then and he wasn't interested in auctioning it off for some reason, so that's where we came in. We bought a few things, we acted as intermediaries in selling the more expensive items to interested collectors or bigger dealers, and generally tried to do right by Tony.
His doctor was local so he was a regular visitor over the years. His health gradually failed him, but his spirits never flagged as far as I could tell. I always looked forward to the next installment of the Incubus saga. The rights to the film were his one remaining asset, and he pursued a restoration through a profoundly convoluted series of events that would themselves make a fine film.
The original print had been destroyed in a fire, but someone discovered a copy of the film in the archives of the Cinémathèque Française and got word to Tony. By that point he hadn't a dime to his name and had to hustle up a restoration & DVD release out of thin air.
Which, demonstrating the sort of relentless resourcefulness I'd expect of a film producer, he eventually did.
Anyway, it was strange and mildly aggravating to hear this artistic artifact Tony had worked so assiduously and relentlessly to recover from the gaping black maw of history made the butt of a casual joke. It is literally all that's left of the man, the mark he made on the culture, however odd and faint.
From my perspective it deserves better than a cozy 'ha ha' between a smarmy host & puffed up star.