Wednesday, February 08, 2006

EEK! It's Deke

My friend, the late Louis M. "Deke" Heyward (pictured above with Buster Keaton on the set of 1964's PAJAMA PARTY), passed away in March 2002... yet four years later, his website Ask Deke remains active -- and is apparently still accepting e-mail!

At the time of Deke's passing, we were in the midst of a lengthy correspondence about, of all things, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE GIRL BOMBS and AIP's early attempts to film a version of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror" that would have starred Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee and been directed by Mario Bava. While awaiting Deke's reply to another set of questions, I happened to get online and go to the Classic Horror Film Boards, which was then a fairly obscure AOL folder, only to find Deke's name posted at the top of the "Gone But Not Forgotten" section. I felt it very personally.

Deke was a sweetheart and gave me tremendous quotes for the Bava book, and also loaned me his own leatherbound copy of the GIRL BOMBS screenplay (which I returned after xeroxing). The script was an amazing document of chaotic international co-production with several pages scribbled hurriedly in longhand. His revelations about the GIRL BOMBS filming is "must" reading, and you'll all finally get a crack at it sometime this summer.

It's interesting: all the time I was communicating with Deke, I had no idea that he was also running a website. So it was rather, shall we say, oltre tomba, to stumble across his old site and find it still active and soliciting questions from the curious. Particularly as I've had frequent experience of reading about the deaths of celebrities I already thought were dead. My memory of Deke's sudden death, and the sudden end it brought to our happy correspondence, was so specific in my memory that I would have to check myself into a funny farm if I used that e-mail address and actually got an answer back. Fortunately, the IMDb supports my recollection of events.

Deke, despite being always as sad-faced as Droopy Dog in pictures, was the very soul of humor and surely would have had a chuckle over this.

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