Da Doo Blog

Howard on 55th

Howard on 55th

Posted on: March 6th, 2017 by Sarah Ashman Gillespie 2 Comments

2 Responses

  1. Brian Hendel says:

    I will never forget the day I almost got to meet Howard. I was a HUGE fan of Little Shoppe of Horrors and admired his work from afar… well, from a few blocks away in Manhattan where I was living. In the mid-eighties, I dragged everyone I knew to see LSoH at the Orpheum Theater – it was pretty much mandatory if you were going to be my friend. Then, in 1989, as a Producer of Entertainment News for VH-1, I was invited to a press junket for The Little Mermaid at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It was a dream come true for a Disney geek like myself. Staying at the Contemporary Hotel and getting a chance to interview everyone involved in the film – including Howard. One by one the interviewees filed in… Roy Disney, Jodi Benson, etc., etc… when finally I was told the composers would be next. It turned out to be the “composer” – singular. I was in my early 20′s then, and my memory is a little foggy – but I remember Alan Menken telling me Howard wouldn’t be able to make it and he would be speaking with me alone. My heart sank. He told me Howard wasn’t feeling well. I remember asking a followup question, not as a prying reporter, but because I was worried. Traveling in similar circles, I had heard stories about what was going on. I remember Alan being very defensive about my question about Howard… I realize now he was just trying to protect the privacy of his best friend. I was so disappointed not to have met Howard ad talking to him about his incredible music – then he was gone… and soon I was going through hell myself with many of my friends. What a horrible time that was. I just remember loving The Little Mermaid and knowing right away it would be a smash. All of us journalists at those early screenings could tell. The rest is history… and I’m just so glad Howard is being remembered for the genius he was and will always be.

    PS: I remember bumping into Jodi Benson years later at an ATM near my office and was amazed she remembered my name. She called out to me and I didn’t realize who she was until she reminded me. “Jodi Benson, The Little Mermaid!” – just another example how magical everything was for me regarding that film. Thanks for the memories..and thanks Sarah for keeping your brother’s memory alive.

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