I’ve blogged about the frustration of certain people dying before they’ve been interviewed about a subject on which they are an authority.
Here’s the flip side.
I began researching Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman in 2006. A priority was to talk with the people who knew Bill Finger personally, especially people who had never been interviewed about him.
I found more than I was expecting. And because Bill was born in 1914, most of his surviving contemporaries were in their eighties.
As to be expected, some who knew Bill well had died before I started the book—indeed, some before I was an author at all. And eerily, one—George Kashdan—died the very week in 2006 that it was suggested I reach out to him.
As of this writing, five more integral to preserving Bill’s legacy have passed away after helping with my research. And what an illustrious group:
Jerry Bails (died 2006)
Arnold Drake (2007)
Tom Fagan (2008)
Alvin Schwartz (2011)
Jerry Robinson (2011)
Others I talked to who have also since passed away include Martin Nodell (2006), Lew Sayre Schwartz (2011), and Sheldon Moldoff (2012).
I wish these gentlemen—especially the Jerrys—could have lived to see their old friend and colleague further honored in the form of my book. I was immensely grateful for the time they all devoted, and happy that I got to capture a bit of each of them not only for Bill’s sake but for posterity in general.