www.davidjanssen.net is dedicated to the memory of two close friends:
David Brown (1948-2001)
Formerly of Richardson, Texas and owner of a local video production business, Dave worked tirelessly at his hobby of being a David Janssen fan. In 1989, he was the driving force behind helping Janssen to receive a posthumously Star on the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame, allowing the actor's elderly mother Berniece see a long hoped-for dream realized while she was alive.
He organized Fan Conventions in Los Angeles in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1997 which amazingly brought FUGITIVE fans together from all over the country and the world, sparked new friendships, and also provided a venue where professionals associated with Janssen's career had the occasion to reunite. From 1998 until his death, Brown published "The Janssen Journal," a labor of love which did quarterly in print form what I'll attempt to carry on electronically here. If there is computer access in the hereafter, it's my hope that Dave has logged in and approves.
Dave shared a similar childhood discovery of Janssen as I did. He related to me once that when Janssen took some less-than-classy roles in the 70's, he was worried that his favorite actor was becoming a has-been. I confessed I too had done my share of cringing during the O'HARA, US TREASURY / Excedrin commercial era. We shared a laugh about this.
Though I was not personally acquainted with his family, I know that he is survived by his college sweetheart-wife Hazel and daughters Jennifer and Lori. Dave was an unselfish, generous friend and I miss him. He is responsible for my meeting his co-dedicatee:
Jeanne McPherson (1946-2010)
One of my challenges in researching this website is that, for many people, interest in David Janssen begins and ends with THE FUGITIVE. It certainly was the most well-known and celebrated period of his career, yet it was only 4 years in a professional life than spanned 30.
I've always found myself equally interested in what came before that career pinnacle, and what came after. The answer to my prayers in this quest was Jeanne. One of the great joys in this hobby has been meeting her. Across the country in Mt. Ida, Arkansas, I found a real partner in this research --- someone who rivalled and in many ways surpassed my obsession with the details. The site represents our joint wish to put everything known about Janssen in one place.
I eulogized her before her friends and husband Jack in her hometown in November 2010. A partial transcript follows:
I met Jeanne in August of 1993 at a Los Angeles get-together of fans of “The Fugitive” television show....
When I was a pre-teen growing up in New Jersey, I thought I was the only crazed fan of "The Fugitive" and its star. Imagine my surprise that August day to find myself in a hotel ballroom full of kindred sprits. Pure serendipity put Jeanne and I at the same round 8’ banquet table. And I knew pretty quickly I’d met the most kindred of them all. A friendship was formed.
Jeanne did not approach her admiration for the actor in a passive, gushy, daydreamy sort of way. She went about it, as I suspect she went about most things, like a library scientist ---- and with an energetic, exhaustive, and academic zest. She researched—chasing down leads like a detective. She uncovered freedom-of-information act documents and Janssen’s cancelled checks to utility companies. All this resulted in ‘The Project’—hours of work reduced to a tight compilation –one which she’d freely share with anyone interested. Jeanne was generous.
One of the lost standing mysteries we’d often talk about had been what had happened to Janssen’s stylish dressing room bus given to him by "Fugitive" producer Quinn Martin.
Jeanne had a California cop friend who she’d persuaded to run the last licence plate, something else she’d discovered in her research. The name and address of the last known owner was unearthed, but it proved to be a cold lead.
How delighted I was to call Jeanne (in 2007) to tell her I’d found and rescued the bus from the scrapyard. How sad I am today to have not been able to give her a ride in it.
We didn’t have the kind of friendship reinforced by a lot of in-person visiting. Jeanne took out-of-state trips to reconnect with "Fugitive" friends that i didn’t do...
But boy did we yack on the phone over the years. It was once of those “speak-every-couple-of-months-and-pick-up-right-where-we-left-off” kind of things that bespoke, I hope, mutually affection and respect. I so value that time...
Many people aside from Dave and Jeanne have made this website possible. The Janssen fans I have become acquainted with have been a wonderful group to get to know:
My first thank you must go to Steven and Diane Albert. The Alberts ran a homegrown publication called "The TV Collector" for many years out of their Massachusetts home. In it were stories about old TV programs always featuring interviews with the lead actors and guest stars. The magazine, more like a thick pamphlet, had a crude look but was filled with information. It came several times a year, usually with a dozen old stamps on it in small denominations adding up to the correct postage. It seemed as though the Alberts were purging their stamp collection to pay for what must have been a struggling enterprise (this was not the case). Its publishers were FUGITIVE aficionados and published a 4-part article about the series in 1984. More importantly, they had a classified section where one would occasionally see someone interested in THE FUGITIVE or its star. The VCR was a reasonably new item and the acquiring and trading of videotapes was starting to explode. I placed an ad in the magazine in 1989 and Janssen fans started to come out of the woodwork. I used to think my appreciation of this actor was an isolated thing, but the Alberts' magazine connected me with a lot of kindred spirits. Interestingly, Janssen fans seemed to be evenly divided between men and women. Part of his skill as an actor was that he was able to elicit a strong emotional response from both - it was an interesting part of his appeal. The TV Collector website still has back issues available of this wonderful resource and is very work checking out.
Michael J. Seltzer of Bloomfield Hills, MI was the first of these kindred spirits I spoke with as a result of "The TV Collector." I was amazed that he had an adolescent discovery of Janssen which in so many ways paralled mine.
George Brouthers of Bridgewater, MA was another. He sent me copies of the last 14 FUGITIVE episodes I'd never seen in a generous not-for-profit way. This was typical of the Janssen fan - someone who was willing to extend themselves to you for next to nothing.
Now my special friends, the heavy hitters who I've come to call the"group:"
Rusty Pollard of Sachse, Texas. I knew that Rusty and I shared this mutual interest as early as 1985 and we had a few pleasant exchanges by mail. But all changed in Janssenland in August 1991. Rusty began publishing a quarterly newsletter called "On The Run" devoted to THE FUGITIVE show and Janssen. With a professional look throughout and always interesting content, it became like a bible for fans. Aside from reviewing each episode, Rusty sought out people connected with the show, published interviews, and provided a welcoming forum where all fans could make contact and communicate. Rusty carried out this labor of love for 5 years - consistently, quietly, and without a lot of fanfare. But it was the turning point in the growth of the David Janssen fan base. It's important to remember that before any fan convention, before any book on the show (there were eventually 3), before the Harrison Ford movie, before there were 2 other competing newsletters, there was "On The Run." Rusty showed tremendous foresight in his decision to take this on in 1991. That same year, the A&E Cable Network began showing FUGITIVE reruns again on TV for the first time nationally in many years. The show was watched by returning friends and discovered by a new generation of viewers . "On The Run" was the perfect companion. And you can still get it. All back issues are still available. It is a must for anyone interested in the series and covered it in more detail than this web site will ever attempt to do. You may reach the original writer/publisher by his email. Rusty has been a great friend to me through the years.
Ann Mathis of Nacogdoches, TX gave me the opportunity to see many of the TV shows that David Janssen appeared in which are described on this web site. Presumed lost, her ability to acquire them and her willingness to share them educated me about Janssen in a way I never though would be possible. She has amassed an enviable collection of memorabilia over the years. I've personally lost to her on eBay so many times over photographs, I finally stopped trying. She claims to have some kind of bidding software on her computer, but I think she just has the fastest fingers in Texas. Thank you Ann.
Debbie McMillion of Longview, TX who helped immeasurably to shape the childhood chapters of the site. She (and her secret weapon husband Michael no doubt) slaved over the scanner for hours and shared many rare images that really help bring David's interesting childhood to life.
Dr. Kay McAfee of Arkadelphia, AK also deserves to be acknowledged. A retired music professor, Kay created a xeroxed episode guide to THE FUGTIVE show with full credits, commentaries, and loads of photographs, which she shared with me in early 1992. Kay may have moved on to other interests, but I recall fondly sitting with her at the first Dave Brown convention I attended. I will always appreciate the hours she put into her project.
Ed Robertson of Vallejo, CA took our grass roots efforts and validated them when in 1993 he published the first book on THE FUGITIVE - a real book!! "The Fugitive Recaptured," like all of Ed's professional writing projects on the subject of television is a class act. You can obtain it autographed from Ed's website.
The following people also have been of immeasurable help:
Ned Comstock of the USC Cinema-Television Library. Ned was for me and has been for so many, a researcher's best friend.
The staff (especially Lauren Buisson and Julie Graham) at the UCLA Arts Library Special Collections.
Joyce Andrews of San Diego, CA- our reliable rambling reporter.
Wilene Leach of Searcy, AR. My script connection.
Marilyn Nevala of Mt. Home, ID. She can navigate with ease on PAF and SSDI.
Texas Bob Reinhardt of Canyon Lake, TX - reenactor of Wars Civil and episodes Fugitive.
Catherine Robert of Nancy, France. Our French connection.
Julie Seborowski of Flat Rock, MI who sent me many articles when this project was in its infancy.
John Wagner of Glendale, CA-specialist on the many Los Angeles-area places Kimble fled to and hid.
In addition, I have spoken to many people over the years who knew David Janssen personally - co-workers, family and friends from all periods of his life. They all helped to paint a consistent picture of a good man, which only confirmed to me that Janssen was very much worth honoring in the form of this tribute. I will not list these people individually as their access to me was sometimes confidential, often hard to negotiate, and I would not want their generosity exploited by others for any other projects. But they all have my most sincere thanks. You know who you are!!!
A list of other profession citings is in progress.