It had been years since I viewed the 1969 film version of Hello Dolly. What I happily discovered was a film masterpiece. It is light years from the green screen cheapness of this years Academy Award Best Picture nominee La La Land, which I detested from start to finish. The music was horrid and unbearable.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hello Dolly from beginning to end. The film is a visual and musical masterpiece with the sumptuous sets, masterful score and songs, brilliant choreography and cinematography that were shot on an impressive backlot set of New York City that was located on the old Twentieth Century Fox lot (now the Century City Mall and Office Complex) and on location in Garrison, New York. The music of Jerry Herman remained nearly intact from the Broadway musical. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman was solid.
Of course what can top Barbra Streisand singing, the curmudgeonly Walter Matthau, a cameo of Louis Satchmo Armstrong along with the direction of the legendary Gene Kelly with Michael Kidd assisting him in the choreography Also in the mix is the amazing dancing of Tommy Tune and the multi talented Michael Crawford as Cornelius Hackle. It was great seeing a young performer named Danny Lockin who gives an incredibly charismatic turn as Crawford’s sidekick, Barnaby Tucker.
As I enjoy watching classic films, I often turn to my I Phone to Google about the films and it’s players. I pretty much know what has happened to Streisand, the late Matthau, Crawford, Tune and the late Gene Kelly. However, I could not remember seeing much of the talented Danny Lockin after this film.
What I found was shocking. I began reading about the brutal and gruesome murder of Lockin. It happened only 8 years after the film. He was killed by a psychopathic killer who was released only 2 years after this savage murder based on a technicality. Below is what Wikipedia detailed about what happened to Lockin:
After his divorce, Lockin went back on tour with Hello Dolly!, continuing his role as Barnaby. He stayed with the tour until it ended; at which point, with his career in decline due to substance abuse issues, Lockin moved into his mother’s apartment in Anaheim. Around 1974, Lockin began assisting his mother in running the Jean Lockin Dance Studio. The studio closed in early 1977, and Lockin began teaching at another dance studio.
On the night of August 21, 1977, Lockin went to a gay bar in Garden Grove, California. He left the bar with a slight, 34-year-old unemployed medical clerk, Charles Leslie Hopkins (who already had a police record and was on probation at the time). Several hours later, Hopkins called police to say that a man had entered his apartment and tried to rob him. Upon arrival, police found Lockin’s body on the floor of Hopkin’s apartment. He had been stabbed 100 times, and bled to death.
His body had also been mutilated after death. Hopkins claimed he had no idea how the dead body got in his apartment.He was arrested immediately.
Police found a book of pornographic pictures in Hopkins’ apartment which showed men being tortured during sexual orgies. Prosecutors initially intended to seek a first degree murder conviction, and to use the book to prove that Hopkins had planned the murder. Hopkins’ trial began in May 1978, but endured a two-month delay after the prosecutor was injured in an unrelated accident. During the delay, the Supreme Court of the United States held in United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 (1977), that police may not engage in warrantless searches of an individual’s property in the absence of an exigency. On July 31, the trial court ruled the pornographic book inadmissible as evidence. On August 8, the trial court judge held that the death penalty could not be applied to Hopkins due to lack of evidence of premeditation.
On September 28, 1978, Hopkins was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a three-year prison term. Since the court was permitted to consider suppressed evidence if the evidence was not seized merely to obtain a lengthier prison sentence and it did not “shock the conscience of the court,” the trial judge increased Hopkins’ sentence from the usual three years to four years. Prosecutors said that with good behavior, Hopkins would be released in two years (considering time served).
An update on what happened to the murderer comes from Facebook friend Chris Davis who wrote: “Charles Leslie Hopkins died an usually slow and painful death from cancer; however, if you read any of his obituaries online, or his family’s “memorial tributes,” you will sadly see that there is NO mention of his murder of Danny, the brutal nature of the savage killing, or the fact that Hopkins was gay. Oh YES, he left OC after the murder, and got married TO A WOMAN, and they had 5 kids together and 4 step kids.”