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 Post subject: Bryan Burrough Q&A #9 - Comment from Burrough Added
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:40 am 
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ONBC: How much time did you spend visiting the places where the actual events took place? In your travels to sites mentioned in the book, during your study of the files, and while writing of Public Enemies, did you at any time feel the presence of ghosts......of spirits asking for justice or understanding?.......It seemed you became so deeply immersed in their stories I would not be surprised if you felt some connection with the souls on the other side.

Bryan Burrough: I loved the travel for this book, you know, renting a car, racing from state to state, trying to get home for the weekends to watch my boys in a baseball or basketball game. On one trip, in fact it was my last trip, I flew to Chicago to see Baby Face Nelson’s grave, then drove to Indianapolis to see Dillinger’s, then hit Mason City, Iowa, to survey a Dillinger bank job. Then down through Missouri into Oklahoma to see Pretty Boy Floyd’s grave, then the Barkers’, then down to Texas to see Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie’s and Clyde’s. In four days! Man that was fun. Don’t know exactly how much I travelled, but whenever I did, it sure was fun.

Funny you mention the ghosts. There was one place that really got to me. The Barker Death House, in Oklawaha, Florida – I think that’s how you spell it. It’s still there, exactly as it was in 1935, now abandoned, dripping with Spanish moss, spooky. I sat by the porch for a solid hour that day, just imagining what had happened there, walking through what everyone did to make sure I understood it all. Other than that, the only supernatural moment I had was at Dillinger’s grave. It was so strange, sitting there right on top of his grave, knowing his body was actually there. Not a story of Dillinger, not a newsreel, but the actual body of the man himself. Moments like that help remind you that you’re writing about actual people, not movie characters.



Last edited by Liz on Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:00 pm 
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ooooh, I like that answer! I got goosebumps just reading about the Barker house...spooky! And Dillinger's grave - yeah, that would be something to experience for sure. It reminds me of our discussion earlier about the cult of celebrity. The vibe lives on! :thumbsup:



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:26 pm 
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Liz asked me in an earlier thread if I was going to visit the Barker house because it was so close and I thought about it but now the idea is really taking hold. I looked it up in a google map 181 miiles and about 3 hours. Its above Orlando and a bit south of Ocala. Burrough said " It’s still there, exactly as it was in 1935, now abandoned, dripping with Spanish moss, spooky." I love the old Florida look of huge trees and Spanish moss and can see how it might be spooky even though it's beautiful.
Yes, I agree about the feeling of visiting their graves, its a vivid reminder that the story is not fiction and these people really lived it.



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:42 pm 
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gemini wrote:
Liz asked me in an earlier thread if I was going to visit the Barker house because it was so close and I thought about it but now the idea is really taking hold. I looked it up in a google map 181 miiles and about 3 hours. Its above Orlando and a bit south of Ocala. Burrough said " It’s still there, exactly as it was in 1935, now abandoned, dripping with Spanish moss, spooky." I love the old Florida look of huge trees and Spanish moss and can see how it might be spooky even though it's beautiful.
Yes, I agree about the feeling of visiting their graves, its a vivid reminder that the story is not fiction and these people really lived it.


OOOOO I hope if you can get up there, you can get us a picture. :cool:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:26 pm 
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gemini wrote:
Liz asked me in an earlier thread if I was going to visit the Barker house because it was so close and I thought about it but now the idea is really taking hold. I looked it up in a google map 181 miiles and about 3 hours. Its above Orlando and a bit south of Ocala. Burrough said " It’s still there, exactly as it was in 1935, now abandoned, dripping with Spanish moss, spooky." I love the old Florida look of huge trees and Spanish moss and can see how it might be spooky even though it's beautiful.
Yes, I agree about the feeling of visiting their graves, its a vivid reminder that the story is not fiction and these people really lived it.


gemini, I would heartily recommend making the trip, if my own experiences are anything to go by. It changes things, quite significantly. There is nothing else like it for making it real. As well as visiting places connected with Rochester, I also visited locations connected with JM Barrie and the Lost Boys. One of those was Eton, and in the cloisters, there are various plaques dedicated to the fallen in the war. I was both startled and profoundly moved to see George's name on one of them. Those people are in my heart now and will be always. And that's even without Johnny's wonderful performance. It isn't just about making it more tangible and real. I can certainly see why Johnny would want to do things like that, and how it helps him to connect with his characters.
I would like to thank Liz and DIDHOT at this point again for inspiring me to do do those things. They gave me a very great gift. :bouquet:



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:44 pm 
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I have a friend who lives about 8 miles from the Barker death house!!! I don't know if she has ever been there but I am going to ask her to go take pictures........

Fabulous answer to this question, by the way!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:02 pm 
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It is interesting. Wonder if Burrough had a withdrawal after the book was done. He learned so much about them and spent so much time with their stories (1.000.000pages :-O ), that it must have been hard to say goodbye. (Guess it's a good thing he can relieve moments of it by discussing it with us and JDR and Imdb and others :disco: )



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:27 pm 
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I think it's interesting that he visited the graves on his last trip. It was very effective, I think, to include details about them at the end of the book, but perhaps it gave him some sense of finality and closure too.



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:38 pm 
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Good point, suec. I'm sure it was hard to say goodbye to all those folks after spending 5 years with them! Thank you for your kind words as well, but all credit goes to Johnny for the inspiration!



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:44 am 
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Below is a quote from an email I received from Bryan on March 25. I wasn’t going to post it at first but have since decided to, with his permission, of course.


It's a real hoot seeing you scroll our Q&A these past few days. Yes, I continue "lurking'' on your boards. I was struck by a post today from "Teacher'' on Question No. 9. She said it must've been hard for me to "let the book go,'' suggesting maybe I had withdrawal symptoms. I did! And one of the nicest things about the Mann/Depp movie, and all these fun posts, is getting to re-engage with a book I loved so.

So, thanks!



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:32 am 
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Awww, that's sweet! I'm glad we've helped Mr. Burrough reconnect with this amazing episode in his life! Just wait til the movie comes out! Woowee! Me thinks he'll be in 7th heaven then...along with the rest of us! :cloud9:

I'm still counting on the studio giving our dear author and friend a chance to participate in the filming, or at least extend an invitation for him to watch a special screening or something. :hope:



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:00 pm 
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Me too, Parlez. I hope he gets to at least visit the set...or attend the awards ceremonies. :grin:



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:03 pm 
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I really think that his response to a post is a tribute to the mods on the ONBC forum, to the administrators of the site, and to the members of the Zone.

It is really weird to me that Mr. Burrough reads the posts, and that Mr. Depp is aware of us, and I'm perplexed but glad that they feel comfortable here.

Teacher -- :cool:



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:48 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
Awww, that's sweet! I'm glad we've helped Mr. Burrough reconnect with this amazing episode in his life! Just wait til the movie comes out! Woowee! Me thinks he'll be in 7th heaven then...along with the rest of us! :cloud9:

I'm still counting on the studio giving our dear author and friend a chance to participate in the filming, or at least extend an invitation for him to watch a special screening or something. :hope:


I think it is the least they can do.



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:55 pm 
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stroch wrote:
I really think that his response to a post is a tribute to the mods on the ONBC forum, to the administrators of the site, and to the members of the Zone.

It is really weird to me that Mr. Burrough reads the posts, and that Mr. Depp is aware of us, and I'm perplexed but glad that they feel comfortable here.

Teacher -- :cool:


I don't think it's weird. If I were him/them I would be doing the same. It's just that we've never gotten confirmation on this before. So that makes one think it's not happening. It doesn't mean it isn't by all of the authors or Johnny or other actors or the real people or their decendents in the movies/books that are related to our discussions. :-O



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