Midnight Express: The True Story of Billy Hayes


My next guest is a a writer and actor and a director his Book Midnight Express the movie by the same name each iconic in their own right a belated happy new year and a big thank. Thank you for taking some time to my next guest. Billy Hayes Billy. Thanks for being on the show today. Pleasure indeed a good happy new year to you and all of them too. Yeah and I have to say I just I I look at your life in. There's it's the ultimate word. Why start so the one part of your life? I couldn't find anywhere and I know about Marquette Marquette. I know about journalism I know about Smart Guy. How `bout before? That born New York Long Island Kid. Tell me something in between green and I could fill in that gap of time will. I was actually born in the Bronx and I live there for the first seven years of my life and then my dad was actually born in the Bronx. Lived there too so we had a lot of history and I one of about seven. Dad moved out to the suburbs of Long Island. Because the Bronx does get into a really the tough place and he didn't want me to go bad for prize. I grew up in Babylon and I loved. It was a wonderful place. The girl it's by the ocean by the beach. I ended up becoming a nice to swim like a like a CEO. And I became a lifeguard. They used to lifeguard at the beaches over the nets for me. That was everything after lifeguard is pretty much downhill. That's the pinnacle of life. You're making three eighty five an hour back then. which was don mazy about money? I'd go to the I go to work on my motorcycle in my flip flops. Them work at the beach and I just. I love that and then off off to college college off at times. I've heard you say this. And I was born in seventy three but oftentimes I hear you. You talk about this and I I can only imagine what it's like but I get the point because I feel like the seventies and eighties could apply to this to some degree boy. The sixty seem like time to be to grow up into the time to be living living in a massive difference between what we're going through today. Yeah well again. I feel very lucky. I'm obviously kind of prejudice. Since I I did go through this exercise born forty seven so I became a teenager in nineteen sixty so literally those of my formative years and I I love the sixties again. College High School was Great. Life is life is so easy for me growing up. A Long Island is a great place to be. I was so lucky to have wonderful wonderful parents than it was. Everything was easy until it wasn't but I love the sixties it. It sort of changed for me. Everything turned around in one. One Thousand Nine hundred seventy obviously with getting arrested and then halfway through the seventies. It flipped again when when. I'm lucky I'm really lucky. What I've not really really lucky up until about nineteen seventy that I wasn't I don't there's so much that we're GONNA get into act asking if it's none of my business then you just tell me that can handle? How did you have a great report with mom and Dad? Is that something you really close to them. Growing up as a bond. Yeah so that's why I didn't even realize how lucky I was until I saw the folks another kid soon realized you know there are people who they don't even like the Paris the people who hate the parasite. I can't understand that that makes me so sad to think that people don't have that link because I was really lucky guy. My Dad was solid. Did he know he grew up in the Bronx. He worked at Metropolitan Life Insurance for forty two years. You're talking about a solid steady dude and kept working his way up the ladder. He was the guy who everybody depended upon and turn to for decisions he was very rational logical and he always told the truth and I was so so lucky to have him as a father and my mother was just pleaded no the world too much all. She knew his people and love so I had it so good and I think their support and their kind of teaching the things for myself and to stand on my own two feet helped me in good stead when things got that unfortunately I force them to be part of that whole thing which was the worst part of prisons putting them in jail with me but they gave me such a good background than I had such good support at home home so I knew I wasn't alone inside guys who are in prison and they don't have anybody they don't have anybody that they can depend on the outside coup. That's really yeah. Yeah and that would make a lot of sense and you know you gotTa Marquette Gray. School journalism is is there anything in particular that fuels that for you bill years something that you know what. Let's see where this goes. I know you wanted to experience life. You WanNa get the most out of your travel around one point but what what spurs that. I just always wanted to be a writer. I could read before I ever went to school. My Dad taught me to read and write and stuff. I don't know how old I was but I never. I can't remember time I couldn't read. I always read. I love books. I love the the magic of books and things and just I thought I'd love to be a writer. I mean you don't have to wear any particular close. You can dress the way you like. Nobody tells you what to do. You GotTa right so I started but I've always wanted to do that. So Marquette the edge of going to a journalism school was a big factor for me and it was a Catholic like school which dad liked I was raised. The Catholic Church separated it about reason puberty like this. None of this digital men in the Sky Sky Works for you. Okay but please but I went to the school anyway because that phone numbers are good choice and I loved everything I read about it and at that time I used to India fisherman. I used to get up every morning. Like four am and go fish for trout and stuff. After April first in the season and Marquette was up in Milwaukee and I would read field and Stream magazine and feel this wonderful fishing in Milwaukee. I always thought for some reason. I'd like to go there and got there and of course you know how many times I went fishing fishing once you get to college like this stuff to do this. All those women life never fished marquette a great school because they had they provided a good education and I actually got to like it quite a bit. It's really I mean a lot of details. Second have you ever gone back there to speak at all. Yeah actually I escaped in the seventy five came out seventy eight somewhere around there. Seventy we seven summer. I'd have to look at it. The actually I got an invitation by some kid at Marquette to come and speak at the school and micro I I would. How did you get my home phone back in those days? I tried not to have that happen science. So many weird things with phones people golden and such but this the kid finds me back to Marquette and I got to speak at the One of the local theaters where they used to also have classes and in a special two for one knight's on a Friday Friday night. You and you with your date and such so I got to go back and gre- connect and for the first time in a while. Tell my story and I got to say to the Marquette crowd and some of my old friends were there so it was a nice reconnection and it started out actually in doing a series of lectures which I did a hundred and thirty lectures over. What about maybe three year? Three year period. Three eighty six The midnight express experience. I'm sorry a Hollywood and beyond did it all across the country and all across Canada and that I loved because I love colleges and the energies are college school so I got a chance to speak can tell the story and you know it's it's weird. Had always has been therapeutic for me to talk about all list of like I said most most guys coming out of prison. Don't tell the world I just been five years in jail Blah Blah

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