For the last little while, I have been working on a biography on Billy Van, based in part on his unpublished autobiography, Second Banana. My partner in the project is Stacey Case, who has done much to keep Billy's legacy alive, including running a Hilarious House of Frightenstein reunion and operating a pop-up Billy Van Museum in Hamilton, Ontario (alas, it is now closed).
We are preparing to layout the book, and then get it to market ourselves, hopefully by the fall of 2020.
Billy was a great influence on many entertainers, particularly through his zaniness on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, his incredible gamut of characters on Hilarious House of Frightenstein and the ad-libbing during charades on Party Game, which ran for a decade, every night of the week. Plus he was an accomplished singer, touring the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as across Canada with the Billy Van Four.
The list of interviews for the book, some conducted years ago, include: Dinah Christie, Alan Hamel, Allan Blye, "The Unknown Comic" Murray Langston, Garry Blye, John Byner, Luba Goy, Sheila McCarthy, Jayne Eastwood, Raffi Mauro, Guido Basso, Brent Butt, Perry Rosemond, Paul Soles, Saul Ilson, Pam Hyatt, Stuart Beecroft, Vern Kennedy, Barrie Baldaro, Lynne Griffin, Dixie Seatle, Grant Cowan, Monica Parker, Greig Dymond, Jack Kuper, David Eisner, David Stansfield and Denise Boiteau, Stuart Gillard, Phil Hahn, Patricia Collins, Tommy Ambrose, Don Ferguson, Hart Pomerantz, CHCH employees, television writers, and others who worked on Frightenstein, and family members.
If you worked with Billy Van in the past, whether it was musically, acting, on stage, or you were just a fan of his, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to pass on my info to anyone else you think would be able to contribute as well.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to perhaps talking with you.
Colin Burrowes at Mohawk College's SPOKE publication talked with both Stacey Case and Greg Oliver about the Billy Van Museum in Hamilton, Ontario, and the upcoming book on Billy Van's life. Check out the story here, which ran Feb. 5, 2019.