Once or twice, in past posts, The Blog has mentioned the fact that, in his lifetime, he has called a number of people "friend" that polite society might, politely, call "unsavory."
Not "evil" people, (Although, there is no denying that I have known more than my share of evil people. But, I have never called them "friend." Kind of a deal breaker there.)
Not even "bad" people.
Rather, rascals and rapscallions, libertines and swashbucklers, who have chosen to buckle their swashes outside of societal norms.
The Blog got news today that one of those rascals, one of the best of them, in fact, died yesterday at the age of 65, from pancreatic cancer.
Herb Streicher served his country, in the early 1970s as a Marine. He spent the last couple of decades of his life as a very successful real estate agent in Park City, Utah.
"Wow!" I hear you saying. "What do the first couple of paragraphs of this post have to do with the ex-Jarhead, Utah realtor you just described?"
Trust The Pc.
You have probably never heard the name Herb Streicher. If you have, it probably didn't make much of an impression.
But, you may recognize another name. The name Herb took in the late '70s and continued to use, professionally, for the rest of his life.
Herb Streicher was better known to most people as...
The porn legend who starred in "Deep Throat."
The man whose '70s porn-star 'stache gave all other '70s porn-star 'staches inferiority complexes. (See image below.)
The only adult film performer to ever be
tried and convicted on obscenity charges.
A couple of years ago, Harry was portrayed by actor Rick D. Wasserman in an episode of the short lived CBS dramedy "Swingtown."
And yes, that is Lana Parrilla, "Once Upon a Time's" evil queen, Regina.
And, yes, I will get around to writing about why I love "Once Upon... etc..." one of these days.
When The PC first met Harry in 1985, he was already considered an elder statesmen of the "adult industry."
The Blog vividly remembers Harry watching some young stud (Tom Byron or Peter North? Okay, maybe the memory is not so vivid,) pop off his third "money shot" in less than 45 minutes.
Harry shook his head and muttered, "Ah. Youth."
Harry was a great guy. Intelligent. Witty. Generous to a fault.
Did I mention witty?
Goddamn he had a great sense of humor.
Especially when it came to his own, strange, place in the world.
Do you remember when charities would send out bundles of pencils with your name embossed on them, in the hope that you would send a contribution, in return?
(If you do, then you are as old as The Blog.)
For some bizarre, never explained reason, some charity sent Harry a bunch of pencils with his nom-de-porn embossed on them.
He never did figure out how that came to pass.
But, he was so amused by it that he sent the charity a check for an undisclosed amount of money, and passed the pencils out to his friends.
The PC is a proud owner of one of those pencils.
For several years, that pencil lived in the elastic band in the lid of my make-up case.
Around that time, The young PC got hired to work on a television awards show, the animal actor's equivalent to "The Oscars."
Knowing that The Future Blog would be working with a bunch of television stars, he scrupulously removed all porn video continuity Polaroids™ from his case.
But, he forgot about that pencil.
Around ten minutes after Betty White sat in his chair, that long yellow object caught his eye.
At about the same time, that same object caught the eye of Ms. White.
"You know Harry?" she exclaimed. "I just had lunch with him at Jerry's Deli last week! I have one of those pencils, too!"
Betty White and The Blog belong to a rather exclusive club.
*End Digression #2."
Harry managed to avoid some of the common pitfalls of celebrity status in the 1970s and '80s.
Namely, cocaine and heroin.
But, he fell victim to a much more classic demon.
By the late '80s, Harry was drinking.
And the more he drank, the more the funny, charming Harry disappeared.
As he became more volatile and less employable, some of his friends convinced him to check himself in to rehab.
Almost a year later, I got a call from Harry.
He told me he was clean, and was moving away and starting a new, sober life.
That was the last time I spoke with Harry.
I learned a few years later, (through a piece in "People" magazine) that he had moved to Utah, (probably a good place for a dry drunk to go,) found God, and had gotten his real estate license.
And at that point, he did something that was either genius or crazy...
He opened up shop under the name "Harry Reems Real Estate."
I guess that, even in Utah, a familiar brand is a good thing.
The last image I have of Harry, in my mind, is the photo that accompanied the "Whatever Happened To...?" piece in "People" magazine.
Harry, relaxed in a rocking chair, a Bible on the side table, and a beatific smile on his face.
A good man, with a turbulent past, at peace, at last.
Rest in Peace, Herbert "Harry Reems" Streicher.
I am proud to have called you a friend.