photo courtesy of Sam Park
I was planning on returning to 'business as usual' posting; some oblique references to my experiences this past month, mixed in with some reviews of what I've seen - but I was informed by a mutual friend that the aforementioned Clay McBride had left this world on Sunday, much too soon - and at the very least, I owe a few words towards his memory.
I knew his younger brother better - Ian was a classmate of mine who also left this planet way ahead of time; that these siblings have this in common is a bitter pill to choke on. Clay was a few years older, and had left Cape Girardeau for better things in Hollywood by the time I started to get to know Ian better. But his influence was certainly around the house, and Ian had picked up on a few things... and on his occasional visits to town, he'd have plenty of stories to tell - one favorite memory of one of his visits was when he came to a class that Ian & I were both in, bringing with him storyboards he'd done for THE BEASTMASTER. At the time, I wasn't aware that he had a small circle of friends also interested in films and filmmaking (which included Larry Aeschlimann [son of one of the high school teachers, and makeup artist who'd work on things like ROBOCOP, among others], Sam Park, and Jim Uhls [future adaptor of FIGHT CLUB to the screen]). Looking back at that listing, that's a pretty solid group of friends.
High school ends, college starts and bonds start to slowly slip away... I knew that Clay was writing scripts in L.A.; Ian was in Texas and I end up in San Francisco, trying to get my foot in the door. I did end up in L.A. for a short time, working on a feature film in the early 90's, and did reach Clay by phone, but never had the time to meet up with him.
Lost track of Clay when I came back to the Midwest; the Internet helps me find him again; first through a conversation with Sam Park on the Classic Horror Film Board Forum, whereupon I discover Clay to be his writing partner, and several projects in the fire - none which came to bear fruit, unfortunately - no LUKE CAGE movie for us! - and through Facebook, which put me back in touch with Clay directly.
I find myself in the same bitter mindset as before, with Ian's passing... back then, I wrote a small piece about Ian, that I wouldn't have chosen the path that I've been on, if someone hadn't told me way back when about some other kid who had the same interests that I did. I can say the same of Clay - who, thankfully, wasn't an older brother dick to his younger brother's friends... well, at least not to me... and did show me that it was possible to actually do this wretched, wonderful thing called making movies. Would've been nice for both of them to know. Would've been even nicer to have actually gotten to the point of possibly working with them both at some time... but that wasn't to be in this lifetime, and I made my peace with that long ago.
Condolences to your family and friends; and say 'Hi' to Ian when you see him.