This is an addendum to my earlier post on P.F. Kluge’s novel Eddie and the Cruisers. And I swear it’s true.
In the late 1980s I worked in Florence, Alabama for the Olan Mills Portrait Studio chain. The studio manager was a woman then in her mid-forties, and one night just after closing our conversation turned to how much I liked the music from Eddie and the Cruisers.
“You know,” she said fervently, “I wish they’d leave him alone.”
I said, “I beg your pardon?”
“I wish they’d just let him rest in peace.”
“Eddie. They’re treating him like Elvis.”
“Eddie from Eddie and the Cruisers.”
This woman, old enough to have lived through the period when the fictional band ruled the charts, believed Eddie Wilson was real. Somehow the presence of the film on cable and the music on the radio had placed this fictional character alongside Elvis and the Beatles in her memories.
I didn’t disavow her of her delusion. It seemed pointless. Her sympathy, however misplaced, was certainly real. But at that moment I realized the power of pop culture: much like the Force, it can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.
And wherever she is now, I hope she takes some comfort in this:
Has anyone else ever encountered someone who believes a patently fictional character was/is real?