This appeared in today editions of the The Derrick and News Herald (March 10 2009). Credit to Jenna Gregory for the story and Jerry Sowden for the photo (http://www.thederrick.com/). I would have linked to story directly but they don't keep an online archive so the online story is lost after today.....
Barrow manager has waited lifetime to host Cassidy show
The March 27 performance of 1970s teen legend David Cassidy at the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin is a once-in-a-lifetime event for Barrow manager John Miller.
Miller, who will celebrate his one-year anniversary at the theater in April, has waited most of his life to host a performance by Cassidy.
Miller just might be the ultimate Cassidy fan.
“I was always late with everything in life,” Miller said about the beginning of his appreciation of Cassidy.
He started watching reruns of Cassidy’s hit TV show “The Partridge Family” and became a huge fan, mostly because of the music.
While Cassidy was indeed a talented musician, Miller said there was an awkwardness about his character, Keith Partridge, that Miller felt a connection with.
“Keith Partridge couldn’t play sports, couldn’t manage money and couldn’t fix his car, but he always got the girl,” Miller said.
At age 10, Miller set out to find all “The Partridge Family” albums.
“There were no computers, no eBay,” he said.
He said anytime he went shopping with his mother, he’d spend all his time digging through cut-out bins looking for albums.
Miller also said he ordered a book from one of the Scholastic book orders he received in school that listed record collector places in the back.
He’d make phone calls and send letters to the collectors in search of either their help or the albums themselves.
It took him 18 years, he thought, to find all the Partridge Family albums. But he realized there was still one he didn’t have.
“I didn’t know the name (of the album), what it looked like or what songs were on it. The only thing I knew was the number on the album. It was put out by Bell record company and it was number 1137,” Miller said.
He said after finding all the other albums but not having any success on finding the missing one, he gave up his search.
Then one day a friend told him he had found something for him at a Goodwill store.
From previous experience, Miller was used to having friends pick him up albums they found, but many of them were repeats of what he already owned.
“But as he pulled it out of the bag, all I could focus on was Bell 1137,” Miller said.
He still uses that number as a good-luck sign, and he even has it written on a notecard and posted over his computer.
In 2006, Miller bought an authentic David Cassidy jumpsuit via eBay from one of Cassidy’s personal auctions.
He received a high resolution photo of Cassidy performing in the jumpsuit.
Both the jumpsuit and a life-size version of the photo will be displayed in one of the Barrow’s windows to help promote the performance.
Miller will be bringing other Cassidy memorabilia from his personal collection to be put on display during a pre-show exhibit at the theater the day of Cassidy’s show.
Meeting David Cassidy
Miller said his love of Cassidy has always been about the music.
For him, one of his childhood dreams was to work professionally with Cassidy.
“It’s in the top five of my bucket list,” Miller said.
He has seen him perform 14 times, including concerts, Broadway productions and in Las Vegas.
In 1990, while in college, Miller got a phone call from a friend who lived in Erie who told him to get out of bed and turn on the TV because Cassidy was on “Good Morning America.”
Cassidy said in the interview that he would be in New York City that weekend signing autographs at a Sam Goody store in Rockefeller Center, Miller recalled.
The interview was on a Monday and Miller, who was in Ohio at the time, found himself saying there is no way he’d be able to make it to the signing, but in the end he couldn’t resist.
“By Thursday I got on a midnight bus to New York City. I got there at 10 a.m. and started running through the city asking everyone I saw where the Sam Goody store was,” Miller said.
After numerous failed attempts at finding help, he said most of the people he questioned didn’t speak English, he got the directions — but to the wrong store.
Miller said he got to the store, asked about Cassidy and was pointed, finally, in the right direction.
By the time he got to the correct Sam Goody, Miller was 10th in line.
“I met the fan club president, she gave me a button, signed me up for the fan club and I’ve been in it ever since,” Miller said.
Hosting David Cassidy
Miller’s dreams of hosting Cassidy at a theater have existed for a while.
A year after his first meeting with Cassidy, he had graduated from college and was working at a theater in Ohio.
When Miller learned Cassidy was going to be holding another signing in New York, he put together a packet of information on the theater and included a picture of the theater’s marquee that read “David Cassidy we’re waiting for you.”
Miller said Cassidy was very nice when he gave him the packet of information, but Cassidy said he didn’t take care of the booking of shows. He told Miller he would look into it.
Miller said he never heard from him.
Fast-forward to 2008.
“Within a month of working here, I looked at my e-mail and David Cassidy was in the subject line,” Miller said.
He said theaters often receive e-mails from agents of performers with booking information.
“I clicked the link and my initial reaction was no way,” Miller said.
Despite his reaction, Miller contacted the fan club president who he first met at the autograph signing in 1990 and has stayed in contact with over the years.
After speaking with the fan club president, Miller received a phone call from Cassidy’s agent offering him a discounted price.
While the price was good, Miller still wasn’t sure the deal was in the best interest of the theater financially.
The day after he received a discount price from the agent, Miller got a phone call from a person who wanted to make a sizable donation of $5,000 to the theater.
Miller asked the donor if they would be a sponsor for a David Cassidy concert, and he received the green light.
“Despite my craziness, it really wasn’t me, it was meant to be,” Miller said about Cassidy coming to the theater he now manages.
As the concert approaches, Miller is becoming increasingly more excited to host the man who inspired him.
“Everybody’s got to have something. It’s not alcohol, drugs or gambling; for me it’s David Cassidy,” Miller said jokingly about his long-term fascination with the former teen idol.
The Derrick and News Herald, by Jenna Gregory and photo by Jerry Sowden