My Cousin Johnny   7 comments

Coney Island Guys Yesterday I learned of the death of my cousin Johnny Nelson. Growing up Johnny and two of his brothers were always around. Just about every major and minor event of my childhood had at least one of the three there with me. Johnny was the last of them to go. The three Nelsons are in the psted picture along with my brother Buddy and myself. I am in the front middle and my brother Buddy is front left.

Driving is Richie but back then everyone knew him as Herman. He was the youngest and the first to leave us. He was a true hippy. Not a mean bone in his body. His quick wit always had us laughing. He was the funniest person I have ever known.  I still smile when I think of him and laugh when telling stories about him. He was my aide when I played Jacque DeStrap WW1 French fighter pilot in Billy’s epic “The Blue Fink”. He played the title role in Hermales Unchained a takeoff of Steve Reeves Hercules movies.

Sitting high in the back left is Billy Nelson. Billy was an artist. He was extremely talented in so many ways. His imagination knew no bounds. I really believe had he had a few breaks it might have been Billy Nelson right up there along with Lucas and Spielberg. They might have learned a lot from him. It is a shame he never got those breaks. The world was cheated of genius. He was our writer, producer and often star.

Next to Billy is Johnny, he was our elder statesman. He was the one who kept us from getting too crazy. We needed that and he did it with humor. We always had a lot of fun. I can’t think of Johnny without thinking of all our trips to Bull Mine in upstate New York. Going by bus in the early times and carrying all our stuff for miles from the bus stop all the way up the mountain. Later on by car which got us halfway up that mountain. The monster movie we made up there. We spent so much time creating that makeup. When we got there due to a slight error in the shades on Johnny’s Frankenstein face it had to be made into a comedy. His makeup which looked so good in a dimly lit room changed completely in sunlight. There was Johnny trying to act scary when he looked liked the gayest Frankenstein of all time. We joked and had a great time filming. Unfortunately all of those films have been lost to time.  But they still make me laugh.

Johnny you are gone now. I have been thinking of you. Say hello to Billy and Herman for me. Enjoy making some good films up there but save a few good parts for me.


Posted September 9, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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7 responses to “My Cousin Johnny

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  1. I love to hear about my uncles , they were all very special and unique people. thank you for sharing this story !!!!

    Lynn Marie Morris-Antonawich
  2. Johnny Herman and Billy! Three cousins I really knew. May Johnny Rest in Peace and be with Herman, and Bill making new dreams!!

  3. Yes they were. We had a lot of fun growing up. Friends of mine who knew them still bring them up often when we are together. They were not people you forgot easily.

  4. Oh Kevin, I loved this story. so sorry you lost your cousins so young. Ya’ll seem to have had a blast growing up. Sorry I missed all this fun. Didn’t know you were into acting and creativity like that. TY for sharing this story with me and everyone.

    • Ask Joe about my cousin Herman. He was incredible. Joe knew Johnny a bit but I don’t think he ever met Billy. Billy was incedibly creative. It’s a shame he never got to Hollywood. He would have been a giant out there.

  5. My father John(Johnny) always reminsced and laughed at the camping trips and the movies.Ive heard them all and even seen some of the films.

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