Episode 003 – Billy Hayes Author of True Life “Midnight Express,” Part 1


riding_midnight_express_posterBilly Hayes was the inspiration for the 1978 movie Midnight Express with Brad Davis.  After escaping from a Turkish prison and making his way back to America, Billy wrote a book about his experiences, and Hollywood came a-knocking — a relatively unknown Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay.

Now Billy’s got a new one-man show which recently previewed in Edinburgh called Riding  the Midnight Express which talks about some of his life experiences in greater detail.

Topics covered in the interview:

  • My introduction, losing weight, “ghost” tape (0:00)
  • Here’s Billy Hayes – his stage show (6:39)
  • What did Billy aspire to after college… and the church (13:16)
  • Surviving in prison and feeling invincible (19:44)
  • Drug laws – “consensual crimes” (22:29)
  • Thinking about escape and learning valuable lessons (30:09)
  • Realities of Turkish prison – the smell of fear (33:31)
  • How close some of the things in movie are to reality –  (40:20)
  • Addressing accusations of racism in the movie (42:40)
  • Oliver Stone reads early galley of the book (47:44)
  • Why the real escape not in the movie and “crime of honor” (51:54)
  • A little more about the prison island and 30 year sentence (55:35)
  • Where the title came from – “Midnight Express” (59:56)

Billy’s got some stories!  Enjoy.

stephenlbsAlso… I talk a little about my newest quest to lose weight.  Gonna post my weight when I started this new “regime” on the 7th of November (285 lbs), so I can’t get out of doing the work!  Will post my next goal of 275 as soon as I reach it.  Boy, Turkey Day set me back a bit.  I was almost there.


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