Jan 02, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Dave Halleran wants to set the record straight.
For more than three decades Halleran, an accomplished physician, sat back and let Dr. Stephan Lynn take the credit for trying to save John Lennon’s life after the pop star was shot four times by a mentally disturbed fan on Dec. 8, 1980, in New York City.
There’s no doubt that Lynn — who worked for many years in the emergency room at Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hospital — aided Halleran as he probed the wounded man’s chest cavity that awful night. And Lynn drew the unenviable task of informing Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, that the great man had passed.
Nevertheless, speaking out last month for the first time, Halleran insisted that he was the doctor in charge of the ex-Beatle’s treatment.
“I was there,” Dr. Halleran told WSYR-TV9. “I was the senior resident. I opened his chest. I massaged his heart.”
Medical records at Roosevelt will confirm his role that night in the emergency room, Halleran said.
No pulse, no pressure
Hawaiian tourist Mark David Chapman had stalked Lennon for a couple days at the Dakota and ambushed him with a handgun as he returned from his final recording session on the night of Dec. 8, 1980. Four shots rang out, and Lennon was fatally wounded.
“His heart was intact,” Halleran said, but the bullets had irreparably damaged its arteries.
“About a quarter of 11, approximately, they paged me overhead,” the doctor remembered. “[The patient] didn’t come in talking or anything. He came in unresponsive — no pulse, no blood pressure.”
Halleran labored intensively on the 40-year-old’s wounds, but didn’t know who he was treating. He was just a guy in a bomber jacket, red T-shirt and blue jeans.
“We kept working on him for about half an hour or so,” the doctor recalled. “We just never got him back.”
The significance of the event began to sink in later, after the patient’s identity was ascertained when nurses found Lennon’s American Express card in his wallet.
“I couldn’t watch TV, listen to the radio or read a newspaper for about three days afterwards,” Dr. Halleran said.
Halleran is now a colorectal surgeon at Upstate Community-General Hospital in Syracuse.
Brode’s brush with Beatles
When WSTM-TV3 reporter Alex Dunbar aired an interview with Dr. Halleran last month, he complemented the doctor’s tragic recollections with a less-harrowing account of another Syracuse-Lennon connection.
Dunbar interviewed author Doug Brode, who had met Lennon and Ono here 40 years ago. The songwriter had accompanied Ono up to the Everson Museum where curator Jim Harithas invited her to install her conceptual art exhibit “You Are Here.”
“Like many other people in the community, I was introduced personally to John during the V.I.P. reception for the two of them,” Brode recalled. “Later that night I accompanied John and Yoko to a special screening of their unique — to say the least — indie movies in a Greenwich Village theater.”
Softcover ‘Twilight Zone’
By the way, Brode — who rose to prominence locally as a film critic in the 1970s for the Syracuse New Times — has a new paperback in print. It’s “Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone,” which he co-wrote with Serling’s widow, Carol. The book features autobiographical anecdotes about Rod Serling, who was born in Syracuse, raised in Binghamton and died in Rochester in 1975. Brode also provides illuminating interpretations of his classic “Zone” episodes.
After the hardcover sold out in 2009, Barricade Books issued a softcover version, selling for $16.95, late last year.
Earl Hamner Jr., who wrote for The Twilight Zone” before moving on to his own show, “The Waltons,” blurbed Brode’s book as “A timely commentary on TV’s first truly great filmed weekly dramatic series.”
Jazz at Dolce Vita!
Dolce Vita, the hip, new world bistro bar at 907 E. Genesee St., began staging live jazz last month, at 10 p.m. Wednesdays.
Saxophonist Evan Knight was there Dec. 14, accompanied by pianist Tom Witkowski and drummer Karl Sterling. On Dec. 21 E.S.P. played tunes from its brand new CD, “Reach,” and Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Famer Nancy Kelly vocalized at Dolce Vita on Dec. 28.
For info about the club’s menu and martini tastings, visit dvsyracuse.com; 475-4700.