I haven’t seen Martin Scorsese‘s American Boy for over 30 years, but I remember it well because its subject, Steven Prince, was a world-class raconteur. Guys who can tell stories with just the right levels of smirk and emphasis are like jazz musicians, and are few and far between. I’ve known four or five of them in my life, and they’ve just got something that you can’t help responding to.
In the above clip Prince, best known for playing the gun salesman in Taxi Driver, tells about (a) working as a stagehand (or was he tour manager?) for Neil Diamond and receiving an injection of pure meth from a fellow worker, (b) managing to wangle a 4F classification for homosexual tendencies, and (c) pulling a gun on a guy who’d tried to rob him, and then dealing with a cop who happened by.
At some point in the doc Prince, a former heroin addict, tells a story that was later used by Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction, about using a medical dictionary and a magic marker to inject adrenaline into the heart of a woman who’d overdosed. There’s also a story about Prince shooting a tire thief who’d tried to attack him with a knife. This story was retold in the Richard Linklater‘s Waking Life.