Barry Boschelli Talks Growing Up with Evil - John Wayne Gacy
The time was the Fifties. "He was short, and his hair was slicked back. His shoes were scuffed. "What is your name?" I asked. He looked at me and said "My name is John...Wayne...Gacy. We shook hands. Right at that moment, sir, there's no doubt, I knew that he was different from anyone that I ever knew." So says Barry Boschelli, the childhood friend of one of the most dangerous and psychotic men to ever walk the planet.
I was asked by Anchor Bay to do this interview in promotion of its latest film, Dear Mr. Gacy (review here), a reality based look at the last known relationship Gacy ever had with a young student named Jason Moss (who also went on to write his own book about his experiences entitled The Last Victim). I'm always ready to jump into an interview, but this time I was a little perplexed. What in the world do I say to this man? "So, your friend was a closeted homosexual who killed 33 young men to hide his own self-imposed sense of shame and ego. What was he really like?" Little did I know I wouldn't have to say much at all because Bobby had quite a tale to tell.
"I looked into his eyes when we were kids, and I saw sadness," Boschelli continued. "What a lot of people don't know about Johnny, only I could call him that, was that he was an extremely talented singer. It was Christmastime in the 1950's, and we'd go trudging through the snow. Our neighbors would invite us in, and I'd say, "Ladies and gentlemen, John Wayne Gacy will now sing 'O Holy Night'." When he poured it out, I can't tell you the effect that it had. I was there. I was lucky to be there. People would cry. He really touched and affected them.
My father knew a lot of people downtown at the time. He was very politically active with the mayor and could have easily helped Johnny get into show business. But I didn't get along with my dad so I couldn't ask him for favors. If I could have, though, one of my favors would have been, "Dad, could you get Johnny into show business and get him to where he has to go?" I've always told myself this, and maybe I shouldn't hurt myself this way; I'm sorry, that's one of my regrets. Even if my father would have screamed and yelled at me, I should have pushed for it. At least I would have tried. Things could have ended up differently. Well, I didn't. I was scared of my father. Scared to death."
"The years went by, and I parted with Johnny in 1959. I was eighteen and he was seventeen. Johnny and I went down the path together. He went one way. I went the other," Boschelli painfully adds.
During their time apart Gacy was arrested for sodomizing a young man and served eighteen months in prison. Then in 1976 Gacy came back into Boschelli's life. They argued a bit and again parted ways.
During that time ...
"Johnny sure did his thing. It was terrible, unbelievable, incredible. I have a hard time to this very day ... even after all these years. Did he really? Look what he did! I can't ... It's just hard. I knew him when he was eight years old. These actions were not in him then. He just wasn't capable of it. One day when we were hanging out a few years later, a swing accidentally knocked him across the forehead. He fell to the ground unconscious. Fifteen or twenty of us had to carry him home in a wagon. I didn't see him again for about a week. When I finally did, he was different. He's not the same no more. He's very nervous, he'd be snapping his fingers all the time, it just wasn't the same anymore. I knew then things are starting to change now."
Boschelli continues, "One day in 1978 I came home to a note from my stepmother that read, "Call John Gacy." At this point Johnny and I had really drifted apart. But I called him. I was shaking like a leaf, my friend, and I didn't know why. Johnny asked, "Would you do me a favor? Would you come out to my house?" I drove out to Johnny's house, and the first thing I noticed was the smell. Oh my. I'll never forget that. I can't understand how his wife whom he'd lived with for so long never caught on. She was such a clean person. How did Johnny get by with that smell? I guess like he did with me - "Johnny, what is that smell?" "My sewer broke." That's what he convinced everybody of. His sewer was always breaking. It was that overflow, ya know? No it wasn't. It was bodies, laying underneath his house. Rotting. We all didn't know that then of course.
So what happens? I go there and we talked. "Would you do me a favor?" he asked me again. "Would you try these handcuffs on?" I said, "Johnny would you do me a favor? Would you get me a glass of water please?" And that's what he did. I had a hard time getting my feet to move. My body was literally shaking. I started to run, and I ran into one of his walls and fell on the floor. I got up and I didn't see him coming after me so I figured that I was okay. I grabbed my car keys, and ran like hell. I got in the car and had the window down, and as I was gunning the car, I saw Johnny with his fists up in the air, and he yelled out, "I'm gonna murder you!" I left, a nervous wreck. Two weeks later Johnny had been arrested, and well ... you know the rest."
There's a lot more to Bobby's story. Really, that's just a taste of it. We talked for quite a while, and I have to admit I'm still a bit rocked from the conversation. It's all detailed in his book, Johnny and Me: The True Story of John Wayne Gacy, which you can order below if you so wish. Dear Mr. Gacy, available December 14th from Anchor Bay, perfectly continues Gacy's chilling tale, and on the Blu-ray or DVD you'll even find an interview with Boschelli, a man who's obviously still struggling with the demons and the shadows of his past. Here's hoping one day he'll find the peace that he's looking for.
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