Kim "Howard" Johnson is the author of several books including Life Before and After Monty Python: The Solo Flights of the Flying Circus (with a foreword by Harry Nilsson) and The First 28 Years of Monty Python.
I was backstage at the Hollywood Bowl following the final Python performance where a tent and reception had been set up for the group and their guests. I noticed George sitting off in one corner, surrounded by fans, friends, admirers and various hangers-on, looking somewhat bored. Then he suddenly looked up at me. His eyes brightened, he smiled, and called "Howard? Hey, it's Howard Johnson!" He waved me over, seeming genuinely delighted to see me, and introduced me to his wife and a few other folks. We chatted a bit more and I then moved on so as not to crowd him.
Later that evening, the party moved on to Harry Nilsson's house, and dragged into the wee hours. I was about to leave, and was saying my good-byes when I noticed George was doing the same. "Do you need a lift back to your hotel?" I asked him. When he accepted, I was struck by a disquieting thought as we walked to my car, past the sports cars and chauffeurs leaning on limos. "Actually, my car isn't particularly nice," I understated. "I hope you don't mind." In fact, my car was a ten-year-old Chevy Impala that I had driven from Illinois, and was so rusted out in the rear that I could reach inside the trunk without opening the hood. But I needn't have worried. George said "Nahh, it's fine," shrugged his shoulders and climbed in. And we had a nice time riding back, joking and telling Python stories.
That was the last time I saw him face to face (we did communicate a bit by mail, as he wrote a foreword to my first Python book), but that's how I like to remember him. I didn't know George as Beatle. I didn't know George as one seeking enlightenment. I only knew George as a fellow Python fan; but for me, that was enough.
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