Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

August 28, 2007

The Closest I'll Ever Come to Sharing Screen Time With Robert De Niro

The Belmore Cafeteria in 1975. Photo by Steve Baldwin

I bought the new release of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver last week for two reasons: my VHS copy has worn out and I wanted to see whether the producers of the new Sony Two-Disc Collector's Edition actually included the footage they shot last year when I talked with them about the Belmore Cafeteria, a place I used to hang out in a lot back in the 1970's that featured largely in Taxi Driver.

Sure enough, I made it into a couple of "Featurettes:" "Taxi Driver Stories" and "Travis’ New York Locations."

Thanks, Marty and crew! It was a great honor to contribute something (mainly, the photo I took of the Belmore back in 1975) to the understanding of a truly classic American film. The city it portrayed may no longer exist but its portrayal of a tormented soul struggling with pathological loneliness continues to resonate. As writer Paul Schrader notes in his commentary, Travis Bickle's pathology is trans-historical and it lives on in the millions of confused young "nobodies" in the world for whom violence provides the only apparent path to meaning.

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