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Still Riding The Midnight Express: Exclusive Interview With Billy Hayes

Hayes in his one man stage show Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes, which is now on tour.

By Mark Cerulli

“Ne Oldu, Ne Oldu, Veelyam Hayes…” That line from Midnight Express, delivered with swaggering menace by a depraved prison warden (played by the great Paul L. Smith) burned itself into this scribe’s cortex back in 1978. Alan Parker’s iconic film about the real-life ordeal of American student Billy Hayes caught smuggling drugs in Turkey and sentenced to a hellish prison became a cultural phenomenon – not to mention an international box office success. It earned glowing reviews and Oscars for screenwriter Oliver Stone and composer Gorgio Moroder. Hayes even met his wife Wendy at the splashy Cannes premiere. No joy for Turkey, though - there was an international outcry about their seemingly draconian justice system and the country’s once-booming tourism hit the skids hard. The gritty association

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