If you’re not familiar, this is the amazing location in Colorado which was Stephen King’s inspiration for The Shining. His stay there freaked him out so badly that to this day the author claims he’s convinced Mrs. Stanley is still hanging around playing the piano in the drawing room where she dropped dead in 1936.
The 1980 movie The Shining starring Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson is definitely in my Top Ten, and in a moment of weirdness (yes, just one moment) I suddenly became obsessed with what happened to the little kid with the famous finger friend “Tony” (remember, it was his finger that kept saying the unforgettable “REDRUM,” which is “murder” spelled backwards).
The documentary footage that came with the anniversary edition of the DVD shows director Stanley Kubrick as highly protective of little Danny Lloyd during filming. So much so that an interview with the six-year-old clearly indicates he was unaware he was shooting a horror movie at all, and instead thought it was some sort of action or mystery story.
IMDB.com said very little about Danny, who virtually disappeared after his iconic role, acting only once more in 1982.
He would be 35 years old now, and according to the web site is currently a college professor who in 1999 was somewhere in the Midwest, in 2007 was in Elizabethtown, KY, and then moved on to a college in Missouri.
I hate to admit this, but I am an expert cyber-stalker.
As Missouri was the last known location for the adult Dan Lloyd, I started there and a little too quickly I located Professor Daniel T. Lloyd, professor of plant sciences at a small technical college.
I should pause here to point out that the tantalizing tidbits I found on the web about Professor Lloyd have been few, but they all agree on one thing: Danny wanted nothing to do with his brief turn in front of the camera. It was an apparently sore subject, which is why he refused to ever participate in any fan gatherings or studio documentaries.
A fan blog even posted a rant about leaving the guy alone and that he had already made an enormous contribution to pop culture, so we shouldn’t expect anything more if he wasn’t willing to give it.
That being said I used the college web site to take a few guesses at potential email configurations for Professor Daniel T. Lloyd and hit the SEND key.
A day later I got a response which again, I should have expected, was far too easy. So much for internet information.
Professor Lloyd from Missouri was amused as apparently I wasn’t the first person to have thought he was “the REDRUM kid.” Ironically, he was the right age (35) and admitted that his picture posted on the faculty page bore enough of a resemblance to young Danny to make the connection. Alas however, he was not the right Dan Lloyd, but he wished me luck in my search.
Part of me wondered if this wasn’t a ploy to throw me off the scent, especially if the real Danny didn’t want to be bothered. But with that in mind, I decided to keep digging a bit further.
As IMDB had shown Kentucky as his prior location, I decided to search colleges and universities in Elizabethtown, of which I found literally dozens. I searched the faculties of a few bigger ones to no avail.
Then my 14-year-old nephew came to the rescue. He mentioned that he and all his classmates were on this web site called “Rate My Teacher” where the kids posted comments about teachers in schools all over the US. I got to wondering if there was such a site for professors and if so, was my Dan Lloyd listed there?
I found the right Dan Lloyd along with a whole lot of feedback from his students, mostly female. Apparently little Danny had grown up to be “the cutest professor on campus,” in addition to being “tough but fair.”
One of his little darlings actually ratted him out as being “the kid from The Shining,” but went on to say if you’re smart you won’t ask him about it. Apparently there are rumors that Professor Lloyd was likely to give you a verbal smack down if you brought up the whole REDRUM thing.
It took me an additional five minutes to figure out his email address and send my note.
So far the elusive Professor Lloyd has not sent a response, verbally smacking me down or otherwise, and frankly I don’t expect to get one. I’ve also discovered he’s not just a stereotypical kid-actor-curmudgeon who holds a grudge against his parents for exploiting him in front of the camera either. He apparently made a brief appearance signing autographs at the Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville last August, but only because the proceeds went to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Dan Lloyd has obviously found a passion other than acting, and just wants to get on with it.
Though I would have considered it the Goth Chick Holy Grail to have been able to interview Dan Lloyd for Black Gate, and asking him why he opted out of the spotlight, I will have to content myself with the pursuit alone.
Besides, it’s a little hard to picture Danny as an adult, lecturing to a group of swoony teenage girls anyway. I’d prefer to remember him in the Overlook Hotel “forever and ever.”
Oh – and believe it or not, Danny Torrance and his famous REDRUM line is so embedded in pop culture that there is even a rum from the Virgin Islands called RedRum!.