Episode 5: Where The Magic Happened
Deep conversations with the doctor’s family members paint a complicated picture of Gary Davis, the man — and Gary Davis, the legend. The doctor was often broke and filed for bankruptcy twice, but then suddenly seemed to have lots of money. Several people tell Grant this wealth may have come from the doctor’s high-profile clients —- including one NBA superstar.
Davis’ daughter wants to talk about how her father died, and the fact that she feels like something bad happened to him. His niece has no interest in getting into that debate, and feels it’s not even a question.
So, what really happened the night Gary Davis died?
Serum is a limited run podcast production of WHYY’s The Pulse and Local Trance Media.
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SERUM Ep. 5: Where the Magic Happened
Door opens – sound of feet walking up stairs…
Grant Hill: The moment is here. The door unlocks, and Sharonda Dennard leads me up the stairs to Gary Davis’ old office…this is the place I’ve been dying to see.
It’s been decades since Sharonda has been up here – since she worked in this practice, side by side with her uncle.
Sharonda Davis: Oh my god…Oh I feel it. I feel it.
GH: Is this the first time you’ve been back in here?
SD: Yea, all of this was closed…FADE OUT
GH: We enter…
GH: You know it still smells like a doctor’s office.
GH: Sharonda fights back tears. And I think I know why. The place is a wreck.
GH: From WHYY’s The Pulse in Philadelphia and Local Trance Media, this is Serum….
I’m Grant Hill.
Before the door opened, I half expected to find traces of the doctor and his work still in this office. Something, anything, he left behind. A tiny note rolled up in an old, plastic vial, maybe. Now, reality sets in.
GH: I mean, it wasn’t, obviously it looked a lot different back then right?
SD: Oh way different, we got pictures of all that…FADE OUT
GH: Gary Davis’ old office in Tulsa has not been rented for years, and it’s a mess. Floors ripped out. Plastic sheets hang through holes in the ceiling. Graffiti of a man holding a machine gun is drawn on a wall.
GH: I mean how many hours did you spend in here?
SD: My whole life. LAUGHS. So when he wanted to get a break from his patients…FADE OUT
GH: I look around – trying to square what this place looks like now with everything I had heard about it.
So many here in Tulsa had fond memories of the doctor and his bustling practice. They told me how, throughout the 90s, the height of the Aids epidemic, this office was a refuge – where anyone could receive quality health care, no matter who you were, no matter if you could pay.
SD: …in between because we never closed the office for lunch… FADE OUT
GH: I’m looking around, taking in the crumbling walls and boarded-up windows – trying to find remnants of that history, trying to picture it. Sharonda is reminiscing, pointing here and there, as if she’s trying to conjure what once was back into existence
Like – a bell Davis rang every day when he entered the office.
SD: And then he had his captain bell here. And so every time he’d come in he’d do his captain bell…LAUGHS
GH:…often, patients were already lined up, waiting…
GH: So I mean how many people would fit in here? I mean, the way you describe it, it was like there was- it was packed…
SD: It was a ton…it was wall to wall in our lobby and then all the rooms.
GH: Was just filled with people waiting.
SD: Yup, saw like 200 patients a day.
GH: Sharonda tells me about paperwork piled high on her desk – along with the home-made food and desserts patients left here. For some, that was all they could afford to leave as payment for the doctor…
SD: This was his area to check in the patients.
GH: As we walk from room to room, careful not to trip over loose floorboards, those scenes become harder and harder to imagine.
SD: From sun up to sun down…FADE OUT
GH: Then, I spot it.
GH: Oh wow. Nice spiral staircase right in the middle here.
GH: A spiral staircase, painted fire-engine red…
SD: Yeah, that’s where we would have our powows.
GH: And Precious came here?
SD: Yeah, up them steps.
GH: Up the stairs
GH: The staircase leads to the third floor – Davis’s private space. This is where Rocky nabbed the serum for her daughter Precious. At least, that’s what she told reporters decades ago.
GH: And where was the- where was the refrigerator?
SD: In his office.
GH: You still remember that day?
SD: Mhm. Yeah. Like it was yesterday.
GH: So you would go up here?
SD: Yeah, go ahead.
NOISE FROM CLIMBING STAIRS
GH: I follow Sharonda up the stairs…
SD: SIGHS, oh my god. SIGHS. This was where all the magic happened. SIGHS
GH: I’m feeling really grateful, touched that Sharonda worked so hard to get us up here, but sometimes seeing where the magic happened, just makes things … less magical.
And now, looking at the layout of the office, the staircase, it hits me just how ridiculous and outlandish the story Rocky Thomas and Gary Davis concocted all those years ago was – the one they told the press: that Rocky went rogue – snuck upstairs and stole the serum from the fridge.
IN THE BACKGROUND Dateline Houston
REPORTER: You took it without the doctor’s knowledge?
Rocky Thomas: Yes.
Gary Davis: LAUGHS. I didn’t know she had it.
GH: A busy doctor’s office. A spiral metal staircase in plain view of everybody in the room – one that clanged as you climbed. It would have been impossible for Rocky to secretly get up these stairs without being spotted.
And, of course, that’s not what happened. Rocky later told me the doctor gave her the serum to treat Precious.
RT: He couldn’t administer it to her. But I could. Turn you back. You aint got- you don’t know nothing…turn your back.
GH: But being here, climbing this very noisy, exposed staircase – that old cover story Rocky and the doctor created feels even more absurd than it did before – and the fact that so many people believed it.
SD: His office office. So after he’d seen his patients… FADE OUT
GH: I ask Sharonda about this, and she admits, yes, this was a ruse. There was no theft. No secret stair climbing.
SD:…he overlooked everything. His desk was right here. See, he would look right here, and we would park over here… FADE OUT
GH: She keeps talking me through the now distant past…
SD: It was our life. That’s the bathroom.
GH: …peering out of her uncle’s old window overlooking Greenwood… yet I can’t help but think about something she had said just a few minutes ago in the barbershop below. While we were waiting for the key, and customers were asking us why we were here…Sharonda got talking about her uncle. And his serum. And his young patient who made national news…
SD: When Rocky and them came down…Precious, the little girl that her mom stole the serum. She stole it out of the refrigerator upstairs. In our office. And so I wanted them to see that…
GH: She repeated the old tale of Rocky’s theft, as if it had really happened. It was a small thing. But up here in her uncle’s private office, her words echo in my head.
I don’t think Sharonda was trying to lie to me or to anyone else really. She loved her uncle and wanted others to remember his remarkable life – and the legacy he left.
So, on some level, that comment in the barbershop seems like a blip, one small made-up detail in a much bigger, and important story.
But… I can’t shake an uneasy feeling – that’s stuck with me since arriving in Tulsa.
I came here to find people who had taken Gary Davis’ serum…people who believed they were cured because of it….but I also came here to get a clearer picture of the doctor himself, to have real conversations about his life in person, to step into the void he left behind.
But now…learning how much people here think of him as a hero and then seeing with my own eyes what remains of this brilliant renegade doctor… I’m beginning to wonder just how much of what I’m told is real and how much is legend.
Glashay Davis: Cause he would have his little fits and things. And I would be like oh that’s okay. He can have his fit. He’s just having a bad time, you know?
GH: Over the years, Gary Davis’ daughter Glashay developed her own way of understanding her dad and his work…
GD: Like loved him on his really bad days. Loved him on the good days, but loved him on the real bad days too.
GH: Glashay and I met in person for the first time in a dimly lit room inside a funeral home in Tulsa where her fiance works. She wore a bright red dress and a big smile. Her daughter sat on a couch off to the side, looking bored.
GD: My cousin she was there for him though too, she did try her best to do everything for him.
GH: I told Glashay I was struggling to really grasp her dad’s story… How, while the science behind his serum seemed sound, I was still having trouble parsing fact from fiction when it came to so many parts of his life. She said, sometimes, so did she.
GD: He just did stuff. It was just like, nobody knew he did all these things. It’s crazy. Like tea. He’s like I wanna do hot teas. Hot teas. I want tea pots everywhere and then I’m like okay. So we got him like two teapots, he was like now I need teas. We’re like okay so he like hands us a hundred dollar bill, hes like go get teas. I went and got like two different types of teas….FADE OUT
GH: To Glashay, her dad was more than the legend, the scientist, the community hero. He was, well, her dad.
She saw all his strange idiosyncrasies. All his flaws, too. And as we spoke, she didn’t shy away from them. She embraced his contradictions, fused them all together.
And that unlocked something for me – I was making new connections between different facts I had collected…
GD: He’d throw couch pillows in the fireplace. Nobody could ever find the couch pillows and he’s blaming it on Rebel the dog “he’s tears them things up, I don’t know why he does that…” and he’s over here throwing them, he’s like “hee,” he’d throw them in the fireplace.
GH: In a lit fireplace?
GD: LAUGHS Yeah and everybody is like “dang Gary” FADE OUT
GH: Glashay said her dad loved woodburning fireplaces – wouldn’t live anywhere without one…you know, a fireplace he could throw stuff into when no one was looking.
GD: and he would be like making colors and things…
GH: Would he replace them?
GD: No! We would be like there’s no more pillows, he’s like I know we need to go buy some. That damn dog keeps taking these pillows. It’s a cocker spaniel LAUGHS. And everybody believed it. Like, they’re like “Oh my God I never seen a dog do that!” But no one asks like where’s the stuffing at. How’s a dog this big get a pillow that big and devour it into no pieces ever. Like no one asked normal questions.
GH: They just took his word for it.
GD: Yeah, like, “Oh, wow, Gary can’t believe that dog crazy.” He like had papers from the academy he’d put them in there…“those things wooow man”…like he’d just throw different things in there. That fireplace, I’m telling you, anytime I see a fireplace I think of him… FADE OUT
GH: Listening to her talk, I suddenly thought of the fire in the doctor’s lab in Ghana that photographer Doug Henderson had told me about….
Doug Henderson: He said that there had been a fire and he just barely got out with his life, and it was real mysterious how this fire started…FADE OUT
GH: Now, that incident didn’t seem so mysterious…
GH: I’m just thinking about your dad’s lab.
GD: Yeah. They said he blew it up.
GH: He blew it up?
GD: That’s what they said.
GH: That he blew it up himself?
GH: Someone didn’t set it on fire?
GD: No, they said he did. I was like, well, that’s believable. If they were onto him. I could see him doing something like that. If he was scared that somebody was gonna like ambush him or whatever. That’s something he would do.
GH: Glashay believed she was the only person who knew these kinds of things about her dad. These other little blips in his legend. That’s the kind of relationship they had. He was comfortable around her…maybe to a fault.
GD: Like the shopping cart at Walmart…nobody else had to do that but me.
GH: The two often shopped together – at Walmart. And Glashay’s dad had this routine. Dressed in a full suit, as he always was, the doctor would climb into a shopping cart and make Glashay steer him around the store, all the way to the bedding section, where he’d grab a pillow off the shelf and place it under him for support. Then they would shop.
Gary Davis was a short guy with a bad back – from an injury he sustained in the Navy, some told me. It sometimes made walking unbearable, but he refused to use a wheelchair or motorized scooters.
GD: He said “that’s for old people and it’s not as cool looking.” He wanted to ride in the basket. So he’d get in the basket, put the thing back where you put the purse, your purse at…FADE OUT
GH: Glashay said her dad’s back injury impacted many other parts of his life too. Like, his drinking – which she said is how he managed his excruciating pain.
Three months after he had the dream that inspired the serum, the doctor’s back gave out. Suddenly, he needed surgery… metal rods and pins to support his spine. But the operation just made things worse.
Bedridden for almost a year – the doctor had little to do besides research HIV. He also drank a lot, and Glashay said this is when the painkillers started, too…
GD: He took esgic plus and he took ultram, which is like tramadol, but it’s a little more synthetic opioid and then he took the esgic plus, moved into vioxx and then went into, evolved into celebrex…
GH: Her dad knew he had a problem, Glashay said. He didn’t try to hide it. He just never sought help…
GD: That was going to require him focusing on himself, on his own health and he didn’t want to do that. He’s too focused on helping other people and getting this out. That was his, his whole thing. So he would neglect himself.
GH: HIV wasn’t slowing down, so why should he?
The doctor self-medicated – to stay functional, to keep the serum project up and running. After all, this was his calling, even if it meant putting his back and the rest of his body on the line…
GD: Cause he never did anything to anybody that he wouldn’t be willing to do himself so all of that got tested on himself before he gave it to anybody.
GH: Self-experimentation is not uncommon in medicine. It’s sometimes considered the noble thing to do before subjecting others to a new, untested treatment. So Davis injected himself with his serum before giving it to anyone else. But he didn’t stop there.
GD: He injected me with it.
GH: He injected you with it?
GD: Uh-huh. Yeah. Uh the first time I was 13 and the second time I was 19 years old.
GH: Glashay does not have HIV. She said her dad first injected her with the serum to ward off rheumatism that left her chronically ill as a kid. The second injection – after she was diagnosed with Hepatitis B.
GH: What was the effect?
GD: Just feeling like flushed. Like your blood vessels dilate. It’s like a rush of blood, like you can just feel like your blood just moving. So like your whole face is just like flushed.
GH: Glashay believed the injections helped. And she wasn’t the only member of the family who said so. Her cousin Sharonda told me she was injected, too. Also…twice.
SD: But mine was migraines…
GH: A lot of people I spoke with believed the serum was a sort of panacea. That it could treat a variety of ailments…not just HIV. Sharonda said her uncle thought his serum could help her migraines. And she trusted him.
SD: I didn’t get side effects…and to this day I don’t have migraines at all.
GH: Obviously, it’s hard to know what to make of these claims. Sharonda and Glashay weren’t exactly neutral parties – or patients. And they didn’t show me any test results or studies showing that their conditions really improved.
But one thing was becoming much more certain in my mind: There was a lot more to Gary Davis than the legend.
The doctor liked to play with fire. All different kinds. His antics often landed somewhere between those of a quirky rebel with a flare for the dramatic and a mad genius with a Napoleon complex.
He wasn’t afraid to put himself or his family on the line…but on the line for what exactly?
GH: Glashay says it was definitely not money that motivated her dad to work so hard on the serum, and to take so many risks for it. Even though his relationship with money was fraught at best…
GD: I mean we never like went without but we knew when things were like oh, he must not be making anything…or things were getting slimmer because like you could just tell there’s more stress on everybody’s face, you know…
GH: For a long time, she said there was little to go around.
At his practice, her dad often didn’t charge for consultations, or check ups, he gave away food, his serum, and even his winter coat. There were times he couldn’t make ends meet…
GD: So they told him one time, you just need to file bankruptcy. He’s like, okay, let’s file bankruptcy then.
GH: That happened not once, but two times. So her dad developed a saying, she said: you don’t file bankruptcy twice as a doctor because you’re making a lot of money, you file bankruptcy twice as a doctor because you can’t say no.
GD: He said he could start to see another side of healthcare that he didn’t agree with. Which was everything is based upon like what you can pay is gonna equal the care that you get. And he was like, you should just get the care.
GH: He first filed for bankruptcy in 1988, almost half a decade before his fateful dream.
But he climbed his way out of financial ruin, opened up new clinics with other local doctors. Only, it appears, to have that dream drag him back down again.
In 1996, not long before he applied to conduct clinical trials with the FDA, he filed for bankruptcy again.
GD: You know, he’s like, don’t get used to material possessions. That’s what he would always say, cuz it could be gone.
GH: But, as Glashay told me, there were prosperous periods, too.
As the years progressed, there were times when it seemed like her dad had more than enough money…enough for grand public gestures and small personal indulgences…like when local kids who didn’t have health insurance couldn’t afford to get physicals to play sports at school…
GD: So my dad held days that he would pick up these kids and do physicals so they could play. He had drivers like go and pick up these kids, but he bought the bus and paid the driver to just go all through North Tulsa…FADE OUT
GH: Sometimes when the doctor was lonely, he would visit Glashay at the restaurant where she worked as a server. He’d sit at the same table all day long – just talking to her. When Glashay told him he was costing her tips, he’d ask…
GD: How much would you make if somebody came here every hour on the hour? I said, well, I don’t know, I said like 20 dollars? I’ll give you more than that if you just let me sit here all day.
GH: And if the checkout line at Walmart was too long to comfortably sit in a shopping cart…
GD: He’d ask the people in front of him…“Hey, can I cut in front of yall? I’ll pay for this. He’s like how much you think this is all- your groceries? They’re like 300 or 200? I mean we have a bunch of stuff. Okay, I’m gonna pay for their groceries but I’m gonna go first. Then you just.. I’m gonna give them the money for this. I’m gonna go first. They’re like really? Yeah. He’s like “here.”
GH: But whenever Glashay asked about money, her dad said he didn’t have any. That he was broke.
Glashay never believed it. She thought he was testing her…
GD: and it was all a test…
GH: her loyalty…her values.
GH: But he had money at the time.
GD: Uh-huh. He’s like, he said I did that for a reason…He even picked me up my grandma’s car! I was like, damn, he really don’t have no money. That’s what I was thinking like, damn, okay.
GH: To try to like, almost trick you?
GD: Yeah! And I was like where we going, you know, and he was like well I don’t know i don’t have no money, well just pull up here, there’s a park up there we can just hang out over here.
GH: If this was all an act, if he really had money, even despite those past bankruptcies, giving away free services at his practice, getting paid in cakes and pies – where was the money coming from?
GD: Somebody was giving it to him.
GH: Coming up on Serum – what or who was the source of the doctor’s subtle wealth?
GH: …Your dad may have treated some NBA players…
GH: Is that, is that accurate?
GD: Yeah. There’s one of them I know for sure that he did.
GH: Do you know who it was?
GH: Can you tell me?
GH: That’s still to come, on Serum..
GH: This is Serum, I’m Grant Hill. I was trying to figure out the difference between Gary Davis the man – and the legend his story had turned into, in Tulsa.
There were these little blips that made me wonder…burning couch pillows…riding around in a shopping cart.
More importantly, the many inconsistencies that came with claims of a cure…
GH: He did give this to other people in Tulsa.
GD: Oh yeah. I have no doubt. I’ve just heard that he did, but I’ve never seen him do it. But I heard that he did.
GH: I hadn’t met any of the patients he had treated with the serum. Also, there were his money troubles – the near-broke existence – and then, signs of wealth.
Glashay told me she thought somebody was either investing in the Serum – or very invested in getting their hands on it…
In fact, I had heard from several people by now that Davis had some very high profile patients…
GH: …Your dad may have treated some NBA players…
GH: Is that, is that accurate?
GD: Yeah. There’s one of them I know for sure that he did.
GH: Do you know who it was?
GH: Can you tell me?
GD: Yeah. It’s Magic Johnson.
GH: Sharonda, Glashay’s cousin, had told me the same thing.
SD: He treated Magic Johnson.
GH: He treated Magic Johnson? Is that what you said?
GH: When I first heard these claims about the doctor’s alleged ties with Magic Johnson, I was very, very, very skeptical. More fodder for the legend, I thought.
ANNOUNCER: And this news conference we’ve been talking about throughout the day where he is expected to announce his retirement from professional basketball because he has apparently tested positive for the Aids virus. We take you, then, to Inglewood, CA and Magic Johnson…
GH: In November 1991, Magic Johnson stunned the world when he announced that he was HIV positive.
PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO
Magic Johnson: Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today…
GH: At the time, many people still viewed HIV as an issue that only affected gay men…those who were poor, immigrants…
ANNOUNCER: He was responsible for raising some 5 million dollars over the years in his summer all-star basketball game…
GH: It smashed assumptions about who was – or was not – in danger of contracting HIV.
But from the moment Magic made his announcement, speculations and rumors spread like wildfire – rumors that created new problems for HIV experts.
Gary Bell: One of the most important things that happened during the HIV epidemic was sadly, but nonetheless important, was Magic Johnson becoming infected…
GH: Gary Bell spent decades on the ground providing sexual health education and outreach in Philadelphia – fighting for access to the best available HIV treatments on behalf of low-income residents of color, and fighting the stigma and the long horrific history of medical racism and abuse that dissuaded some from seeking out those treatments. It was a tall task.
Gary admired Magic Johnson and his bravery in going public. And eventually, he got to meet him, they snapped a photo together and Gary hung it in his office.
GB: So whenever I would have visitors, invariably, some of those conspiracy theories would come up. And sometimes I would sort of stoke the fire a little bit to see what people were thinking. And they say, “Oh, well, Magic is cured. Look at him. He looks great.” And I say you see that picture over there? “Oh, you met him?” Yeah, I met him. He’s not cured. “Well, yes he is.” I said, did you meet him? I’ve met him. I have a picture with him, do you? He’s not cured. That was one of the most pernicious ones…
GH: Seeing Magic looking like a picture of health, year after year, while death tolls just kept climbing, gave rise to the idea that there was a cure out there – a secret cure that only very few people, like rich and famous basketball stars, had access to.
But among some here in North Tulsa, there was a different narrative.
What if Magic Johnson had access to something that was given away for free here? Something that wasn’t being kept a secret – just ignored, mocked.
Several people I talked to in Tulsa were adamant that there was a real, direct connection between Magic, his continued good health – and their hometown hero, Gary Davis. Here’s Sharonda:
SD: Well, my cousin John Starks, he played basketball for the Knicks.
STARKS HIGHLIGHT SOUND FROM BASKETBALL GAME
ANNOUNCER: Starks hits another three! Four for four from downtown.
GH: They’re not cousins by blood, but John Starks is the nephew of Curtis West – the doctor’s best friend. Starks grew up in Tulsa, was passionate about basketball, and made it all the way to the NBA.
STARKS HIGHLIGHT SOUND FROM BASKETBALL GAME
ANNOUNCER: … Starks underneath! FADE OUT
GH: When I spoke with Curtis West at the Applebees, Curtis had mentioned this connection.
Curtis West: We had another gentleman. I won’t mention his name but he was an athlete. One of our nephews hooked him up…
GH: But he told me more about it later over a phone call.
CW: Remember I was telling you about that athlete we were trying to connect with? It was Magic Johnson.
GH: Both Sharonda and Curtis told me that while John Starks was playing in the NBA, he was aware of what was happening back home with the serum, and that he ultimately Starks facilitated talks between Gary Davis and Magic Johnson’s wife Cookie Johnson, in an effort to get the serum in front of the NBA superstar.
SD: That’s how we got in contact with Magic and all them.
GH: I reached out to John Starks with questions about what Curtis and Sharonda had told me. If he could confirm that these talks really occurred. I never received a response.
Sharonda and Curtis were adamant, though, that this really happened. But the two disagreed on what happened next.
Curtis believed the talks fell through. That Gary Davis never treated Magic Johnson, at least not during the time when Curtis was heavily involved with the serum.
CW: We never did Grant. We never did. As God as my witness, Grant, listen to me real good. We never did.
GH: Do you think it’s possible that it might have happened and you didn’t know about it?
CW: I promise you, Grant, I promise you. That’s a possibility but I promise you if it would have happened I would have known.
GH: But Sharonda doubled-down on her story. She said Curtis was wrong. That those talks culminated in a trip her uncle took to Los Angeles.
SD: He came out and took care of Magic Johnson.
GH: That’s why he was out there?
SD: Yes. Uncle Gary gave him an injection.
GH: Does anybody else know this?
SD: Magic. His doctors. Who else you want to know?
GH: No I just…
SD: John Salley knew..
GH: John Salley. The retired Los Angeles Laker and television host. My lyft driver Clyde Ashley Sherman’s fraternity brother. The man who connected the doctor with the Nation of Islam while he was in LA?
You know, uh, the guy who told me this…?
John Salley: And you know, I wanted to get it to Magic Johnson right away.
GH: According to Sharonda, John Salley, Clyde Ashley Sherman, and a comedian named Tommy Davidson all helped transport the doctor while in LA to get him to see Magic Johnson.
AUDIO FROM IN LIVING COLOR
GH: That comedian, Tommy Davidson, co-starred on the television show In Living Color with Sherman’s former boss, Jaime Foxx.
AUDIO FROM IN LIVING COLOR
GH: So it wasn’t inconceivable that Tommy and Sherman would know each other.
By this time, Gary Davis was publicly feuding with federal health agencies.
GD: The FDA has no jurisdiction between me and my patients.
GH: So, according to Sharonda, the people around Magic Johnson didn’t want any record of this meeting ever happening. No photos. No consent forms. Nothing. Just the serum.
GH: As far as you know, did Dr. Davis ever have any meetings with Magic Johnson?
JS: Um, I don’t know…wasn’t on my- wasn’t by me though.
GH: That’s John Salley. I called him back and asked him about all this. He said he didn’t know who Sharonda was – and he didn’t know anything about the stuff she was saying.
GH: You don’t remember ever going with Tommy Davidson and Clyde Ashley Sherman to…
JS: I’ve never gone anywhere with Tommy Davidson in my life.
GH: But – right around that time -Tommy was a guest on John’s new BET show. And I found pictures of John and Tommy from just a few years later. Both on the red carpet. Tommy is climbing all over John’s back smiling, sticking his tongue out.
But John said he and Tommy weren’t very close that early on – certainly not close enough to covertly go on a mission to connect Magic Johnson to the “goat doctor” from Tulsa.
JS: I know Tommy. Tommy is one of the first few people I met in here, in California. We have a great relationship, but I never hung out with him. We may have been in the same place but I never like called him up, and “hey.” I don’t do that anyway so. I don’t really hang out.
GH: I relayed this to Sharonda.
SD: Yeah, they did! He lying. Nobody told me not to tell. But nobody ever asked me.
GH: But if what John Salley told me was true, how did Sharonda even know that John Salley knew Tommy Davidson at all back then? Why did she put these two people together?
Lucky guess? I don’t know.
REPORTER: The Magic Johnson foundation raises funds for HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
Tommy Davidson: He became even more of an inspiration when I saw the courage that he displayed when he went through his situation.
GH: That’s Tommy Davidson at a 2012 premier of a documentary that focused on Magic’s HIV announcement decades earlier.
A representative for Davidson told me Tommy “does not recall any interaction” with Gary Davis.
I finally asked John Salley point blank if he could put me in touch with Magic Johnson to clear all this up. But he declined.
JS: I stay away from being a matchmaker. It doesn’t benefit me.
GH: Glashay told me that she knew “for sure” that her dad had treated Magic. Not because of any trip to LA, but because of a trip her dad took to Washington, DC in 2002. She said she went with him. She would have been 16 years old at the time.
GD: Yeah, because we went to Houston’s restaurant. Which is in DC. So at Houston’s restaurant, it’s two levels. Then he, you know, Magic Johnson, like comes around and sits down at the table. And we order and he’s talking to us about Oklahoma and how he’s played here a couple times. And he never really like, you know, been to Oklahoma that much and was asking us questions like that, you know, they were just like talking normal stuff. And then my dad asked him, like, what time do you want me to come over there? And he said, this time, it was like, 11:30. He said, well, 11:30 will be alright
GH: Glashay said she did not actually see, with her own eyes, her dad administer the serum to Magic Johnson. She said her dad took her back to the hotel first, then he left, only to return a few hours later. She said she put two and two together.
GD: I’m pretty sure that’s when it happened because we had a lot more money after we left there. Yeah. Before it was like well we better be careful what we spend…then it was like oh you can get that thing on the airline, it’s okay. Like you can get this and that there and I was like oh okay. So something happened, because like I said we left there with more money than we came. But he was nice, really nice guy…FADE OUT
JS: That seems crazy.
GH: I asked John Salley if he ever heard this. About a meeting at Houston’s Restaurant between the doctor and Magic Johnson.
JS: That seems- that seems crazy. With something at that level, you don’t meet at a restaurant. I wouldn’t. Would you? Everybody knows who you are. You’re Magic Johnson. You’re walking into a restaurant? Maybe, maybe he was hungry. I don’t know. But if I was in that situation. That’s not what would have happened….If I would have been in DC, I would have been at The Grill. LAUGHS
Gayle King: Most people said he wouldn’t last three or four years, let alone 30. As you see, he certainly credits Cookie, he says if it wasn’t for Cookie I wouldn’t be the man I was today. I say hear, hear to that….FADE OUT
GH: I sent Magic Johnson multiple requests for an interview, as well as requests for a response to every detailed claim I had heard linking him to the doctor. The claims made by Sharonda, Glashay, and Curtis West.
I did not receive a response. I sent a similar request to his wife, Cookie Johnson. No response either.
But in recent interviews, Johnson maintains he managed his HIV with the known, FDA-approved treatments that have been available for years.
GK: And how is your health today?
MJ: Oh it’s great. Still undetectable. And so…
GK: You have to take medication everyday still?
MJ: Yes, cocktail once a day. It went from three times a day, now just once. And so everything is great.
GH: It feels like the longer I spend in Tulsa, the harder it is to make out the real Gary Davis…
I don’t know what to make of the Magic story. And without a response from Magic himself, I certainly can’t verify it. And, another issue weighs heavy on my mind during my visit to Tulsa.
What happened to the doctor at the end? How did he die?
CHATTERING IN THE CAR
GH: After leaving her uncle’s old office a little somber, Sharonda, Gary Davis’ niece, has offered to drive me to her uncle’s grave as part of our tour.
GH: Should we get out?
GH: He’s buried in a windswept Black cemetery about twenty minutes outside of North Tulsa. Near the old oil wells along route 75.
GH: It’s windy out here. This can’t really take it too much.
GH: Rows and rows of flat metal markers dot the ground.
Sharonda guides us to one specific marker.
GH: Gary Randolph Davis Sr. Captain US Navy. Persian Gulf. April 28 1951. April 3, 2007. Naval Doctor.
GH: After years of constant travel, trying to stir up interest in the serum abroad, Sharonda’s uncle had returned to Tulsa for good around 2006, then, just about a year or so later, he was gone forever.
Dead just a few weeks short of his 56th birthday. It was all so sudden. People in town were heartbroken.
Justin Van Harn: When you’re dealing with a loss, your mind will do, you know, these different what if scenarios…Your mind wants to fix a problem that is unfixable…FADE OUT
GH: That’s Justin Van Harn. One day he repaired Gary Davis’ AC unit, and the two just hit it off. They became good friends.
Like others, Justin told me rumors swirled about the doctor’s death among friends and neighbors in Tulsa.
JVH: Yeah, yeah for sure.
GH: No one ever offered up any real evidence of foul play, but many were aware that the doctor felt threatened in the past – and they knew his work was controversial.
JVH: Now, having said that, there’s no evidence basis, no, you know, there wasn’t any notes left on cars, at that, at that time period, that would indicate like something was imminently there…but the type of people that had the kind of money to lose would also not be that reckless…so there’s that.
GH: I got the feeling Justin hadn’t completely let go of those “what if” scenarios.
SD: I lived it so you can’t tell me nothing. You can’t tell me anything. I’ve lived it.
GH: Sharonda and I had talked about her uncle’s death even before I came to Tulsa, during one of our phone calls…
GH: Because he was young obviously I mean he was 55, right?
GH: So people must’ve had a lot of questions and…
SD: No he had a, he had a heart attack. He had a heart attack.
GH: I had told Sharonda about the speculation I’d seen online, and heard from others– how near the end, the doctor was paranoid someone was out to steal his serum, maybe out get him, too.
SD: No no no no no. Uncle Gary had a heart attack. Mhm.
GH: Ok did you see him? Like were you-
SD: I saw him the night before I left, I went to my boyfriend’s house, I went to the game, talked to him all night long till about midnight…FADE OUT
GH: She remembered the day her uncle died clearly.
Gary Davis was in a sort of semi-retirement. Still working on the serum. Just from home now.
SD: He didn’t take any new patients on.
GH: Her uncle had recently moved back in with his first wife, Sadonna. Sharonda lived with them, too.
The night before his death – Sharonda left the house to go watch her boyfriend play in an adult league basketball game at the Y.
SD: And Uncle Gary like, be careful, we talking, we doing all that. I leave there at 6:30.
GH: She called her uncle back after the game, and joked that her boyfriend was in a lot of pain..
SD: I said I’m gonna have to rub him down with Bengay, so we laughing about that.
SD: So we talked until about 11:30.
GH: That was the last time Sharonda spoke to her uncle – over the phone around 11:30 pm on April 2, 2007. She said he was in good spirits – laughing, making jokes.
Sharonda stayed at her boyfriend’s place that night, but returned home early in the morning to get ready for work at a hospital nearby. Her uncle wasn’t much of a sleeper, so she expected to see him awake and ready to start the day before she left for work.
SD: So when I got there, he didn’t have the light on. Like, oh, he’s asleep. I thought I should knock on his door. I said no, I’m not gonna knock on the door. He know he hear me coming through here. He not saying nothing.. So I went back downstairs and I got in my car and I went to work before I can get to my desk at work, Aunt Sadonna called me.
SD: Aunt Sadonna said she rolled over and he was cold. And she put him on the ground and started doing CPR.
GH: So he died in his sleep?
SD: He died in his sleep. In his bed, mhm.
SD: He was in the hospital the week before he passed.
GH: Oh really?
SD: Yeah, he had a heart attack. He was unresponsive at the…
GH: Oh he had a heart attack before- the week before?
GH: Oh, I see.
SD: He had a heart attack. My mom died at 40. His sister…She had a heart attack…My papa. My grandmother, everybody. They had a heart attack. His oldest brother, he had a heart attack.
GH: So it runs in the family, it’s really not that strange.
SD: It’s not strange at all. It’s more normal than anything in the whole wide world…with our family. Mhm.
SD: He was in ICU for a week. Yeah and in our house, we put a puzzle together. Everybody came into the ICU and we put all the pieces together. I got a 5000 piece puzzle. It’s an angel. And we got it plastered and molded on a wall and everything at the house. Yeah, my family. Everybody put pieces together. Mhm. He was in there a week.
GH: You did this while he was in the hospital? The puzzle?
SD: Mm hmm. We did an angel puzzle. She in purple.
GH: Do you still have it?
SD: Yes, it’s on Aunt Sadonna’s wall. Yeah, he and he was so adamant about her getting that framed. He’s like frame this picture. My whole family put this together. Frame this picture. We finally got it framed. We got it hooked. We got it hung. Everything.
GH: Did he get to see it?
SD: He got to see it, yeah. Yeah, he got to see it. He got to see it.
FADE into audio at the cemetery – SHARONDA blowing a kiss
GH: At the cemetery, Sharonda kneels down and touches the marker where her uncle is buried.
Next to it is another marker, reserving a plot for Davis’ first wife, Sadonna.
Sadonna still lives in Tulsa, but she did not respond to my multiple requests to speak with her. Sharonda thinks her aunt wasn’t ready to talk about it all yet.
That being said, Sharonda says there really wasn’t much to talk about anyway – at least not in terms of her uncle’s death.
Heart attacks ran in the family. Davis had a prior one, was hospitalized for it just a week before he suffered another…and died, in bed, next to his wife.
According to Sharonda, he wasn’t frightened or scared the night before. She spoke to him and he was joking around.
His death might have been untimely – tragic, but for Sharonda, it was no mystery.
Carl Weinkoff: And so there’s great stories and he was great fun to be around…
GH: Others didn’t think it was that much of a mystery either. But they have a slightly different take. They noticed his stress, his paranoia, his drinking – it seemed like the serum put the doctor on a path toward rock bottom.
CW: At the end, I just- it broke my heart to see him.
GH: That’s Carl Weinkoff. He’s an attorney from Texas who heard about the serum from a friend. Carl started providing legal services for Davis around the time the doctor had begun applying to conduct clinical trials in the states.
Then Davis started traveling…pursuing legitimacy elsewhere…but Carl met up with Davis one last time years later to catch up over a meal.
CW: To see him in that condition where he was, I think, pretty much homeless. And he was carrying a picture. I remember he had like an eight by 10 picture in his briefcase of his first wife, and he had told me that was the love of his life and didn’t know why he had ever left her. And literally, he had the clothes on his back in his briefcase with a pair of underwear in it and a bunch of, you know, personal mementos.
GH: And you still find your dad’s death to be kind of suspicious?
GD: It is. It is.
GH: I asked Gary Davis’ daughter Glashay for her thoughts on it all.
GD: I’m calling it for what it is. Nobody else wants to say it out loud. Like we’re gonna fail at something. What- what could be- what’s the point of not being open and honest about it?
GH: She had told me about the skepticism she carried about her father’s death. And how alone it made her feel.
GH: You think other people don’t like to talk about it?
GD: No, they’re in denial. Like, oh, I don’t think so, but yeah maybe. You know, just come right out and say it and commit to it. I commit to it and say, it’s weird…
GH: The day her dad died, Glashay had plans to meet up with him for lunch. Then, she got the news…
GD: I blacked out, I think, because I got that phone call from Sharonda. And she said he was gone. And that’s all I remember. I drove from Tulsa University…and drove all the way to South Tulsa…clear across town. And I don’t remember driving, but I did, because I got there somehow. But I don’t remember until I got up there. And he was gone. I couldn’t believe it.
GD: Something broke that day. I’m telling you. It was dark after that. I went and became an alcoholic and everything after that.
GH: You did?
GD: Oh yeah. So I just locked myself in a room and drank all weekend. That’s what I did. I was an alcoholic bad.
GH: So how long did that last, that period for you?
GD: Oh, when I found out I was pregnant with her. I stopped. I was like this shit got real fast. I was like oh god….FADE OUT
GH: She spent years numb to it all – that void left behind by her dad’s death.
But now, she wanted answers.
GH: I mean, do you think people are scared to ask questions?
GD: I think so yeah. I think they’re scared…
GH: Glashay grew up steeped in her dad’s work – by his side as a child as he developed the serum.
As she got older, it became clear just how controversial her dad and his project were outside of Tulsa – that if he wanted support, it was going to come from folks who didn’t mind controversy.
GD: I just don’t think he really cared where the person came from, or what all they did, as long as they could put it out there and he could get his medicine into people.
GH: Glashay said it wasn’t long before the small team of friends and family helping her dad in Tulsa started to expand. Word spread around that whatever this physician had dreamt up, it might be worth a lot one day.
By the time her dad had left Tulsa to try his luck overseas, it got harder to tell whether he was rushing toward a new lead or running from an old one.
GD: He didn’t care what they came with to say that they could help him…it was all about trying to get it out there…
GH: And when he finally returned home, things were different. He wasn’t well.
Even Sharonda eventually told me so – in another phone conversation we had… that his death wasn’t as simple as she originally described it to me. In fact, the timeline of events, and the events themselves, were quite fuzzy.
SD: Like no. He was just sick, like sickly.
GH: Many people told me Gary Davis returned home from his travels abroad a different person…thin…as Sharonda puts it: sickly.
Then, she said one day back in Tulsa, he collapsed in front of one of his assistants. Davis always had assistants with him. So they brought him to the hospital.
SD: Well, once he came out the coma…
GH: Oh he was in a coma?
SD: He was in a coma, yeah.
GH: I didn’t realize he was in a coma. I just thought he had a heart attack. Wow, okay.
SD: No he was in a coma…he had tubes and everything.
GH: How long was he in a coma for?
SD: About two weeks. Two weeks. Longest two weeks of my life. We didn’t know what was wrong with him.
GH: At some point Davis regained consciousness and was discharged from the hospital – then a few weeks later, he suffered his first heart attack…then about a week after that, his last.
Sharonda said the family never got a real explanation as to what caused the coma. She said no one really knew.
Shawn Davis: I don’t know. I wasn’t, I mean, I wasn’t there….FADE OUT
GH: The doctor’s younger son Shawn wasn’t in Tulsa when his dad died, but he said he had gotten word from his mother Sadonna that his dad’s health was declining.
SD: How it got to that level? And what took it there? I don’t really know. Would I doubt it was possible? I definitely can’t say I doubt it’s possible because I know it is possible from somebody maybe in between here or there or Africa or even back in America. Oh, you’re back. Okay. Let’s try to get him now and doing something. I don’t I don’t rule it out. Nope. Nope. I can’t say it did happen. I definitely can’t say it didn’t happen.
GH: Glashay thought similarly. What stuck with her was the reaction to his death from others in Tulsa. While most of her neighbors were overcome with grief, she said one of her dad’s devoted assistants seemed to vanish right afterward – never to be heard from again.
GD: ….Yeah, nowhere to be found. That’s the thing. Nobody knows his last name. I don’t understand…it’s kinda creepy, but he always had these black cut off gloves that he wore…FADE OUT
GH: Of course, her suspicions amplified after reading stuff online – Facebook posts, about allegedly forbidden cures and their allegedly dead inventors. Seeing those made her feel less alone.
GD: Nobody’s listening to me. I’m like where did he go? Nobody pays attention and he’s gone? Everybody’s too worried about looking good and having a certain image and we don’t want to do all this other…worried about that kind of shit. I’m over here like where’d this dude go?
GH: Glashay had two specific lines of inquiry when it came to how her dad’s death was handled – things that didn’t sit right with her.
GD: Yeah our dad may have not been in the best of health but why on his death certificate it says malnutrition as a contributing cause. Doesn’t make any sense.
GH: First was this issue of malnutrition. She said it was cited as a contributing cause of death on her dad’s death certificate. That seemed weird to her, because as she put it, “the dude ate all the time.”
Death certificates in Oklahoma aren’t public and Glashay never provided me with a copy of her dad’s. So I wasn’t able to independently confirm malnutrition was listed as a contributing cause of Gary Davis’ death.
But assuming it was, I tried to view it in the context of what others had told me. That the doctor, during his travels, sometimes lived in conditions that were unfamiliar and unsanitary. That he didn’t get certain vaccinations before traveling. He said God would protect him.
Sharonda said her uncle thought he may have picked up a parasite. She guessed this may have caused his coma, too.
SD: He said it was parasites.
GH: Davis’ friend Curtis West agreed. He said Davis even took antiparasitics.
CW: I believe theoretically he caught something from in Africa, Grant…
GH: So maybe this could explain both the insatiable appetite and malnutrition.
The other thing that bothered Glashay was that an autopsy wasn’t performed on her dad’s body.
GD: Yeah because of how young he was. It should have been automatically done and it wasn’t.
GH: She thought his age at the time that he died required an autopsy.
GD: So I find that very weird, yeah. It’s very strange.
GH: I was able to obtain a single page of an incident report concerning Gary Davis’ death from the Tulsa Police Department.
On it…the address of the doctor’s first wife. And – “Death – non-traffic.” Occurred between Monday 11:00 and Tuesday 07:25. That was basically it.
At the time of the doctor’s death, Oklahoma law regarding autopsies was pretty squishy.
Glashay was wrong about autopsies being required for deaths of people under a certain age. But they were required for deaths that occured after an unexplained coma.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office told me that despite the doctor dying at home, despite his alleged unexplained coma just weeks beforehand, their office considered Gary Davis’ death “an attended death of known natural causes.” That meant an autopsy was not required by law.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office suggested if wanted to know more, I should reach out to the person who signed Gary Davis’ death certificate for answers – cause it wasn’t anyone from their office.
GH: So I got in touch with a man named Mike McConnell, he was the nephew of the funeral director who handled Gary Davis’ death. Mike’s uncle has since passed away.
Mike didn’t want to be recorded for the podcast, but he was happy to chat. He told me he grew up around his uncle’s funeral business. He now owns a flower shop.
He said he’d never heard his uncle mention anything out of the ordinary when it came to the doctor’s death – and he would’ve: Gary Davis was a highly respected local celebrity.
But Mike remembered the vibe before his death. How the doctor had “very real concerns” about someone – he didn’t know who though. The doctor wouldn’t see anyone without a bodyguard present.
Mike heard rumors that “some pharmaceutical people” were putting pressure on Davis – possibly foreign investors.
Then, out of nowhere, the doctor was dead. Mike was hired to provide the flowers for the service. He had to deliver them to the church early that day – because security was shutting things down prior to the ceremony. Someone had paid for security at the doctor’s funeral.
Mike told me that wasn’t totally unprecedented…but it certainly wasn’t common. It left an impression.
GH: Just like the doctor’s life, the truth about the doctor’s death was mired in speculation and mistrust. Constantly up for debate.
When it came to the doctor’s serum, there seemed to be real evidence that Davis was onto something, but wasn’t given a fair shot.
Pauline Jolly’s lab test results. Precious Thomas’ recovery. Strange behavior and obfuscation from government officials – at home and abroad. Anthony Fauci’s vehement denial that a goat serum could really work, only for the NIH to fund a trial with someone else’s serum years after Davis first applied.
But the doctor’s death was different. No one ever shared any real evidence that foul play was involved. Just suspicions. And without evidence…all I had were rumors – disputes – impressions.
…What if all that was left in Tulsa by the doctor…these stories, these mysteries and fascinating clues…What if it was all a ploy?
Parts of a whole that never quite fit right together because they weren’t really connected…they weren’t the truth…
All this talk about threats from Big Pharma and foreign investors? The bodyguards? The security at the doctor’s funeral? Was it all feeding into the legend of Gary Davis – the brilliant genius stopped by evil forces and blurring a less glorious story… one of a desperate man who had run out of options?
What if the end of his life was more like the lab fire, the missing couch pillows, Rocky’s implausible theft?
A story orchestrated by the doctor himself – to cover the tracks of his failures, to preserve his shining legacy in the memories of those he loved most…
Gary Davis was the kid from North Tulsa who beat the odds – the polymath – good at everything, who went all in on one thing: his dream of eradicating HIV.
If he couldn’t cross the finish line – convince regulators to let him treat people on a large scale. That would have meant he failed – for what seemed like the first time in his life. And a failure so big, it left millions living with HIV, those he dedicated his life to, still waiting…like it was all for nothing.
So what if Gary Davis refused to accept defeat? What if, instead, he crafted a different story?
One where his transformation from local hero to withering vagabond – his physical and mental decline– could be explained away by some nebulous bogeyman who was out to get him.
Where his demise– and his untimely death– wasn’t a failure, but a sacrifice.
My time in Tulsa is wrapping up quickly. I’ve gotten some answers – but surprise, surprise, I’ll be leaving with even more questions.
I had really hoped to meet somebody here who had taken the serum – or better yet – knew who was still making it – even after the doctor’s death.
Rocky Thomas had told me she had gotten her hands on more serum after Precious got sick – So, I asked Glashay about it.
GH: Then she said that she contacted someone and was able to get serum.
GH: And I was curious, she didn’t tell me who it was…
GH: But I was curious if you know of anybody who may still have some.
GD: Um some of my dad’s friends did…they’re all black doctors and I’m pretty sure a lot of them had it. Like had some stashed away….
GH: Did anybody still know how to make the serum? Glashay said yeah: she did. In fact, she wanted to go med school, and eventually, revive the serum.
GD: I mean, like, I know how to do the process from start to finish.
GH: I asked Sharonda about this, too. Who could have sent the serum to Rocky? Maybe an old friend? An old investor?
Sharonda didn’t know. But if Rocky really got this serum, and if it really worked, Sharonda said it wasn’t made by the person who provided it. It had to have been a batch her uncle made himself that was stowed away for years.
That’s because, according to Sharonda, no one – not even Glashay – knows the real formula. She said Gary Davis only ever gave investors half the information. The rest, she believed, her uncle gave away in parts – to each one of his kids.
SD: We all got the rest of the formula. Each one of us got a piece of the formula.
That’s the only way it’s gonna come together.
GH: You know, like a puzzle.
GH: Hope he didn’t forget we’re coming. Guess we’ll just knock on the door…FADE OUT
GH: My last day in Oklahoma is here – and my girlfriend Mary and I are once again waiting for a door to open…
Mary Purcell: Hello. How are you?
DH: Doing well. And yourself?
GH: We’re visiting Doug Henderson – the photographer who traveled with Bishop Carlton Pearson to Africa, and documented the human trials with the serum in Ghana.
I had visited him a few days before – we talked for a long time, and he had given me an old VHS tape he dug out from his archives. On the spine…handwritten on its label: AIDS – The Cure.
He didn’t remember what was on the tape, and he didn’t own a VHS player anymore. So he asked me if I wanted to get it digitized before I left town. I really did.
GH: So we we got a copy for you as well, a DVD copy. I don’t know if since you don’t have a VHS player.
GH: I’ve been dying to see what is on that newly minted DVD – maybe this is the clue I’d been searching for here in Tulsa…
I considered buying a DVD player here… but I need to save money for gas on the ride home. I’m stammering, trying to explain all this to Doug, why I haven’t watched it yet…and then he kind of casually mentions something that makes me shut up…
DH: So last night I get a call from a guy in the Houston area who tells me that he was- got to wondering about the Davis stuff …
GH: The caller was from Houston – someone “in law enforcement.” He wasn’t investigating a crime or anything like that. He was just personally curious. Doug shows me his notes from the call.
GH: What are the odds of this guy reaching out to you?
DH: There you go.
GH: Could I take a picture of that? Would that be all right? Of that info?
DH: I’ll tell you what- I’ll let you have the piece of paper.
GH: LAUGHS Oh my god. Jackpot. Thank you so much.
GH: Doug told the guy what he knew – that he still had no idea what to make of it all.
DH: You know, the really dangerous, untrustworthy people are the ones that seem so trustworthy…if they seem flakey they might be and they might not.
GH: We say our good-byes, and I promise to watch the freshly digitized content from that VHS tape as soon as I get home…
GH: Alright we’ll be in touch if we find out anything interesting.
DH: Any breakthroughs or if you find any freezer full of serum…let me know.
GH: LAUGHS Yeah, will do. Thanks a lot.
GH: So that was that. Mary and I pack up the car. Debate where to get lunch before the first big leg of the drive back east.
MP: Listener, we have a 24 hour drive back home right now and we plan to be there by tomorrow. LAUGHS
GH: Oh my lord, that’s gonna be tough.
GH: Then I get a text – and immediately thank my lucky stars that I did not purchase a DVD player here in Tulsa. Because, turns out, I’m gonna need more fuel than I budgeted for.
Tommy Farnsworth: Good morning.
GH: Are we still a go? We’re ready to come whenever.
TF: Yup, come on.
GH: Next time on SERUM…
I drive further west …to meet a stranger who still isn’t quite sure whether he wants to meet me…
TF: Sometimes when you’re going through life you just have to not look back.collapse
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Brought to you by Serum
A Black doctor, a potential cure for AIDS, and the quest to find out what happened to it. A limited run podcast production of WHYY's The Pulse and Local Trance Media.