Former Derby resident Dan Santoro left Connecticut in 1986.
But his best memories — those of the New Haven Coliseum — rock on.
Santoro will appear in a documentary called “Last Days of the Coliseum” produced by Rich Hanley, a professor of journalism and at Quinnipiac University. The documentary will air Monday (today) at 9 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV).
How did a former Derby resident — now living in Florida — make it into the documentary some 20 years later?
Santoro said Hanley decided to include him in the documentary after Hanley discovered Santoro’s postings on a Facebook site called New Haven Coliseum Rest In Peace. Santoro posted more than 80 pictures of memorabilia he had collected from shows at the New Haven Coliseum.
Santoro said he collected most of the memorabilia in the 70s and 80s from the games and concerts we attended.
“He looked at the Facebook site and asked permission to use my photographs,” Santoro said.
Professor Hanley said he decided to start filming the documentary of the New Haven Coliseum back in 2005 — two years before it was demolished — because it was a cultural icon for a generation in Connecticut.
“It just an interesting story to tell of a gathering place for baby boomers and a generation born in the 50s and 60s,” Hanley said. “They saw their first ice shows and concerts there. A lot of baby boomers and pop culture circulated throughout that building.”
It wasn’t just the magnitude of Santoro’s concert collection that caught the attention of the documentary producer. Hanley said Santoro’s personality and account of the Coliseum was ideal for the documentary.
Santoro flew from Florida in July of 2009 to be interviewed on film for the documentary.
“He (Santoro) has four or five bits with him telling his story,” Hanley said. “He tells it well and everyone who experienced that building can relate to it. He does a great job expressing himself.”
“It was lots of fun,” Santoro said. “It brought back lots of great memories. People in general will find it entertaining and will bring back memories of their fun too.”