In the 70’s and 80’s, Morganna The Kissing Bandit was the star of pop culture. She ran onto Major League Baseball fields during games to kiss players. In the 1990s, she disappeared from the radar. After fifteen years of silence, Morganna comes out of the woodwork to provide an exclusive – and she says “final” – interview.
It premiered on ESPN two months ago. Part 1 of a 9 minute feature: “Morganna: The Kissing Bandit,” the story of one of the sports world’s most intriguing characters. It aired originally as a 30-minute piece on Sept. 26 and will soon re-air as anE:60 Pictures film.
Ballplayers interviewed are: Pete (“betting Man”) Rose, George Brett, Don Mattingly, Benny DiStephano (kissed at the AAA ALL Star Game,) Steve Yeager, Pat Sajak, The SD Loser Chicken, Hoby Brenner of the NFL (only player kissed,) Curry Kirkpatrick, the author of the story published in Playboy in 1989 and others.
Those who would not participate: “Mogana’s husband [of 31 years] did not want to be interviewed. Trust me, I tried,” Khodabakhshian said. “Several others passed including Nolan Ryan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Johnny Bench.”
The idea for this piece came about because: Jon Terry, Morgana’s contact Khodabakhshian met Jon Terry while producing a piece for Krazy George for the “Anniversary of the Wave”] and he suggested she might be a good topic for a piece. He warned me that she had retired in 1999 and had been declining interviews since then – and that’s when the chase began. I contacted Morganna via Jon every couple years since then, and every time he would say she had respectfully declined – until this past year, when she finally agreed to an interview.
Morgana reappeared because the producer sent her links of my work rather than showing up on her doorstep unannounced. This approach combined with her decision to do one last interview led to where we are now. It was one of the coolest phone calls I had received in my career to date. Knowing dozens of reporters sought her out and for her come out of retirement and decide to do an interview with us – I feel blessed and honored.
Viewers will enjoy just how down to earth, sister-like, funny, sweet, cool and strong Mogana is – despite her her terrible and dark childhood, and surviving as a homeless teen as well as the underbelly of the exotic dancing world [she was part of]. We have developed a bond I would have never have imagined.
Interviewing Morgana was far beyond what I could have imagined. She was so open, so candid, so real. . . and didn’t hide her vulnerability.