Believing in Tony's Existence

The movie version of "The Night Listener" will come out in August. Robin Williams stars as the writer, Armistead Maupin, who, for a long time, wanted to believe in Tony. Williams says he's known Maupin for 30 years. "He became obsessed with the idea of finding out who is this person."

Maupin adds, "It was very difficult for me. I didn't stop thinking about it. I didn't stop speculating over it. I didn't have any proof, so all I could do was turn to fiction."

Maupin says the movie is a fictional reflection of the complicated emotions he felt after bonding with Tony and Vicki on the phone and never being allowed to meet the boy.

"I think maybe Tony was her [Vicki's] imaginary friend. He was certainly mine," said Maupin.

Haunting questions remain. If Tony never existed, who is the boy in the photographs people received? And if Tony does exist, why over the years have no official records or tangible evidence been uncovered or provided?

The 14-year-old who didn't have long to live would now be 28 years old. Jack Godby, who wrote the introduction to Tony's book, tells us he still keeps in touch with him by email and by phone, although he admits, after all these years, he's never met Tony in person.

Tony Johnson's tale has been played out in print and on television, and now -- a fictional version -- will soon be in theaters. But, will we ever find out definitively whether or not Tony still exists, or if he ever did?

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