Dan “Daffy Dan” Gray

Dan "Daffy Dan" Gray


Dan is Daffy Dan, Cleveland’s own favorite son—a sort of living breathing personification of the city—and, oh yeah, a Beatles fanatic.

A marketing genus, he managed to parlay selling T-shirts into area-wide celebrity, becoming the most recognizable face in greater Cleveland. Along the way, he grew Daffy Dan’s, the chain of T-shirt shops he established in the 1970s, into a substantial advertising-specialties and screen-printing business. Today he owns and manages commercial buildings in Cleveland and its suburbs.

Dan  has been the closest of friends for more than two of the three decades I’ve known him. (This is Dave writing.) He’s seen me through good times and bad. We’ve made more road trips than we can remember and managed to survive them all.

For years we hung out together in downtown Cleveland, where I in my pinstriped suit, white shirt, and bowtie and Dan in—what else—T-shirt, jeans, and ever present long, dark hair (Won’t it ever fall out, or at least go gray like the rest of us?) were viewed by many as a somewhat odd pair to be friends.

Some assumed the relationship must have something to do with business. Case in point: One time as I stood at Dan’s side, I was asked, “Are you the brains behind Daffy Dan’s?”

In unplanned unison Dan and I responded, “There are no brains behind Daffy Dan’s!”

Now that’s a friendship.

Dan’s Websites
Daffy Dan’s