Fred Bass 2


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The Selkirk collection. 

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Of The Pioneers of Selkirk communications. 

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The following interview with Fred Bass. 

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Was recorded in January of 1978 by **** Meisner. 

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This will be an interview with Fred Bass. 

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Saturday, January 21st. 

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Fred, in chatting before we started taping here. 

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Began talking about. 

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The beginnings of CQWP X and sparks halstead’s involvement in it. 

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Let’s take it up from there. 

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Where do you? 

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Where does your memory? 

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Start talking about sparks Halsted. 

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The the first five years. 

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I was not with spikes. 

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But Spikes was an ignition automotive automotive ignition expert. 

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In the normal. 

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And he had the gas station there. 

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And he took a trip down South. 

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And he saw this marvelous new machine called. 

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A radio. 

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Greeby it was a greeby. 

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He decided that maybe this would be something to keep an eye on. 

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And so he bought 1. 

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And I don’t know who worked with him, but. 

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He had a heap that used to go on the air. 

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But you know, I think Ross McIntyre might have been mixed up in this, but I’m not sure. 

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But what happened that Sparks got in touch with the Greeby people and got an agency for greeby? 

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And his method was. 

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He finally got talking to a man into getting interested in buying it a radio. 

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He would phone up and say, put on the heap. 

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Grab a Greek, he said, and go down to the guys house and give them a demonstration. 

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Enough, curiously enough, you know that that same experience is repeated many times across. 

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This country and the. 

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The early days of radio, that’s the way Marconi got started in their broadcasting operation in Montreal. 

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They would their basic interest in being in the business was to sell radio receivers. 

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But there was one thing. 

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There’s one thing had happened that Sparks was not aware of and that was that if you were doing that, you had to have a license. 

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And sparks had no license. 

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His arm, and I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden sparks moved to Vancouver. 

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And he had the gas station, the home gas station, to 14th and grammar. 

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Because I recall that. 

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Timetable of that he packed his whole radio station that it was suitcase, right, and moved to Vancouver. 

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Moved to Vancouver and he sat up down here at the one of the new the Belmont Hotel. 

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I think it was next door to the Belmont. 

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But they had a fire there. 

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And in the meantime, spark still didn’t have a license as far as I know, because he came in one day. 

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He came in one day to I was with Ross down in the transmitter. 

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At the time I was learning the business from the bottom up. 

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He said once you keep this place locked. 

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He said there’s some group from Ottawa is coming out here to find out why we’re operating without a license because you see, the prior to that, they had the experimental licenses, the V7. 

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I used to go do that for Russ. 

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Before I ever while, I was still in the theater, I used to go to give. 

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Russian like, do you have any recollection as to what year or approximately what year sparks made that move from the island? 

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He was five years on the island before he came to Vancouver. 

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I know that on April the 1st is always the. 

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The first day of WDX. 

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But prior to that, it was. 

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He had. 

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When he did finally get a license, after a lot of trouble. 

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I think he was, CF. 

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CD or something like that. 

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Call letters change often. 

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Call call letters you know, but when you did finally got a license, of course we were. 

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We were on that. 

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We were sharing a wavelength. 

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When I first came to Vancouver in 1937. 

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There were, I think, 6 radio stations sharing 3 frequencies, right? 

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We shared it with. 

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Sir Ottrott’s Church Sunday morning. 

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And the province, I think and the province, yes. 

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But the province is only interested in their evening broadcast with OK, good. 

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Kelly evening and the Colangelos family. 

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And the Canadians family? 

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Strange enough I met. 

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I’ve met. 

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I met one of them the other. 

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Night. Did you yell? 

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She married or what was his name on orchestra leader? 

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Oh well, no slipped my mind up. 

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Yeah, Stuart Mackay was trying to remember the name of that orchestra leader too. 

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It wasn’t wasn’t Hessler. 

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No, the the original the calendar’s family was an entire family. They actually had no, I don’t think you’d call them a leader. 

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They had had what was known as a leader. 

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Today it was just a family. 

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And they were all tall. 

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Well, I think you told me that you joined. 

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What became or was even then CKW X about 192828. I came right out. I came out of the theater. The targets put me out of theater work. 

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And I went for a few months and worked in. 

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Which is a bookkeeper in the cafe. 

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But I had been doing. 

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Live stuff for Ross macintyres. 

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The East Asian. 

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Upon the New Westminster trust. 

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On top of the trust building there and I’ll never forget it because. 

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Russ had a big table spread out with nothing but wires and switches and everything you could think of and his instructions were. 

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When I know my age, you start playing. 

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Don’t make a sound. 

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You start playing and the place was heavily. 

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That was draped in us, the old carbon mic. 

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And I can always remember it because it struck me. 

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It struck me funny in later years. 

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Rushford night I’d start playing, and then he’d frantically dash over and he’d be switching here and switching there and on switching something out. 

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What he was trying to do was trying trying to find trying to find where he was because it was a set he had was one of those round faced consoles as he, he and. 

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You know, we might be in what today is the airline wavelength. 

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He went on there and then he had to find himself. 

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And that was the way we started there. 

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But that isn’t the story actually seek X. 

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Although Ross was connected. 

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Fred, you. 

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Sort of drifted towards radio, I suspect. 

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Because of your early involvement. 

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Well above the age of 14 or 15. 

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Playing piano and. 

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Being involved in. 

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Pretty early days of we now loosely call showbiz. 

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And a number of people. 

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In the. 

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Taylor Pearson, Carson’s organization, which predated today’s. 

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Corporate Selkirk holdings. 

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Seemed to have had. 

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Some previous background before going into radio. 

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In the field of entertainment, Johnny Elphick, as I recall, who became manager, I think about 1940. 

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Have been involved in participating in. 

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Amateur or semi professional musical comedy? 

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Bert Hall, who? Uh. 

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By that time was managing. 

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All Canada radios, the All Office that being prior to. 

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To that. 

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Participation in broadcasting. 

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He’d be the dancer. 

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I think in England. 

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And you were starting to tell me that you started at WPX, briefly as a transmitter operator and then as an announcer. 

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Well the as as I was saying. 

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I was down down there at the transmitter and we had George Tag and Uncle Jerry with the children’s program that just come on every afternoon and one of the things that happened there was that they had a little dulcitone to play a theme on a little song that went ringing, Ding, Ding and a wink, we go, but we we go away we go. 

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And one afternoon they fall down and says, Fred, there is we we need it. 

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And I got on the phone and they told me that the fellow that was playing the Tulsa tone been taken ill would I go up to the studio, which was on the roof of the George at this time and? 

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Play the riggy jig jig number. 

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And I did. 

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And then when the show was over, Howard Paulson, who was the manager of that time out of seven people, which was our entire staff, really, you know. 

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Harold Paulson. 

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Harold Paulson asked me if I would take an audition, which I did. 

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Go through with the audition, he said. 

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You don’t go back to the transmitter the morning you start up here. 

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And that was the start of my announcing. 

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But another name comes to mind. Fred and I don’t know when he started with WX. 

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Perhaps you will recall. 

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Ridge, dag. 

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Oh yes. 

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Rachel Ridge came along a little later. 

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And when I first met him in 1937, I think he was. 

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Sales manager, but that really meant that he wore several apps. 

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He was sales manager, salesman, probably a copywriter, a small staff. 

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Everybody doubled in brass and. 

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Well, we had to in the early days with the staff of seven, you know we were. 

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100 watts big. 

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And we had to. 

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I can remember that. 

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Somebody would phone into the station. 

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We had two salesman. 

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They were both out and somebody phoned into the station. 

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They wanted one to go on the air. I think spots were about $2.00 a minute in those days or something and. 

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And on spikes and say I grab a contract and get out. 

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So it would go down. 

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To the firm. 

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I’ll get them to sign the contract. 

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We’ll discuss it with them, discuss what they wanted. 

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Get them to sign the contract and go back to the studio. 

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Write the copy. 

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And if those music involved would pick up the record? 

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Then you go and announce and operate it. 

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So, but actually, it was the funniest thing that happened. 

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Because you were learning every side of the business course. 

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You want you want a specialist. 

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You just fit it in wherever you want it to. 

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I know one lady is sometimes one of the writers got sick. 

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Aristeu Mackay or. 

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Tiny would say. 

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Go and get my hand in the writing department with, you know, and I’d go in and work from 9 till noon. 

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Get all my work done and the kids wanted to. 

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How how did you do it? 

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You know, because they were sweating. 

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It’s funny, it’s funny how you get started in broadcasting. 

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I guess really, although I had. 

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A tiny little bit of experience back in Winnipeg before coming to Vancouver in 37. 

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The first job I got here was at the old ckmo which became the C fund. Incidentally, for your for your record ckmo, I think was the cause of spikes coming over because they started six months ahead of CK WH do they? Yeah. Well, I joined CK MO and the only job I could get. 



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In radio around town was selling advertising. 

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Or trying to sell advertise. 

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Etsy camel not for salary, but for St. Commissioners. A drawing account of $12.00 a week. 

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Yeah, just. 

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And to show you how quickly you could get ahead in radio on those days just by being on the scene 5 weeks later, I was program manager. 

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That’s right, because the program manager just decamped one night and then never came back. 

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He went off to California. 

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Or someplace never to be heard of again. 

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So after. 

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Five weeks I became piano program manager. 

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So because I could play. 

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A little piano. 

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Well, same thing with me. 

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I had rather similar experience because. 

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After, after a little while, a few months later, Joyce Taggett had got an offer from Ottawa. 

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And he walked out on that kid’s show. 

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And who got it? 

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Be tell me something more about George Taggart. 

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There’s a name from the past that I haven’t thought of in a long time. 

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Because he started at WX. 

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Do you recall? 

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Well, George George had the he was, uh. 

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I don’t know how he came to do. 

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Actually, I can’t recall how big this. 

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As I say he was down at the I was at the transmitter when he was doing a a Kitty show. 

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Then all of a sudden it was dumped in my lap when he left. 

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But he was doing the account for the Hudson Bay Company. 

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And they changed. 

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They changed the setup. 

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When I got there. 

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They put me into a naval uniform and called me Captain Freddy and we had to do. 

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We had to do it live talent show with children 5 to 6 on a Friday. 

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And we had to do a show from 11:00 o’clock to 1:00 to about 12:30 in the store. 

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The magnificent sum of $50.00 a week. 

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You know, one of the most. 

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I think important and interesting stories. 

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Of this company. 

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As well as other early pioneers in broadcasting in Canada is the number of. 

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Gifted people. 

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Who were attracted to this new toy? 

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And became. 

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Became a very important and. 

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And entertaining part of early broadcasting. 

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You among them. 

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Well, my my thinking on **** **** is that. 

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They’re always looking. 

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We had a terrific amount of live talent in those days. 

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I know. 

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You know, with all that talent practically and the hours we put, it was fantastic. 

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And then? 

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There was a lot of people. 

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Who wanted to get up to red? 

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It was a magic thing. 

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Yes, it was something, you know, I know that they sort of looked up at the people that were in the business. 

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I think as if they were idols, just like they do today with movie stars and record stars. 

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But we never found it that way. We just found it a lot of hard working long hours. My first show was 6:30 in the morning. My last show finished at 10:30 at night. 

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And there was a break in the afternoon when we play. 

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Unannounced symphonies by records from the transmitter. 

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Yes, that gave us a time out. 

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And you know what gave a boost up to a lot of early talent? 

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In Vancouver and other Canadian cities. 

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Was the. 

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Regulation, which persisted for some years that you could not play recorded music. 

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In the evening right, it had to be called live live. 

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We had lots of it and stations like CWX and others had no talent budget. 

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To hire talent so the program manager shops such as I ccam. 

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Consisted heavily. 

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Of conning people into the glory of going on the radio for nothing. 

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Well, I didn’t find it quite that way. 

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I found there was too many wanted to get on the air. 

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It was the opposite to me, like you took it about cost of talent. 

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I can remember the tell him, Bill. 

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I turned. 

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Him one week, one week we had live shows every day about 20. 

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Dollars to 20. 

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You know, 3 bucks. 

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That was it. 

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If you paid them, but most of them wanted to get on there to have the glory of saying I was on radio like this. 

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Oh, I want to get a television, you know, and. 

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We had so many people, oh boy. 

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And some of them still around. 

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I don’t know whether he was the station where you were the station when Jack Gilmore had his players. 

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I said Jack Elmore arisen. He was the old CNRV. Yes, well, they had their studios in the sea in the CN station. 

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I think Jack was. 

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Was it Jack, right? 

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What was his name? 

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I know his name was right, but he was. 

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He was the manager over there. 

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Eventually they closed that down and. 

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Jack Gilmore and his wife had been doing a show which they wrote. 

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Every week. 

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And they came over to us. 

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Nobody wakes on Friday night 9 to 10. 

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We had a musical show which was written each week. 

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It used A7 piece. Now we’re like a orchestra. 

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Garavelli, the Russian tenant, and there was. 

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Catherine MacDonald. 

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It was Bill Hill and myself, my old partner. 

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Jack and his wife, we had a terrific catch there. 

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We have got 3 bottles. 

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They got 3 bucks apiece. 

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I was on the payroll for the station, so I didn’t get anything but. 

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You had to do the announcing as well as playing. 

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You know it. 

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It was all. 

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Part of it, you know, she’d beat me over the head with her purse if she were here and heard me say so. 

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But our pet Juliette got started. 

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But don’t I know? 

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It at that time under those circumstances and many others whose names will come to mind. 

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You know, there’s a lot of an awful lot of she was. 

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I had her on a kids show briefly on sea camel. 

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Done by Uncle Harry and go, Harry. 

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Oh, you remember Louis Nicholson to. 

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Nicholson was on CJR or other children. 

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Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. 

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Ronnie Matthew. 

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The blind pianist. 

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Ronnie has played for many years. I don’t know whether he’s still leaving alive, but he played at Oregon and in mother Martins’s restaurant in Montreal. Yeah, I understood the fact, but I think he’s still. 

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I believe he’s back east somewhere. 

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Alive. I’m not sure. 

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Huge man today. 

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Oh, he was a big fella then you know? 

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These are just things, but these are the early days of radio, but not particularly about the CK Everywhere. 

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I mean, you know, we got involved with each other so much anyway. 

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In different ways. 

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Skipping ahead a few years, Fred and. 

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You know it’s it’s so much fun talking with you that we could go on being raised. 

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For days. 

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And get so far away from the principal. 

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Reason for? 

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For doing these types. 

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To skip ahead a few years to about 1940 or 1939. 

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Let me provide your memory a little bit about what happened then. 

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I think when Taylor person and Carson came into the picture at C KWX. 

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A man named Skin Squires was the. 

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Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

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Yes, yes. 

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Who was here relatively short time and then was followed by Tiny Elephant. 

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That’s right. 

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That’s quite true. 

00:21:28 Speaker 2 

And Tiny stayed at WWX until he died in 1959. 

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This right? 

00:21:35 Speaker 3 

I think I was. 

00:21:36 Speaker 3 

I was talking about that. 

00:21:39 Speaker 3 

At the time. 

00:21:42 Speaker 3 

But the the the thing that the thing coming back to a little earlier than ****, **** you were. 

00:21:48 Speaker 3 

I know you’re you’re concerned with the basically early thing. 

00:21:50 Speaker 2 

No, go ahead. 

00:21:54 Speaker 3 

We used an awful lot of talent. 

00:21:57 Speaker 3 

Live talent. 

00:22:00 Speaker 3 

And we did a lot of. 

00:22:03 Speaker 3 

Outside broadcasting, yes. 

00:22:06 Speaker 3 

You see, one of the things that Ross set up. 

00:22:10 Speaker 3 

Was that shortwave pickup? 

00:22:12 Speaker 3 

Under the stage of the Mount Kimball in Stanley Park. 

00:22:16 Speaker 2 

Really, you know. 

00:22:20 Speaker 3 

We were we were doing like for instance, Ron Holland, who was chairman of the Parks Board. 

00:22:24 Speaker 3 

This is this is something that happened earlier today. 

00:22:27 Speaker 3 

And was chairman of the Parks Board, Ron Holland. 

00:22:30 Speaker 3 

Knew all the Indian legends. 

00:22:34 Speaker 3 

And so for outside broadcasts, I can name a few that I attended. 

00:22:40 Speaker 3 

Ross belt. 

00:22:42 Speaker 3 

A 60 pound shortwave pack. 

00:22:49 Speaker 3 

Was on my back. 

00:22:50 Speaker 3 

We put on my back. 

00:22:54 Speaker 3 

And it was picked up. 

00:22:56 Speaker 3 

By equipment underneath the stage of the Malcolm Ball. 

00:23:01 Speaker 3 

Straight into the transmit. 

00:23:03 Speaker 3 

Which is that we covered a lot of those. 

00:23:09 Speaker 2 

Those things was that if you like a kosher pickup or or were you pirating? 

00:23:14 Speaker 2 

No, no, no, no. 

00:23:16 Speaker 2 

No, no, no, no. 

00:23:16 Speaker 2 

It was it was strictly OK, yes. 

00:23:20 Speaker 3 

We opened the. 

00:23:23 Speaker 3 

We opened the landscape bridge in Vancouver that way 1938, I think while another station ran the long line all the way out to do it, you know? Yeah, we didn’t. We did it with the pack. 

00:23:35 Speaker 3 

We didn’t do all that. 

00:23:39 Speaker 3 

And I I one of the things that I did want to. 

00:23:43 Speaker 3 

I went out to the airport. 

00:23:46 Speaker 3 

To meet. 

00:23:48 Speaker 3 

The plane that was coming in bringing Senator Magnussen, who had who had just been up the north. 

00:23:53 Speaker 3 

Overlooking what was going to be the Alaska Highway. 

00:23:59 Speaker 3 

And I met him at the airport. 

00:24:02 Speaker 3 

When he came in, we did an interview with him. 

00:24:05 Speaker 3 

And 20 minutes later, I was at another part of the airport interviewing John Charles Thomas. 

00:24:11 Speaker 3 

With this pack on my back. 

00:24:14 Speaker 3 

60 pound pack, which just reminded me the days of the old days of the First World War, which I was mixed up in. 

00:24:20 Speaker 3 

A 60 pound pack just weighing just a ton when you go to go through with. 

00:24:23 Speaker 2 

It you know that. 

00:24:26 Speaker 2 

60 pound pack transmitter reviewers. 

00:24:31 Speaker 2 

It reminds me of an incident that I hadn’t thought of for many years. 

00:24:37 Speaker 2 

Remember the pure D fire? 

00:24:38 Speaker 2 

Yes, very much so. 

00:24:40 Speaker 2 

Well, I was a ckmo at that time. 

00:24:42 Speaker 2 

And you were richly KWX. 

00:24:46 Speaker 2 

And the fire broke out, as I recall, about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon would. 

00:24:52 Speaker 3 

I know I went down and covered it. 

00:24:54 Speaker 2 

And we had at CIKM also few on staff. 

00:25:00 Speaker 2 

That everybody was at lunch at that particular moment except myself and the transmitter operator. 

00:25:07 Speaker 2 

Who was at that time? 

00:25:08 Speaker 2 

Leo trainer. 

00:25:11 Speaker 2 

In the old sun tower, yeah. 

00:25:16 Speaker 2 

And this fire broke out. 

00:25:19 Speaker 2 

We had a pack, but it was lying in bits and pieces being fixed. 

00:25:25 Speaker 2 

Somewhere in the engineers dungeon. 

00:25:28 Speaker 2 

And here we are with this most spectacular firing on the waterfront. 

00:25:33 Speaker 2 

And no equipment to cover it. 

00:25:36 Speaker 2 

And you and Rich Dagg were down there, as I recall, hanging out a window at the bottom of the. 

00:25:43 Speaker 2 

How’s Reed? I guess. 

00:25:46 Speaker 2 

Doing a beautiful job of description on this fire. 

00:25:49 Speaker 2 

And I’m eating my heart out at the back of the studio. 

00:25:53 Speaker 2 

Feeling completely frustrated at not being able to do anything until I get a call. 

00:25:57 Speaker 2 

From Leo trainer at the transmitter. 

00:26:00 Speaker 2 

And the sun. 

00:26:06 Speaker 2 

And he’s all very excited. 

00:26:08 Speaker 2 

He tells me that there’s this big fire going on down the. 

00:26:11 Speaker 2 

Waterfront and I say yes it is. 

00:26:13 Speaker 2 

How do you know? 

00:26:15 Speaker 2 

And he said, well, I can see it. 

00:26:18 Speaker 2 

I said, what do you mean you could see it. 

00:26:19 Speaker 2 

Your windows face the other way. 

00:26:21 Speaker 2 

Your windows face S you can’t see that far. 

00:26:26 Speaker 2 

Oh yeah, he says, is a his the ledge runs around the top. 

00:26:29 Speaker 2 

They go outside the windows and he says. 

00:26:31 Speaker 2 


00:26:33 Speaker 2 

I said, you idiot. 

00:26:36 Speaker 2 

Get off that ledge and stay off it. 

00:26:39 Speaker 2 

With which he hung up on me and he was doing a program of Victor. 

00:26:46 Speaker 2 

Classics in the afternoon, one to three or something like that from the transmitter. 

00:26:50 Speaker 3 

Will did it. 

00:26:53 Speaker 2 

And this crazy idiot climbed out on that ledge and inched his way around the bell and the top of the sun builder. 

00:27:03 Speaker 2 

And then the edges way back into the. 

00:27:06 Speaker 2 

Window and hit the transmitter and open up and do a bullet. 

00:27:11 Speaker 2 

On the progress of the fire at period. 

00:27:15 Speaker 2 

And did just a hell of a fine broadcast from that distance and finally saved the day for us. 

00:27:22 Speaker 2 

Because otherwise you and your pack transmitter, I was thoroughly hating at that time. 

00:27:30 Speaker 3 

The one thing that. 

00:27:33 Speaker 3 

One thing that had happened we had done so much outside broadcasting and we. 

00:27:39 Speaker 3 

Especially VIPs are arriving in town. 

00:27:41 Speaker 3 

Trev Coleman, who was the PR for the CP in Vancouver, yeah. 

00:27:46 Speaker 3 

He wired the station, he wired. 

00:27:48 Speaker 3 

Every platform for us. 

00:27:50 Speaker 3 

We went down and plugged in. 

00:27:51 Speaker 3 

That was all really. 

00:27:55 Speaker 3 

I saw travel a number of years ago in 67. 

00:27:58 Speaker 3 

As I travel in Montreal, he was still a PR and in the Montrose CPR station and I went out to see if he. 

00:28:04 Speaker 3 

Was there and he was, yes. 

00:28:06 Speaker 2 

I remember that man. 

00:28:07 Speaker 3 

And no, the the entire, the entire CPR station. 

00:28:11 Speaker 3 

Every platform was wired and every post. 

00:28:16 Speaker 3 

That was how we used to get them. 

00:28:18 Speaker 3 

You know, it isn’t that interesting. 

00:28:20 Speaker 3 

The that was that was wired up. 

00:28:24 Speaker 3 

And we just went down and plugged in and we were on the air. 

00:28:28 Speaker 2 

A lot of memories flood back, you know, we think back in those years at WX and you would remember them better. 

00:28:35 Speaker 2 

Much better than I do because you were there for. 

00:28:41 Speaker 2 

A very long time when I was 33 years old. 

00:28:46 Speaker 2 

The name Fletcher Markwell comes. 

00:28:48 Speaker 3 

To mind. 

00:28:48 Speaker 3 

Oh, yeah. 

00:28:49 Speaker 3 

Fletcher Sunday afternoon. 

00:28:51 Speaker 3 

I used to have to do the the sound effects for his play. 

00:28:55 Speaker 3 

And we we used about 5 turntables and. 

00:28:59 Speaker 3 

And the pencil marks on the record, which had to be picked up. 

00:29:03 Speaker 3 

Fletcher, Michael, John Reading and Barbarically. 

00:29:05 Speaker 2 

Yeah, yeah. 

00:29:06 Speaker 3 

The other day. 

00:29:06 Speaker 3 

They roll up that we did those Sunday afternoon. 

00:29:10 Speaker 2 

An amazing hotbed of talent in Vancouver at that time. 

00:29:15 Speaker 3 

And there was another couple. 

00:29:16 Speaker 3 

Do you remember the Tremaine guy standing above the Tremaine? 

00:29:20 Speaker 3 

Not well, but I remember. 

00:29:21 Speaker 2 

The name reverse. 

00:29:21 Speaker 3 

Where they had Jane and Jim program at breakfast time? 

00:29:24 Speaker 3 

And he did a major King series, which was a kind of detective story. 

00:29:28 Speaker 3 

And they played old voices. 

00:29:29 Speaker 3 

Those two people, yes. 

00:29:30 Speaker 3 

Played old voices, yes. 

00:29:33 Speaker 3 

And of course, we have the Home gas orchestra for many years. 

00:29:41 Speaker 3 

My old friend Bill Hill, he was an old shell man. 

00:29:45 Speaker 3 

We used to put for nearly 15 years. 

00:29:48 Speaker 3 

Maybe 15 years. 

00:29:50 Speaker 3 

We did. 

00:29:51 Speaker 3 

We did three programs a week. 

00:29:54 Speaker 3 

Written by ourselves. 

00:29:57 Speaker 3 

Old British Music Hall song. 

00:29:59 Speaker 3 

And if we we’ve used to put a few gags in and we used to do impressions, I mean, if it was a, a ***** joke, we, we put on a ***** accent of it you, which we, you know, there’s nothing new today that we didn’t do in those days. 

00:30:14 Speaker 3 

And of course the early days to me are are rather exciting for this very reason. 

00:30:21 Speaker 3 

We were experimenting. 

00:30:24 Speaker 3 

No, there was no rules, no rules that say you can’t do this, or you can’t do that. 

00:30:29 Speaker 3 

So we went out. 

00:30:29 Speaker 3 

We did things. 

00:30:31 Speaker 3 

Silly thing. 

00:30:32 Speaker 3 

But some other click I know one thing that I did was the this is personal and rather may be egotistical. 

00:30:40 Speaker 3 

But one thing I did was that man on the street broadcast at Christmas time, November the 24th December the 24th, yes. 

00:30:47 Speaker 3 

Well, I was born from the depression. 

00:30:51 Speaker 3 

And I happen to meet Ronnie Matthews on the streetcar. 

00:30:54 Speaker 3 

One afternoon, he was on the back end and I got on the streetcar and we got talking. 

00:30:59 Speaker 3 

And those days prior to prior to that man on the street. 

00:31:03 Speaker 3 

The radio stations for charity purposes used to. 

00:31:07 Speaker 2 

Hold auctions. 

00:31:09 Speaker 2 

Yes, yes, I remember that. 

00:31:11 Speaker 3 

And you know, when you work, go to work. Your first show, 6:30 in the morning and you’re working till 3:00 or 4:00. O’clock the next morning, selling things like a car or coal or something like that. The you’ve got to feel the pressure. But. 

00:31:27 Speaker 3 

I remember talking to Ronnie and Ronnie says, oh boy, he says. 

00:31:30 Speaker 3 

We’re able to pick up some pretty cheap bargains. 

00:31:33 Speaker 3 

And I said, well, you better not spread that around too much. 

00:31:36 Speaker 3 

I said that you fellas are cleaning up on it, but anyway. 

00:31:42 Speaker 2 

The radio was a great deal of. 

00:31:43 Speaker 2 

Fun on those days, but. 

00:31:44 Speaker 3 

I went back. 

00:31:44 Speaker 3 

I went back to the studio and I got thinking, isn’t there some other way that you can collect money from the people? 

00:31:50 Speaker 3 

And I’ve always remembered and kept back in my mind. 

00:31:54 Speaker 3 

That the big money seems to come from the small prices. Take Woolworths. Yes, 3500 stores in the world yes, and 510 and 15 they started. 

00:32:05 Speaker 3 

The coffee houses that make money, coffee and doughnuts. Yeah, five and $0.10, you know? Yes. And that was where the idea was born. 

00:32:14 Speaker 3 

Well, I suppose I’d take a teen can and I go out on the street and we get a hook up. 

00:32:22 Speaker 3 

Go out to the public right. 

00:32:24 Speaker 3 

And I did that between the two words. 

00:32:27 Speaker 3 

Every year and. 

00:32:30 Speaker 3 

That was Bob Bouchard of the Sun and Charlie, the few they used to come down and give me a hand and they. 

00:32:36 Speaker 3 

Finally, go and. 

00:32:38 Speaker 3 

Find somebody or they go and talk to people. 

00:32:40 Speaker 3 

Come over to the microphone and this sort of stuff. 

00:32:42 Speaker 3 

But it developed after, after the first couple of years they developed it. 

00:32:47 Speaker 3 

I would go out to do one of these man on the street things and. 

00:32:54 Speaker 3 

I got a crowd waiting for me when I cut it. 

00:32:58 Speaker 2 

You know each city and each town, I suppose, has its own. 

00:33:03 Speaker 2 

Claim to fame through its its favorite sons and the people who grew up and went on. 

00:33:10 Speaker 2 

To greater achievement. 

00:33:14 Speaker 2 

But I can’t think of any place that I am. 

00:33:18 Speaker 2 

That I would have lived for. 

00:33:23 Speaker 2 

Become familiar with. 

00:33:26 Speaker 2 

That surpassed Vancouver. 

00:33:29 Speaker 3 

I’ll leave it. 

00:33:29 Speaker 2 

At that time, we were loaded with talk. 

00:33:32 Speaker 2 

Not just talent in radio, but you know you mentioned the name Bob Bouchette. 

00:33:37 Speaker 2 

Bob, I thought at that time and I still think so. 

00:33:40 Speaker 2 

It was a brilliant newspaper, man, incredibly unbalanced unhappily and his. 

00:33:45 Speaker 2 

Story is a tragic one, as we both as you know so well. 

00:33:51 Speaker 2 

Jack Scott. 

00:33:53 Speaker 3 

No taxpayer Burton. 

00:33:57 Speaker 2 

Just named three newspaper men who were very big in Vancouver at that time, and the broadcast people. 

00:34:05 Speaker 2 

We’re our legion. 

00:34:07 Speaker 2 

Both from an entertainment and on the entertainment side of the business and on the the business side from the C KWX alone and you’ll recall. 

00:34:18 Speaker 2 

Came in the business and administrative side of the business. 

00:34:22 Speaker 2 

Still Mackay you know. 

00:34:26 Speaker 3 

No bottom dorm ********. 

00:34:29 Speaker 2 

As announcer performers Rio Thompson, Loris Mackenzie, Rio. 

00:34:36 Speaker 2 

One of the most. 

00:34:39 Speaker 2 

Well known businessman in broadcasting came out of here. 

00:34:42 Speaker 2 

Spencer Caldwell? 

00:34:46 Speaker 2 

It was a long. 

00:34:46 Speaker 3 

List they all went through WX. 

00:34:48 Speaker 3 

Yes, but I I every time I get the CAB roster. 

00:34:55 Speaker 3 

I take them off. 

00:34:58 Speaker 3 

Just count it. 

00:35:00 Speaker 3 

And I don’t think there’s there’s very few pages in here that haven’t gotten old. 

00:35:05 Speaker 3 


00:35:10 Speaker 2 

Fred, one of the. 

00:35:15 Speaker 2 

Most outstanding people, I guess that ever. 

00:35:19 Speaker 2 

That was ever associated with CWX with his tiny Frank Helfrick. 

00:35:26 Speaker 2 

Who you will recall, became the manager of the station. 

00:35:33 Speaker 2 

When Taylor, Pearson and Carson entered into. 

00:35:37 Speaker 2 

A management type arrangement with sparks Halstead about 19391940. 

00:35:42 Speaker 3 

That’s right. 

00:35:44 Speaker 2 

Antony was. 

00:35:47 Speaker 2 

There for a period of some 19 years. 

00:35:50 Speaker 2 

Tell me something about your your recollections of this. 

00:35:55 Speaker 2 

Outstanding Canadian Guy, Canadian broadcaster. 

00:35:59 Speaker 3 

Well, probably the best thing that I can say is that everybody on the staff. 

00:36:06 Speaker 3 

Love tiny. 

00:36:08 Speaker 3 

They would do anything? 

00:36:09 Speaker 3 

He asked. 

00:36:11 Speaker 3 

And it was at that one saying. 

00:36:15 Speaker 3 

If my office door is open, you’ve got something on your mind. 

00:36:18 Speaker 3 

Come in and we’ll discuss it. 

00:36:23 Speaker 3 

He thought highly of the starve. 

00:36:29 Speaker 3 

And it was reciprocated to. 

00:36:29 Speaker 2 

I know. 

00:36:30 Speaker 3 

It was reciprocated very much by the staff. 

00:36:33 Speaker 3 

Everybody thought he was a find this guy that anybody could meet, and he was. 

00:36:38 Speaker 3 

He was congenial. 

00:36:42 Speaker 3 

I don’t ever remember. 

00:36:45 Speaker 3 

Hearing him or seeing him blow his top at any time, he was very, very, very easy to get along with and he appreciated the the efforts of the of the people on the staff and I can. 

00:36:57 Speaker 3 

At the time that I finally finished the setting up of the library, which was the costume that asked me to do. 

00:37:09 Speaker 3 

I had got a raise at the beginning of the year. 

00:37:14 Speaker 3 

And on the middle of the year, tiny coming into the office, he said. 

00:37:18 Speaker 3 

You’ve done a good job in that library. 

00:37:22 Speaker 3 

So it’s not going to give you another raise bigger than the one that you got to see. 

00:37:26 Speaker 3 

First of the year. 

00:37:28 Speaker 3 

He was the man who appreciated what you did, another thing he instituted was that incentive pay? 

00:37:34 Speaker 3 

Yes, in which you got a percentage. 

00:37:38 Speaker 3 

Every year at Christmas time, yes. 

00:37:41 Speaker 2 

I remember it. 

00:37:42 Speaker 3 

Fondly, and you remember, and I’m sure you remembered the parties, the Christmas parties, because they were always the most terrific thing. 

00:37:49 Speaker 3 

He used to go into the. 

00:37:51 Speaker 3 

He used to go into the chef. 

00:37:53 Speaker 3 

Of the hotel in Georgia. 

00:37:56 Speaker 3 

It’s a. 

00:37:59 Speaker 3 

The finest meal you’ve served this year. 

00:38:02 Speaker 3 

Now better it for my staff. 

00:38:05 Speaker 3 

And as you know, the display of food, there was Absolutely Fabulous. 

00:38:11 Speaker 3 

But he had another little weakness too. 

00:38:12 Speaker 3 

He had one little weakness, you know, we always at Christmas time, we always wanted to give Tony a present. 

00:38:18 Speaker 2 

As I remember the President. 

00:38:19 Speaker 3 

Go ahead, the the thing was, what could we give him? 

00:38:27 Speaker 3 

His wife Lena, happened to say one day, she said. 

00:38:30 Speaker 3 

You know, Tiny loves Milton, Mulberry pie. 

00:38:34 Speaker 3 

And so this solved a problem. 

00:38:38 Speaker 3 

I was well acquainted with one of our delicatessens in his house and. 

00:38:44 Speaker 3 

We decided that we would give tiny for a Christmas present. 

00:38:48 Speaker 3 

A bottle of Canadian club, the Canadian club, plus a nice big loaf. 

00:38:54 Speaker 3 

Of Melton Mowbray pie. 

00:38:57 Speaker 3 

Well, we used to give him that. 

00:38:59 Speaker 3 

Oh, probably about a week before Christmas. 

00:39:03 Speaker 3 

And invariably he would come to me in the middle of the week and think, can you give me another one of those pies we’ve eaten up all that and every year it was a repeat. 

00:39:12 Speaker 3 

He was having a little get togethers at home and that now comes the reply. 

00:39:17 Speaker 2 

Oh, I remember them so well. 

00:39:19 Speaker 3 

I know that I used to. They used to weigh 2 1/2 pounds apiece, and I used to have to tell the Deans of the people that had the delicatessen be sure. 

00:39:28 Speaker 3 

And have some more because I know I’m going to have to come back and get another. 

00:39:32 Speaker 3 

One at least. 

00:39:34 Speaker 2 

You know, asking you to recall some of your memories of tiny prompts, memories of my own, one of which. 

00:39:42 Speaker 2 

Was his tinies infinite capacity for? 

00:39:48 Speaker 2 

Or handling people. 

00:39:51 Speaker 2 

As we say he his standard. 

00:39:55 Speaker 2 

Load us up or Andy if you like. 

00:39:57 Speaker 2 

Let’s say if my door is. 

00:39:58 Speaker 2 

Open. Come in. 

00:40:01 Speaker 2 

I had a a smoldering grievance and I’ve forgotten. 

00:40:05 Speaker 2 

What about long since it doesn’t matter. 

00:40:09 Speaker 2 

And I had been trying to get to see Tony. 

00:40:11 Speaker 2 

I hadn’t been able to get anywhere with Jack Sayers, who was the sales manager at the time. 

00:40:17 Speaker 2 

Jack said. I’ve got to see Tiny, so I bypassed Jack one day when I saw Tiny’s door. 

00:40:25 Speaker 2 

And stuck my head in. 

00:40:27 Speaker 2 

Tiny had an infinite. 

00:40:30 Speaker 2 

Capacity for sensing trouble. 

00:40:35 Speaker 2 

And he got up from his chair and he. 

00:40:36 Speaker 2 

Came over and he. 

00:40:37 Speaker 2 

Said ****. 

00:40:38 Speaker 2 

Come man. 

00:40:40 Speaker 2 

Closed the door. 

00:40:41 Speaker 2 

He said God, he said, you know, we get so busy we don’t have a chance to see each other nearly often enough. 

00:40:46 Speaker 2 

Sit down, sit down, sit down our thing. 

00:40:48 Speaker 2 

Is going, you know. 

00:40:51 Speaker 2 

How are the kids? 

00:40:54 Speaker 2 

Fine, fine. 

00:40:57 Speaker 2 

And I started to get ready to air my beef, whatever it was, and I just get started into it in time, he says. 

00:41:04 Speaker 2 

Excuse me. 

00:41:05 Speaker 2 

Don’t lose the training of your thought. 

00:41:06 Speaker 2 

Now hold on. 

00:41:07 Speaker 2 

Allergies here. 

00:41:08 Speaker 2 

But there’s something here that I had meant to ask you about. 

00:41:11 Speaker 2 

And now that you’re here before I forget it. 

00:41:13 Speaker 2 

Let me do it. 

00:41:15 Speaker 2 

And he goes down through the drawers on the side of his desk. 

00:41:18 Speaker 2 

Is he and comes out with a piece of paper. 

00:41:19 Speaker 2 

Don’t know to this table or it was. 

00:41:23 Speaker 2 

And he said something like I’ve had this thing in with these people in Chicago. 

00:41:28 Speaker 2 

And he said they want us to. 

00:41:32 Speaker 2 

To do some kind of a sales promotion here and he said I wanted to talk to you because he said you’re on the street. 

00:41:39 Speaker 2 

Annie, have you got a much better feel for? 

00:41:43 Speaker 2 

The possibilities in this thing and then I would have and he said I wanted to ask you about it. 

00:41:47 Speaker 2 

And he said you’re here. 

00:41:49 Speaker 2 

So we chat about this mythical thing from Chicago. 

00:41:54 Speaker 2 

And the next thing I know I find I’m back out in the hall. 

00:41:57 Speaker 2 

And the door is closed. 

00:41:58 Speaker 2 

That’s about 5 minutes. 

00:42:00 Speaker 2 

Where I realized that tiny had very skillfully maneuvered me in and out, and he never did hear what I went in for. 

00:42:06 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:42:07 Speaker 2 

But you couldn’t get mad at him. 

00:42:07 Speaker 3 

No, no, no, no. 

00:42:09 Speaker 3 

You could never get mad at him at all because. 

00:42:11 Speaker 2 

He just sensed trouble and if he could do something about it, he’d fix it. 

00:42:15 Speaker 2 

If he couldn’t, he had that ability to sidetrack it. 

00:42:19 Speaker 2 

I make you like it. 

00:42:20 Speaker 2 

He was a giant. 

00:42:21 Speaker 2 

Here he was. 

00:42:22 Speaker 3 

A young the radio industry lost a good man when they lost him because he had that knack of keeping everybody smooth. 

00:42:32 Speaker 3 

He got the machinery working nice and easily all the way through without any problems. 

00:42:39 Speaker 3 

I know that it was a great shock to me because I happened to be in England when I got. 

00:42:43 Speaker 3 

Word that he had died but. 

00:42:46 Speaker 3 

It was a shock to me because. 

00:42:49 Speaker 3 

The last thing he had said to me was, he says, well, Fred, I wish I wish you were. 

00:42:52 Speaker 3 

I was going over with you, he said. 

00:42:54 Speaker 3 

I’d love to see the Old Town again. 

00:42:56 Speaker 3 

Because he came from over there. 

00:42:57 Speaker 3 

Yes, I knew that and. 

00:43:00 Speaker 3 

He was always, always a little bit interested in show business here. 

00:43:04 Speaker 3 

He always had. 

00:43:05 Speaker 3 

That little thing going around in his mind that he’d like to. 

00:43:09 Speaker 3 

Maybe I think he would if he’d got the chance, he would have spread out a little and become an entertainer. 

00:43:15 Speaker 2 

Well, he had doubled in musical comedy. 

00:43:18 Speaker 3 

You know, he had. 

00:43:19 Speaker 3 

He had some background on it. 

00:43:20 Speaker 3 

Yes, I know, but I think he wanted more, but he was. 

00:43:26 Speaker 3 

Well, the only thing I can say about Tony was he was he was the best. 

00:43:30 Speaker 3 

He was absolutely the best. 

00:43:32 Speaker 2 

Fred, I knew you. 

00:43:36 Speaker 2 

Best during the time I was at C KWX. 

00:43:41 Speaker 2 

As the as the librarian. 

00:43:45 Speaker 3 

Yes, that’s right. 

00:43:50 Speaker 2 

What I hadn’t realized until chatting with you here today. 

00:43:55 Speaker 2 

Was that in fact you had virtually created that library? 

00:43:59 Speaker 2 

Yes, I I created it. 

00:44:01 Speaker 2 

The request of Harold Carson. 

00:44:04 Speaker 3 

We didn’t. 

00:44:05 Speaker 3 

We didn’t have exact library. 

00:44:07 Speaker 3 

We had a lot of records stuck up in stacks and. 

00:44:11 Speaker 3 

Some sort of a sequence, but I was not a librarian at all, but. 

00:44:16 Speaker 3 

Harold had asked me if I would. 

00:44:20 Speaker 3 

Go into the library and build a library. 

00:44:25 Speaker 3 

Almost a foolproof operation. 

00:44:28 Speaker 3 

Which I knew was going to be a tremendous job because we had thousands of records at that time and it had to be kept up. 

00:44:37 Speaker 3 

But he told me I could take all the time I wanted on it. 

00:44:41 Speaker 3 

So I devised a plan which. 

00:44:45 Speaker 3 

Was cross indexed about four ways so that you could if you only knew the artist, you could still find out. 

00:44:52 Speaker 3 

That was the card one card would have the artist and all the songs that we had on records. 

00:44:56 Speaker 3 

The other one was all titles. 

00:44:59 Speaker 3 

The titles of it. 

00:45:00 Speaker 3 

And then there was the breakdown into whether it was a vocal or whether it was musical. 

00:45:05 Speaker 3 

And then we had the books as well. 

00:45:06 Speaker 3 

We had the wheel with the cards. 

00:45:08 Speaker 3 

We had the drawers with the cards. 

00:45:11 Speaker 3 

And you could cross index and the idea was as far as Harold Carson was concerned, is it had to be able to be worked very quickly. 

00:45:20 Speaker 3 

In case somebody phoned him for a request, that was why it had to work quickly. 

00:45:25 Speaker 2 

At that time, Fred, I think I’m right in saying the announcers selected their own music almost entirely. 

00:45:34 Speaker 3 

Yes, well, they they always did. 

00:45:36 Speaker 3 

Most announcers always did. 

00:45:38 Speaker 3 

They selected their own music, but they had no record of who did what and or how many versions that we had of 1 particular number. 

00:45:47 Speaker 3 

Whereas with the card system I set up and the books. 

00:45:50 Speaker 3 

You were able to find out the type of music. 

00:45:53 Speaker 3 

The artists have played it, vocalists and all that were all listed. 

00:45:57 Speaker 3 

Everything was listed and it was a cross index about four. 

00:46:01 Speaker 3 

And when it was completed. 

00:46:05 Speaker 3 

Harold Carson have to come to town and. 

00:46:08 Speaker 3 

He decided he would test it to see how long it would take to pick out a particular record, so he started throwing titles at me or. 

00:46:16 Speaker 3 

Artist at me and I was able to produce the the card for him that he required. 

00:46:22 Speaker 3 

With all the information on it in above post seconds, which was pretty fast going. 

00:46:29 Speaker 3 

But it had to be that. 

00:46:30 Speaker 2 

Way the reason I raised the point that announcers selected their own music. 

00:46:38 Speaker 2 

That, of course, today in in major market stations is is not the norm. 

00:46:44 Speaker 2 

Norm is the librarian. 

00:46:47 Speaker 2 

Or the program department with the library. 

00:46:50 Speaker 2 

So like the music so that there is a controllable balance. 

00:46:53 Speaker 2 

On the stage. 

00:46:54 Speaker 2 

And you don’t have each announcer falling in love with the same disc and playing it 10 times. 

00:46:58 Speaker 3 

A day our system. 

00:47:02 Speaker 3 

Ease that out, right? 

00:47:04 Speaker 3 

Because everybody knew what was out. 

00:47:09 Speaker 3 

And the a record the the program would be we want this we want this we want this and they will be setting to a certain slot and with the with the continuity in in the library rack. 

00:47:21 Speaker 3 


00:47:21 Speaker 3 

So to make it work and pick up this program. 

00:47:24 Speaker 3 

It was there. 

00:47:27 Speaker 2 

Fred, let me ask you now for a moment. 

00:47:29 Speaker 2 

To to think back on. 

00:47:32 Speaker 2 

Some of the names of the people whom we might. 

00:47:36 Speaker 2 

Broadly categorized as. 

00:47:38 Speaker 2 

Talent or performers, that is, other than staff, people, staff, announcers and so on. 

00:47:44 Speaker 2 

I believe Fletcher Markel during his early days as a. 

00:47:49 Speaker 2 

As a writer of drama. 

00:47:52 Speaker 3 

Yes, Fletcher Fletcher was, in fact, I used to announce and operate and run the sound effects for Fletcher’s Sunday afternoon program, and he had quite a bunch of talent with him. That was. 

00:48:04 Speaker 3 

Barbara Kelly. 

00:48:06 Speaker 3 

I’m John rain. 

00:48:08 Speaker 3 

Lot of names that became big names later on. 

00:48:14 Speaker 3 

He used to come in with his program and it was rather unique because he wanted certain parts of a gramophone record played. 

00:48:22 Speaker 3 

And so the records that we use for Fletcher, Markel had more crayon marks on them than enough, and the needle had to be set right to the set groove and then he sound effect or whatever it was had to all come in the right place. 

00:48:35 Speaker 3 

It was quite a challenge because we had five turntables all going at one time. 

00:48:40 Speaker 2 

I remember another, along with WX Laurie Irving. 

00:48:44 Speaker 3 

Oh yes, ma’am. 

00:48:45 Speaker 2 

Telling me the stories some years ago of working with Fletcher. 

00:48:52 Speaker 2 

Finishing up a script for a program that was actually already on the air and Laurie typing in the last pages of. 

00:48:59 Speaker 2 

It and rushing it into the studio. 

00:49:04 Speaker 3 

Those are little things that we actually forget is the little last minute things and they were always there. 

00:49:12 Speaker 3 

Problems role was there and at the last minute somebody wanted to change something and it had to be done very fast. 

00:49:19 Speaker 3 

But I was just thinking of the people that we had, that was Jane and Jim. 

00:49:24 Speaker 3 

Who were quite steady talent on wax. 

00:49:29 Speaker 3 

They did. 

00:49:29 Speaker 3 

Jane and Jim, a breakfast program about 8:00 o’clock in the morning, which was a conversational thing. 

00:49:37 Speaker 3 

Recipes and time signals and few news flashes and everything and just inserted. 

00:49:42 Speaker 3 

But they also had a a much greater ability in that Jermaine Garstang and wrote series of stories he had the major king, which was a kind of a detective story. 

00:49:57 Speaker 3 

And those two people played every character. 

00:50:00 Speaker 3 

They changed their voices and they they’re absolutely different people in every in every section of that program and. 

00:50:09 Speaker 3 

It was not a difficult, not a difficult show to operate because they just had to. 

00:50:14 Speaker 3 

Transition music. 

00:50:17 Speaker 3 

Or occasionally there’ll be, or maybe shots or something like that for his sound effects, but they were an amazing couple. 

00:50:25 Speaker 2 

Tell me about the the curious seems like coincidence. 

00:50:30 Speaker 2 

His name is Tremaine Garstang and Barbara Tremaine. 

00:50:36 Speaker 3 

They were. 

00:50:36 Speaker 3 

That’s my wife. 

00:50:38 Speaker 2 

And that’s where the Tremaine Tremaine became gone. 

00:50:42 Speaker 2 

You mentioned Barbara Kelly a moment ago, but you didn’t mention her husband Bernie Breeden. 

00:50:46 Speaker 3 

Oh, Bernie, no, they weren’t married. 

00:50:46 Speaker 2 

They they married at that time. 

00:50:49 Speaker 3 

No, this was this was the day when they were falling in love. 

00:50:52 Speaker 3 

I guess we’re working with Fletcher. 

00:50:54 Speaker 3 

Yes, but that’s right. 

00:50:56 Speaker 3 

I’d I’d forgotten about Bernie. 

00:50:58 Speaker 3 

Bernie was there and it was every Sunday afternoon show. 

00:51:03 Speaker 3 

And Fletcher would come over. 

00:51:05 Speaker 3 

He’d have his script, all his records. 

00:51:08 Speaker 3 

And they were all chalk miked, where they where they would have start and where they where they would have stop. 

00:51:13 Speaker 3 

And as I say, with five turntables you were kept. 

00:51:17 Speaker 2 

I’ve lost track entirely of Fletcher. 

00:51:19 Speaker 2 

Have you any idea where he is? 

00:51:20 Speaker 2 

Or what he’s doing. 

00:51:22 Speaker 3 

Today, no, I I haven’t. 

00:51:25 Speaker 3 

Although I’m trying to recall something that. 

00:51:28 Speaker 3 

I heard his name mentioned once but. 

00:51:30 Speaker 3 

I think it was one of us in England. 

00:51:32 Speaker 3 

I don’t know whether he. 

00:51:33 Speaker 3 

Was over in England or not? 

00:51:34 Speaker 2 

I know he was for a time involved in some drama work in relatively recent years with CBC. 

00:51:40 Speaker 3 

Toronto oh, that’s right. 

00:51:41 Speaker 3 

That you know that was right. 

00:51:43 Speaker 3 

Those were. 

00:51:43 Speaker 3 

That’s about the last time I heard about him was was when I saw him with the with the BBC. 

00:51:50 Speaker 3 

You know, but I I don’t. 

00:51:53 Speaker 3 

I’ve never put too much body of sense, of course, John Draney was well known as this. 

00:51:58 Speaker 3 

The Draney Awards is fabulous. 

00:52:02 Speaker 3 

Something else. 

00:52:05 Speaker 2 

You know there, there’s always been a kind of. 

00:52:10 Speaker 2 

Mostly friendly rivalry between CBC and private radio over the years, and I say mostly friendly there being a few acrimonious period. 

00:52:22 Speaker 2 

But had it not been for private radio. 

00:52:25 Speaker 2 

And it’s proving ground for. 

00:52:29 Speaker 2 

Turning out talent like the people we’ve just been chatting about, CBC would have been pretty hard up for talent. 

00:52:37 Speaker 3 

Well, the the peculiar thing and it still exists. 

00:52:40 Speaker 3 

I think today is that we had a lot of talent. 

00:52:46 Speaker 3 

Which became well known. Famous. 

00:52:50 Speaker 3 

But it it didn’t happen here, but I had to go somewhere else. 

00:52:53 Speaker 3 

Now the braydens look, they were a big hit on the BBC in England for a long time, but they they weren’t getting anywhere here. 

00:53:00 Speaker 3 

They were just playing parts with a bunch of young people that wanted to do plays with such a monkey and you know that that was their background. 

00:53:09 Speaker 3 

That was their work. 

00:53:12 Speaker 3 

Like everything else, you’ve gotta go somewhere else before you become. 

00:53:16 Speaker 3 

It’s it’s a shame. 

00:53:16 Speaker 2 

Well, if if they hadn’t gone through that. 

00:53:21 Speaker 2 

Educational growing up process here. 

00:53:23 Speaker 2 

Of course they never have made it on the BBC. 

00:53:26 Speaker 3 

No, this is this is true. 

00:53:29 Speaker 3 

One of the big satisfactions, I’ll be quite frank and is egotistical. 

00:53:33 Speaker 3 

But one of the biggest satisfactions I get. 

00:53:36 Speaker 3 

Is to go down the list of these names and see how many. 

00:53:41 Speaker 3 

Just starting because I had the same experience in theater work. 

00:53:45 Speaker 3 

Just starting in. 

00:53:48 Speaker 3 

To go up the ladder, yes. 

00:53:50 Speaker 3 

And a lot of them got to the top. 

00:53:52 Speaker 3 

And you know, Carol Levis, for instance. 

00:53:56 Speaker 3 

He was fabulous. 

00:53:57 Speaker 3 

But I can remember the time I put him on the air. 

00:54:00 Speaker 3 

He had nothing in his. 

00:54:01 Speaker 2 

Pocket a lot of people first today have never even heard the name of Carol of us. 

00:54:06 Speaker 2 

He was deceased as we both know. 

00:54:09 Speaker 3 

But it was his big discovery shows. 

00:54:11 Speaker 2 

But he was sort of the major boss of. 

00:54:13 Speaker 2 

England for a while. 

00:54:14 Speaker 3 

Right, right. 

00:54:16 Speaker 3 

And it was very, you know, he he was a little bit superstitious because one of the things that he did when he took over that Luxembourg show there was before commercials were allowed in Great Britain. 

00:54:28 Speaker 3 

Uh, he had a show. 

00:54:29 Speaker 3 

He had his show from Luxembourg, right? 

00:54:33 Speaker 3 

And it was beamed to England. 

00:54:35 Speaker 3 

But one of the things that he did, he insisted on his salary. 

00:54:39 Speaker 3 

Which strange it may seem happened to be our wavelength at that time 1010, and that was his salary. 

00:54:45 Speaker 3 

Every week, no 1010, a 1010 dollars, 1010 pounds every week because he became he became a very worth me. 

00:54:56 Speaker 2 

£1010.00 at that time in history it wasn’t bad, but. 

00:54:59 Speaker 3 

A lot of. 

00:55:00 Speaker 3 

Money and The funny thing about it, he never drank anything but Coca-Cola. He never took a drink in his life and he never had a car. 

00:55:06 Speaker 3 

He’s like me. 

00:55:07 Speaker 3 

I never had a car and I still don’t want what? 

00:55:11 Speaker 3 

Uh, he never had a car, but he always had a chauffeur. 

00:55:15 Speaker 3 

Because a couple of times I was in London while he was alive and we always used to go out and go to different places to go to for lunch and this sort of thing and. 

00:55:27 Speaker 3 

It’s rather interesting. 

00:55:29 Speaker 3 

I have a book that was written by him also. 

00:55:31 Speaker 2 


00:55:31 Speaker 3 

Yes, about his adventures in. 

00:55:35 Speaker 3 

In radio. 

00:55:39 Speaker 3 

He was a. 

00:55:40 Speaker 3 

He called himself Lucky Levis. 

00:55:44 Speaker 3 

And he was very, very lucky. 

00:55:45 Speaker 3 

He has a brother here, Cyril. 

00:55:47 Speaker 3 

And his sister was. 

00:55:50 Speaker 2 

Imperial may. 

00:55:50 Speaker 3 

Real, real, real mate. 

00:55:52 Speaker 3 

Yeah, real estate. 

00:55:56 Speaker 3 

These people were fabulous people and I always. 

00:56:00 Speaker 3 

And I always got pleasure out of them because they people that knew what they wanted to do. 

00:56:05 Speaker 3 

They had the ability to do it and they did it to the best of their ability and this is what made them famous, like the Breeders of brother and breakfast with Brayden and the BBC was a must. 

00:56:17 Speaker 3 

And you know it’s. 

00:56:20 Speaker 3 

And I I get a little a little. 

00:56:23 Speaker 3 

In a feeling of satisfaction to know that back in the early days before they got anywhere. 

00:56:31 Speaker 3 

Going out of radio, I’ll give you another instance. 

00:56:33 Speaker 3 

I played watermelon the old watermelon days. 

00:56:36 Speaker 3 

I played volleyball style pictures with orchestra. 

00:56:40 Speaker 3 

I remember playing a a dance team one week we had. 

00:56:45 Speaker 3 

Fred and Estelle. 

00:56:48 Speaker 3 

Fred Astaire and his sister. 

00:56:50 Speaker 3 

They were going up. 

00:56:52 Speaker 3 

I played Charlie McCarthy with with Eckerberg going up. 

00:56:58 Speaker 3 

And you know it’s it’s nice to look back and see these things. 

00:57:02 Speaker 3 

But as I say, I I’m lucky myself because. 

00:57:06 Speaker 3 

She had a business, was always my business show business. 

00:57:10 Speaker 3 

That radio was so, so exciting and challenging. 

00:57:16 Speaker 3 

Then it became more of a hobby with me, and it did a job. 

00:57:20 Speaker 2 

Well, you say you’ve been lucky and yes, I. 

00:57:26 Speaker 2 

The luck certainly does play a part in human life, but you paid your dues, your and your success, and you’ve had a lot of it. 

00:57:35 Speaker 3 

Well, it was getting pleasure out of doing the job. 

00:57:38 Speaker 3 

I mean, what I’m trying to. 

00:57:39 Speaker 3 

Get an ideal way to. 

00:57:40 Speaker 2 

Make a living, of course. 

00:57:41 Speaker 3 

The the Plato. Well, you know, in the old days of the depression, hope rather $25 a week there was. 

00:57:47 Speaker 2 

Nothing but pleasure. 

00:57:48 Speaker 2 

There wasn’t any money. 

00:57:50 Speaker 3 

There was with us there was with us. 

00:57:53 Speaker 3 

I can remember sparks coming in and apologizing at Christmas time because. 

00:57:59 Speaker 3 

He couldn’t give us all a nice big fat Christmas present and we just said look, forget it. 

00:58:08 Speaker 3 

You know. 

00:58:10 Speaker 3 

These people, these people, were human beings. 

00:58:12 Speaker 3 

If you want to, if you want to, to put it a better way to put it. 

00:58:16 Speaker 3 

They understood other people that were working with them and for them in these early days, and This is why tiny was such a big success. 

00:58:24 Speaker 3 

And even old sparks himself, everybody loves spike. 

00:58:29 Speaker 3 

The funny part about sparks was it was something needed fixing. 

00:58:34 Speaker 3 

He put on a dust coat and go out and fix it and lots of. 

00:58:36 Speaker 3 

Times people thought he was a janitor. 

00:58:39 Speaker 3 

The space that was all. 

00:58:40 Speaker 3 

But you know there, there were characters. 

00:58:42 Speaker 3 

We’ve had some beautiful characters in the other day. 

00:58:44 Speaker 3 

Look at our character. 

00:58:46 Speaker 3 

There was where the province, you know, Earl used to bid all the ships at sea. 

00:58:51 Speaker 3 

Good night and all that in his inimitable way. 

00:58:55 Speaker 3 

And it was very funny to watch, Earl. 

00:59:00 Speaker 3 

Prepare his show because at one time he had to come over to WWX, but I was wondering. 

00:59:05 Speaker 3 

We were splitting away. 

00:59:06 Speaker 3 

Length and he had to come up with the WX to types stuff when something had happened to the officer. 

00:59:12 Speaker 3 

When he came over for a period, but he would take a long sheet of yellow paper with carbon copy and he would start. 

00:59:20 Speaker 3 

He was something like our Connie with his hands. 

00:59:23 Speaker 3 

You know, the way out caught. 

00:59:24 Speaker 2 

Yes, yes, yes. 

00:59:24 Speaker 3 

He puts his hand up. 

00:59:26 Speaker 3 

He would do that. 

00:59:27 Speaker 3 

He would sit at the typewriter and he up would come his hands like this and then he’d. 

00:59:32 Speaker 3 

Bang out a headline and he would twist the the typewriter down until about 3:00 or 4 inches and then he would type another one, but he always went through the art Carney routine. 

00:59:43 Speaker 3 

I think Art Carney must have learned it from him because he always used to throw his hands up in there. 

00:59:48 Speaker 3 

Wonderful characters. 

00:59:51 Speaker 2 

Western CBC network. 

00:59:55 Speaker 2 

Because I can recall. 

00:59:57 Speaker 2 

Walking down a street in Winnipeg. 

01:00:00 Speaker 2 

One summer evening. 

01:00:03 Speaker 2 

I don’t remember the year and it’s not important. 

01:00:06 Speaker 2 

But I and he was doing his evening newscast. 

01:00:09 Speaker 2 

And I must have walked two blocks along that street. 

01:00:12 Speaker 2 

And I wasn’t out of earshot over O’kelly the whole time. 

01:00:15 Speaker 2 

This night windows were open, and I followed that newscast for two blocks. 

01:00:20 Speaker 2 

Well, the answer just. 

01:00:20 Speaker 2 

Of popularity. 

01:00:22 Speaker 3 

He had such a distinctive style and of course what people used to listen to him for was his sign off. 

01:00:27 Speaker 3 

First, you know one of you know. 

01:00:30 Speaker 2 

The June brides. 

01:00:31 Speaker 3 

Yeah, yeah, especially Jim Bryant. 

01:00:34 Speaker 3 

Pleasant evening. 

01:00:35 Speaker 3 

Good night, you know. 

01:00:37 Speaker 3 

He was a character, and they’d say if people like that, then I think that actually we had to be characters actually to to, to make radio work, because as we were saying a little earlier. 

01:00:50 Speaker 3 

There was no rules and regulations as to whether you could do a thing or not. 

01:00:53 Speaker 3 

You tackled it and if it worked fine, we left it in. 

01:00:56 Speaker 3 

If it’s just like a gagging and show if the people laugh at the gag, you leave. 

01:01:01 Speaker 3 

It in the. 

01:01:01 Speaker 2 

Show exactly. 

01:01:04 Speaker 2 

Well, you know, I think that. 

01:01:06 Speaker 2 

Excuse me, must be one of the. 

01:01:09 Speaker 2 

The considerable satisfactions is that. 

01:01:13 Speaker 2 

The people at the head office in Silker today who? 

01:01:18 Speaker 2 

I’ve never really gone very far away from the grassroots either. 

01:01:22 Speaker 2 

You know, man like Stuart Mackay and the friends. 



01:01:24 Speaker 2 

At the company today. 

01:01:28 Speaker 2 

Still very close to the grassroots in those early days of radio. 

01:01:33 Speaker 2 

And I think the personal satisfaction that that Stewart has had still has and will always have. 

01:01:41 Speaker 2 

About the growth of the company, is the warm memories of the people who helped to. 

01:01:45 Speaker 2 

Make this company. 

01:01:47 Speaker 3 

Where Stewart Stewart always was another favorite of mine. 

01:01:50 Speaker 3 

Not that we were that closely related, but there was a little rapport between the two of us. 

01:01:56 Speaker 3 

And the way I still hear from him occasionally and. 

01:02:02 Speaker 3 

He is like tiny. 

01:02:05 Speaker 3 

Maybe he’s not as open as tiny was, but he’s like, tiny. 

01:02:10 Speaker 3 

He thinks of the other guy and this is important. 

01:02:13 Speaker 3 

He thinks of the people who have been working with him and. 

01:02:19 Speaker 3 

I know that. 

01:02:21 Speaker 3 

He’s one of my favourites of the of all the of the old days. 

01:02:24 Speaker 3 

There were a lot of characters and. 

01:02:26 Speaker 3 

We built up a lot of people in WH who became really worthwhile in the business.