Gerry Burrows


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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 Jerry Burrows was recorded in March 1978 by **** Meisner. 

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This is Monday, March the 20th, the first day of spring. 

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And I’m sitting about to talk to. 

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An old, old, old friend, Mr. 

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Jerry Burrows. 

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Who is manager of office services in the Toronto Office of All Canada Radio on television? 

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Jerry, we go back a long time. 

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Too long. 

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Not too long. 

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It’s amazing how the year is telescope. 

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And it doesn’t really seem that long. 

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I first knew you, and mostly at a distance in an arms length sort of situation. 

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When you run Montreal. 

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And I guess I was on the West Coast or somewhere out in Western Canada, sure. 

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And apart from your own personal involvement, one of the. 

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Reasons that I wanted so much to talk to you today is because you knew Bert Hall so well. 

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And like too many of our former colleagues, Bert Hall isn’t around to answer for himself. 

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So I’d like to talk to you about Gary Brose and about Burt Hall. 

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And other recollections that come to your mind about your days with this company. 

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How long have you been with all Canada, by the way? 

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I’m not too, you know, I’m not really too sure about all this. 

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I think it was. 

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I started 1937 and I with Mckim advertising in Montreal. 

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And I went to 1940. 

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From 1940 to 1945, I was with the Royal Canadian Navy. 

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When I got through with the Navy, I came out and I went back to Mckimm’s. 

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And I started in ******* at 1945, went through to 1948. 

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At the end of 48, I joined all Canada. 

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Who were that members at that time? 

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Who was manager then? 

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Ohh boy. 

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I’m sorry I don’t remember who was actually manager. 

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No against. 

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No Wolf Charlo was with all Canada, they were tied in with Whitehall, Whitehall and all Canada were together in the Dominion Square building in those years. 

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He went out to the agency business after his time with Whitehall. 

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Hi, George. 

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That’s right. 

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That’s right. 

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That’s that’s absolutely right. 

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Whitehall was will shireland and the George. 

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That’s right, yes, White will, Charlie. 

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At George Bert Hall was all on the same floor, although they were divided, there was the All Canada and the White Hall situation. So when I left ******* and joined all Canada, it was 1948. 

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And I stayed. 

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With all Canada to 1954. 

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And it was during those years that I became where I knew Bert Hall. 

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Will Sherlock and Vic George very well. 

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You say you stayed with all Canada until 54 and then 54 and then? 


Till 5. 

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What then? 

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Where do you? 

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I went to Cofield Brown. 

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As a writer, as a writer. 

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And we’re with them until. 

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I was with Kofi Brown until 611961. 

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And from 61 I left Cofio Brown and went to SW Caldwell. 

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Oh yeah, sure. 

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And became the manager of his office, which was a. 

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A supplier of electronic equipment to the advertising business from 61 to 63. 



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And when Spence decided to close off the office, things weren’t going too well, and they closed down the Montreal end. 

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And fortunately for me. 

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Kofi Brown was looking for somebody and I went back to Cofio Brown. 

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And realized this period of interruption. 

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Yeah. And from 64 to 60. 

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Eight I was with Cofio Brown. 

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Things were going along. 

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They were pretty good and that at the end. 

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Of 68. 

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I wasn’t too happy. 

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Excuse me. 

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With the way things were going and an opportunity came up with Spitzer Mill and Bates. 

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As a television. 

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Media supervisor. 

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Buying time for Gillette? 

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In those days, they were doing a tremendous amount of business in television and radio. 

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And I went to Spitzer Mill and Bates in 1968. 

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The media supervisor. 

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That was in Montreal. 

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Oh boy, yeah. 

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Still nice. 

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We’re still in Montreal and it was a a woman media supervisor and so help me I can’t, yes. 

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I know what you mean too, and I. 

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Can’t think of her name. 

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I stayed there roughly for a year, but it was not too too happy. 

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With this this. 

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It’s very difficult to explain. 

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I really don’t know how to explain that, but I just wasn’t happy there at all. 

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But Peter Sisam and Dennis Fitzgerald were calling on me Peter for. 

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Radio and Dennis for television. 

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They were calling on me for a time. 

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Charlotte Beg pardon. 

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I’m sorry, I interrupted. 

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That’s all right. 

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The lady in question, who was the name you couldn’t recall with? 

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Charlotte no, no. 

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I wasn’t sure. 

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OK, back to Peter, back to Peters. 

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All the way. 

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These two men were calling on me at the time. 

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And I knew Peter pretty well from my all Canada day. 

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And at that time in all Canada here in Toronto was a man by the name of Fred Oliver. 

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Who died in 1968, just at the end. 

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Of 68. 

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I believe now Fred was a a person such as myself. 

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He had a a. 

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Experience on television, radio and print. 

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And when he died, it left quite a hole here in all county in Toronto. 

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It’s a difficult thing to explain. 

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He handled prints he handled. 

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Anything that went wrong in the company, this sort of thing. 

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And Peter was looking for somebody. 

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Umm at that time. 

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A man Friday, Saturday and Sunday and morning. 

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A man Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Peter, realizing that I wasn’t too, too happy with Spitzer Mill and Bates said. 

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Would you like? 

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To change your job, and I was delighted at that time. 

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But not realizing that he meant Toronto, I thought he meant Montreal. 

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To make a Long story short, it came out that it was for Toronto. 

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I owned my own home in in Montreal at that time. 

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I only have one child, a boy sort of thing, and he was at McGill University at the time. 

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And when this all came up, it became quite a. 

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Slightly traumatic experience and. 

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More than that, believe me, because it meant selling the house. 

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It meant perhaps pulling him out of college. 

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We didn’t know. 

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But I had reached the point both in age and in the way I was working, that I wasn’t too happy and we made the decision, definitely made the decision. 

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That we would move, we left like. 

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Well, I respect you made the right. 

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But fortunately my parents were still alive at that time and my son went to live with them and my wife and I moved to Toronto and I came here to Canada, Toronto, June 15. 

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1969 is when I arrived. 

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And here we are, nine years later. 

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And here we are nine years later, and I wish to heaven I had done it a long time ago, because I’ve never been happier. 

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This has just been tremendous for me down. 

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Here really great. 

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You were when you were with all Canada and Montreal. 

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Their offices were in the building. 

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Dominion Square building and when I was there, I was a salesman for both radio and television. 

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Radio first because television didn’t come till a little later. 

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That’s right. 

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But it was strictly radio. 

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I remember painfully. 

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Yes, I’m sure you. 

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It was strictly a radio in those days, but. 

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Let’s talk a little bit about Bert. 

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Hall now, perhaps? 

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Tell me something about this colorful man. 

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This was the most. 

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Yet I knew Birgit, of course. 

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And saw him on more than one occasion and holding court in the Piccadilly room, and he was the most unusual man I guess perhaps I would ever know. 

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I guess I don’t know. 

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I it’s a very difficult thing to explain. 

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Bert Hall to. 

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How do you explain Burt, huh? 

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Burt was a thespian first. 

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He was an actor first. 

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Yes, very much. 

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Oh, yes, very much so. 

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First like he was. 

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He was on stage all his lifetime. 

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All his life and has, yes and his perhaps, you know, he was involved, I believe his wife was the singer sewing machine. 

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I think one way or another. 

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That you remind me of something I’d forgotten. 

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Yeah, and his wife was the daughter of the singing sewing machine group. 

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Now, I don’t know her name. I never met her, but I did at one time, twice as a matter of fact, I met Burt Hall’s son. 

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And talk to him. 

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In the Piccadilly in Mount Drio. 

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But he was never in Canada that long. 

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His son lived in Paris, France, and was always there with his mother, always, always with his mother. 

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But Bert had a table in the. 

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Piccadilly and it was Bert Paul’s table, and nobody sat at that table. Nobody ever sat at that table but Bert Hall. 

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If you came in, Bert would. 

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Wave his hand and unless you were invited, you did not sit down with Bird Hall. 

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This was one of the little idiosyncrasies of Bert. 

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I went into the Piccadilly. 

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To to see words because I knew I’d find them there at. 

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12 noon sort of. 

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On occasion, on an occasion many years ago. 

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Look for him at his table and there were strangers at his table. 

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He had. 

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Semi retired, I think at that time from all of Canada. 

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And I couldn’t believe my eyes when I flicked an eye around, looking for the friendly major to give his name. 

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I forgotten and saw Bert standing at the bar by himself. 

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And I would over and if you ever saw a man in a foul mood, it was first of all. 

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He was just tight lipped. 

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He had torn the place apart. 

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Rafter by rafter, I think, given an opportunity that. 

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Somebody’s at his table. 

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Burt was a very unusual man. 

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I love the guy. 

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I really did. 

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I can tell you many, many stories about bird. 

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Had it a bell system in the office, which was an absolute to anybody but Bert, this was the most giggly, laughable Fay in the world. 

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But to him it was. 

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Bert had a private office. 

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And Burt knew every Hollywood star that ever came out of Hollywood. 

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Burt had pitchers that ran from the baseboard to the ceiling, and all in a row. 

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Literally, there must have been fifty of them. 

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God knows I know better than anybody because I he would go out of town and come back with these damn pictures, and I’d have to. 

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He would give them to me and he said, Jerry, get these framed, you know what I need? 

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You know what I want? 

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Set them up. 

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I would do this. The pitchers were 1/2 an inch from each other. What rolls them up? Down every which way? 

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All signed to birth with love to birth with respect. 

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Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. 

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4 walls were lined with these pictures. 

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I was a passion that he should have with Guy Herbert. 

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It was, yes, it was. 

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It really was. 

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And I knew guy too. 

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Very well. 

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Guy and Bert and I. 

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I can remember many, many conventions that we were on. 

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These two men were just fantastic, really were fantastic. 

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I don’t know. 

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I learned an awful lot. 

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From these two fellas. 

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But getting back to Bert for a moment. 

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I can remember getting getting back again to the bell system. 

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This was a not bell, they were gone. 

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He had on his desk. 

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It had 1234 buttons. 

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And these went out to everybody’s desk. 

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I can remember mine was three. 

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It would go Bongo, bongo bongo. 

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And when that happened, I was to go in. 

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His secretary was one which was found. 

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This sort of thing all of us when we were there and that this, and I am sure you’d be interested in Georgie Gravel. 

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Yes, I knew Georgie Georgie Gravel was Bridge hall secretary. 

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There was another girl called Miss Moffett, a French girl who was never anything to look at, but one of the finest persons I’ve ever met in. 

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Insofar as is working. 

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And Burton knew this and Georgie and Jeanette, Jeanette Buffett were the two mainstays, and I was the only salesman. 

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That was the staff back in those days. 

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That’s all there was. 

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And believe me, we turned out an awful lot of work. 

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You wouldn’t believe it. 

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There are many, many things and it it’s hard to put it into sequence for you. 

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I I can remember so well the day when we we hired a man by the name of Claire Copeland. 

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I saw Claire when I was in Victoria about two months ago. 

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All right. 

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Claire was an exuberant, young, bouncy, noisy person, which drove Burt Hall just about out of his damn mind. 

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Like Claire was. 

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A pusher. 

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Claire was the type of guy his desk was against the wall of Bertzi office, where Bert had all his pitchers. 

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Claire never closed the door. 

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He slammed. 

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The door shut. 

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He would slam the door shut. Bird Hall’s pitchers would all go. 

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The next thing would go to the Bang Bang Bang and Burt would say, Jerry, we gotta do something about Claire. 

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Look at the. 

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Pictures all the pictures. 

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This way. 

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We’d straighten the pictures and he’d have a few words with Claire and the next morning Claire would close the door. 

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And the pictures would go. 

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This went on for an awful long time, until Claire was finally. 

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I think he went to Vancouver. 

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You know, this sort of thing. 

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To just to give you an idea of bird. 

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Bird was meticulous and everything I would imagine. 

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I can tell you an awful lot about that. 

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Certainly very meticulous in his dress. 

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I know that. 

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He was the fashion plate of the company. 

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He very much so when Bert wasn’t too well, I went to his apartment many times. 

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To bring things to him. 

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Georgie Gravell in those days looked after him. 

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His mother was alive in those days. 

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She was well in her 80s. 

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Bert looked after his mother like you wouldn’t believe. 

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It was almost ridiculous because. 

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Bert would take his mother out and say I think you need a new dress or he’d do this every third week or something. 

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And the woman had. 

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A closet full of dresses she had never worn, and she would have shoes too many pairs of shoes that she never used, but this was Burt looked after his mother. 

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I didn’t realize the birth mother had lived in Montreal. 

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Yeah, yeah. 

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Yes, he lived with his mother in an apartment? 

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And after she died. 

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And when Burt was not well, and I went up to Berts apartment, sometimes I took some of his I took some of his laundry out for him and had it cleaned, and I brought it back. 

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And I put it away for him. 

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I realized what a meticulous man this guy was. 

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The top drawer of his Bureau would be handkerchiefs and nothing but all in order. 

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The next drawer would be socks, all in order. 

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Shirts would be all in order, and so on down. 

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His suits were meticulously hung, all in order. 

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Everything was that way. 

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Bert was a tremendous. 

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Reader Bert read. 

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You wouldn’t believe what Bert Read and Bert. 

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Let me many, many books and. 

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Suggested to me things to read and lent me books. 

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I was always nervous about reading books that Bert lent me because I was scared to get the pages dirty because Bert could read a book and put it back, and you would never know that anybody had read the book. 

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The spline would never be bent. 

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He read a book absolutely that way, and that was it. 

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I read many, many books, said Bird. 

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Is this the same apartment that that I was in on only one occasion? 

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Up the top of cotinis? 

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That’s right. 

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That’s the one. 

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Rio Thompson and I spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Bert, 1 evening listening to music. 

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That’s right. 

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Yeah, that’s right. 

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Which word program. 

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That’s right. 

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That’s right. 

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He was just a a fantastic as far as I’m concerned, a wonderful man, and it was very sad to see him go down so quickly as I saw Bird and Saint Catherine St. 

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After he had retired from Air Canada and it, it was really sad. 

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He he was walking bent over with a cane. 

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Kind of French. 

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Tam on his head. 

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Bent shoulders. 

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Coat up round. 

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His neck bent over not the bird hall I knew at all. Not the bird’s hall. 

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Oh, that would be saddening. 

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And he became very, very hard of hearing in the later years. 

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And he had the hearing aid, which he didn’t give a **** about. 

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And the wire hung out and down. 

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He didn’t. 

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He just. 

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Didn’t bother. I used to be amused with Bird’s handling of his hearing aid. He would he would push it out to like a microphone. 

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That’s right, that’s right. 

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He he hated that thing. 

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He hated it. 

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But he had to admit he couldn’t hear without it. 

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But he hated it. 

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He would have liked to throw it on the floor and. 

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Stamp on it. 

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He just did. 

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Not go with I think. 

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Oh, it upset him. 

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It made him nervous. 

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Really nervous. 

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Know I never saw them together, but I’ve always been amused at the. 

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The thought of seeing. 

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Burt Hall. 

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With such. 

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Big rugged. 

00:21:06 Speaker 2 

Tycoon looking entrepreneurs like Harley Carson and Guy Herbert I. 

00:21:13 Speaker 2 

Because there is the contrast between them wouldn’t be a very amusing sight. 

00:21:18 Speaker 3 

I was to many, many conventions of these men. 

00:21:22 Speaker 3 

And I can remember it very, very well. 

00:21:26 Speaker 3 

These three men sitting playing hearts. 

00:21:29 Speaker 3 

This was the bird hall. 

00:21:31 Speaker 3 

Loved hearts. 

00:21:33 Speaker 3 

And it was Carson. 

00:21:37 Speaker 2 

And you, guy Herbert Guy Herbert, the three of. 

00:21:39 Speaker 3 

Them would be playing. 

00:21:43 Speaker 3 

And they weren’t fooling, believe me, they they they weren’t fooling when they were playing hard. 

00:21:48 Speaker 3 

I thought you were particularly Mr. 

00:21:51 Speaker 3 

Who would like to have a little shot now and then? 

00:21:54 Speaker 3 

And Burt was? 

00:21:55 Speaker 3 

No, he wasn’t very far behind either. 

00:21:57 Speaker 2 

It kept up well. 

00:21:58 Speaker 3 

Oh yes, they the three of them, I tell you. 

00:22:01 Speaker 3 

It’s quite a thing to see playing hearts. 

00:22:06 Speaker 3 

There’s quite a thing. 

00:22:07 Speaker 2 

Arts can be a very vicious game. 

00:22:09 Speaker 3 

It certainly can. 

00:22:11 Speaker 3 

Oh, yes, very much so. 

00:22:13 Speaker 3 

Oh, yeah. 

00:22:15 Speaker 3 

I, you know, we could talk here for days, I suppose. 

00:22:18 Speaker 3 

And as we talk, I would remember things many, many things that happened. 

00:22:23 Speaker 3 

Some funny. 

00:22:27 Speaker 3 

I when we were in our Canada, I guess we had one of the nicest boardrooms of any Rep house. 

00:22:37 Speaker 3 

And this is Burt Halls. 

00:22:38 Speaker 3 

And I’m sure many of the people remember this boardroom. 

00:22:43 Speaker 3 

It’s hard to describe to you. 

00:22:45 Speaker 3 

The lights were low. 

00:22:46 Speaker 3 

This was before this day and age. 

00:22:49 Speaker 3 

He was. 

00:22:50 Speaker 3 

Burt was always ahead of things. 

00:22:53 Speaker 3 

In a very, very modern. 

00:22:57 Speaker 3 

Board room. 

00:22:58 Speaker 3 

We had a small room off of that where we had a turntable. 

00:23:03 Speaker 3 

Nowadays you would have videotape or quarter inch tape, etcetera. 

00:23:08 Speaker 3 

And those days we use discs. I remember thing you remember them very well. Albert had this all set up. We had an amplifier that I’m sure weighed 900 pounds. 

00:23:18 Speaker 3 

It was all in this closet. 

00:23:20 Speaker 3 

And we would. 

00:23:22 Speaker 3 

He would have certain people in and we would have to go in there and act as operators and we’d play this and Brett would serve cocktails. 

00:23:30 Speaker 3 

This sort of thing. 

00:23:32 Speaker 3 

And I can remember so many funny things that happened in there and so many nice things that happened in there. 

00:23:41 Speaker 3 

And nowadays we have caterers that come in, you know, with little sandwiches and so on. 

00:23:46 Speaker 3 

In those days, we didn’t have too much of that, and we had to look after it ourselves. 

00:23:51 Speaker 3 

I tell you, this is quite a thing we’d be making sandwiches in the office to feed the people that were in the boardroom. 

00:23:59 Speaker 3 

Liquor was no problem, of course. 

00:24:02 Speaker 3 

That was in there. 

00:24:03 Speaker 3 

And I always remember one time after Claire Copeland joined us. 

00:24:09 Speaker 3 

One particular morning, we knew we were going to have a. 

00:24:14 Speaker 3 

Some sort of presentation that Bert had set up. 

00:24:18 Speaker 3 

And Claire came in this morning. 

00:24:19 Speaker 3 

I don’t know where he’d been, but he was all enthused about it. 

00:24:28 Speaker 3 

I I’m really not sure how this all happened, but I know that that Claire was really enthused and he decided that. 

00:24:38 Speaker 3 

He better be right on his toes for uh. 

00:24:44 Speaker 3 

Because, Bert, this was important to Bert. 

00:24:48 Speaker 3 

Claire goes into the boardroom and takes off both shoes and puts his feet up on the coffee table and takes we had in those days we didn’t have real. 

00:24:57 Speaker 3 

Sharp air conditioning. 

00:25:00 Speaker 3 

Claire takes his shoes off and we had airwick spray airwick. 

00:25:04 Speaker 3 

And Claire has got both feet on the coffee table and he takes his shoes. 

00:25:09 Speaker 3 

And as Bret walks in, here’s Claire. 

00:25:12 Speaker 3 

With the airwick spraying his shoes inside the shoe inside the shoes, he puts one shoe on. 

00:25:21 Speaker 3 

Burt walks in Claire without even looking up. 

00:25:25 Speaker 3 

Sprays the other and puts both shoes on and says. 

00:25:28 Speaker 3 

Now let’s go. 

00:25:29 Speaker 3 

We’re ready for the meeting. 

00:25:31 Speaker 3 

This is the first time I ever saw Bert Hall not knowing what to say. 

00:25:36 Speaker 3 

He stood there. 

00:25:39 Speaker 3 

And he said, my God. 

00:25:42 Speaker 3 

All right, let’s go. 

00:25:44 Speaker 3 

That was the end. 

00:25:46 Speaker 3 

This is a true story. 

00:25:50 Speaker 1 

This interview was recorded in 1978 by **** Meisner.