John Avison


00:00:03 Speaker 2 

Good God, 42 years ago. 

00:00:05 Speaker 1 

42 years ago. 

00:00:09 Speaker 1 


00:00:13 Speaker 1 

The last time I talked to you, we talked about some of the stations you played at before in the 20s and 30s. And as I understand that included CJORCKWX. 

00:00:27 Speaker 1 

Ccyc CK. 

00:00:29 Speaker 1 

CD and CNV, that’s correct. 



00:00:34 Speaker 2 

That’s correct ckmo. 

00:00:37 Speaker 1 

If I receive. 

00:00:38 Speaker 2 

Yeah, that was that time my daughter was where my mother wrapped me up, sent me down by a taxi to play for Donald Novis. 

00:00:48 Speaker 1 

So that was that one time only sort of. 

00:00:49 Speaker 2 

Thing, yes. 

00:00:52 Speaker 1 

Do you remember where they were at? 

00:00:53 Speaker 2 

The time that you. 

00:00:54 Speaker 2 

Yes, they were upstairs in the building on Hastings St. 

00:00:57 Speaker 2 

if I recall rightly, it was near Homer. 

00:01:00 Speaker 1 

Was it the in the Sun tower? 

00:01:03 Speaker 1 

That’s at one point they were in. 

00:01:06 Speaker 1 

For that you would have to go up 17. 

00:01:08 Speaker 1 

Flights of stairs. 

00:01:09 Speaker 1 

You remember that? 

00:01:10 Speaker 2 

And I remember another point which they were on Pender St. 

00:01:14 Speaker 2 

you know, in the middle of financial district. 

00:01:17 Speaker 2 

On the 2nd floor of a building. 

00:01:21 Speaker 2 

Somewhere between around Powell or Hornby. 

00:01:28 Speaker 1 

OK, reaching way back now with regard to CFY C. 

00:01:36 Speaker 1 

Now you, you. 

00:01:38 Speaker 1 

Mentioned playing for them for the for the choir million voices, and I was wondering where they where you went. 

00:01:38 Speaker 2 

Pardon me. 

00:01:47 Speaker 1 

To play for them, where were? 

00:01:48 Speaker 2 

Their studios, it was in the large building. 

00:01:52 Speaker 2 

East of the province building. 

00:01:55 Speaker 1 

That would be the. 

00:01:59 Speaker 1 

Around home in Hastings somewhere. 

00:02:00 Speaker 2 

No, it was between Canby and and Abbott St. 

00:02:08 Speaker 1 

Mercantile building. 

00:02:12 Speaker 2 

Can’t remember the name of it. 

00:02:13 Speaker 1 

Is it still weird you know or? 

00:02:16 Speaker 2 

I haven’t been in that area for years, so I don’t know. 

00:02:21 Speaker 1 

So it was definitely. 

00:02:21 Speaker 2 

It’s all building, yes. 

00:02:26 Speaker 2 

Same block as Woodward’s on the on the other side of the street. 

00:02:33 Speaker 1 

You played to them for very long. 

00:02:35 Speaker 2 

Yes, I was with them, I suppose, for about three years. 

00:02:39 Speaker 2 

And they moved from that building, as I mentioned to you, to a house out on Kingsway, very little large house. 

00:02:47 Speaker 2 

And after I spoke to you, I remembered immediately the man’s name, who was managing the station after WJ Tinney. His name was Reg Harris. 

00:02:56 Speaker 1 

Red Ferris. 

00:02:57 Speaker 2 

And he worked for an insurance company. 

00:03:00 Speaker 2 

And I went to see him quite often. 

00:03:02 Speaker 2 

He moved over to Victoria. 

00:03:04 Speaker 2 

And when I was teaching at the university, I went to see him. 

00:03:07 Speaker 2 

By that time, he was a. 

00:03:08 Speaker 2 

Very ill man. 

00:03:09 Speaker 2 

But it was interesting to reminisce with him very, very charming person. 

00:03:14 Speaker 2 

A very, very nice wife. 

00:03:18 Speaker 2 

They were both dedicated to. 

00:03:22 Speaker 2 

Members of the Bible students. 

00:03:26 Speaker 1 

So the whole time you played for them. 

00:03:27 Speaker 1 

The station was being. 


Run by the bus. 

00:03:29 Speaker 2 

International Bible students. 

00:03:33 Speaker 1 

And when they moved out into Kingsway. 

00:03:36 Speaker 1 

On a house on a house. 

00:03:38 Speaker 1 

To a house on Kingsway. 

00:03:40 Speaker 2 

It was set back actually from the street. 

00:03:44 Speaker 2 

I am. 

00:03:46 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember the precise location of it. 

00:03:48 Speaker 2 

It was a wooden structure. 

00:03:51 Speaker 1 

Was it near the Interurban railway? 

00:03:52 Speaker 2 

Yes, because I I took the interurban to get out there. 

00:03:55 Speaker 1 

So it was. 

00:03:56 Speaker 1 

Quite ribbon. 

00:03:58 Speaker 1 

Do you know if the transmitter was in the same building? 

00:04:00 Speaker 2 

And I couldn’t say. 

00:04:02 Speaker 1 

Because we what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to corroborate some different accounts. 

00:04:06 Speaker 1 

We’ve heard. 

00:04:08 Speaker 1 

We hear Central Park. 

00:04:10 Speaker 1 

So umm at the corner of the when the interurban intersects with Kingsway. 

00:04:15 Speaker 1 

Possibly around there. 

00:04:17 Speaker 2 

It would be somewhere in that area and I think not as far as what eventually became an undertaking parlor, very significant looking building for its time because it had a real tile roof still there. 

00:04:31 Speaker 2 

But I think it is now. 

00:04:34 Speaker 2 

And undertaking establishment. 

00:04:36 Speaker 1 

It had a tile, a tile roof. 

00:04:39 Speaker 2 

That that was further than safyc. 

00:04:50 Speaker 1 

If you were with them for three years, they went off the air in 28 or into our records, so it’s conceivable. 

00:04:55 Speaker 1 

Then you could 20. 

00:04:56 Speaker 2 

Now it’s a 25, yeah. 

00:05:00 Speaker 1 

Did you ever encounter a man named Roy Brown? 

00:05:03 Speaker 1 

When you were. 

00:05:03 Speaker 2 

There my name is very familiar to me. 

00:05:06 Speaker 1 

At one time was a was an operator at. 

00:05:13 Speaker 1 

But that was very early on. 

00:05:15 Speaker 1 

Yeah, I’m just trying to establish what connection. 

00:05:17 Speaker 1 

He had with CFC, but we’re not. 

00:05:19 Speaker 2 

Too clear? 

00:05:20 Speaker 2 

No, I can’t recall. 

00:05:24 Speaker 1 

How about a Milton Stark? 

00:05:27 Speaker 2 

Don’t recall them. 

00:05:28 Speaker 1 

Yeah, about your, about, about your. 

00:05:30 Speaker 2 

Don’t recall him. 

00:05:33 Speaker 1 

Elmer diamond. 

00:05:38 Speaker 1 

Any connection with the Radio Corporation of Vancouver? 

00:05:46 Speaker 2 

No, only that club I was mentioning to you and that wasn’t called the corporation, I think it was called the listeners league or something that’s. 

00:05:56 Speaker 1 

Because the CFC is a bit of a mystery station in one period of its existence, it seems to have belonged to about 6 different people. 

00:06:04 Speaker 2 

Well, that’s quite quite. 

00:06:05 Speaker 2 

Likely, but the man who really operated the station and was the manager was WG Tinney. 

00:06:13 Speaker 2 

Who was a real estate agent or had a real estate agency? 

00:06:20 Speaker 2 

But he was the the head of the organization when I first joined. 

00:06:26 Speaker 1 

Do you remember any of any other people who you might have encountered there besides Mr. 

00:06:30 Speaker 1 

Tinney and Mr. 

00:06:31 Speaker 2 

Harris only Art Holman, who was a young boy. 

00:06:35 Speaker 2 

That was Mark Kenny Singer, eventually. 

00:06:38 Speaker 2 

But his father used to bring him down and he held him by the hands. 

00:06:42 Speaker 2 

And Art Holman was. 

00:06:45 Speaker 2 

One of the voices in the choir of a million voices. 

00:06:49 Speaker 1 

Which was less than a million. 

00:06:57 Speaker 1 

Nobody, nobody else in particular sticks out from CFC. 

00:07:06 Speaker 1 

Just incidentally, do you recall any connection of the station the station might have had with General Odlum? 

00:07:14 Speaker 2 

No, I only remember him through my army associations. 

00:07:19 Speaker 2 

But I don’t recall any. 

00:07:24 Speaker 1 

There’s a suggestion from the material we’ve unearthed that general auto actually starts to apply. 

00:07:32 Speaker 2 

Was he a member of the sect? 

00:07:35 Speaker 1 

I don’t believe so, but just sold it to them. 

00:07:36 Speaker 2 

I imagine it started as an independent, independent enterprise. 

00:07:40 Speaker 2 

He may have sold them the the license. 

00:07:42 Speaker 1 

Yeah, yeah, it’s possible. 

00:07:43 Speaker 1 

He was very cool in radio at one point. 

00:07:47 Speaker 2 

Yeah, that was a very interesting family because I am pretty sure that it was his brother. 

00:07:54 Speaker 2 

Who was the head of the British British Israelites? 

00:07:57 Speaker 2 

Professor odd. 

00:07:59 Speaker 2 

Who was essentially an archaeologist who had done a lot of. 

00:08:03 Speaker 2 

Of work in the Middle East. 

00:08:06 Speaker 2 

And came back eventually to occupy very large house. 

00:08:11 Speaker 2 

On the corner of Commercial Dr. 

00:08:14 Speaker 2 

and Gravely St. 

00:08:16 Speaker 2 

Wore a Vandyke beer as you’re very impressive looking man. 

00:08:22 Speaker 1 

The British visualises is. 

00:08:23 Speaker 1 

I mean, it’s popped up. 

00:08:29 Speaker 2 

And while they were completely separate. 

00:08:32 Speaker 2 

British British Israelites were based on the. 

00:08:32 Speaker 1 

They’re working. 

00:08:36 Speaker 2 


00:08:38 Speaker 2 

The survival in Britain of the Lost Tribe of Israel. 

00:08:46 Speaker 2 

And the word Brit or British? 

00:08:50 Speaker 2 

Came from the same source as beneath breath. 

00:08:53 Speaker 2 

The Jewish organization. 

00:08:54 Speaker 1 


00:08:59 Speaker 1 


00:08:59 Speaker 1 

Moving on from CFY C to CCD. 

00:09:04 Speaker 1 

Did you perform both on CK CD and on the Phantom station CHLS? 

00:09:09 Speaker 2 

Oh, yes, right. 

00:09:11 Speaker 2 

CLS was our commercial enterprise C KCV only entered the picture for news from Merle Kelly. 

00:09:18 Speaker 1 


00:09:19 Speaker 1 

And most of the commercial programming was on CHL. 

00:09:22 Speaker 2 

All of the commercial programs with CHLS. 

00:09:25 Speaker 1 

I’ve seen it listed that way in the Old Vancouver phone books, where one said news and one said commercial yes. 

00:09:32 Speaker 2 

We have quite a number of sponsors too. 

00:09:35 Speaker 2 

You know various enterprises which were then quite new to the city, like Dad’s cookies and. 

00:09:44 Speaker 2 

Shores Jewelers and they used a device which was. 

00:09:50 Speaker 2 

Does Christ begin to the truth? 

00:09:55 Speaker 2 

The optometrists, the optometrists at shores? 

00:09:59 Speaker 2 

Was Fred Higginbotham thumb. 

00:10:03 Speaker 2 

And they used a singer. 

00:10:05 Speaker 2 

By the name of Fred Higginbotham, so that there would be a confusion. 

00:10:11 Speaker 2 

And in fact the idea was that people would think it was the same person. 

00:10:16 Speaker 1 

Oh, I see. 

00:10:17 Speaker 2 

You know? The asks. 

00:10:20 Speaker 1 


00:10:22 Speaker 1 

At some point, did those two stations, I know they were, they were using the same transmitter in the same facilities, but after a certain time. 

00:10:30 Speaker 1 

CHLS’s name seems to disappear and CKCS’s name is all by itself. Is it possible that they merge their programming at some point and operated solely as CCD? 

00:10:42 Speaker 2 

It seems unlikely to me. 

00:10:44 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember anything except CHLS. 

00:10:48 Speaker 1 

And that would. 

00:10:48 Speaker 2 

Which was the station we work for. 

00:10:50 Speaker 1 

That would have carried through into the late 30s. 

00:10:52 Speaker 2 

Yes, that was with WG hassle. 

00:10:57 Speaker 2 

His wife was an equal partner in the company, but the equipment was financed. 

00:11:12 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember his name. 

00:11:13 Speaker 2 

He lived on Osmer Ave. 

00:11:16 Speaker 2 

His son has a real estate and insurance business on Dunbar. 

00:11:23 Speaker 2 

But he put up the money. 

00:11:25 Speaker 2 

So we used to see him quite often come down and have a look at his interests. 

00:11:29 Speaker 2 

Would it? 

00:11:30 Speaker 2 

That was the no. 

00:11:38 Speaker 2 

The operators name was Phil Abbott. 

00:11:43 Speaker 1 

He was he was the yes. 

00:11:47 Speaker 2 

And he was way up on the top floor. 

00:11:55 Speaker 1 

What was your impression of Billy Hassell? 

00:11:57 Speaker 1 

You heard him very well. 

00:12:00 Speaker 2 

Oh, I knew very well. 

00:12:02 Speaker 2 


00:12:06 Speaker 2 

Brief bluff. 

00:12:09 Speaker 2 

Sort of a happy fellow. 

00:12:11 Speaker 2 

And the only thing is you would insist on telling. 

00:12:16 Speaker 2 

In the in the middle of the sometimes public broadcasts from the Broadway theatre. 

00:12:22 Speaker 2 

We used to do some remotes just on sitting at a table and telling stories about collie dogs. 

00:12:29 Speaker 2 

With the idea, of course, of selling dogs and. 

00:12:31 Speaker 2 

Selling dog food. 

00:12:35 Speaker 2 

He also gave singing lessons in the daytime in the studio. 

00:12:41 Speaker 2 

I don’t know what his background was vocally. 

00:12:45 Speaker 2 

He was in the Navy in the First World War that I remember. 

00:12:49 Speaker 2 

The wife was a very, very charming woman. 

00:12:53 Speaker 2 

And I think they had a family of four. 

00:12:55 Speaker 2 

I know they have. 

00:12:55 Speaker 2 

One set of twins. 

00:12:59 Speaker 2 

But he was a very forceful character. 

00:13:04 Speaker 2 

Very convincing. 

00:13:05 Speaker 2 

He became very popular with Vancouver audiences. 

00:13:12 Speaker 1 

With the children particularly. 

00:13:15 Speaker 2 

I don’t know, but you know the kind of programs that he put on would would interest the a mass audience. 

00:13:25 Speaker 2 

You know, we had George Boyd and Myrtle Thompson. 

00:13:28 Speaker 2 

They sang all Scottish songs. 

00:13:33 Speaker 2 

And we had. 

00:13:34 Speaker 2 

Another fellow the name of Murphy saying Irish song was. 

00:13:39 Speaker 2 

And the merry makers provided the. 

00:13:44 Speaker 2 

Western music deal. 

00:13:48 Speaker 2 

I was trying to think about and we had a male quartet. 

00:13:54 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, the. 

00:13:56 Speaker 2 

Studio operator was one of the members of the quartet. 

00:14:02 Speaker 2 

And Fred Higgenbottom was in us. 

00:14:08 Speaker 2 

Harry McCready. 

00:14:10 Speaker 2 

He was the downstairs operator, but he also sang in the quartet. 

00:14:15 Speaker 1 

When you say downstairs operator. 

00:14:18 Speaker 2 

We had a control room downstairs. 

00:14:21 Speaker 1 

It was on a separate floor. 

00:14:22 Speaker 2 

From the studio? 

00:14:23 Speaker 2 

No on the same floor, right in the corner of. 

00:14:25 Speaker 2 

The studio. 

00:14:26 Speaker 1 

Oh, I see. 

00:14:30 Speaker 1 

You mentioned something about somebody financing the equipment did not did province? 

00:14:35 Speaker 1 

Own the equipment. 

00:14:38 Speaker 2 

You know the new equipment was. 

00:14:42 Speaker 2 

Put in. 

00:14:47 Speaker 2 

By a man from whom Hassle had to borrow the money. 

00:14:52 Speaker 1 

Would that have been involved with the creation of the Pacific Broadcasting? 

00:14:56 Speaker 2 

It could very well have been. 

00:14:57 Speaker 1 

Around 1933 or so. 

00:14:58 Speaker 2 

They could very well have been. 

00:15:00 Speaker 1 

I’ve seen pictures of some new equipment that was. 

00:15:02 Speaker 2 

Yes, yes. 

00:15:03 Speaker 1 

Free for the broadcast. 



00:15:05 Speaker 1 

So at that point, this province sort of was put into the background. 

00:15:10 Speaker 2 

Well, they still did their nightly news broadcasts and their Christmas. 

00:15:16 Speaker 1 


00:15:18 Speaker 2 

Well, I mean, there was only one set of equipment. 

00:15:19 Speaker 1 

That’s right. So. 

00:15:21 Speaker 1 

Originally, the province owned the equipment later on. 

00:15:22 Speaker 2 

And and that was also the beginning of what I mentioned to you is the Marconi round, Mike? 

00:15:30 Speaker 2 

Which was invented by a captain round in Britain. 

00:15:34 Speaker 2 

And it was supposed to be an I expect it was at that time an improvement. 

00:15:39 Speaker 2 

On the microphones we had used prior to that time. 

00:15:42 Speaker 1 

The carbon mics with. 

00:15:44 Speaker 2 

Well, I think the, the the Marconi round was still a carbon device. 

00:15:51 Speaker 2 

Because it still had to be pounded on the back. 

00:15:54 Speaker 2 

When it’s. 

00:15:56 Speaker 2 

Carbon granules packed to the point where we weren’t getting any use out of them. 

00:16:03 Speaker 1 

Yeah, I remember the mention of the round. 

00:16:04 Speaker 1 

Mic in the newspaper. 


Like that. 

00:16:10 Speaker 1 

Some of the people who performed on Ckcu D name that have encountered as the routine. 

00:16:16 Speaker 2 

Alan routon. 

00:16:17 Speaker 2 

Actually he was more he I played for Allen for years, but he was more. 

00:16:25 Speaker 2 

Possibly well known. 

00:16:28 Speaker 2 

With his British Empire program on CMO. 

00:16:31 Speaker 1 

Which was later taken over by Billy Brown. 

00:16:33 Speaker 2 

That’s right, yes. 

00:16:35 Speaker 2 

But he was more closely identified with that record program and we had. 

00:16:44 Speaker 2 

A man and his mother. 

00:16:48 Speaker 2 

They had a comedy routine called Millie and Lizzie. 

00:16:52 Speaker 2 

The cockney charladies. 

00:16:55 Speaker 1 

Was that Jack Ammon Rotary one or the other? 

00:16:58 Speaker 2 

Yes, yeah, the, the the second name was taken on later and. 

00:17:08 Speaker 1 

And they were they performed on CCHL. 

00:17:11 Speaker 2 

Yes, and secam whole latterly they’re very popular act. 

00:17:17 Speaker 1 

She died just recently at some rather. 

00:17:20 Speaker 2 

She would be older, yes. Is Jack’s mother would be very, very old. 

00:17:29 Speaker 2 

Bill Buckingham, who was a lawyer who never practiced. 

00:17:33 Speaker 2 

I think he graduated from Osgoode Hall. 

00:17:36 Speaker 2 

Why he didn’t practice, I don’t know. 

00:17:39 Speaker 2 

But he was in a series called Marston, and all the Mounties. 

00:17:44 Speaker 1 

That was my next question. 

00:17:46 Speaker 2 

Oh, I remember very well. 

00:17:49 Speaker 2 

I used to announce that show and also used to do the. 

00:17:55 Speaker 2 

The opening of the show, which is an imitation of horse whose which you did by pounding on you. 

00:18:05 Speaker 1 

Putting in your check. 

00:18:09 Speaker 2 

That was a long running series which I can’t remember ever got it anywhere. 

00:18:18 Speaker 1 

Missus Routon, who was interviewed by one of my colleagues before she died, recollects. 

00:18:24 Speaker 1 

That that show was. 

00:18:25 Speaker 1 

Alan Rotten was involved with that. 

00:18:28 Speaker 2 

Could very well have been. 

00:18:29 Speaker 1 

And Alan young. 

00:18:31 Speaker 2 

Alan young. 

00:18:35 Speaker 1 

Kimber who? 

00:18:36 Speaker 1 

Who do you hear? 

00:18:38 Speaker 2 

I do remember who wrote it. 

00:18:41 Speaker 1 


00:18:41 Speaker 2 

I don’t think anybody would admit. 

00:18:45 Speaker 2 

It was pretty dreary. 

00:18:49 Speaker 1 

What did the the cereal for children? 

00:18:51 Speaker 2 

Yeah. Yeah, well, you know, it was for adults as well. We didn’t specialize, really. In children’s programs, we were selling stuff. 

00:19:02 Speaker 2 

And children were considered to know no. 

00:19:04 Speaker 1 

They didn’t have money, so. 

00:19:08 Speaker 1 

Yeah, that’s. 

00:19:08 Speaker 1 

That’s interesting that you should say that because, oh, I guess this has been a. 

00:19:14 Speaker 2 

RESP is operating. 

00:19:22 Speaker 1 

In one of these books as. 

00:19:25 Speaker 1 

The Children’s program director at CJR in 1927 does. 

00:19:29 Speaker 1 

That sound likely. 

00:19:32 Speaker 2 

Could well have been because there were two children who were working with me and they were the they were the the owners, sisters. 

00:19:39 Speaker 1 

Oh, I see. 

00:19:41 Speaker 1 

The Chandler. 

00:19:42 Speaker 2 

Yeah, George Chandler. 


What can you? 

00:19:48 Speaker 1 

Tell me about the background of the Kalangis family. 

00:19:52 Speaker 2 

Their father died when they were all very young. 

00:19:57 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, there’s a. 

00:20:00 Speaker 2 

Coincidence. My father, who? 

00:20:05 Speaker 2 

Came to Vancouver when he was about, I suppose, five years of age. 

00:20:10 Speaker 2 

His father brought the family from medicine hats. 

00:20:14 Speaker 2 

And my grandfather was the. 

00:20:16 Speaker 2 

First Superintendent of Stanley Park. 

00:20:19 Speaker 2 

And my father, when he left home, when she did at an early age. 

00:20:23 Speaker 2 

Because he had such a hatred. 

00:20:26 Speaker 2 

Toward his Scottish stepmother. 

00:20:32 Speaker 2 

He went to work for the City Water Department and he used to eat. 

00:20:36 Speaker 2 

At my father in law’s restaurant. 

00:20:41 Speaker 2 

Before the my wife’s father. 

00:20:46 Speaker 2 

Who was married and the girls in those days were brought from Greece. 

00:20:54 Speaker 2 

And sort of matched up with somebody who was already successful in business, presumably, and this arrangement was made and. 

00:21:03 Speaker 2 

Girls were brought to Seattle. 

00:21:08 Speaker 2 

My mother-in-law. 

00:21:12 Speaker 2 

Mr. glanges. 

00:21:15 Speaker 2 

And so when he died, my mother-in-law was left with see this, uh, starting from the young this there was Ethel Helen. 

00:21:31 Speaker 2 

Mary Angelina George in Geneva with six children. 

00:21:38 Speaker 2 

And so. 

00:21:40 Speaker 2 

And this was fairly normal in the European situation. 

00:21:49 Speaker 2 

My mother-in-law’s brother took over the family. 

00:21:55 Speaker 2 

I don’t know how he came to. 

00:21:56 Speaker 2 

A point that. 

00:21:58 Speaker 2 

He thought that the family might be usefully employed in making money. 

00:22:04 Speaker 2 

For one thing, they were not allowed to go to English school before they were about seven or eight years of age because they had to learn Greek language 1st, and then they I don’t know where he got the money from, but they purchased mandolins, violins and a cello, and they all learned to play piano. 

00:22:12 Speaker 1 

Oh, I see. 

00:22:25 Speaker 2 

And they were formed into an act. 

00:22:28 Speaker 2 

And I think the first thing that my brother-in-law, George did, he won the Peabody Prize at the Pantages Theater. 

00:22:38 Speaker 2 

Which was a banjo. 

00:22:40 Speaker 2 

For playing banjo. 

00:22:43 Speaker 2 

But he was a marvelous mandolinist. 

00:22:46 Speaker 2 

Played all the standard violin repertoire concerti, Mendelson, Benioff, ski and the like. 

00:22:53 Speaker 2 

And they I think they started out at the Pantages because, of course. 

00:22:59 Speaker 2 

Alexander Pantages was a Greek. 

00:23:01 Speaker 2 

Who had made his money in a very peculiar way up in the Yukon. 

00:23:05 Speaker 2 

He worked behind the bar, but primarily after the bar closed. 

00:23:10 Speaker 2 

And they had a kind of a greeting over the floor, which could be lifted up. 

00:23:17 Speaker 2 

And then you could clean underneath it. 

00:23:20 Speaker 2 

And he cleaned up enough gold off the floor underneath the gratings at night. 

00:23:27 Speaker 2 

To start the Pantages theater circuit. 

00:23:32 Speaker 2 

So pantages. 

00:23:33 Speaker 1 

Even more. 

00:23:34 Speaker 1 

Most big cities. 

00:23:36 Speaker 2 

So Pantages was the 1st. 

00:23:39 Speaker 2 

Place they played then they. 

00:23:42 Speaker 2 

But he got the brilliant idea of going down to Hollywood and they did very well there. 

00:23:47 Speaker 2 

They were a staff group on at KNX in Hollywood. 

00:23:52 Speaker 2 

And they played. 

00:23:57 Speaker 2 

$1,000,000 theater and the Hillside Country Club. 

00:24:01 Speaker 2 

Primarily the. 

00:24:04 Speaker 2 

Accent was on Latin American music. 

00:24:08 Speaker 2 

They had a Latin American dancer and a Latin American singer with them. 

00:24:13 Speaker 2 

And they dressed in Spanish costumes. 

00:24:17 Speaker 2 

And there really is built an excellent reputation. 

00:24:22 Speaker 2 

They played all over California and then. 

00:24:26 Speaker 2 

When Hoover was president. 

00:24:28 Speaker 2 

He brought in a law. 

00:24:31 Speaker 2 

Which has something to do with immigration, and I think they were given a shorter time as 48 hours to leave California. 

00:24:41 Speaker 2 

Then they came back to Vancouver. 

00:24:44 Speaker 2 

And that was when they, of course, they were looking for a job. 

00:24:49 Speaker 2 

And they found this job as a group. 

00:24:52 Speaker 2 


00:24:55 Speaker 2 

With hassle. 

00:24:59 Speaker 1 


00:25:00 Speaker 2 

I’ll play everything. 

00:25:02 Speaker 1 

When would they return from? 

00:25:04 Speaker 1 

From Hollywood, do you? 

00:25:04 Speaker 2 

Think I’m not at all certain of the date. 

00:25:08 Speaker 2 

Yes, it will be then. 

00:25:12 Speaker 1 

I’ve have a description here. 

00:25:16 Speaker 1 

By man named Laurie Urban. 

00:25:18 Speaker 2 

I know Laurie. 

00:25:20 Speaker 2 

Where was he awx? 

00:25:22 Speaker 1 

Yeah, he was a wreck for you. 

00:25:24 Speaker 2 

Yeah, I have known him for years. 



00:25:28 Speaker 1 

He says. 

00:25:30 Speaker 1 

At the end of Earl Kelly’s newscast, they signed off and paused 30 seconds and introduced the same transmitter with new call letters, and then proceeded to do live music programs for the next couple of hours with a wonderful music outfit called the Kalangis Family. 

00:25:44 Speaker 1 

George Colanders and a bunch of his brothers and sisters. 

00:25:46 Speaker 2 

No brothers. 

00:25:49 Speaker 2 

He was the only boy. 

00:25:55 Speaker 1 

And John Avison, who played the organ and piano. 

00:25:58 Speaker 1 

The others played mandolins and guitars and violins. 

00:26:02 Speaker 1 

They do 1/2 hour show as the gypsy violins and they do another half hour show with the guitars. 

00:26:07 Speaker 1 

Then they do 1/2 hour organ recital with John Avison while they had a rest. Then they come back and play some other instruments as a completely new ensemble. 

00:26:16 Speaker 2 

He’s got a memory, but the guitars Rd. 



00:26:18 Speaker 2 

They didn’t play guitars, no banjos. 

00:26:30 Speaker 2 

Good memory as Lori. 

00:26:32 Speaker 1 

That’s more or less accurate, is it? 

00:26:35 Speaker 1 

He seems to suggest that the clan dances, and you were very large part of the. 

00:26:40 Speaker 1 

Programming on the. 

00:26:41 Speaker 2 

Station that we were it? 

00:26:44 Speaker 1 

Other than the Martin of the mountain. 

00:26:46 Speaker 2 

Yes, and. 

00:26:48 Speaker 2 

And giving the time signals and. 

00:26:51 Speaker 2 

Making commercial announcements writing continuity. 

00:26:56 Speaker 1 

Was that? 

00:26:57 Speaker 2 

Counting dog food. 

00:27:00 Speaker 1 

Where how does the counting? 

00:27:01 Speaker 1 

Dog food, part of it, come in. 

00:27:04 Speaker 2 

This formula, which is supposed to be the invention of hassle, was called Dale’s Doggie dinner. His kennel was Dale’s. 

00:27:17 Speaker 2 

From an imported dog. 

00:27:22 Speaker 2 

And I think I don’t know who made this. 

00:27:25 Speaker 2 

Dog food up. 

00:27:27 Speaker 2 

Be some packing plant around town. 

00:27:33 Speaker 2 

He sold it personally to stores. 

00:27:37 Speaker 2 

And my job was to go around on Saturdays and count the stock. 

00:27:40 Speaker 2 

See how much they needed. 

00:27:42 Speaker 1 

That was part of being it being a. 

00:27:44 Speaker 2 

Yeah, that that was the music director. 

00:27:50 Speaker 2 

Sure they will. 

00:27:53 Speaker 1 

Was it was it sharing the wealth or? 

00:27:55 Speaker 2 

No, I it was a monthly pay. 

00:27:59 Speaker 2 

It was minute. 

00:28:08 Speaker 1 

Were you on? 

00:28:08 Speaker 1 

Would you have been on CHLS every night of the week or? 

00:28:13 Speaker 1 

Yes, every weeknight and. 

00:28:15 Speaker 1 

Weekend as well. 

00:28:15 Speaker 2 

Except yeah, I don’t. 

00:28:17 Speaker 2 

I think we were not. 

00:28:19 Speaker 2 

Broadcasting on Sundays. 

00:28:22 Speaker 2 

I’m pretty sure we weren’t because. 

00:28:25 Speaker 2 

By that time, I was subbing around town playing church organ. 

00:28:30 Speaker 2 

Now that are playing organ at the Strand Theatre for some evangelists. 

00:28:36 Speaker 1 

Would that have included any sample MacPherson? 

00:28:40 Speaker 2 

No, she she was down to five if I recall rightly, either at the arena or the Georgia Auditorium. 

00:28:48 Speaker 2 

No, my evangelists all held forth at the Strand Theater, which was then the Allen Theater. 

00:28:55 Speaker 1 

Is that still around or? 

00:28:57 Speaker 2 

No, it was torn down. 

00:29:01 Speaker 2 

Seemed more and gramble on Georgia St. 

00:29:05 Speaker 2 

Krashin Hudson Bay. 

00:29:06 Speaker 1 

A lot of theaters around then. 

00:29:12 Speaker 1 

Anything else you can? 

00:29:13 Speaker 1 

Add to the story of the Clan Deces in brief. 

00:29:16 Speaker 2 

Or they were extremely popular. 

00:29:18 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, when they were very, very gifted. 

00:29:21 Speaker 2 

No doubt about it, I can’t understand how well what happened because of the economic situation of the family at the time. 

00:29:31 Speaker 2 

One girl would take lessons on violin and teach all the rest of the family violin. 

00:29:40 Speaker 2 

One would, like George, would take mandolin. 

00:29:44 Speaker 2 

He would teach the rest of the family mandolin. 

00:29:49 Speaker 2 

Geneva was the official pianist. 

00:29:51 Speaker 2 

She was the eldest of the family and she taught them all piano. 

00:29:58 Speaker 2 

I think George, of course, was also the. 

00:30:02 Speaker 2 

Got the bulk of the banjo lessons? 

00:30:05 Speaker 2 

They continued taking lessons. 

00:30:06 Speaker 2 

When they got to California. 

00:30:11 Speaker 2 

Their most talented and of course, realized that they were the sole support of both their uncle and their mother. 

00:30:21 Speaker 2 

So in consequence. 

00:30:22 Speaker 2 

Of that, they work very, very hard. 

00:30:25 Speaker 1 

Beyond a certain point, a certain time period they did that sort of. 

00:30:30 Speaker 1 

Taper off after C came to CD. 

00:30:32 Speaker 1 

Went close down. 

00:30:36 Speaker 2 

Oh, they continue to work, you know, theaters and for things like the. 

00:30:44 Speaker 2 

Folk Festival and that sort of thing. 

00:30:47 Speaker 2 

But then? 

00:30:47 Speaker 1 

How how late would that have gone on? 

00:30:50 Speaker 2 

Oh, I don’t know. We were married when 1940. 

00:30:59 Speaker 2 

So I think marriage actually. 

00:31:02 Speaker 2 

Broke up that whole gang line. 

00:31:06 Speaker 2 

And George was married and Hazel. 

00:31:10 Speaker 2 

Helen Geneva. 

00:31:12 Speaker 2 

They were all married and that. 

00:31:14 Speaker 2 

Spelled the end of the family, Ethel course was married in California and now lives in Arizona. 

00:31:22 Speaker 2 

Helen moved up the coast. 

00:31:27 Speaker 2 

Squamish or seashell? 

00:31:30 Speaker 2 

And so actually marriage plus movements and geographically. 

00:31:37 Speaker 2 

Broke up the family idea. 

00:31:39 Speaker 1 

I see. 

00:31:41 Speaker 2 

But my wife still and her sister still continue to play in the Vancouver Symphony. 

00:31:54 Speaker 1 

I am. 

00:31:58 Speaker 1 

Did the the group and you were though you weren’t part of the family, you you sort of an integral part of this group you performed with them. 

00:32:08 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, we all rehearsed it. 

00:32:10 Speaker 2 

The Kalangis apartment on Sundays. 

00:32:15 Speaker 2 

And I conducted and. 

00:32:17 Speaker 2 

Played the piano, filled in wherever I could. 

00:32:20 Speaker 2 

But we would rehearse the material for the following week or some new pieces which they didn’t have in their repertoire, had an enormous repertoire. 

00:32:30 Speaker 2 

By the time they came back from from California. 

00:32:33 Speaker 1 

Because they would have picked up. 

00:32:34 Speaker 1 

The popular music group. 

00:32:36 Speaker 1 

She wouldn’t. 

00:32:36 Speaker 2 

Yeah, well, not pop. 

00:32:38 Speaker 2 

I don’t think they ever played pop music. 

00:32:40 Speaker 1 

They’re more traditional. 

00:32:42 Speaker 2 

More traditional Greek, Latin American. 

00:32:51 Speaker 2 

This was the bulk of their repertoire. 

00:32:57 Speaker 1 

We’re there are there are a lot of people in Vancouver at that time of that caliber of talent. 

00:33:01 Speaker 1 

So that is why they had sort of. 

00:33:03 Speaker 1 

A sort of a monopoly. 

00:33:04 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, it was. 

00:33:06 Speaker 2 

And the idea of the family and as far as appearing in public was concerned, the fact that costumes had been made for them, very likely in California. 

00:33:16 Speaker 2 

Added to the picture on the stage. 

00:33:21 Speaker 2 

It was a very, very attractive group. 

00:33:24 Speaker 2 

I I wish as a matter of fact, that he was still in the condition to be able to have a chat with you, because the man who knew them best was the then conductor at the Pantages, but he’s confined. 

00:33:38 Speaker 2 

To a nursing home up on 41st, he was a violinist, conductor with the name of Frank Maracci. 

00:33:45 Speaker 2 

But I understand that he is not competent to. 

00:33:50 Speaker 2 

Remember anything these days? 

00:33:53 Speaker 2 

It’s very elderly. 

00:33:54 Speaker 2 

But he would remember the there’s the family. 

00:33:58 Speaker 2 

I remember that picture very well. 

00:34:00 Speaker 1 

Yeah, this was pulled out. 

00:34:01 Speaker 1 

Of the province, yeah. 

00:34:04 Speaker 1 

Could you tell me who’s? 

00:34:04 Speaker 1 

Who in that? 

00:34:05 Speaker 1 

Picture yeah from say start from left to. 

00:34:07 Speaker 1 


00:34:07 Speaker 1 

So I can get it on the page. 

00:34:15 Speaker 2 

Will you have my glasses? 

00:34:21 Speaker 2 

Reading from left to right, this picture shows Geneva. 

00:34:27 Speaker 2 

My wife, Angelina. 

00:34:35 Speaker 2 

And Mary? 

00:34:37 Speaker 1 

You said that was quite an old picture when. 

00:34:39 Speaker 1 

Would that date back to? 

00:34:43 Speaker 2 

I think this may have been. 

00:34:47 Speaker 2 

I don’t know if it could have been taken. 

00:34:51 Speaker 2 

Before they went to California. 

00:34:59 Speaker 2 

Was it was one of the uses of publicity picture when they came back. 

00:35:02 Speaker 1 

Yeah, it has the look of the publicity. 

00:35:07 Speaker 1 

It sort of implied in that quote I read to you from from Laurie Grugan that he sort of implies there that they performed under different names to give the impression that they were different groups. 

00:35:20 Speaker 2 

No, no. 

00:35:21 Speaker 1 

It was always made clear that this was the clan. 

00:35:23 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:35:25 Speaker 1 

So that people would TuneIn to to see ACD specifically, to hear the client just. 

00:35:28 Speaker 2 

I don’t. 

00:35:31 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:35:34 Speaker 2 

And it was. 

00:35:37 Speaker 2 

A good idea frankly to. 

00:35:40 Speaker 2 

Use the same family name to exhibit the versatility of this group. 

00:35:47 Speaker 2 

You know, by having them play violins and banjos and mandolins was rather an advantage. 

00:35:55 Speaker 1 

Please close the door here. 

00:36:04 Speaker 2 

There’s nothing will stop that dog. 

00:36:11 Speaker 1 

Do you have any specific recollections about CJOR and the Chandlers? 

00:36:18 Speaker 2 

No specific recollection of groceries they were. 

00:36:23 Speaker 2 

In the Saint Julian apartment hotel, now The Ritz, and they charge their batteries in the kitchen of the apartment they occupied one apartment. 

00:36:34 Speaker 2 

And they had an ampico little player piano in there. 

00:36:39 Speaker 2 

And they had a. 

00:36:40 Speaker 2 

I think by this time there may have even had an electric gramophone. 

00:36:44 Speaker 2 

But I’m not sure. 

00:36:48 Speaker 2 

But one program I remember where George Chandler’s two sisters sang duets was for the Goodwill Industries. 

00:36:58 Speaker 2 

I don’t think we were getting any money out of that. 

00:37:01 Speaker 2 

There was an operation of from in a fire hall on Vernon Drive to employ. 

00:37:09 Speaker 2 

Unemployed people. 

00:37:12 Speaker 2 

You know repairing. 

00:37:14 Speaker 2 

Boots and shoes clothing, yes. 

00:37:16 Speaker 1 

Today, would you have played piano? 

00:37:19 Speaker 1 

For that. 

00:37:22 Speaker 1 

Do you remember anybody else who was on? 

00:37:27 Speaker 2 

Well, there were a number of brothers. 

00:37:31 Speaker 2 

Connected with that organization. 

00:37:33 Speaker 2 

Who was the chief operator? 

00:37:35 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember his name. 

00:37:39 Speaker 2 

There was an uncle. 

00:37:41 Speaker 2 

I don’t know what he did. 

00:37:42 Speaker 2 

I all I can recall about him. 

00:37:45 Speaker 2 

Was that he sat at a table in the other office and rolled cigarettes. 

00:37:49 Speaker 2 

I don’t know what other functions he has. 

00:37:52 Speaker 1 

Were these all Chandlers? 

00:37:55 Speaker 1 

These brothers, you said these were all would be George and Arthur. 

00:38:00 Speaker 2 

Arthur, right. 

00:38:01 Speaker 1 

Was he the chief operator and there was a? 

00:38:04 Speaker 2 

Tall Jeb. 

00:38:06 Speaker 2 

Yeah, there was another brother, but if I recall rightly. 

00:38:12 Speaker 2 

He had suffered some brain damage. 

00:38:14 Speaker 2 

But he was around the station a good deal, and their mother, Georgia’s mother, who I think very likely owned the station. 

00:38:25 Speaker 2 

She came around very often. 

00:38:27 Speaker 2 

She was the. 

00:38:29 Speaker 2 

Sort of head lady of the organization. 

00:38:33 Speaker 2 

Very charming lady. 

00:38:34 Speaker 2 

I remember very, very well. 

00:38:37 Speaker 1 

And George managed this nation. 

00:38:41 Speaker 1 

We are involved in selling advertising. 

00:38:43 Speaker 1 

For them at all. 

00:38:44 Speaker 2 

Never, no. 

00:38:47 Speaker 1 


00:38:50 Speaker 1 

Where you wrote, they’re transmitted. 

00:38:52 Speaker 2 

Never, no. 

00:38:52 Speaker 1 

There’s some funny stories about their transmitter. 

00:38:55 Speaker 2 

And I never, ever saw it. 

00:38:57 Speaker 1 

Tied to a tree. 

00:39:00 Speaker 1 

The pattern would change and every time the tide went up, the station went off the air. 

00:39:05 Speaker 1 

Because of the grounding. 

00:39:07 Speaker 2 

Quite possible. 

00:39:07 Speaker 1 

Yeah, doesn’t seem. 

00:39:09 Speaker 1 

Doesn’t seem too unlikely, but. 

00:39:10 Speaker 2 

Oh no. 

00:39:12 Speaker 1 


00:39:15 Speaker 1 

What about any specific memories you might have with regard to C KWX? 


Sparks is. 

00:39:24 Speaker 2 

All I recall of those very early days. 

00:39:28 Speaker 2 

And that’s garage. 

00:39:33 Speaker 2 

I don’t think it was a second floor. 

00:39:35 Speaker 2 

It was just a section of the building and might have been a corner. 

00:39:38 Speaker 2 

I know that you had to go up to the studio by stairs. 

00:39:42 Speaker 1 

And the transmitter was there too. 

00:39:43 Speaker 2 

Wasn’t it? 

00:39:44 Speaker 2 

I think it was, yes. 

00:39:47 Speaker 2 

But that was for the Greater Vancouver Radio League. 

00:39:52 Speaker 2 

And every time you played you, they gave you a certificate with your name on. 

00:39:57 Speaker 2 

I’m not certain what what those were for, but. 

00:40:02 Speaker 2 

In lieu of payment, very likely. 

00:40:05 Speaker 1 

Would that have been where you made your start or? 

00:40:07 Speaker 1 

That was that CG or what? 

00:40:08 Speaker 2 

Oh, I think so. 

00:40:09 Speaker 2 

Yes, that would be about as early as my. 

00:40:13 Speaker 2 

First appearance in radio. 

00:40:16 Speaker 1 

Do you remember any of the people who would have been around then Paulson and? 

00:40:21 Speaker 2 

Harold Paulson I knew for years and years at WX when they were in the Georgia, and then he came to CBC as a commercial department. 

00:40:34 Speaker 1 

He was there for quite some time. 

00:40:35 Speaker 2 

Oh, yes, right up until his retirement. 

00:40:43 Speaker 2 

Because he’s still the boat. 



00:40:48 Speaker 2 

Oh, he’s a good egg. 

00:40:50 Speaker 1 

Yeah, I’ve never met him myself. 

00:40:52 Speaker 2 

Yeah, he had a very nice sort of a small farm establishment up near King George Hwy. 

00:41:00 Speaker 2 

I think they will have moved by now. 

00:41:02 Speaker 1 


00:41:02 Speaker 2 

They used to be on Oak Street and I can remember I bought a brand new Nash. 

00:41:09 Speaker 2 

For less, for about $900. 

00:41:13 Speaker 2 

And that included the air conditioning unit. 

00:41:17 Speaker 2 

And the reason I happened to buy this car was one of our sponsors on CHLS were the Johnson brothers who were in the car business on Main Street. 

00:41:31 Speaker 2 

When I drove this car road to visit the paulsons when they were on Oak St. 

00:41:37 Speaker 2 

And I came out. 

00:41:39 Speaker 2 

And I couldn’t see the car I had parked across the street. 

00:41:43 Speaker 2 

And I had left it obviously in neutral and the brake had slipped and thank God, instead of hitting a telephone pole. 

00:41:52 Speaker 2 

It had stopped just at the edge of a bank. 

00:41:56 Speaker 2 

Most terrifying experience brand new car. 

00:42:02 Speaker 1 

Had you bought the car or you got? 

00:42:03 Speaker 1 

It on Contra. 

00:42:04 Speaker 2 

No, bought it. 

00:42:07 Speaker 2 

I don’t know how long it took me to pay for it. 

00:42:09 Speaker 1 

That was the exception rather than the rule. 

00:42:09 Speaker 2 

I certainly didn’t pay. 

00:42:10 Speaker 2 

I certainly didn’t pay cash, but I picked it right up. 

00:42:15 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact from I think the railway station. 

00:42:20 Speaker 2 

And then drove it to John’s. 

00:42:22 Speaker 1 


00:42:23 Speaker 1 

So it’s really new. 

00:42:26 Speaker 1 


00:42:31 Speaker 1 

Did you know many of the cjax staff like Fred Bass or? 

00:42:34 Speaker 2 

Fred bass. 

00:42:35 Speaker 2 

I I see Fred Bass every New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. 

00:42:40 Speaker 2 

He comes down and plays piano with a friend of mine. 

00:42:43 Speaker 2 

And who was my former commanding officer, Fred Eaton. 

00:42:47 Speaker 2 

And Fred Bass plays at Fred Eaton’s house every New Year’s Day. 

00:42:53 Speaker 2 

So at least I see him once a year. 

00:42:56 Speaker 2 

We were very. 

00:42:58 Speaker 2 

Good friends. 

00:43:00 Speaker 2 

And I can remember. 

00:43:03 Speaker 2 

Her breeders dad. 

00:43:05 Speaker 2 

Reading his poetry. 

00:43:07 Speaker 2 

On C KWX. 

00:43:10 Speaker 1 

That was a Western Canada Radio news program and. 

00:43:14 Speaker 2 

Could be I’m not quite certain whether read yeah reader did publish the magazine. 

00:43:20 Speaker 2 

But he had a poetry program and there was a peculiar arrangement when CWX was on Seymour St. 

00:43:30 Speaker 2 

upstairs, across from Clarkson Stewarts. 

00:43:35 Speaker 2 

They had another set of call letters for Sunday morning. 

00:43:40 Speaker 2 

For the United Church broadcasts. 

00:43:45 Speaker 2 

So this was another sort of a phantom station. 

00:43:47 Speaker 1 

I think I know what you mean. They’re on the same frequency they were from Chalmers United 112 and. 

00:43:53 Speaker 2 

Yes, yes. 

00:43:55 Speaker 1 

And then. 

00:43:57 Speaker 1 

Yeah, I’ve heard about that one. 

00:44:01 Speaker 1 

So you’re performing live on ckcu D and on CRCD at this time where you you were, you were working on CRC soloist and you were conducting. 

00:44:12 Speaker 1 

Were there a lot of other artists who were making a living doing that kind of thing? 

00:44:17 Speaker 2 

Yeah, there was a girl. 

00:44:18 Speaker 2 

I played two piano things with well 2 girls. 

00:44:22 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, one was Eileen Robertson, who was a very excellent pianist and another was Norma Abernathy. 

00:44:31 Speaker 2 

We had. 

00:44:33 Speaker 2 

22 piano seams and then I worked playing piano for Percy Harvey. 

00:44:41 Speaker 2 

On programs like music from the Pacific. 

00:44:47 Speaker 2 

And I had a program on Sunday, the romance of Sacred Song. 

00:44:54 Speaker 1 

Is that a choral program? 

00:44:56 Speaker 2 

Yeah, well, quartet, including a fellow named Art Jones. 

00:45:03 Speaker 2 

Who was, I think, a photographer? 

00:45:07 Speaker 2 

By profession later on in his career. 

00:45:11 Speaker 2 

We had a boy at. 

00:45:14 Speaker 2 

At the CHLS. 

00:45:19 Speaker 2 

Who was a brother of? 

00:45:21 Speaker 2 

The now manager of. 

00:45:26 Speaker 2 

CTV in Vancouver. 

00:45:29 Speaker 2 

Do you recall his name, Ray? 

00:45:35 Speaker 2 

Somebody rather, but anyway, this little boy played banjo and sang, and we used to stand in on a stool. 

00:45:43 Speaker 2 

We have quite a number of very young kids who are working primarily, I’m because. 

00:45:51 Speaker 2 

Hassell was very careful with the buck. 

00:45:54 Speaker 2 

So he got as many free children as he possibly could on. 

00:45:58 Speaker 1 

And these were his. 

00:45:59 Speaker 1 

Like his youth, perhaps. 

00:46:03 Speaker 1 

Jimber uncle Billy straight shooters. 

00:46:06 Speaker 1 

Does that ring a bell? 

00:46:09 Speaker 1 

Program called Uncle Billy, Straight Chilies. 

00:46:11 Speaker 2 

No, I don’t remember that at all. 

00:46:14 Speaker 1 

Perhaps that’s. 

00:46:16 Speaker 1 


00:46:19 Speaker 1 

Children’s programming. 

00:46:22 Speaker 1 

He was the most outstanding thing. 

00:46:24 Speaker 1 

About half of us. 

00:46:25 Speaker 1 

His dogs told stories about dogs. 

00:46:27 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:46:29 Speaker 2 

Yes, war riding breaks most of the time. 

00:46:34 Speaker 1 

What was that? 

00:46:35 Speaker 2 

War riding bricks and riding boots. 

00:46:38 Speaker 1 

So, like quite an eccentric figure. 

00:46:40 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, I agree, large man. 

00:46:48 Speaker 1 

Before we started taping, you told me about mercy. 

00:46:52 Speaker 1 

Started to tell me. 

00:46:53 Speaker 2 

About Oh yes. 

00:46:56 Speaker 2 

Falling in love with one of the members of the female seeing group. 

00:47:02 Speaker 2 

In fact the. 

00:47:06 Speaker 2 

Mentioning it to the management of the station, he ran off with her. 

00:47:10 Speaker 2 

Her first name was Doreen. 

00:47:12 Speaker 2 

Well, I remember that I also remember that she was very beautiful. 

00:47:18 Speaker 2 

But I can’t remember her last name. 

00:47:19 Speaker 1 

And he was the assistant program director, or the program director at the station. 

00:47:23 Speaker 2 

Yes, but he just he just nipped off. 

00:47:27 Speaker 2 

Love conquered all. 

00:47:34 Speaker 2 

Yes, yeah, I wrote. 

00:47:37 Speaker 2 

Wrote music. 

00:47:40 Speaker 2 

For the backgrounds for dramas. 

00:47:44 Speaker 2 

As I did for Andrew while he was in Vancouver. 

00:47:48 Speaker 1 

Program called Chains of circumstance. 

00:47:51 Speaker 2 

That was where Frank Vivian. 

00:47:54 Speaker 2 

Pull the big, heavy chain across the studio. 

00:47:58 Speaker 2 

The piano was at full stake. 

00:48:01 Speaker 2 

And chew Judith, thieve. 

00:48:02 Speaker 2 

And I would hold down the petals with my foot. 

Part 2


00:00:02 Speaker 2 

And Judith, even I would hold down the petals with my foot and Judith even would scream into the piano. 

00:00:10 Speaker 2 

And you got the reverb of all the strings. 

00:00:13 Speaker 2 

It was quite a. 

00:00:15 Speaker 2 

A thrilling and unnerving sound. 

00:00:20 Speaker 1 

Was that McLeod idea? 

00:00:23 Speaker 2 

I had a feeling as a matter of fact that already because Judith Evelyn was there, that Andrew Allen was involved. 

00:00:30 Speaker 1 

Yeah, I thought. I thought that might be the case too, but as far as I know, he didn’t come until 39 and the. 

00:00:35 Speaker 1 

Frog was there like 36? I think, wasn’t he? 

00:00:37 Speaker 2 

Yes. Yeah. 

00:00:39 Speaker 1 

I I was wondering that if. 

00:00:41 Speaker 1 

If you are sure if. 

00:00:42 Speaker 1 

You, even if it might not have. 

00:00:43 Speaker 1 

Been Rita Rita Laverne. 

00:00:46 Speaker 1 

Because she worked with him. 

00:00:48 Speaker 1 

In trail with using that Ghost Bar. 

00:00:50 Speaker 2 

No, I remember the writer of Romance’s Secret song, and he was Estelle Fox. 

00:01:01 Speaker 1 

What was change of circumstance? 

00:01:02 Speaker 1 

Was it sort of a shadow type of thing? 

00:01:08 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember who was writing at that time. 

00:01:11 Speaker 2 

It might have even been Fletcher Markel, in which case. 

00:01:18 Speaker 2 

It could have even been the adaptation of a whole novel in. 

00:01:24 Speaker 2 

Various segments. 

00:01:26 Speaker 2 

You know, going on week after week, I remember we did Jane Eyre, and I remember that Fletcher Markel wrote the adaptation to that. 

00:01:34 Speaker 2 

Alan Young was writing adaptations at that time. 

00:01:38 Speaker 1 

Would that have been part of change of circumstance, or would they have been different dramatic? 

00:01:41 Speaker 2 

Programs I’m not sure of the concept of change of circumstance. 

00:01:45 Speaker 1 

It sounds like it would be kind of. 

00:01:46 Speaker 1 

A thriller kind of thing, because twilight. 

00:01:49 Speaker 2 

I can’t remember. 

00:01:51 Speaker 1 

MacLeod seems to have had a penchant for those. 

00:01:53 Speaker 1 

Kinds of things. 

00:01:54 Speaker 1 

Can you everything? 

00:01:55 Speaker 1 

Anything about MacLeod himself as a person? 

00:02:00 Speaker 2 

Yes, very, very blonde. 

00:02:03 Speaker 2 

And very pale. 

00:02:12 Speaker 2 

He certainly seemed to know his business as far as directing drama was concerned. 

00:02:18 Speaker 2 

Did it, if I recall right, you did a very good job in the booth. 

00:02:25 Speaker 2 

Did a very good job on the floor too, obviously. 

00:02:29 Speaker 1 

Do you know anything about his? 

00:02:31 Speaker 2 

Nothing at all. 

00:02:32 Speaker 2 

He came to us and. 

00:02:35 Speaker 2 

We never, as far as I remember, never discovered what his background was. 

00:02:39 Speaker 1 

I heard somewhere that he had had that had been with the Ben Greet. 

00:02:42 Speaker 2 

Oh, I have no idea. 

00:02:45 Speaker 1 

In our charts and. 

00:02:46 Speaker 2 

But these some of these people had had early experience in theater in Vancouver. 

00:02:52 Speaker 2 

Frank Vivian was one, you know, started out with at least was with a group of a repertory company. 

00:03:02 Speaker 2 

Who are playing at the Empress Theatre on the corner of Gore and Hastings? 

00:03:07 Speaker 1 

He was around, for he was in television too later on. 

00:03:12 Speaker 2 

And his wife. 

00:03:15 Speaker 2 

Was the secretary of the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral very, very charming? 

00:03:19 Speaker 2 

Lady Gladys Vivian. 

00:03:23 Speaker 2 

And there was Evie Young, who was of a really first rate actor. 

00:03:30 Speaker 2 

Marvelous voice. 

00:03:32 Speaker 2 

He was used a good deal and my neighbor. 

00:03:42 Speaker 2 

I remember him primarily now because of his continuous appearance on Lotto Canada. 

00:03:53 Speaker 2 

And boy can’t remember the name. 

00:04:00 Speaker 2 

But I can. 

00:04:02 Speaker 2 

Jimmy somebody rather. 

00:04:06 Speaker 2 

He and his wife were both on Bernard Braden, Bernard Braden and his wife. 

00:04:15 Speaker 2 

We’re both acting. 

00:04:17 Speaker 1 

So that time there was sort of a repertory company. 

00:04:19 Speaker 2 

Oh, indeed there was. 

00:04:20 Speaker 1 

On that CD. 

00:04:21 Speaker 2 

Chosen very, very carefully by Andrew Allen. 

00:04:26 Speaker 1 

Well, they were. 

00:04:26 Speaker 1 

They were. 

00:04:27 Speaker 1 

They were. 

00:04:27 Speaker 1 

These people were. 

00:04:28 Speaker 1 

Actually actually appearing on the programs. 

00:04:30 Speaker 1 

Before we really came along there. 

00:04:31 Speaker 2 

And there was. 

00:04:34 Speaker 2 

John Bethune and his wife Eileen Colclough. 

00:04:39 Speaker 2 

And uh, Mr. Sinclair’s wife. 

00:04:43 Speaker 2 

Was in the drama group. 

00:04:47 Speaker 1 

What was your name? 

00:04:49 Speaker 2 

That I can’t remember. 

00:04:50 Speaker 1 

Lister Sinte was primarily a writer, wasn’t he? 

00:04:55 Speaker 2 

Writer, mathematician and expert bagpipe player all rolled into one. 

00:05:02 Speaker 1 

There was somebody else in. 

00:05:03 Speaker 1 

Vancouver, you want to ask you about? 

00:05:07 Speaker 1 

John graney. 

00:05:08 Speaker 2 

Oh, John draney. 

00:05:09 Speaker 2 

I knew very well and I knew his wife Claire. 

00:05:13 Speaker 2 

John Draney was. 

00:05:15 Speaker 2 

Not extraordinarily. 

00:05:19 Speaker 2 

Gifted just as an actor. 

00:05:21 Speaker 2 

But as a person, he was one of the the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. 

00:05:28 Speaker 2 

Really brilliant kind. 

00:05:32 Speaker 2 

And uh. 

00:05:35 Speaker 2 

I doubt very much whether you know in my limited contact with drama people I’ll ever meet is like again. 

00:05:43 Speaker 2 

It was. 

00:05:44 Speaker 1 

He sort of stood. 

00:05:44 Speaker 1 

Out from him. 

00:05:45 Speaker 2 

Oh, yes, yeah, I was very happy. 

00:05:48 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, I noticed a plaque up in the. 

00:05:53 Speaker 2 

Theater in North Vancouver in the Centennial Theater. 

00:05:57 Speaker 2 

With John’s name on it, evidently he was active over there. 

00:06:03 Speaker 2 

The drama group. 

00:06:05 Speaker 1 

A lot of these people would have gone out. 

00:06:07 Speaker 1 

To Toronto when Andrew? 

00:06:08 Speaker 2 

They almost immediately. 

00:06:11 Speaker 2 

You know, meet an exodus followed Andrew to Toronto. 

00:06:16 Speaker 1 

So there was sort of a talent drain. 

00:06:17 Speaker 2 

John Bethune and all these people left about the same time. 

00:06:25 Speaker 1 

Was there anybody of? 

00:06:29 Speaker 1 

That same stature as Andrew Allen. 

00:06:34 Speaker 2 

Not after, not after Andrew. 

00:06:37 Speaker 1 

I get the impression that before he came along there was sort of a succession of lesser people like MacLeod funding. 

00:06:43 Speaker 1 

See the king that you mentioned or cyber. 

00:06:45 Speaker 2 

King well, he was pretty extraordinary for his time. 

00:06:50 Speaker 2 

He was a a visiting import from Britain because he’d already made a reputation. 

00:06:57 Speaker 2 

So he was just a visitor, a very eccentric 1. 

00:06:58 Speaker 1 

Oh, I see. 

00:07:02 Speaker 1 

What was his full name? 

00:07:02 Speaker 1 

Do you know his first name? 

00:07:03 Speaker 1 

Tell you ever his first name? 

00:07:03 Speaker 2 

We won. 

00:07:06 Speaker 1 

See the king? 

00:07:11 Speaker 2 

Then we had James Finley. 

00:07:14 Speaker 2 

We don’t know what his background was in drama, but because of the sudden. 

00:07:20 Speaker 2 

Departure of Andrew. 

00:07:24 Speaker 2 

I think it would be about that time. 

00:07:27 Speaker 2 

Then they couldn’t find anything for James Findlay to do so he became. 

00:07:32 Speaker 2 

The chief drama producer. 

00:07:34 Speaker 2 

And eventually went to Winnipeg as regional representative, married the daughter of the house conductor. 

00:07:45 Speaker 2 

Percy Harvey. 

00:07:48 Speaker 1 

They got to do. 

00:07:51 Speaker 2 

Went out with his son-in-law. 

00:07:57 Speaker 1 

When you were with cnav. 

00:08:00 Speaker 1 

Did you ever encounter a Jack Gilmore? 

00:08:04 Speaker 1 

Are the CNV players? 


What was? 

00:08:09 Speaker 1 

The the early dramatic we’ve been seeing our videos. 

00:08:12 Speaker 2 

Jack Gilmore. 

00:08:20 Speaker 2 

Name is very familiar to me. 

00:08:22 Speaker 1 

Maybe before you might end up being Jimmy Gilmore. 

00:08:26 Speaker 2 

Well, Jimmy Gilmore, of course, is my one of my best friends. 

00:08:31 Speaker 2 

I taught him piano at Vancouver College. 

00:08:34 Speaker 2 

Then he eventually became vice president of CBC. 

00:08:37 Speaker 1 

And he was, for a brief time. 

00:08:38 Speaker 1 

He was the head of the CDC was. 

00:08:41 Speaker 2 

I think the vice president. 

00:08:45 Speaker 2 

Because I think Johnson was still there. As a matter of fact, I attended Jimmy’s funeral, but a year ago he came out to Victoria with his wife. 

00:08:59 Speaker 1 

You told me the story of how you became a conductor on the radio, that you’ve written some music and that it is too complicated. 

00:09:06 Speaker 1 

And the fellow you couldn’t conduct it. 

00:09:06 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:09:07 Speaker 1 

So now when you were. 

00:09:08 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:09:13 Speaker 1 

When you were seconded to the role of conductor. 

00:09:16 Speaker 1 

Remember who did. 

00:09:17 Speaker 1 

It whether it was George Wright or. 

00:09:20 Speaker 2 

Miss George Wright. 

00:09:21 Speaker 1 

So, George, right, that sort of sets the time period would be before. 

00:09:25 Speaker 2 

Yeah, it would be a combination of George Wright and. 

00:09:29 Speaker 2 

And declaring able. 

00:09:31 Speaker 1 

Who had who had about a full announcement? 

00:09:33 Speaker 2 

Yeah, of course. That’s right. 

00:09:36 Speaker 2 

Basil Hilton was the engineer Ted Pegg was on the engineering staff and the kind of. 

00:09:44 Speaker 2 

Supernumerary position Ted Pegg. 

00:09:45 Speaker 1 


00:09:49 Speaker 2 

We had another curious fellow. 

00:09:54 Speaker 2 


00:09:57 Speaker 2 

Known as Ted Devlin. 

00:10:01 Speaker 2 

And he had. 

00:10:03 Speaker 2 

Some form of religion where he had to communicate with God every morning before he went to work. 

00:10:11 Speaker 2 

Very, very nice chap. 

00:10:14 Speaker 2 

And eventually he was transferred to Toronto. 

00:10:18 Speaker 2 

And didn’t turn up for a remote broadcast to Symphony Orchestra. 

00:10:24 Speaker 2 

And he was called in to see Ernie Bushnell, who was very large man in the business at the time. 

00:10:32 Speaker 2 

Bushnell said. 

00:10:33 Speaker 2 

Devin, where were you? 

00:10:36 Speaker 2 

And so Devin told him he was deep in prayer. 

00:10:41 Speaker 2 

Discussing whether or not he should do the program and Bush knows the answer to that was Devlin make up your mind. 

00:10:48 Speaker 2 

You’re either working with the CBC or God remember. 

00:10:59 Speaker 1 

What do you remember about declaring? 

00:11:02 Speaker 2 

Oh, he was a real fun. 

00:11:11 Speaker 2 

If you didn’t know him very well, you’d be rather frightened of him. 

00:11:17 Speaker 2 

He has the external qualities of being quite forbidding. 

00:11:23 Speaker 2 

But all **** needed was a few drinks and the whole situation changed and this time went by and you got to know him better. 

00:11:32 Speaker 2 

He became a real friend, his real friend to the Clancy’s family, for example. 

00:11:39 Speaker 2 

Who are also playing at Cnri V. 

00:11:43 Speaker 1 

He was he English. 

00:11:49 Speaker 2 

Yes. Yeah. 

00:11:56 Speaker 1 

Do do you think that the? 

00:11:59 Speaker 1 

Attitude to local programming changed when CNV became CRC V. 

00:12:07 Speaker 1 

I could have suggested that that the broadcasting Commission wasn’t as supportive of local talent as the CN. 

00:12:15 Speaker 2 

Well, to the contrary, we had just as many programs or more. 

00:12:20 Speaker 2 

Under the Commission, as we had under the Canadian National Railways. 

00:12:31 Speaker 2 

Both my wife and I used to work on an average where she was playing violin outside of the the family environment. 

00:12:40 Speaker 2 

By that time and we could, we would play as many as five or six shows a day. 

00:12:46 Speaker 2 

Out of CRCL V. 

00:12:49 Speaker 2 

You know, Harry Price had a program I had a couple of programs. 

00:12:56 Speaker 2 

Magnificent names. 

00:13:00 Speaker 2 

Continental varieties. 

00:13:03 Speaker 2 

And European gearity is, I mean, you couldn’t really in your wildest dreams, conjure up such significant program names. 

00:13:13 Speaker 2 

You know, playing all kinds of music, Hungarian and Russian and Spanish. 

00:13:18 Speaker 1 

Is that the era when from Leicester Square to Old Broadway? 

00:13:20 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:13:22 Speaker 2 

Harry Price was in charge. 

00:13:28 Speaker 2 

Very, very popular show. 

00:13:31 Speaker 2 

Possibly one. 

00:13:32 Speaker 2 

One of the most popular out of Vancouver. 

00:13:37 Speaker 1 

He was on for. 

00:13:38 Speaker 1 

A long time. 

00:13:40 Speaker 1 

And that was the British music halls. 

00:13:42 Speaker 2 

Yes, that was that was it. 

00:13:45 Speaker 2 

And his wife. 

00:13:49 Speaker 2 

Hulu was a. 

00:13:51 Speaker 2 

An excellent singer of early in the days of radio with the Home Oil Orchestra with Cal, Winter was the girl. 

00:13:58 Speaker 2 

The name of Isabelle McEwen. 

00:14:00 Speaker 2 

And she used to sing on. 

00:14:04 Speaker 2 

Leicester Square. 

00:14:08 Speaker 2 

On a very, very popular show. 

00:14:11 Speaker 1 

Were they, was the Commission active in finding and developing new people as well? 

00:14:18 Speaker 2 

Yes, we had regular auditions, which was not the situation in CRV that I can recall. 

00:14:25 Speaker 2 

And some of the early auditions were set up by a lady who? 

00:14:30 Speaker 2 

Thank God is still alive because she’s the sweetest thing in the world and that’s the honorable Patrick Mcguire’s mother, Ada Mcgear, and she was head of the auditions committee. 

00:14:41 Speaker 1 

Doctor Dilworth hired Dr. 

00:14:43 Speaker 2 

Your pardon? 

00:14:44 Speaker 1 

Dilworth, hired her. 

00:14:45 Speaker 1 

Yes. Yeah. 

00:14:49 Speaker 1 

Tremendous lady, I heard that she had quite remarkable hats. 

00:14:54 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:14:55 Speaker 2 

And not only that. 

00:14:57 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, I don’t know whether she ever got into trouble about it, but she used to park in the judges section of the courthouse because her husband was on the. 

00:15:09 Speaker 2 

Bench James mcgear. 

00:15:15 Speaker 2 

So you know, it was a very, very nice place right across from the entrance to the station where she was working. 

00:15:26 Speaker 2 

But she was. 

00:15:26 Speaker 2 

A wonderful woman, I would imagine as a matter of fact, one of the. 

00:15:32 Speaker 2 

Earliest people, earliest Vancouver. 

00:15:35 Speaker 2 

Well, she came from Victoria originally. 

00:15:41 Speaker 1 


00:15:44 Speaker 1 

We’re talking about Mrs. 

00:15:48 Speaker 1 

And the auditions. 

00:15:53 Speaker 1 

She was she was responsible for auditioning new talent. 

00:15:57 Speaker 2 

Yes, and she would put together a group. 

00:16:00 Speaker 2 

There would be Avis Phillips, who was one of the outstanding singing teachers in the city. 

00:16:07 Speaker 2 

And Lloyd Powell, the most standing piano teacher. 

00:16:12 Speaker 2 

And myself, and we would sit in the booth and. 

00:16:16 Speaker 2 

Judge seniors to their. 

00:16:18 Speaker 2 

Not only. 

00:16:20 Speaker 2 

Their competence. 

00:16:21 Speaker 2 

But there was segment in there, suitable or unsuitable for radio broadcasting. 

00:16:30 Speaker 2 

But we got a lot of talent out of that audition board. 

00:16:34 Speaker 1 

That was the Vancouver Hotel here that that’s the present Vancouver Hotel. 

00:16:42 Speaker 2 

We never occupied the old, but we went into the new hotel before anybody else did. 

00:16:48 Speaker 1 

What what part of the Vancouver Hotel? 

00:16:50 Speaker 2 

Did the we were in on the 2nd floor of the corner of. 

00:16:58 Speaker 2 

Hornby and Georgia and the entrance. 

00:17:03 Speaker 2 

Who is the door closest to Georgia St. 

00:17:06 Speaker 1 

And so it was completely separate from. 

00:17:07 Speaker 1 

The hotel, in the sense that. 

00:17:09 Speaker 2 

Well, as a matter of fact, it was so separate that the main floor studio was actually suspended on cables and was actually floating one room inside another. 

00:17:23 Speaker 2 

To make certain that there would be no problems of noise coming in from any other part of the building and we had. 

00:17:30 Speaker 1 

Either way. 

00:17:31 Speaker 2 

Studio a studio? Yeah, studio B&C were upstairs with the control room in between. 

00:17:38 Speaker 2 

And the operation the production was done from the 2nd floor above a studio. 

00:17:49 Speaker 1 

I have one of the technicians from CDC describes how some of the complicated grammar broadcasts they would have the orchestra in one studio and. 

00:17:57 Speaker 1 

The actors in another. 

00:18:02 Speaker 2 

Well, they did that in Toronto, too. 

00:18:05 Speaker 2 

Sometimes it was a fiasco when he could. 

00:18:09 Speaker 2 

Breakdown communications or somebody accidentally tripped over your mic cord and pulled it out of the wall. 

00:18:23 Speaker 2 

Some of it during war time at the beginning of the war, some. 

00:18:26 Speaker 2 

Of it was. 

00:18:28 Speaker 2 

Recorded on discs. 

00:18:31 Speaker 2 

For transmission overseas, for Canadian troops. 

00:18:36 Speaker 1 

We have a copy. 

00:18:37 Speaker 1 

Or at least a. 

00:18:39 Speaker 1 

Tape copy of a disc of the opening of the FM station in 47 which you played on. Mr. Capel making his remarks and whoever the head of the CDC was in. 

00:18:46 Speaker 2 

Now, for heavens sake. 

00:18:52 Speaker 1 

Time made some remarks. 

00:18:55 Speaker 2 

Forget who he was then. 

00:18:58 Speaker 1 

But we’re seeing things there. 

00:19:02 Speaker 1 

I wanted to make to find out for sure you were appointed conductor of the Chamber Orchestra by, or Dilworth. Is that right? So that wouldn’t have happened until 37 or 38. 

00:19:10 Speaker 2 

That’s right. 

00:19:16 Speaker 1 

It was before the war. 

00:19:17 Speaker 2 

Well before the war, yes. 

00:19:18 Speaker 1 

And there was a high. 

00:19:21 Speaker 2 

That’s right. Yes, yes. 

00:19:24 Speaker 1 

That was the CBC Vancouver Chamber. 

00:19:26 Speaker 1 

Orchestra, right? 

00:19:26 Speaker 2 

Yes. Well, altogether, I think that I conducted the orchestra for pretty close to about 47 or 48 years. 

00:19:40 Speaker 2 

However, that works out so and. 

00:19:43 Speaker 1 

You retired in, yes. 

00:19:50 Speaker 2 

I retired in 80, but I stayed on until 81. 

00:19:54 Speaker 2 

Because they hadn’t found another conductor. 

00:19:56 Speaker 1 

So you were you were conducting before that? 

00:20:01 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:20:02 Speaker 1 

But you weren’t the principal conductor until until 38 or whatever. 

00:20:08 Speaker 1 

When I because I would go through joining, joining Corporate Corporation until 38. 

00:20:15 Speaker 2 

And I was conducting other programs, right. 

00:20:18 Speaker 2 

You know, these, these, these lighter things. 

00:20:18 Speaker 1 

What is the what? 

00:20:20 Speaker 1 

Right, yeah. 

00:20:21 Speaker 2 

And writing and conducting music for drama and playing the piano for Percy Harvey. 

00:20:28 Speaker 1 

And doing organ to organ about casting somewhere. 

00:20:32 Speaker 2 

Yeah, I can recall one organ broadcast was around the Christmas season and it was going. 

00:20:39 Speaker 1 

Do you want to get that? 

00:20:41 Speaker 2 

I better, better not be caught with this as I am with all the Fleur de Leon. 

00:20:47 Speaker 2 

It’s the first one I picked up at the airport when. 

00:20:49 Speaker 2 

I left yesterday. 

00:20:53 Speaker 1 

We’re just starting to talk about. 

00:20:54 Speaker 1 

Organ programs. 

00:20:55 Speaker 1 

When the phone rang, you said you could send out some more various organ programs. 

00:21:00 Speaker 2 

Ohh yes. 

00:21:01 Speaker 2 

Well one was in the depth of winter and we did have a considerable amount of snow. 

00:21:08 Speaker 2 

And we had to get to rehearsal very early because of the time difference. 

00:21:13 Speaker 2 

And I had a boys choir from Saint Andrews, Wesley Church. 

00:21:20 Speaker 2 

So I took a cab down. 

00:21:22 Speaker 2 

I got out of the cab and of course immediately fell flat in my face. 

00:21:27 Speaker 2 

The church doors hadn’t been opened yet, so I had a massive choir boys laughing their heads off, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so bitter about anything in my life. 

00:21:38 Speaker 1 

They would. 

00:21:39 Speaker 1 

Were you doing? 

00:21:39 Speaker 1 

That was a reversal or you were broadcasting from? 

00:21:42 Speaker 2 

Well, it would be rehearsal first, then broadcast rehearsal was started about 1:00, o’clock in the morning. 

00:21:50 Speaker 1 

They did. 

00:21:50 Speaker 1 

You do a number of broadcasts. 

00:21:51 Speaker 1 

And cathedrals, I suppose the acoustics would be perfect. 

00:21:55 Speaker 2 

Well, laterally, of course, I mean I would say during the last five years or so. 

00:22:03 Speaker 2 

Practically well, all our records have been made in Ryerson. 

00:22:08 Speaker 2 

Just up the street here. 

00:22:09 Speaker 1 

When you say our records. 

00:22:11 Speaker 2 

The CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, all the recordings were made there. 

00:22:16 Speaker 2 

The excellent place. 

00:22:18 Speaker 2 

And then, of course, we were able to do some organ concerti, which was a great joy because we had Hugh MacLean in town then. 

00:22:26 Speaker 2 

And marvelous player. 

00:22:28 Speaker 2 

And we did a. 

00:22:29 Speaker 2 

I think first recorded performance of Malcolm Arnold. 

00:22:33 Speaker 2 

Organ concerto with trumpets and strings. 

00:22:38 Speaker 2 

Organ solo. Beautiful work. 

00:22:42 Speaker 2 


00:22:42 Speaker 2 

Yes, and some lovely sonatas, which Mozart wrote for organ and strains. 

00:22:50 Speaker 2 

They were normally played in the church between the Epistle and the Gospel. 

00:22:55 Speaker 2 

So they’re known as the epistle sonatas and they’re absolutely beautiful. 

00:23:00 Speaker 2 

So there are some of those on the on this record along with an unknown Czechoslovakian by the name of Brixi. 

00:23:09 Speaker 2 

Another man who was a contemporary of handle and handle, hated him. 

00:23:13 Speaker 2 

His name was the Reverend William Felton. 

00:23:16 Speaker 2 

I don’t know whether it was because he’s been ordained or not. 

00:23:21 Speaker 2 

Handle took such a hatred to him. 

00:23:23 Speaker 2 

Either that or he didn’t particularly care for his writing. 

00:23:28 Speaker 1 


00:23:31 Speaker 1 

You had told me again before we started to record about Andrew Allen and I’d asked you about him before, but. 

00:23:37 Speaker 1 

You were able to do that. 

00:23:40 Speaker 1 

What was your impression of Andrew Allen? 

00:23:42 Speaker 2 

Oh, I admired him enormously. 

00:23:45 Speaker 2 

He was a very, very cultured man. 

00:23:51 Speaker 2 

I think the very the most close connection we ever had was when he decided that he would do when the medieval miracle plays at Christmas time. 

00:24:03 Speaker 2 

And it was taken from the group, called the Chester Mysteries. 

00:24:08 Speaker 2 

And I wrote it had already been done years before the arts and Letters Club in Toronto, and Healey, Willan had written music. So we used some of Healey Willan’s music, and I wrote the rest. 

00:24:21 Speaker 2 

And it was one of the most. 

00:24:23 Speaker 2 

Beautiful and satisfying broadcasts I’ve ever done. 

00:24:26 Speaker 2 

Andrew approached it with. 

00:24:29 Speaker 2 

Such a wonderful religious feeling. 

00:24:34 Speaker 2 

You know, you couldn’t imagine that this was the the happy chap who you saw at parties and. 

00:24:43 Speaker 2 

I had suggested as a matter of fact, that they use the bells which we use in the Catholic Church to indicate the transubstantiation instead of which. 

00:24:52 Speaker 2 

Andrew thought for a long time about this and decided that during the actual birth of Christ that there be complete silence. 

00:25:02 Speaker 2 

And when I heard the playback, I realized that this is one of the most significant silent. 

00:25:08 Speaker 2 

Periods I had ever come across in my life was never used so beautifully as it was in this particular area of the play. 

00:25:18 Speaker 1 

This program then this video. 

00:25:22 Speaker 2 

Yes, the Virgin Mary was pregnant at the time and was Bernie Braden’s wife. 

00:25:29 Speaker 1 

So you played it on radio? 

00:25:30 Speaker 1 

But not on television. 

00:25:31 Speaker 2 

Well, the one thing that had to be changed was that we used a boom mic, I think for the first time. 

00:25:39 Speaker 2 

Because of her inability to get close enough to a standard MIC. 

00:25:47 Speaker 1 

I get the impression from reading his book that it’s interesting you say about the religious feeling that he approached his play with that he was a very religious man. 

00:25:55 Speaker 2 

He was a matter of fact the king, although he came from a long line of Presbyterians toward the end of his life, he got in touch with the priest. 

00:26:07 Speaker 2 

In Toronto. 

00:26:11 Speaker 2 

I thought the last time I spoke to him that he was almost on the point of of converting to the Roman Catholic Church. 

00:26:19 Speaker 2 

He appreciated the music. 

00:26:20 Speaker 2 

For one thing, he loved playing song. 

00:26:23 Speaker 2 

He loved anything which was beautiful. 

00:26:27 Speaker 2 

And he was. 

00:26:30 Speaker 2 

I think one of the most beautiful personalities of anyone I’ve ever met, I have no idea why he didn’t marry Judith. 

00:26:37 Speaker 2 

Evelyn, I think they were deeply in love with one another. 

00:26:42 Speaker 2 

Moving from Vancouver and making such a huge success on Broadway in Angel St. 

00:26:49 Speaker 2 

might have had something to do with it. 

00:26:50 Speaker 2 

I don’t know, I’m sure. 

00:26:53 Speaker 1 

I’m very curious to know what made him tick because. 

00:26:56 Speaker 1 

Uh, no one, no one. 

00:27:01 Speaker 1 

Seems to have had as much of an impact on Canadian radio as Andrew Allen. 

00:27:06 Speaker 2 

Well, for one thing, of course, he was the only drama producer who we ever had. 

00:27:12 Speaker 2 

Who encourage Canadian authors? 

00:27:16 Speaker 2 

And he did some pretty advanced material in his day. 

00:27:20 Speaker 2 

I can remember 1 called paper bags was written by a man who named Peterson. 

00:27:26 Speaker 2 

Yeah, Lynn Peterson, this is a very unusual drama. 

00:27:31 Speaker 2 

And yes, burlap bags. 

00:27:34 Speaker 1 

Who had the? 

00:27:37 Speaker 2 

Yeah, burlap bays. 

00:27:38 Speaker 2 

I was in the studio. 

00:27:40 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact. 

00:27:41 Speaker 2 

It was done from some read for some reason from a theater. 

00:27:45 Speaker 2 

Might have been on Parliament Street, I’m not sure. 

00:27:51 Speaker 2 

He also had tremendous sensitivity. 

00:27:55 Speaker 2 

Particularly in relationship to the English language. 

00:27:59 Speaker 2 

And often something which was not clear to the actor could be clarified in a very few words by Andrew because he knew the script. 

00:28:09 Speaker 2 

Perfectly before he ever got into the booth or started rehearsals. 

00:28:15 Speaker 1 

You mentioned as well. 

00:28:18 Speaker 1 

I can’t hear you exactly, so maybe the fact that he always got what he wanted or he. 

00:28:24 Speaker 2 

Always and. 

00:28:27 Speaker 2 

Not by. 

00:28:30 Speaker 2 

A hard kind of discipline. 

00:28:33 Speaker 2 

But by involving the actor and himself and the author in the substance of the work. 

00:28:42 Speaker 2 

Most unusual person really. 

00:28:47 Speaker 2 

If I recall rightly, I don’t think he graduated from university. 

00:28:50 Speaker 2 

He received an honorary doctorate later, but he didn’t graduate from the University of Toronto he attended there. 

00:28:58 Speaker 1 

What was the substance of you mentioned that he clashed with? 

00:29:01 Speaker 1 

With Doctor Dilworth on on occasion. 

00:29:03 Speaker 2 

On budget. 

00:29:08 Speaker 2 

He had no attitude to budget if it was required, he’d spend the money. 

00:29:14 Speaker 2 

And it didn’t make any difference whether there was a budget or not. 

00:29:18 Speaker 2 

Andrew just went absolutely straightforward and. 

00:29:21 Speaker 2 

Spend whatever money was required. 

00:29:24 Speaker 2 

I mean the choice of the number of people in the orchestra, for example. 

00:29:29 Speaker 2 

I would consult with him and he’d see. 

00:29:30 Speaker 2 

What do you suggest? 

00:29:32 Speaker 2 

And I’d say, well, I think for the effect that you want in this particular area. 

00:29:36 Speaker 2 

You know, we could use, say, 20 men. 

00:29:40 Speaker 2 

It’s a big orchestra for play. 

00:29:43 Speaker 2 

Although he was able to get a larger orchestra than that when he was working with the Luchuan Justini. 

00:29:49 Speaker 2 

But he would be in perfect agreement. 

00:29:53 Speaker 2 

See if that’s what you want. 

00:29:55 Speaker 2 

Then this we’ll have. 

00:29:57 Speaker 1 

It wasn’t just a question of being extravagant. 

00:29:59 Speaker 2 

No, no, no. 

00:30:01 Speaker 2 

He he didn’t overspend for the reason overspending, just situation of doing the best possible job he could. 

00:30:10 Speaker 2 

With the material in hand. 

00:30:12 Speaker 1 

Because he would go. 

00:30:13 Speaker 1 

To other extremes too, wouldn’t he? 

00:30:15 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:30:15 Speaker 1 

From the very simple place. 

00:30:16 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:30:19 Speaker 1 


00:30:25 Speaker 2 

Did you ever work with? 

00:30:26 Speaker 2 

I certainly did. 

00:30:29 Speaker 2 

Fletcher was a. 

00:30:35 Speaker 2 

Very gifted young man. 

00:30:38 Speaker 2 

Who had every record that? 

00:30:48 Speaker 2 

Wells ever made. 

00:30:51 Speaker 2 

You know, in the old Mercury Theatre days and he was for that reason at the beginning of his career very heavily influenced by Orson Welles. 

00:31:01 Speaker 2 

But he was a man who could do a really first class job. 

00:31:07 Speaker 2 

And taking a. 

00:31:10 Speaker 2 

A novel or a novel letter, a short story, and converting it into. 

00:31:17 Speaker 2 

A very good ear for that sort of thing, and as a matter of fact, the. 

00:31:24 Speaker 2 

Developed, I understand in Hollywood into quite a. 

00:31:28 Speaker 2 

A very good director and producer. 

00:31:36 Speaker 1 

He was quite young, he. 

00:31:37 Speaker 1 

Was quite young when he made his. 

00:31:38 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:31:39 Speaker 1 

19 or 20 or something. 

00:31:47 Speaker 2 

Oh, yes, yeah, they were great friends. 

00:31:54 Speaker 1 

His talent lay, then lay mainly in the art of adaptation. 

00:31:57 Speaker 1 

Yes, he didn’t write original scripts so much as at. 

00:32:00 Speaker 2 

That mostly adaptations. 

00:32:03 Speaker 1 

And he also acted as the producer and. 

00:32:07 Speaker 2 

Yes, yes. 

00:32:09 Speaker 2 

It was very, very good. 

00:32:12 Speaker 1 

I understand he was in Vancouver. 

00:32:14 Speaker 1 

Into the. 

00:32:15 Speaker 1 

Adaptation of Hemingway story. 

00:32:18 Speaker 1 

Is that right? 

00:32:20 Speaker 2 

Ohh, I’d like to have seen him because I haven’t seen him for years. 

00:32:23 Speaker 1 

I understand he’s still, he’s still working in Hollywood. 

00:32:25 Speaker 1 

He was. 

00:32:26 Speaker 1 

He was with CBC Television for a while. 

00:32:31 Speaker 2 

Yeah, there was another remarkable fellow, too, who was at CBC in Vancouver and became involved in television when he went to. 

00:32:42 Speaker 2 

To Toronto, his name was Mario Presec. 

00:32:46 Speaker 2 

And he was a. 

00:32:48 Speaker 2 

An excellent director. 

00:32:55 Speaker 1 

So Fletcher Markle had quite a Orson Welles. 

00:33:00 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, he was completely overwhelmed. 

00:33:04 Speaker 2 

Well, it was. 

00:33:05 Speaker 2 

It was a remarkable repertory company for its time. 

00:33:11 Speaker 2 

Of course, brought to prominence by that. 

00:33:13 Speaker 2 

Scare, which frightened everybody in the United States. 

00:33:24 Speaker 1 

I suppose there’s there was a. 

00:33:25 Speaker 1 

Lot in that for a young man to. 

00:33:28 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, yeah. 

00:33:30 Speaker 1 

I have a picture. 

00:33:31 Speaker 1 

The fact that him with. 

00:33:32 Speaker 1 

Orson well understand he did didn’t end up. 

00:33:34 Speaker 1 

Working with Orson elsewhere. 

00:33:35 Speaker 2 

Hmm, well this would not be surprising because simply idolized wells. 

00:33:43 Speaker 1 

Uhm, just in conclusion, I was wondering. 

00:33:49 Speaker 1 

It seems to me, as I’ve talked to various people like yourself, about those days in Vancouver, especially the late 30s, early 40s, that some kind of a a very strong artistic colony was present here. 

00:34:04 Speaker 1 

In the theatrical world. 

00:34:07 Speaker 1 

And the musical world, who intersected with the radio world? 

00:34:12 Speaker 1 

Why do you? 

00:34:13 Speaker 1 

Think that that would happen in a place like Vancouver. 

00:34:17 Speaker 2 

I think the influence of people like Ira Dilworth. 

00:34:20 Speaker 2 

And Andrew Ellen. 

00:34:23 Speaker 2 

I mean, they conceived these ideas. 

00:34:29 Speaker 2 

Doctor Dilworth was a. 

00:34:32 Speaker 2 

Very knowledgeable man, I have a few letters around somewhere. 

00:34:36 Speaker 2 

I must find them sometime. 

00:34:39 Speaker 2 

Each one of them. 

00:34:41 Speaker 2 

Would be a. 

00:34:43 Speaker 2 

Tremendous thesis. 

00:34:45 Speaker 2 

For an English project at the University for a graduation or or postgraduate. 

00:34:51 Speaker 2 

Work he spoke and he wrote magnificently. 

00:34:56 Speaker 2 

And he was also, I think, a member of the choir at Harvard, which gave him a considerable amount of knowledge in the area of music, did conduct at one time conducted the Bach. 

00:35:09 Speaker 2 

Right, yeah. 

00:35:11 Speaker 1 

So that you think that people like him sort of polarized that? 

00:35:16 Speaker 2 

Well, very definitely. 

00:35:17 Speaker 2 

So it’s very strong personality and people had a tremendous respect for him. 

00:35:25 Speaker 2 

And there were other people, too, who were associated with him. 

00:35:30 Speaker 2 

At the time when he was teaching at the university. 

00:35:35 Speaker 2 

Who were equally influential. 

00:35:39 Speaker 2 

I was trying to think of the English professor. 

00:35:46 Speaker 2 

Oh, Harlow was much later on. 

00:35:54 Speaker 2 

No, I can’t remember his name. 

00:35:56 Speaker 2 

Great, great lover of Mozart. 

00:35:59 Speaker 1 

Do you think? 

00:35:59 Speaker 1 

Though though that there was anything in the. 

00:36:02 Speaker 1 

Kind of describe sort of the. 

00:36:04 Speaker 1 

Artistic climate here in the here in the Vancouver Victoria area. 

00:36:11 Speaker 1 

Tradition, anything that’s supported? 

00:36:13 Speaker 2 

I think it was because it was a smaller community. 

00:36:17 Speaker 2 

And for that reason, the contact was much easier. 

00:36:22 Speaker 2 

Between members of the artistic community and we had considerable support from people like, for example, Mrs. BT Rogers and Amy Butterfield. I mean, these were the people who were primarily responsible for the growth of music in Vancouver. 

00:36:39 Speaker 1 

In the music societies. 

00:36:41 Speaker 2 

And we had a marvelous violin teacher by the name of Gregor Garbinski. 

00:36:49 Speaker 2 

My piano teacher was an outstanding man by the name of JDA trip. 

00:36:55 Speaker 2 

Who was a pupil of Liechti, one of the. 

00:36:58 Speaker 2 

The great teachers in Europe. 

00:37:02 Speaker 2 

And had some. 

00:37:06 Speaker 2 

Great things were going on really, I think because, for example, they didn’t cost very much money. 

00:37:14 Speaker 2 

Of course, there wasn’t very much money around in any case. 

00:37:18 Speaker 2 

You know, we were still emerging from the hungry 30s. 

00:37:23 Speaker 2 

But well, there are all kinds of very good concerts. 

00:37:27 Speaker 2 

The festival, which commenced under the auspices of the Knights of Pythias, was another area in which a great deal of growth. 

00:37:40 Speaker 2 

In musical ability, was was shown and demonstrated. 

00:37:47 Speaker 2 

Holroyd Paul was another violin teacher who was quite extraordinary. 

00:37:52 Speaker 2 

Some very excellent people in those days. 

00:37:57 Speaker 1 

I’ve heard it said. 

00:37:59 Speaker 1 

I think it’s by Austin Weir in his book that, apropos of the. 

00:38:04 Speaker 1 

Popularity and. 

00:38:06 Speaker 1 

Vancouver drama, A radio drama for all those years that that was partially due to the presence of in this. 

00:38:13 Speaker 1 

Area of the English. 

00:38:17 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, because most of them had belonged to a repertory company. 

00:38:22 Speaker 2 

As I mentioned to you before, which was largely of English. 

00:38:27 Speaker 2 

Evie Young was English and Frank, and Vivian was English. 

00:38:34 Speaker 2 

Quite a number of people who were in the drama field. 

00:38:38 Speaker 1 

Would it be true to? 

00:38:38 Speaker 2 

Came from England. 

00:38:38 Speaker 1 

Say, would it be true to say too that the the English population who were here, the general population, would have been more likely to support that kind of? 

00:38:48 Speaker 2 

I would think so because they were expecting the same sort of thing that they had left in England. 

00:38:53 Speaker 2 

I mean, the development of the back choir would be the natural of growth from, say, the Huddersfield or any of the number of great choirs in Britain. 

00:39:04 Speaker 2 

Choral works were very, very important. 

00:39:09 Speaker 2 

In the life of the city in those days, I mean, we were. 

00:39:13 Speaker 1 

Yes, they certainly do. 

00:39:19 Speaker 1 

I just wanted to wrap up our discussion about about Vancouver. 

00:39:23 Speaker 1 

So it is correct to assume that there was this, this. 

00:39:28 Speaker 1 

Something unusual about Vancouver. 

00:39:30 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, I think as a matter of fact, it could be because of our almost complete isolation from eastern Canada, which in a sense still exists. 

00:39:40 Speaker 2 

It may be geographical. 

00:39:43 Speaker 2 


00:39:45 Speaker 2 

But I remember a story of a very prominent British general. 

00:39:53 Speaker 2 


00:39:54 Speaker 2 

Who made somewhat of an error by anticipating the execution of a prisoner in Ireland and. 

00:40:03 Speaker 2 

He was arrested, placed in jail and they got his effects together and sentenced to Victoria, which was very, very favorite spot. 

00:40:14 Speaker 2 

To send the the the sort of outcasts of English society, they were nonetheless. 

00:40:21 Speaker 2 

Very well educated generally, and some came from very noble families. 

00:40:27 Speaker 2 

And there was this nuclear say it. 

00:40:30 Speaker 2 

They’ve had choral music in Victoria for I have no idea how many years and have a very high quality. 

00:40:39 Speaker 1 

Going east from Vancouver. 

00:40:42 Speaker 1 

You would you would have to go quite a ways in Canada. 

00:40:44 Speaker 1 

Before you encountered. 

00:40:46 Speaker 2 

Toronto would be the closest. 

00:40:49 Speaker 2 

No, there was a an extraordinary man who was teaching at the University of Saskatchewan teaching music. 

00:41:01 Speaker 2 

The effect would scarcely be felt in spite of the fact that he was a very, very well trained man. 

00:41:06 Speaker 2 

But when you got to Toronto, I mean, you had people like Healy, Willan and Sir Ernest Macmillan and Kunitz and these people, you know, who were really great musicians. 

00:41:21 Speaker 2 

Godfrey Ridout is a product of this school. 

00:41:27 Speaker 2 

And the teachers in the music department of the university and at the Conservatory were of a very high caliber. 

00:41:36 Speaker 1 

Within the corporation, it seems that that talent was always being siphoned off to Toronto. 

00:41:44 Speaker 2 

Indeed, yes. 

00:41:45 Speaker 1 

Did that eventually bring about a decrease in the importance of Vancouver in the network? 

00:41:50 Speaker 2 

Well, certainly in the area of drama, of course, you know, and Andrew took drama with him. 

00:41:57 Speaker 2 

And you know, it didn’t reappear in that form. 

00:42:03 Speaker 2 

I mean, it still hasn’t. 

00:42:06 Speaker 2 

We have the local theatre groups, you know, thank God they’ve kept the tradition going, but. 

00:42:14 Speaker 2 

Not in the area of radio or television. 

00:42:18 Speaker 2 

You know, I haven’t seen anything produced here in the way of. 

00:42:22 Speaker 2 

Theatrical performance from the local studios. 

00:42:25 Speaker 2 

Perhaps it’s too expensive. 

00:42:28 Speaker 1 

And of course it’s that, especially in the area of radio drama, it’s something that. 

00:42:33 Speaker 1 


00:42:33 Speaker 2 

What they’re afraid to do anything, you know which is going to affect the. 

00:42:40 Speaker 2 

Intelligence of people. 

00:42:43 Speaker 2 

There’s a great mistake made always in the area of the arts. 

00:42:48 Speaker 2 

And that is we’ve gotten to the point now where we’re going to produce something which is literally going to flow over people without really affecting them. 

00:42:59 Speaker 2 

In other words, something they don’t have to think about. 

00:43:03 Speaker 2 

It would seem that they’ve, and I think it’s a misconception that they have conceived the idea that the audience. 

00:43:13 Speaker 2 

Is not competent. 

00:43:15 Speaker 2 

To deal with the philosophical subject. 

00:43:19 Speaker 2 

And consequence of which are standards of presentation and a programming. 

00:43:26 Speaker 2 

May have been dropped, conceivably. 

00:43:30 Speaker 2 

Because of this anxiety to please people to entertain them. 

00:43:34 Speaker 2 

You know, to make the daisies sort of wave around and the elderly ladies, straw hats, and instead of making them think because I mean this is the first project that you have in mind is to produce thought among the people in your audience. 

00:43:52 Speaker 2 

They must make their contribution. 

00:43:55 Speaker 2 

I mean ours as an orchestra is only one. 

00:43:59 Speaker 2 

The conductor has only one contribution. 

00:44:02 Speaker 2 

The composer has his contribution, but you must have an equal contribution from the audience itself. 

00:44:10 Speaker 2 

And they can’t just sit there and let it roll over them. 

00:44:15 Speaker 2 

As if they were shopping in the Safeway store. 

00:44:18 Speaker 1 

Seems that they’re all too willing to let. 

00:44:19 Speaker 2 

That happen. 

00:44:20 Speaker 2 

Well, of course. 

00:44:21 Speaker 2 

Isn’t that the easiest way? 

00:44:24 Speaker 2 

I mean to go somewhere and where you don’t have to think. 

00:44:29 Speaker 2 

You know what an interesting prospect. 

00:44:33 Speaker 1 

No demands made. 

00:44:34 Speaker 2 

On your no. 

00:44:37 Speaker 2 

Well, that that is stupid. 

00:44:39 Speaker 2 

As far as the arts are concerned. 

00:44:41 Speaker 1 

Right to demand that. 

00:44:41 Speaker 2 

Because that’s true. 

00:44:43 Speaker 2 

I mean, in in the area of painting. 

00:44:48 Speaker 2 

It produces whatever effect you wish to take from it, but it has to produce some effect. 

00:44:54 Speaker 2 

I mean the artist. 

00:44:55 Speaker 2 

Obviously when he painted something. 

00:45:00 Speaker 2 

Had some philosophical idea in his mind and it doesn’t have to be representation. 

00:45:06 Speaker 2 

You know, you don’t have to have a bunch of long haired Scottish cows standing around in the islands, you know, with a river flowing by. 

00:45:16 Speaker 2 

I don’t think that that sort of thing really affects anybody, unless it may be nostalgia, you know, for the country they came from. 

00:45:21 Speaker 1 


00:45:24 Speaker 1 


00:45:24 Speaker 2 

But other than that, it does nothing. 

Part 3


00:00:03 Speaker 1 

This is an interview with Mr. John Avison, recorded at his home in Vancouver on the 17th of February 1982. My name is Dennis Duffy. 



00:00:19 Speaker 1 

Perhaps to begin with, you could just tell me a little bit about your family background. 

00:00:26 Speaker 2 

Well, my father was. 

00:00:29 Speaker 2 

Irish my mother English. 

00:00:35 Speaker 2 

My grandfather. 

00:00:37 Speaker 2 

Came out to Canada. 

00:00:40 Speaker 2 

With his wife and she had a new baby and she suffered. 

00:00:45 Speaker 2 

Jill coming over from Ireland and she died in Montreal so he was left with four small children. 

00:00:54 Speaker 2 

The youngest, of course, which was a baby in arms. 

00:00:58 Speaker 2 

And why he decided to proceed? WI haven’t the slightest idea. I know that he stopped in Medicine Hat because that’s as far as the railway came. 

00:01:09 Speaker 2 

And he got a job managing a hotel right in the middle of a rebellion. 

00:01:15 Speaker 2 

And my father remembered Indians being brought to the hotel and locked in. 

00:01:24 Speaker 2 

And he also remembers awakening, and it’s hearing the Indians, who had tied their sheets together. 

00:01:33 Speaker 2 

Escaping from the top floor of the hotel. 

00:01:38 Speaker 2 

Then he came to Vancouver and his first. 

00:01:42 Speaker 2 

I think it’s his first job, was Superintendent of Stanley Park. 

00:01:48 Speaker 2 

He trained in Ireland as a landscape gardener. 

00:01:55 Speaker 2 

It wasn’t proper to bring up children without a lady. 

00:01:59 Speaker 2 

So he. 

00:02:00 Speaker 2 

Wrote to Ireland and he got their housekeeper. 

00:02:04 Speaker 2 

And the decent thing, of course, was to marry her when she arrived. 

00:02:07 Speaker 2 

She was a rather elderly Scottish lady. 

00:02:11 Speaker 2 

And my father was loathe to wear this tama shatter that she provided for him. 

00:02:18 Speaker 2 

So on his way to school, he used to hide it under the sidewalk. 

00:02:22 Speaker 2 

Unfortunately, she met him one day. 

00:02:26 Speaker 2 

And that was the end of his living in Stanley Park. 

00:02:30 Speaker 2 

They actually built a home for them right at the park. 

00:02:35 Speaker 2 

End of the road across the lagoon. 

00:02:41 Speaker 2 

And that was my father’s first home in Vancouver. 

00:02:45 Speaker 2 

And your pardon? 

00:02:46 Speaker 1 

Would that would that House still be there? 

00:02:50 Speaker 2 

The house is gone now was a wooden house. 

00:02:55 Speaker 2 

And so my father left home. 

00:02:58 Speaker 2 

Took the job with the city. 

00:03:00 Speaker 2 

Turning off water for the water department. 

00:03:03 Speaker 2 

And he stayed in that job for all his life. He worked for them for 55 years. 

00:03:13 Speaker 2 

Had a peculiar I suppose it was an Irish situation. 

00:03:21 Speaker 2 

Every night he used to go home and he’d say to my mother. 

00:03:23 Speaker 2 

Well, rose, I think the job is almost finished. 

00:03:30 Speaker 2 

It’s kept on and on, and because the war broke out, they kept him on for an additional two years. 

00:03:40 Speaker 2 

When I was about five years of age, my mother bought me a. 

00:03:44 Speaker 2 

German toy piano. 

00:03:48 Speaker 2 

And a man we knew by the name of Harrop. 

00:03:52 Speaker 2 

Taught me the chords to glory be to the father. 

00:03:56 Speaker 2 

And I wasn’t satisfied with the limitations of this toy piano. 

00:04:01 Speaker 2 

So I guess I worked on her long enough so that. 

00:04:04 Speaker 2 

She went out and bought a piano. 

00:04:07 Speaker 2 

Was an old English collared and collared. 

00:04:11 Speaker 2 

Still had candlesticks on it. 

00:04:14 Speaker 2 

And it wouldn’t stay in tune. 

00:04:16 Speaker 2 

But wait a time I can remember. 

00:04:18 Speaker 2 

Watching them, two men laboring up our front stairs under the weight of this piano. 

00:04:26 Speaker 1 

When you were. 

00:04:29 Speaker 2 

So I started lessons when I was five and. 

00:04:31 Speaker 2 


00:04:31 Speaker 1 

What year were you born? 

00:04:33 Speaker 2 


00:04:40 Speaker 2 

I bear no responsibility for starting the war. 

00:04:48 Speaker 2 

But I started. 

00:04:52 Speaker 2 

Lessons with the Miss Harrop. 

00:04:54 Speaker 2 

Then I went through a Miss Brakebill, who was the organist. 

00:04:57 Speaker 2 

UPS and saviours church. 

00:05:00 Speaker 2 

I took organ lessons from Frederick Chubb and eventually took piano lessons from a man of the name of JD eight trip. 

00:05:07 Speaker 2 

Who was a pupil of a very famous teacher in Europe by the name of leisure Tyski. 

00:05:14 Speaker 2 

Trip had the. 

00:05:17 Speaker 2 

Unique honor of having been the. 

00:05:19 Speaker 2 

First, a atcm in Canada, first associate of the drawing Conservatory. 

00:05:28 Speaker 2 

And he was a very, very good teacher. 

00:05:36 Speaker 2 

I think the first job that I had with a radio station was. 

00:05:41 Speaker 2 

In the now Ritz Hotel. 

00:05:44 Speaker 2 

Which was called then the Saint Julian apartment hotel. 

00:05:48 Speaker 2 

I can remember they used to charge batteries for something or other in the kitchen. 

00:05:55 Speaker 2 

The gramophone was a whined up tape and that was the way we played recordings by putting like phone down on a piano stool. 

00:06:03 Speaker 2 

In front of the gramophone. 

00:06:08 Speaker 2 

CJR matter of fact was owned by Mrs. 

00:06:11 Speaker 2 

Chandler, whose sons eventually owned. 

00:06:15 Speaker 2 

CJR the. 

00:06:18 Speaker 2 

Station we know now. 

00:06:19 Speaker 1 

Was it called Jordan? 

00:06:21 Speaker 2 

I think it was, yes. 

00:06:24 Speaker 2 

Then I went to CFYC. 

00:06:27 Speaker 2 

Which was operated by the International Bible students. 

00:06:30 Speaker 2 

Forerunner of Jehovah witnesses. 

00:06:34 Speaker 2 

I used to be amused by the fact that the manager of the station was a real estate man. 

00:06:40 Speaker 2 

With the. 

00:06:42 Speaker 2 

I think not a suitable name for radio station managers. 

00:06:45 Speaker 2 

Name is WJ tinney. 

00:06:49 Speaker 2 

And they had a group called acquire a million voices. 

00:06:53 Speaker 2 

Of course, they couldn’t accommodate a million voices, but this was premised on the fact that they sold the hymnbooks. 

00:07:00 Speaker 2 

And they assumed that everybody who bought a hymn book called across the country would be joining in. 

00:07:09 Speaker 2 

And again, they had a gramophone, which was a wind up type of Victrola. 

00:07:15 Speaker 2 

And I played the piano for the choir, played solos. 

00:07:23 Speaker 2 

By about this time. 

00:07:26 Speaker 2 

I was attending high school. 

00:07:28 Speaker 2 

And my next job was with. 

00:07:31 Speaker 2 

CHLS, which was exactly the identical station as the province owned CK CD. 

00:07:39 Speaker 2 

In the same building, using the same studios, CHLS was on the same frequency. 

00:07:45 Speaker 2 

It was known as a Phantom station operated by the man by a man by the name of WG Hazel. 

00:07:53 Speaker 2 

And my pay is music director was. 

00:07:57 Speaker 2 

$35.00 a month. 

00:08:00 Speaker 2 

That included playing an organ, which we bought out of the old Maple Leaf Theatre. 

00:08:06 Speaker 2 

Playing the piano. 

00:08:09 Speaker 2 

And on Saturday mornings, going around to various stores and counting cans. 

00:08:14 Speaker 2 

Of a product produced by Hassell, who is a dog breeder. 

00:08:19 Speaker 2 

Product was called deals doggie dinner. 

00:08:23 Speaker 2 

So I work six days a week. 

00:08:27 Speaker 2 

And that was when I first met my wife. 

00:08:30 Speaker 2 

They came from California. 

00:08:32 Speaker 2 

They were born in Vancouver, work in California. 

00:08:36 Speaker 2 

And they came to the studio. 

00:08:37 Speaker 2 

The whole family doubled on various instruments and provided a an orchestra. 

00:08:48 Speaker 2 

By this time, I had finished high school and they had senior matriculation then, which gave you the. 

00:08:54 Speaker 2 

Standard of first year university. 

00:08:57 Speaker 2 

Only at a cost of $100. 

00:09:00 Speaker 2 

Far different than it is today. 

00:09:04 Speaker 2 

But for some reason or other, I decided that I wanted to. 

00:09:08 Speaker 2 

Go to art school. 

00:09:10 Speaker 2 

So I went and studied with. 

00:09:13 Speaker 2 

One of the group of seven Fred Varley, who was at the school. 

00:09:17 Speaker 2 

Jock MacDonald. 

00:09:21 Speaker 2 

And at the same time, I was playing at the radio station every night. 

00:09:28 Speaker 2 

Oh, this would take us into the year 1932. 

00:09:33 Speaker 2 

By that time, I had made connections with Columbia artists in New York. 

00:09:40 Speaker 2 

It was a very costly thing for an artist to bring their own accompanist. 

00:09:45 Speaker 2 

So I played for people in Vancouver and sometimes on a Pacific Coast tour. 

00:09:51 Speaker 2 

People like Laurence Melchior and Ziggity and. 

00:09:57 Speaker 2 

Variety of singers, violinists. 

00:10:04 Speaker 1 

So this would be for concert. 

00:10:06 Speaker 1 

This would be for concert tours. 

00:10:11 Speaker 2 

Well, the local ones would be. 

00:10:13 Speaker 2 

Sometimes they were building the no longer exists. 

00:10:17 Speaker 2 

Called the George Auditorium, which is on the corner of George and Denman St. 

00:10:23 Speaker 2 

And then. 

00:10:26 Speaker 2 

In between Tours I got a job at C and RV which I think you mentioned which was located in the CNR station. 

00:10:37 Speaker 2 

Broadcasts were always live. 

00:10:40 Speaker 2 

And it included the sound of the train bell. 

00:10:45 Speaker 2 

Which we could hear as it came across commercial Dr. 

00:10:50 Speaker 2 

and all the way into the station, getting louder and louder. 

00:10:54 Speaker 2 

As it approached the station. 

00:10:55 Speaker 1 

Was that intentional? 

00:10:56 Speaker 1 

Was just because. 

00:10:57 Speaker 2 

Well, there there wasn’t anything they could do about it. 

00:11:00 Speaker 2 

I mean, you know, there wasn’t any taping. 

00:11:03 Speaker 2 

And we tried, I think on several occasions on. 

00:11:09 Speaker 2 

Dominion Day, a situation of starting out Old Canada. 

00:11:17 Speaker 2 

In Halifax and picking up a line of it as we came across the country, the only thing that that had that happened was that possibly Saskatchewan. 

00:11:29 Speaker 2 

Would breakdown at a particular point and then. 

00:11:33 Speaker 2 

Alberta didn’t know where to come in. 

00:11:36 Speaker 2 

So we would be waiting everybody sitting in the in the studio with earphones on. 

00:11:43 Speaker 2 

Earphones were attached to a piece of clothesline across the studio. 

00:11:48 Speaker 2 

And my first job of conducting came out of the same station. 

00:11:53 Speaker 2 

I wrote some music for. 

00:11:56 Speaker 2 

Another musician. 

00:11:58 Speaker 2 

And when you’re youthful, you’re inclined to be very complicated. 

00:12:02 Speaker 2 

And my score was so complicated that. 

00:12:06 Speaker 2 

The conductor couldn’t find his way through it. 

00:12:10 Speaker 2 

So the manager of the station. 

00:12:13 Speaker 2 

That time, George Wright was sitting in the control room. 

00:12:18 Speaker 2 

I said I think we’d better let the boy wrote the music and try conducting job on it. 

00:12:25 Speaker 2 

Which I did. 

00:12:27 Speaker 2 

And that was the beginning of my conducting career. 

00:12:30 Speaker 2 

A very sad thing for the fellow I wrote the music for. 

00:12:34 Speaker 2 

Because I. 

00:12:35 Speaker 2 

Took the poor fellow’s show. 

00:12:39 Speaker 2 

Then we move from there to. 

00:12:42 Speaker 2 

The Hotel Vancouver, which was not occupied, pardon me. 

00:12:47 Speaker 2 

Scarcely being well, it wasn’t complete. 

00:12:52 Speaker 2 

So we were the first occupants. 

00:12:54 Speaker 2 

The exception of the fact that we used to think it was a great idea to. 

00:12:58 Speaker 2 

Go upstairs and have a rest in the what was to become the royal suite. 

00:13:04 Speaker 2 

Nobody around to bother us at all, and that was known as CRC V. 

00:13:11 Speaker 2 

Needing radio Commission. 

00:13:13 Speaker 1 

Commission had taken over. 

00:13:16 Speaker 2 

And the station manager then was Jack Radford, an awfully nice chap. 

00:13:23 Speaker 2 

And I didn’t. 

00:13:24 Speaker 2 

We used to do as many as five or six programs a day. 

00:13:29 Speaker 2 

I was playing piano. 

00:13:31 Speaker 2 

And on Sundays, we had the romance of Sacred Song. 

00:13:36 Speaker 2 

The story background story of a hymn. 

00:13:41 Speaker 2 

Music from the Pacific. 

00:13:44 Speaker 2 

I used to write music and play music for a drama series called Chains of Circumstance. 

00:13:51 Speaker 2 

And we had about the finest drama director possibly we could ever find anywhere. 

00:13:57 Speaker 2 

His name is Andrew Allen. 

00:13:59 Speaker 2 

He eventually went back to Toronto and most of the good actors and actresses went, went back with them. 

00:14:08 Speaker 2 

And changed the circumstance. 

00:14:10 Speaker 2 

Was a funny show because it opened with Frank Vivian dragging a huge chain. 

00:14:18 Speaker 2 

Across the studio. 

00:14:21 Speaker 2 

And Judith Eblan, who was a very, very fine actress, she made a. 

00:14:26 Speaker 2 

Tremendous success on Broadway and Angel St. 

00:14:30 Speaker 2 

She used to scream into the open piano, which made the strings reverberate between the clanking change and the screaming and the piano. 

00:14:39 Speaker 2 

It became the beginning of a Horror Story. 

00:14:44 Speaker 2 

We had a funny chap come out here from BBC when the name is Civic King. 

00:14:49 Speaker 2 

He decided to do the whole of his drama broadcasts blind, so he had curtains put up across the control room windows. 

00:14:59 Speaker 2 

And everything was operated by lights, with a series of mics on the floor down below in a studio. 

00:15:06 Speaker 2 

And when your light came on, you started speaking. 

00:15:09 Speaker 2 

That was your cue. 

00:15:11 Speaker 2 

And I can always remember him telling Frank Vivian, who was the sound man. 

00:15:15 Speaker 2 

To go out and buy a glass of milk because. 

00:15:19 Speaker 2 

Pouring water into a glass didn’t sound as much like wine as milk being poured into a glass. 

00:15:26 Speaker 2 

He set up a reverb. 

00:15:29 Speaker 2 

Or an echo chamber. 

00:15:31 Speaker 2 

In the men’s lavatory, but unfortunately during the broadcast it was used by someone who didn’t know that it was an echo chamber. 

00:15:41 Speaker 2 

So we got the addition of this. 

00:15:43 Speaker 2 

Particular sound in the middle of a broadcast. 

00:15:51 Speaker 2 

Pay was around $5 a show if I recall. 

00:15:56 Speaker 2 

So you really have to work five shows a day to make any money at all. 

00:16:06 Speaker 2 

I was always friendly with Sir Ernest Macmillan and I became an adjudicator on. 

00:16:13 Speaker 2 

CBC Talent festival. 

00:16:15 Speaker 2 

And then when it came to the point where Sir Ernest could no longer conduct the show, I took over his position. 

00:16:23 Speaker 2 

As conductor of CBC Town Festival. 

00:16:30 Speaker 2 

This was a tremendous help to students, one that we never had when I was a student to have sufficient money. 

00:16:37 Speaker 2 

Given as a prize in order to carry on your education. 

00:16:42 Speaker 1 

Was this a national festival or? 

00:16:44 Speaker 2 

Yes, no, as a matter of fact, we did trials. 

00:16:47 Speaker 2 

So I traveled all across Canada. 

00:16:54 Speaker 2 

We also won the. 

00:16:59 Speaker 2 

Very few finalists were chosen. 

00:17:01 Speaker 2 

We would do a broadcast with orchestra. 

00:17:05 Speaker 2 

From all the cities in Canada, Quebec, Halifax and I toured right across the country. 

00:17:12 Speaker 2 

And they also had to do 1/2 hour recital of music of their own choice. Then the finalists of all were chosen and the final show would be done in one of the major from one of the major centers. 

00:17:29 Speaker 2 

Station I mentioned to you behind the Belmont Hotel. 

00:17:33 Speaker 2 

Was in the top of a garage. 

00:17:38 Speaker 2 

Programs I played for were sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Listeners League. 

00:17:46 Speaker 2 

It was quite a thing in those days people used to. 

00:17:49 Speaker 2 

Send to stations for cards. 

00:17:52 Speaker 2 

And they were greatly elated when they were able to get TKG Oakland or KSL Salt Lake. 

00:18:01 Speaker 2 

These were the faraway stations. 

00:18:06 Speaker 2 

My father rings with someone from Northern Electric. 

00:18:11 Speaker 2 

To make a radio for me, which I still have. 

00:18:15 Speaker 2 

Made with a very, very small tube called a peanut tube. 

00:18:19 Speaker 2 

Manufactured by Northern Electric. 

00:18:22 Speaker 2 

And my father put up a huge aerial. 

00:18:25 Speaker 2 

For some reason or other, it was presumed then. 

00:18:29 Speaker 2 

The dirt on the aerial. 

00:18:31 Speaker 2 

Would diminish the amount of signal you received. 

00:18:36 Speaker 2 

So it was always a range that you could lower the aerial. 

00:18:40 Speaker 2 

On a pulley. 

00:18:43 Speaker 2 

And then every Saturday, my father would be out there with Emery paper. 

00:18:48 Speaker 2 

Polishing the copper wire. 

00:18:51 Speaker 2 

It really made no difference at all, but. 

00:18:53 Speaker 2 

That was the sense of the thing. 

00:18:56 Speaker 2 

We had a friend, as a matter of fact. 

00:18:59 Speaker 2 

Every Saturday, he would buy another stage of amplification. 

00:19:02 Speaker 2 

Until he had a radio which went right across one kitchen wall. 

00:19:07 Speaker 2 

You needed a pair of roller skates to run the whole gamut of these various stages of amplification in order to get it tuned in. 

00:19:17 Speaker 2 

And tuning it in was to get in the middle of the whistle. 

00:19:20 Speaker 2 

And then you got the sound. 

00:19:23 Speaker 1 

They love people, have radios. 

00:19:26 Speaker 2 

No, not very many. 

00:19:28 Speaker 2 

No man next door. 

00:19:29 Speaker 2 

We used to go to hear his. 

00:19:32 Speaker 2 

He had. 

00:19:33 Speaker 2 

The first speaker that I remember because until that time. 

00:19:37 Speaker 2 

The only way we had of any more than one person listening. 

00:19:41 Speaker 2 

Was to either take the phone off the headphones. 

00:19:47 Speaker 2 

Either that or put the headphones in a glass dish. 

00:19:52 Speaker 2 

Preferably crystal and everybody sat up with their ears close to the Crystal Bull. 

00:20:00 Speaker 2 

And you could get the reverb, the vibration. 

00:20:04 Speaker 2 

From the headphones into the bowl and from there into people’s ears. 

00:20:09 Speaker 2 

But this elderly man, Mr. 

00:20:13 Speaker 2 

Had one of these peculiar, almost snake shaped speakers. 

00:20:20 Speaker 2 

This was a tremendous advance. 

00:20:23 Speaker 2 

Quality, of course, was abysmal, but we didn’t know the difference. 

00:20:27 Speaker 2 

As long as you could hear something. 

00:20:30 Speaker 1 

How old were? 

00:20:30 Speaker 1 

You then when you got your first grade. 

00:20:33 Speaker 2 

I would think possibly about well I made my first that was a crystal set. 

00:20:38 Speaker 2 

I would be about. 

00:20:41 Speaker 2 

Eight or nine years of age was made with. 

00:20:45 Speaker 2 

Around salt container. 

00:20:48 Speaker 2 

Wound with wire. 

00:20:51 Speaker 2 

And you had a Galena crystal. 

00:20:55 Speaker 2 

And a small thin piece of wire called a cat’s whisker, which you manipulated until you found the right spot on the crystal. 

00:21:04 Speaker 1 

So you use that for tuning that which. 


You tune. 

00:21:06 Speaker 2 

That’s well, there was a tuner on the on the set, sort of. 

00:21:14 Speaker 2 

Complicated green looking thing. 

00:21:18 Speaker 1 

Were there many stations that you could listen? 

00:21:20 Speaker 1 

To at that point. 

00:21:21 Speaker 2 

In Vancouver, as at one time we had CJORCFYCCKMO which was famous for British Empire program run by Billy Brown. 

00:21:37 Speaker 2 

I guess I mentioned CK CD that was owned by the province and CN RV. 

00:21:45 Speaker 2 

I can’t recall if there was a station in New Westminster or not. 

00:21:49 Speaker 2 

I don’t think so. 

00:21:51 Speaker 2 

But you did have your choice of stations. 

00:21:55 Speaker 2 

It was amazing that we had that many. 

00:21:58 Speaker 1 

This station behind the Belmont Hotel, there have been articles. 

00:22:04 Speaker 2 

Yes, Sparks was the the name of the the man. 

00:22:08 Speaker 2 

I think. 

00:22:09 Speaker 2 

I don’t know if that was a nickname or not. 

00:22:13 Speaker 1 

You work. 

00:22:13 Speaker 2 

For him, yes. 

00:22:18 Speaker 2 

I was. 

00:22:21 Speaker 2 

Phoned one night so long after I had gone to bed, and my mother packed me up and in the cab sent me down there. 

00:22:28 Speaker 2 

They needed an accompanist. 

00:22:32 Speaker 2 

Some singer or other who was who had come to Vancouver. 

00:22:37 Speaker 2 

But I had played there fairly often. 

00:22:39 Speaker 2 

One of the best shows actually came out of CN RV. 

00:22:43 Speaker 2 

Was operated at least the the woman who ran it was Aunt Emma. 

00:22:51 Speaker 2 

A very, very charming lady. 

00:22:52 Speaker 2 

And she had a blind pianist who eventually I heard years and years ago playing in the kind of nightclub in Montreal. 

00:23:00 Speaker 2 

His name was Ronnie Matthews. 

00:23:03 Speaker 2 

And he was an absolutely splendid pianist. 

00:23:07 Speaker 2 

I think the first blind pianist I ever met. 

00:23:10 Speaker 2 

CRV, who I met Allie Templeton. 

00:23:15 Speaker 2 

He was brought into the studio and I was practicing NBC and. 

00:23:21 Speaker 2 

He asked why I would play it again. 

00:23:25 Speaker 2 

And after playing it three times, he sat down and played it a good deal better than I did and without all the business of crossing over the hands, he didn’t realize that that was happening. 

00:23:38 Speaker 2 

But he pleaded magnificently. 

00:23:43 Speaker 2 

Was phenomenal memory. 

00:23:46 Speaker 1 

How did you first get involved in working for radio? 

00:23:50 Speaker 1 

How did? 

00:23:50 Speaker 1 

You get your first job. 

00:23:53 Speaker 2 

I think possibly through my mother’s cousin, who was connected with Northern Electric and also with this Greater Vancouver listeners league. 

00:24:03 Speaker 2 

That would be the. 

00:24:06 Speaker 2 

The first time I got a job, he’s hardly called a job. 

00:24:10 Speaker 2 

Of course they were. 

00:24:10 Speaker 2 

These were all unpaid engagements until I got to see an RV. 

00:24:18 Speaker 1 

So there were. 

00:24:19 Speaker 1 

Did you get anything for? 

00:24:20 Speaker 1 

Your services to Teller, was it just? 

00:24:21 Speaker 1 

The pleasure of doing it. 

00:24:24 Speaker 2 

Well, it was, I guess that my mother thought that it was very, very good practice for me, you know, to read an enormous amount of material as an accompanist. 

00:24:35 Speaker 2 

And my teacher didn’t disagree with the idea. 

00:24:40 Speaker 2 

But it required that CCD. 

00:24:45 Speaker 2 

So many things you have to be a music director. 

00:24:49 Speaker 2 

Play the piano for the singers. 

00:24:51 Speaker 2 

And the programs were never timed. 

00:24:54 Speaker 2 

So that if you were short at the end of a program. 

00:24:59 Speaker 2 

The manager of the station and the chief announcer. 

00:25:04 Speaker 2 

Would lie by saying that some dear old lady from White Rock had just phoned up and wanted George Boyd to sing the song. 

00:25:12 Speaker 2 

He has sung first on the program. 

00:25:15 Speaker 2 

And then in between that, I was leaping up on a chair. 

00:25:19 Speaker 2 

We had a German chiming clock on the wall. 

00:25:23 Speaker 2 

And the opening announcement was. 

00:25:28 Speaker 2 

Time measures the passing. 

00:25:30 Speaker 2 

No time has measured the passing hours by courtesy of shores Jewelers. 

00:25:36 Speaker 2 

And I used to put the hand up. 

00:25:40 Speaker 2 

To the charming position on the hour. 

00:25:43 Speaker 2 

Trams would ring out. 

00:25:47 Speaker 2 

And then following that, I would leap back down to the microphone again and say chimes half measured the passing hours. 

00:25:57 Speaker 2 

The studio, of course, was hung with very, very heavy drapery. 

00:26:02 Speaker 2 

There was no reverb in the in the studio at all as dead as can be, which was the fashion of the time. 

00:26:11 Speaker 1 

So they were making an effort to to get good acoustics. 

00:26:17 Speaker 1 

What was the? 

00:26:17 Speaker 1 

First station that you worked at was that. 

00:26:22 Speaker 2 

I think it was, yes. 

00:26:23 Speaker 2 

And the Saint Julian apartment hotel. 

00:26:26 Speaker 1 

When, when would that have? 

00:26:27 Speaker 1 

Been when you first started. 

00:26:28 Speaker 2 

Oh, I would say about. 

00:26:33 Speaker 2 

Oh, could be as as early as 1923. 

00:26:39 Speaker 1 

So you you would have not been in? 

00:26:42 Speaker 2 

No, I was about. 

00:26:45 Speaker 2 

Nine, I think when I first started. 

00:26:50 Speaker 1 

How did? 

00:26:50 Speaker 1 

How did you feel about working in radio? 

00:26:53 Speaker 1 

Was it was it everybody fairly fairly down to Earth about it or was there a lot of excitement involved? 

00:27:00 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, you took it as a sort of a regular thing. 

00:27:03 Speaker 2 

I think I possibly I was too juvenile to think of it as being exciting. 

00:27:11 Speaker 2 

I don’t think we were even impressed with the idea that, you know, sound was going through the air. 

00:27:18 Speaker 2 

In this kind of mysterious way. 

00:27:21 Speaker 2 

Because you were kind of brought up with it in a way, you know, I started sort of started life with radio. 

00:27:32 Speaker 2 

So there was nothing very unique about it. 

00:27:36 Speaker 2 

And I just took it as a matter of course. 

00:27:40 Speaker 1 

Did these programs get a lot of listener response? 

00:27:44 Speaker 1 

Like did you hear back? 

00:27:46 Speaker 2 

Well, Christmas time was there an exciting time to seek a CD because we were raising money for poor families. 

00:27:55 Speaker 2 

And everybody contributed to this. 

00:27:58 Speaker 2 

The first of the ecumenical situations we. 

00:28:02 Speaker 2 

Have a Catholic priest and an Anglican and. 

00:28:06 Speaker 2 

Methodists and they all contributed by giving poems and. 

00:28:14 Speaker 2 

The mayor of the city would come down and speak. 

00:28:19 Speaker 2 

And they would bid. 

00:28:22 Speaker 2 

Certain amounts of money, like the modern telephone. 

00:28:26 Speaker 2 

But for somebody to do something specifically. 

00:28:31 Speaker 2 

You know, for the mayor of the city to sing a song or something of the sort. 

00:28:34 Speaker 2 

And they were for those days, quite a bit of money was raised. 

00:28:38 Speaker 2 

For this Christmas fund. 

00:28:42 Speaker 2 

And I think. 

00:28:44 Speaker 2 

That they they bought hampers with the money and distributed it to poor people. 

00:28:48 Speaker 2 

Well, as a matter of fact. 

00:28:49 Speaker 2 

It was. 

00:28:51 Speaker 2 

You know the beginning of very, very bad times when you got in 1929 and 1930, it was a great need. 

00:29:00 Speaker 2 

For food, there are a lot of poor unemployed. 

00:29:07 Speaker 1 

Who was this was a CCD, you said? 

00:29:12 Speaker 1 

That was the province. 

00:29:14 Speaker 2 

Province owned the license and they had this phantom station, CHLS, which was operated by WG Hassell, who was known as Uncle Billy. 

00:29:25 Speaker 2 

He told stories about dogs. 

00:29:28 Speaker 2 

And raised collies. 

00:29:31 Speaker 1 

Who ran the CCD, who involved with that? 

00:29:36 Speaker 2 

Well, that sort of ran on its own hassle was there, but the main thrust of CCD was their nightly news broadcast. 

00:29:49 Speaker 2 

Given by a man by the name of Earl. 

00:29:51 Speaker 2 

Kelly, who soon became known as Goody, Mr. 

00:29:54 Speaker 2 

Good Evening, an Australian. 

00:29:57 Speaker 2 

Newspaper man. 

00:29:59 Speaker 2 

And he gave the nightly news. 

00:30:02 Speaker 1 

I’m going to turn my tape. 

00:30:08 Speaker 1 

Yeah, you were. 

00:30:09 Speaker 1 

Saying order of killing. 

00:30:12 Speaker 1 

He was quite a famous news reader, wasn’t he? 

00:30:17 Speaker 2 

He was the famous news announcer. 

00:30:21 Speaker 2 

In Vancouver. 

00:30:24 Speaker 2 

Closed off his broadcasts, always with. 

00:30:28 Speaker 2 

A message to. 

00:30:32 Speaker 2 

All the ships at sea and all the people in lighthouses. 

00:30:38 Speaker 2 

Uh, one day one night, he. 

00:30:44 Speaker 2 

Produce somewhat of full power, which was reported in the newspaper the following day. 

00:30:49 Speaker 2 

Because of the number of letters they received. 

00:30:52 Speaker 2 

He used to say to end the good ship Estevan which was the weather ship. 

00:30:56 Speaker 2 

And especially to June brides, a restful evening. 

00:31:02 Speaker 2 

And that became a sort of A cause celebre. 

00:31:11 Speaker 1 

Uncle Billy Billy. 

00:31:14 Speaker 2 

Oh yes, he and Billy Brown. 

00:31:23 Speaker 2 

I was trying to recall Charlie de Few was another man of the year. He was from CJOR, but I think he also had a column if I recall rightly in the newspaper. 

00:31:36 Speaker 2 

But they were sort of the mean figures. 

00:31:40 Speaker 2 

In radio in those days. 

00:31:53 Speaker 1 

I wonder if it’s any better now. 

00:31:54 Speaker 1 

Yeah, that’s better. 



00:32:02 Speaker 1 

You mentioned that you had done some work for. 

00:32:06 Speaker 1 

Was it CKFC or CF? 

00:32:08 Speaker 2 


00:32:11 Speaker 1 

That was the station that was run by the International Bible students. 

00:32:16 Speaker 2 

It started out of Chicago. 

00:32:20 Speaker 2 

And the operation was started by an elected judge by the name of Judge Rutherford. 

00:32:29 Speaker 2 

I don’t know whether the building you worked out of, but eventually the newspaper they put out was called the Watchtower. 

00:32:37 Speaker 2 

Which gave rise, of course, to the ladies who come to my door sometimes early on Sunday morning. 

00:32:45 Speaker 2 

Most incredible headline or title of a newspaper for somebody. 

00:32:51 Speaker 2 

Who was just waking up? 

00:32:52 Speaker 2 

Because it says in very large type awake. 

00:32:58 Speaker 2 

I still find it hard not to resent that sort of presentation. 

00:33:04 Speaker 1 

Were you with CFI very? 

00:33:07 Speaker 2 

Only ask for a considerable length of time. 

00:33:11 Speaker 1 

Were you? 

00:33:12 Speaker 1 

When you’re working through the. 

00:33:13 Speaker 1 

Various smaller stations in Vancouver. 

00:33:15 Speaker 1 

Would you just working for one exclusively or? 

00:33:17 Speaker 1 

Would you be? 

00:33:18 Speaker 2 

Doing no. 

00:33:19 Speaker 2 

I’d be at CFYC&CJOR&CWX all the same. Well, not at the same time on different nights. 

00:33:28 Speaker 1 

Wherever they need in the company is that then that’s right. 

00:33:36 Speaker 1 

Were you with ccyc when they ran into their travel? 

00:33:41 Speaker 2 

I can’t recall that I was Ccyc moved out of the building on Hastings St. 

00:33:49 Speaker 2 

out to a very large house out near Central Park. 

00:33:53 Speaker 2 

And I think that was just about the end of. 

00:33:57 Speaker 2 

Of the operation of the station. 

00:34:01 Speaker 1 

They were shut down over some religious controversies. 

00:34:04 Speaker 2 

All very likely yes. 

00:34:08 Speaker 2 

No, the religious part outside of playing for the choir of a million voices was not. 

00:34:18 Speaker 2 

Part of my knowledge of the station at all. 

00:34:21 Speaker 1 

How did you get started in CNV? 

00:34:27 Speaker 2 

I think I was invited by Percy Harvey, who was a conductor down there at the time. 

00:34:33 Speaker 2 

No, prior to that was when the instance I mentioned to you of writing music. 

00:34:39 Speaker 2 

For another conductor. 

00:34:41 Speaker 2 

And that was how I that’s how I got my start there. 

00:34:45 Speaker 2 

And I was playing the woodwind parts on the harmonium for Percy Harvey. 

00:34:50 Speaker 2 

On Sunday mornings. 

00:34:54 Speaker 1 

Would that would have been in the 30s. 

00:34:59 Speaker 1 

What was the cnav like then that you said at the station? 

00:35:05 Speaker 1 

Would that be? 

00:35:06 Speaker 1 

Would that be the present CNR station? 

00:35:10 Speaker 2 

And again, you know, was equipped with the regular very heavy valure curtains. 

00:35:16 Speaker 2 

And it was on the North End of the main floor of the railway station. 

00:35:26 Speaker 1 

At that point, would they have been? 

00:35:28 Speaker 1 

They would have been. 

00:35:29 Speaker 2 

Yes, they were. 

00:35:32 Speaker 1 

Were a lot of those programs you worked on, were they carried on the national network or were they just carried? 

00:35:39 Speaker 2 

Oh, no, quite a quite a number of them. 

00:35:41 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, I would imagine that the bulk of them were national network. 

00:35:47 Speaker 2 

Because you know, not every, not every city in Canada. 

00:35:54 Speaker 2 

Had a station on the network. 

00:35:58 Speaker 2 

I’m in Toronto, Montreal. 

00:36:03 Speaker 2 

I think Calgary. 

00:36:05 Speaker 2 

And Regina? 

00:36:07 Speaker 2 

And Vancouver. 

00:36:12 Speaker 1 

Where the CR-V studios as compared to the smaller stations were they fairly well set up technically? 

00:36:21 Speaker 2 

For the equipment of the time, yes they were. 

00:36:27 Speaker 2 

At least they didn’t. 

00:36:28 Speaker 2 

They they knew whether they were on the air, which was a decided advantage. 

00:36:33 Speaker 2 

As I had mentioned to you and speaking to you before that. 

00:36:37 Speaker 2 

It’s CHLS. 

00:36:39 Speaker 2 

We didn’t know whether we were on the air until someone phoned in. 

00:36:44 Speaker 1 

Instead of you. 

00:36:46 Speaker 2 

And told us that we weren’t, and then you had to run upstairs and they had a motor generator up there which had to be cleaned off again with Emery paper. 

00:36:58 Speaker 2 

To get you back on the air again, yes. 

00:37:02 Speaker 1 

So you were. 

00:37:10 Speaker 1 

Was Ira Dilworth at CNRC at that? 

00:37:13 Speaker 2 

No, I heard Dilworth didn’t come into the picture until we were in the Hotel Vancouver. 

00:37:19 Speaker 1 

When you were when you became. 

00:37:20 Speaker 2 

When became CRC V Canadian Radio Commission? 

00:37:24 Speaker 1 

What was your impression of our building? 

00:37:27 Speaker 2 

My impression was one of you, that he was without a doubt. 

00:37:31 Speaker 2 

One of the most brilliant men that we ever had in the field of radio. 

00:37:37 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, he could have been the most brilliant man in almost any other field. 

00:37:41 Speaker 2 

I mean literature, for example. 

00:37:44 Speaker 2 

I have treasured over a long period of time letters which I received from him both shows, which I did. 

00:37:51 Speaker 2 

Which are models. 

00:37:53 Speaker 2 

Of writing. 

00:37:56 Speaker 2 

Uhm, if he had a problem at all, it was because of the people who. 

00:38:03 Speaker 2 

We’re on the staff. 

00:38:05 Speaker 2 

We’re simply not at the same caliber that he was in consequence of that, couldn’t understand him. 

00:38:12 Speaker 2 

He was a brilliant man. 

00:38:13 Speaker 2 

He was of course, I have a certain prejudice in the way he was, the man who first suggested and approved the idea of my having. 

00:38:24 Speaker 2 

A serious orchestra. 

00:38:27 Speaker 2 

And because my father’s name is also John, I was invariably called Jack, so we knew which one of us my mother was calling for dinner. 

00:38:38 Speaker 2 

But as soon as IRA Dilworth. 

00:38:42 Speaker 2 

Got the idea of my doing a program a serious music says your name is John is and I said yes. 

00:38:50 Speaker 2 

And he said, well, and so it will be on this program. 

00:38:54 Speaker 2 

So Jack doesn’t sound very well with classical music. 

00:39:00 Speaker 1 

That would that would be the. 

00:39:06 Speaker 1 

And when did you start that? 

00:39:11 Speaker 2 

If we went by, I would say in counting in 1982. 

00:39:19 Speaker 2 

We almost 50 years. 

00:39:22 Speaker 2 

I conducted it for 48 years. 

00:39:24 Speaker 1 

Was that that would have been starting with. 

00:39:30 Speaker 2 


00:39:33 Speaker 2 

No, it was purely the result of an idea of Doctor Dilworth. 

00:39:44 Speaker 1 

So you could say that. 

00:39:49 Speaker 2 

Oh, definitely so. 

00:39:51 Speaker 2 

He’s a brilliant man. 

00:39:53 Speaker 1 

Had the. 

00:39:55 Speaker 1 

Was the Commission already moving in the direction of? 

00:40:00 Speaker 1 

I guess they were criticized later that some of the programs are too high. 

00:40:05 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:40:06 Speaker 2 

I mean, you know, we got this common cliche, ivory tower that was the. 

00:40:12 Speaker 2 

Chairman was often applied. 

00:40:15 Speaker 2 

But I think without a doubt at that time that for one thing, we had the very best drama and. 

00:40:24 Speaker 2 

There was also. 

00:40:26 Speaker 2 

I think this was under CBC. 

00:40:30 Speaker 2 

That we had the first Symphony Orchestra Radio Symphony. 

00:40:36 Speaker 2 

In the country, which had a very, very. 

00:40:41 Speaker 2 

Remarkable effect on music all over the country. 

00:40:45 Speaker 2 

CBC Symphony came out of Toronto and the first it was the first conductor was a music director, Jeffrey Waddington. 

00:40:57 Speaker 2 

And that. 

00:41:00 Speaker 2 

Produced and gave people in Canada. 

00:41:04 Speaker 2 

More Symphony music than they’d ever heard before. 

00:41:10 Speaker 2 

Orchestra in Vancouver was nothing like the caliber that is now. 

00:41:15 Speaker 2 

And you know the. 

00:41:17 Speaker 2 

Principal orchestra schools in Canada at that time would be the Toronto Symphony and then the Montreal. 

00:41:26 Speaker 2 

This enterprise, which was very expensive I would imagine. 

00:41:31 Speaker 2 

Was really the thing which. 

00:41:33 Speaker 2 

Brought the message of serious music. 

00:41:37 Speaker 2 

To people all across Canada. 

00:41:40 Speaker 2 

A very, very good program. 

00:41:44 Speaker 2 

Give an opportunity to not only musicians but to singers. 

00:41:49 Speaker 2 

And violinists and pianists. 

00:41:53 Speaker 2 

A very, very important element in the growth of music in Canada. 

00:42:02 Speaker 1 

Did the idea of having a regional orchestra for radio was that kind of a revolutionary? 

00:42:10 Speaker 2 

It was indeed as a matter of fact, we had kind of a small Symphony. 

00:42:15 Speaker 2 

This was also why our Dilworth idea was conducted by Arthur Benjamin very. 

00:42:22 Speaker 2 

Well known pianist and composer. 

00:42:26 Speaker 2 

Who would come out from England during the period of the war and he was the conductor of that orchestra. 

00:42:32 Speaker 2 

That orchestra played in. 

00:42:36 Speaker 2 

See the east side of the Hotel Vancouver. 

00:42:40 Speaker 2 

There was a room there which has now turned into a restaurant. 

00:42:45 Speaker 2 

But it was quite a good concert hall. 

00:42:49 Speaker 1 

So this was an actual Symphony. 

00:42:53 Speaker 2 

As a matter of fact, I think it was primarily intended and wisely so, to supplement. 

00:42:58 Speaker 2 

The low pay which the Vancouver Symphony members were receiving. 

00:43:05 Speaker 2 

So it was in support of of the local Symphony. 

00:43:09 Speaker 1 

Was that in addition to the concert orchestra? 

00:43:14 Speaker 1 

Did it did any of the other regional? 

00:43:20 Speaker 1 

CRDC stations have their own orchestras like that. 

00:43:23 Speaker 2 

Yes, about that time I think Winnipeg. 

00:43:27 Speaker 2 

Was starting up. 

00:43:29 Speaker 2 

With the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra. 

00:43:32 Speaker 2 

After the war, right after the war. 

00:43:36 Speaker 2 

Was conducted by Eric Wilde. 

00:43:41 Speaker 2 

Who is now? 

00:43:42 Speaker 2 

I understand retired and living in Vic. 

00:43:45 Speaker 2 

The very good orchestra, but we divided our. 

00:43:52 Speaker 2 

Roles as far as music is concerned into three very definite roles Montreal was doing in the 17th and 18th century music. 

00:44:03 Speaker 2 

Under the Little Symphony in the name of the Little Symphony. 

00:44:06 Speaker 2 

And Eric Wilde was doing the sort of semi pop but serious, still serious music. 

00:44:14 Speaker 2 

And over a period of time, more particularly under the. 

00:44:23 Speaker 2 

Of Doctor Robert Turner. 

00:44:27 Speaker 2 

The Vancouver section came more and more. 

00:44:32 Speaker 2 

Gravitated toward the production of contemporary music. 

00:44:36 Speaker 2 

And more particularly, Canadian contemporary composers. 

00:44:40 Speaker 2 

I think on a very logical basis. 

00:44:42 Speaker 2 

That whereas in the 18th century and the 19th. 

00:44:48 Speaker 2 

Composers had to die before their music was played to any extent. 

00:44:54 Speaker 2 

And our feeling was that. 

00:44:56 Speaker 2 

It would be a nice idea if the composer was still alive, so we could hear his music. 

00:45:02 Speaker 2 

And that was raised on debt for. 

00:45:05 Speaker 2 

Doing Canadian compositions. 

00:45:08 Speaker 2 

But we did first performances. 

00:45:11 Speaker 2 

First World performances first North American performances. 

00:45:16 Speaker 2 

Of American Music, British music, every kind of music you can think of. 

00:45:23 Speaker 2 

And some of it was appreciated and others of other pieces were not. 

00:45:31 Speaker 2 

But we tried to couple this. 

00:45:35 Speaker 2 

With classical composers as well, I mean it wasn’t just just a solid hour of contemporary music. 

00:45:44 Speaker 1 

It was a mixture of the familiar and. 

00:45:45 Speaker 2 

The unfamiliar? 

00:45:49 Speaker 2 

Yes, with the exception of the fact the classical composers would scarcely be familiar. 

00:45:55 Speaker 2 

We did all of the then known hidden symphonies as in. 

00:46:02 Speaker 2 

Weekly series. 

00:46:06 Speaker 2 

Did all the Mozart symphonies. 

00:46:12 Speaker 1 

Besides the straight music programs, how was how were you involved with music and other programs? 

00:46:20 Speaker 1 

That were done. 

00:46:23 Speaker 2 

Well, I was always a freelance. 

00:46:24 Speaker 2 

I wouldn’t join staff. 

00:46:27 Speaker 2 

So I was concerned primarily with that program with writing music for television and for the National Film Board productions. 

00:46:38 Speaker 2 

And still playing the piano as an accompanist. 

00:46:43 Speaker 1 

Did you ever do music for grammar programs? 

00:46:46 Speaker 2 

Oh yes. 

00:46:47 Speaker 2 

I did a tremendous amount of music for Andrew Allen. 

00:46:52 Speaker 2 

During the time that he was here, I did a regular program in the afternoons. 

00:46:58 Speaker 2 

Called Magic adventures. 

00:47:00 Speaker 2 

I don’t know how I remember that name from for children. 

00:47:07 Speaker 1 

Would that be? 

00:47:09 Speaker 1 

Would there be? 

00:47:12 Speaker 1 

To stop. 

00:47:13 Speaker 2 

No, no, no write specifically for the program. 

00:47:20 Speaker 1 

The the by this time I get to Vancouver was getting quite a reputation. 

00:47:28 Speaker 2 

Well, under Andrew Allen, of course it’s it gained this reputation. 

00:47:32 Speaker 2 

That’s why they took him back to Toronto to be chief drama producer. 

00:47:38 Speaker 2 

And uh. 

00:47:41 Speaker 2 

He gained a tremendous reputation. 

00:47:44 Speaker 2 

He was a most outstanding man. 

00:47:51 Speaker 2 

In company with people who could really write significantly, like Lister Sinclair. 

00:47:57 Speaker 2 

The radio production of plays became a major item as far as the CBC was concerned. 

Part 4


00:00:03 Speaker 1 

Very rightly so. 

00:00:05 Speaker 1 

I still feel that radio is important to drama. 

00:00:10 Speaker 1 

Because you can visualize. 

00:00:14 Speaker 1 

All of the scenery and everything else. 

00:00:19 Speaker 1 

I I found it more. 

00:00:21 Speaker 1 

I still the matter of fact. 

00:00:23 Speaker 1 

Find it more satisfying in the role of drama than I sometimes find television. 

00:00:28 Speaker 1 

You know, with the restricted size of the tube and. 

00:00:31 Speaker 1 

The restricted effects they can get as far as scenery is concerned. 

00:00:37 Speaker 1 

I mean, if you you need to use your imagination, that was part of the thrill of the whole thing. 

00:00:45 Speaker 2 

If you’re doing music for dramatic program, the music. 

00:00:49 Speaker 2 

Would be done live. 

00:00:53 Speaker 1 

In some cases, yes, but by the time I was writing most of the music for television, it was being done on a separate tape. 

00:01:02 Speaker 1 

And then transferred to the edge of the film. 

00:01:05 Speaker 1 

Using 16 millimeter film. 

00:01:08 Speaker 2 

But in the early days. 

00:01:12 Speaker 1 

Oh, and drama. 

00:01:12 Speaker 1 

It was all live. 

00:01:15 Speaker 2 

Did that present any kind of logistical problems? 

00:01:20 Speaker 1 

Uptakes early? 

00:01:20 Speaker 1 

No, because the pay was low enough, so we had almost unlimited rehearsal time. 

00:01:28 Speaker 2 

We do be in the same studio as. 

00:01:30 Speaker 2 

The actor. 

00:01:32 Speaker 1 

That changed later on. 

00:01:35 Speaker 1 

As things became more complicated and they started mounting operas. 

00:01:41 Speaker 1 

And then the orchestra would be in another studio. 

00:01:47 Speaker 2 

If you were in the same studio, would there be any kind of acoustic? 

00:01:50 Speaker 1 

Separation. Yes. Screens. 

00:01:53 Speaker 2 

And you would have. 

00:01:54 Speaker 2 

Separate microphones. 

00:01:57 Speaker 2 

Would there generally be a large musical group or would? 

00:02:02 Speaker 1 

I would think well, it depended entirely upon the drama. 

00:02:07 Speaker 1 

You know of the how much sound you really wanted. 

00:02:14 Speaker 1 

You know, historically where was the the setting for the drama itself? 

00:02:19 Speaker 1 

So did you need brasses or could you get by and just strings and wins? 

00:02:25 Speaker 1 

How much percussion did you need? 

00:02:28 Speaker 1 

So it was dictated as a matter of fact, not only by budget but by the actual production. 

00:02:39 Speaker 2 

Would it be the the Chamber Orchestra that would be doing for these things? 

00:02:43 Speaker 1 

Certainly members of the Chamber Orchestra. 

00:02:47 Speaker 2 

They would have been in the same situation and where they were, they were. 

00:02:49 Speaker 2 

Freelance, yes. 

00:02:53 Speaker 1 

I don’t. 

00:02:54 Speaker 1 

I can’t recall that we ever had a staff orchestra. 

00:02:57 Speaker 1 

I’m sure that we didn’t in Vancouver. 

00:03:02 Speaker 2 

Were you aware of any changes when the station was taken over by the Commission in 33? 

00:03:08 Speaker 1 

No, none at all. 

00:03:11 Speaker 1 

We just simply moved. 

00:03:15 Speaker 1 

Yes, same same, no same engineers. 

00:03:21 Speaker 1 

Manager of the station changed. 

00:03:23 Speaker 1 

I don’t know for what reason. 

00:03:26 Speaker 1 

Because as I mentioned, George Wright was at CNR V Jack Radford, I think was the first manager at CRC V. 

00:03:36 Speaker 1 

But other than that, you know, Basil Hilton was still the chief engineer and the staff was pretty well the same announcers. 

00:03:47 Speaker 1 

Although declaring Bull, who was the chief announcer at CNR V, went down to Toronto. 

00:03:55 Speaker 1 

So there are moves of that kind, but just simply within the network itself. 

00:04:02 Speaker 2 

What about when when you changed over to the CBC in 1936? 

00:04:07 Speaker 2 

Were there any major changes made? 

00:04:09 Speaker 1 

Then none that I can recall, no. 

00:04:12 Speaker 2 

Didn’t remain in the Hotel Vancouver. 

00:04:19 Speaker 2 

How was the Chamber reconstruction? 

00:04:23 Speaker 2 

Was it a? 

00:04:23 Speaker 1 

Large orchestra, we averaged around 32 to 35 members. 

00:04:31 Speaker 1 

It was an orchestra which was based on the concept of the kind of orchestra that say, hidden or Mozart would have employed. 

00:04:41 Speaker 1 

We had strings, double woodwind. 

00:04:44 Speaker 1 

Two horns which could be added to if necessary. 

00:04:48 Speaker 1 

Two trumpets. 

00:04:49 Speaker 1 

Harp if necessary harpsichord. 

00:04:55 Speaker 1 

What is known in Germany as a camera orchestra Chamber Orchestra? 

00:05:01 Speaker 2 

How often would they play? 

00:05:02 Speaker 1 

Every week. 

00:05:04 Speaker 2 

So would that be done? 

00:05:05 Speaker 2 

Would that be broadcast? 

00:05:06 Speaker 2 

Live or would it be? 

00:05:08 Speaker 1 

No, because of the time zones in Canada. 

00:05:16 Speaker 1 

We would very likely do the program a week in advance of the release date. 

00:05:21 Speaker 1 

So that it could be released at the same local time from Halifax right across Canada. 

00:05:28 Speaker 2 

So you would be recording on your disk then. 

00:05:36 Speaker 2 

Would that, would that constitute a full time? 

00:05:39 Speaker 2 

Job for you or it did? 

00:05:43 Speaker 2 

So you you would have rehearsal during the week. 

00:05:46 Speaker 1 

Oh yes. Well. 

00:05:51 Speaker 1 

Just finding the music for that specific orchestra. 

00:05:55 Speaker 1 

And the getting programs, you know which were. 

00:06:00 Speaker 1 

Interesting in the fact that they went someplace and then if you build up to a climax to move away from it, programming is a very, very difficult situation. 

00:06:12 Speaker 1 

And a lot of our material came from Europe. 

00:06:15 Speaker 1 

So that you had to go through a. 

00:06:18 Speaker 1 

Tremendous number of catalogs. 

00:06:21 Speaker 1 

And they eventually had a very good liaison with European music publishers. 

00:06:28 Speaker 1 

And they would be. 

00:06:29 Speaker 1 

They would send the scores to me, and so would composers, so that I had, I could spend. 

00:06:37 Speaker 1 

1012 or more hours a day just looking at scores. 

00:06:43 Speaker 1 

Before preparing the actual programs. 

00:06:46 Speaker 2 

Would you more or less have it be handed when? 

00:06:50 Speaker 1 

I consulted with Robert Turner in many instances because such an excellent musician, but every producer has a word to say about what he thinks he would like to have. 

00:07:02 Speaker 1 

And if you appreciate the person, and I’ve always been fortunate in having. 

00:07:07 Speaker 1 

Very good producers. 

00:07:11 Speaker 1 

I work very well with. 

00:07:14 Speaker 1 

People like Norman Newton. 

00:07:18 Speaker 1 

Rare occasions because he wasn’t doing the show regularly with the Robert Chesterman these were all. 

00:07:29 Speaker 1 

Good intellectual people. 

00:07:32 Speaker 1 

Who you could trust for guidance. 

00:07:35 Speaker 1 

But generally they gave you the freedom. 

00:07:40 Speaker 1 

To do the programs you wanted to do. 

00:07:44 Speaker 2 

Did conducting a radio orchestra pose any particular problems? 

00:07:49 Speaker 2 

As opposed to saying. 

00:07:52 Speaker 1 

Well, of course you don’t receive any of the the feeling that you get when you’re in front of a of an audience. 

00:08:00 Speaker 1 

Even if the conductor has his back to the audience, you can still feel in some strange way what the reaction is. 

00:08:09 Speaker 1 

And that you don’t get in the, so you have to. 

00:08:12 Speaker 1 

Gradually get used to radio. 

00:08:15 Speaker 1 

But I had started it in radio at such an early age that I was already conditioned. 

00:08:22 Speaker 1 

To the idea of not having an audience. 

00:08:25 Speaker 1 

Latterly, of course, we did have audiences. 

00:08:28 Speaker 1 

We played it. 

00:08:29 Speaker 1 

The Queen Elizabeth theatre. 

00:08:31 Speaker 1 

We did a tour with the orchestra all the way across the Canadian Arctic. 

00:08:39 Speaker 1 

Went on various tours. 

00:08:42 Speaker 1 

Of the western provinces. 

00:08:48 Speaker 2 

Would it be difficult to? 

00:08:51 Speaker 2 

Get your musicians into that state of mind too, where they. 

00:08:54 Speaker 1 

Could function no, because most of my musicians actually were used to playing in public. 

00:09:03 Speaker 1 

I mean, a lot of them, for example, were in the Vancouver Symphony. 

00:09:09 Speaker 1 

So there’s no problem in that respect at all. 

00:09:12 Speaker 2 

But would it be difficult for them to play? 

00:09:14 Speaker 2 

In the studio if. 

00:09:15 Speaker 1 

They were used to. 

00:09:16 Speaker 1 

No, they also got used to that. 

00:09:18 Speaker 1 

They, as a matter of fact, they. 

00:09:22 Speaker 1 

I think if anything they are more conscious. 

00:09:25 Speaker 1 

Of the needs for accuracy. 

00:09:28 Speaker 1 

And playing in the studio. 

00:09:30 Speaker 1 

Because latterly, of course, it was going to be on tape. 

00:09:35 Speaker 1 

And there it was, indelibly fixed. 

00:09:38 Speaker 1 

You would go over things, but that was according to the amount of rehearsal time which was given to you. 

00:09:48 Speaker 1 

You know, we would go into the booth and listen and decide that we wanted to do a. 

00:09:54 Speaker 1 

A certain section again. 

00:09:57 Speaker 1 

But we didn’t. 

00:09:59 Speaker 1 

We didn’t have very much time. 

00:10:01 Speaker 1 

To do things over. 

00:10:04 Speaker 1 

So they had to be pretty accurate first time around. 

00:10:09 Speaker 2 

Particularly with the if you’re using disk recording, you’d have to do the whole. 

00:10:12 Speaker 2 

You have to do the whole piece in one piece. 

00:10:15 Speaker 1 

Yes, there there wasn’t. 

00:10:21 Speaker 1 

Much worry about doing things accurately. 

00:10:24 Speaker 1 

During the days we were doing discs. 

00:10:30 Speaker 2 

During the 30s and 40s, with the orchestra, were there many visiting musicians that would come to the? 

00:10:39 Speaker 1 

Well, we always had guest artists. 

00:10:42 Speaker 1 

And they we’ve had some very, very good ones. 

00:10:46 Speaker 1 

Julian Bream, the. 

00:10:49 Speaker 1 

Guitarist would be a good example. 

00:10:53 Speaker 1 

And Joan Sutherland. 

00:10:57 Speaker 1 

And we’ve, we’ve had some very, very good artists play with the orchestra. 

00:11:01 Speaker 2 

Would they be brought to Vancouver specifically to play with? 

00:11:03 Speaker 2 

The orchestra. Or are we? 

00:11:05 Speaker 1 

We tried to catch them as a matter of fact, it was more reasonable as far as budget was concerned, to catch them if they were touring the Pacific Coast. 

00:11:16 Speaker 1 

I mean, we couldn’t afford to bring them all the. 

00:11:18 Speaker 1 

Way from Europe. 

00:11:25 Speaker 2 

Would you have to organize those things yourself, or would the? 

00:11:28 Speaker 1 

No, that was done by the CBC producer. 

00:11:31 Speaker 1 

We’ll arrange their fee and. 

00:11:33 Speaker 1 

Transport. Accommodation. 

00:11:47 Speaker 2 

This is the second tape with John Avison. 

00:11:53 Speaker 2 


00:11:53 Speaker 2 

We were talking about the. 

00:11:58 Speaker 2 

Thing or the culture? 

00:12:02 Speaker 2 

Were there any particular technical problems that you were aware of recording our our broadcasting forecast for music? 

00:12:12 Speaker 1 

Well, before we moved into the new building and that took an incredible time to build, it seemed to me. 

00:12:21 Speaker 1 

That’s right. And the studio. 

00:12:24 Speaker 1 

That we played in there was specifically built, so I understand for the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra. 

00:12:34 Speaker 1 

Prior to that, we were doing most of our recording from. 

00:12:38 Speaker 1 

North Vancouver Centennial Theatre on Lonsdale. 

00:12:42 Speaker 1 

And for special programs, and of course always those that had. 

00:12:48 Speaker 1 

Pipe organ. 

00:12:49 Speaker 1 

And then we did them from Ryerson Church. 

00:12:51 Speaker 1 

Just about four blocks from my home. 

00:12:56 Speaker 1 

We did quite a number of recordings with Hugh McLean. 

00:13:00 Speaker 1 

Who was the organist up at Ryerson? 

00:13:04 Speaker 1 

Who went back to Ontario to become Dean. 

00:13:09 Speaker 1 

Of western. 

00:13:12 Speaker 1 

And then we had another organist by the name of Derrick Healy. 

00:13:17 Speaker 1 

Who was very, very good. 

00:13:18 Speaker 1 

I taught with him at the University of Victoria. 

00:13:21 Speaker 1 

I possibly left out of my. 

00:13:25 Speaker 1 

Meandering monologue. 

00:13:28 Speaker 1 

The fact that after I finished art school, I went back to university. 

00:13:33 Speaker 1 

Got a Bachelor of Arts degree since they didn’t have a music department. 

00:13:37 Speaker 1 

I went down to the University of Washington and took a Bachelor of Music degree. 

00:13:42 Speaker 1 

When the war was over. 

00:13:44 Speaker 1 

I spent. 

00:13:47 Speaker 1 

3 1/2 years in the permanent force. 

00:13:52 Speaker 1 

Then I was advised by. 

00:13:55 Speaker 1 

William Steinberg, who was a guest conductor in Vancouver for the Symphony. 

00:13:59 Speaker 1 

To go down to New York. 

00:14:01 Speaker 1 

So you don’t have to take any courses just to go to concerts. 

00:14:05 Speaker 1 

But I discovered the Northern State International house. 

00:14:08 Speaker 1 

I had to have a receipt. 

00:14:11 Speaker 1 

From some accredited school. 

00:14:13 Speaker 1 

So I went across the street to Juilliard. 

00:14:18 Speaker 1 

And uh. 

00:14:20 Speaker 1 

I was in a. 

00:14:22 Speaker 1 

Chamber music class. 

00:14:24 Speaker 1 

And after a few weeks, I discovered that. 

00:14:27 Speaker 1 

I was doing the teaching and the teacher was. 

00:14:30 Speaker 1 

Resting up for whatever he had in mind, I don’t know. 

00:14:35 Speaker 1 

And then I discovered this. 

00:14:38 Speaker 1 

Paul Hindemith was at Yale, so I had made friends with the young chap from New Haven. 

00:14:45 Speaker 1 

So I went to Yale and took intimate classes. 

00:14:50 Speaker 1 

And uh. 

00:14:54 Speaker 1 

I received a senior arts fellowship. 

00:14:57 Speaker 1 

From Canada Council, I spent nearly a year in Europe. 

00:15:07 Speaker 1 

Primarily because. 

00:15:09 Speaker 1 

I think the time that I spent in the army. 

00:15:13 Speaker 1 

Required that I get back into music again because I was quite far removed from it. 

00:15:19 Speaker 1 

I was in the infantry. 

00:15:22 Speaker 1 

Which is strange. 

00:15:23 Speaker 1 

Strange sort of of army tests suggested that I was most suitable for. 

00:15:30 Speaker 2 

You never had an opportunity to play in the. 

00:15:32 Speaker 2 

Military band. 

00:15:34 Speaker 1 

I had no desire to. 

00:15:35 Speaker 1 

I was a terrible idealist at the time. 

00:15:39 Speaker 1 

I didn’t want to have anything to do with music at all. 

00:15:42 Speaker 1 

As a matter of fact, in my regiment we had a Pipe Band. 

00:15:46 Speaker 1 

And I is. 

00:15:49 Speaker 1 

Never had any knowledge of the place. 

00:15:52 Speaker 1 

And or did I have very much acquaintanceship with them? 

00:15:56 Speaker 1 

I grew to the point where I found that for marching they were absolutely splendid. 

00:16:04 Speaker 1 

And they have some technical problems which I would find it absolutely impossible to overcome ornaments. 

00:16:13 Speaker 1 

If you see a piece of pipe music, it’s scary. 

00:16:18 Speaker 1 

The number of things that they do wandering around from one note to the next. 

00:16:25 Speaker 2 

So it was after the war. 

00:16:26 Speaker 2 

That you were at Yale? 

00:16:30 Speaker 1 

We’re thinking. 

00:16:37 Speaker 1 

Oh, I adored the man. 

00:16:39 Speaker 1 

As a matter of fact, it was like a little my my picture of. 

00:16:44 Speaker 1 

The cherubic Little German school teacher kind of bright cheeks. 

00:16:49 Speaker 1 

Brilliant man. 

00:16:51 Speaker 1 

I think he was brilliant in the area of economics too, because. 

00:16:55 Speaker 1 

Our first lecture consists of intimates coming into class. 

00:16:59 Speaker 1 

And saying the first thing you will do is to buy my two books at the store across the street. 

00:17:06 Speaker 1 

And with that he left. 

00:17:10 Speaker 2 

Was he? 

00:17:16 Speaker 1 

Very fine indeed. He’d already have established a reputation in 1920s in Germany. 

00:17:27 Speaker 1 

The excellent composer of really first read musician. 

00:17:33 Speaker 1 

I never heard him play Viola. 

00:17:34 Speaker 1 

That was his instrument. 

00:17:36 Speaker 1 

But I never heard him play the instrument. 

00:17:39 Speaker 1 

But he was marvelous, man. 

00:17:42 Speaker 1 

Then through Steinberg and another conductor with the name of Rosenstock. 

00:17:48 Speaker 1 

I managed to get 2 summers down to Aspen, Co. 

00:17:52 Speaker 1 

Where I was teaching and helping the conductors. 

00:17:57 Speaker 1 

Taking compositional lessons from dario’s meal. 

00:18:02 Speaker 1 

And this was a great treat and I. 

00:18:05 Speaker 1 

Learned a great deal about conducting from William Steinberg. 

00:18:11 Speaker 1 

He invited me, as a matter of fact. 

00:18:14 Speaker 1 

Later on, to be his associate in Pittsburgh. 

00:18:19 Speaker 1 

But I had already accepted the Canada Council grant on the basis that it was to further my work in Canada. 

00:18:30 Speaker 1 

So when I was fully conscious of the fact that I had made this promise and my application. 

00:18:36 Speaker 1 

So I. 

00:18:38 Speaker 1 

Turned down Pittsburgh. 

00:18:42 Speaker 2 

National Youth Symphony when? 

00:18:44 Speaker 2 

Was that with the Canada Council grant is. 

00:18:46 Speaker 2 

That to work with the National Youth. 

00:18:49 Speaker 1 

No, that was for study in Europe. 

00:18:53 Speaker 1 

You know the National Youth Orchestra was 1964. 

00:18:59 Speaker 1 

And that was one of the most joyful periods in my whole life. 

00:19:03 Speaker 1 

To come to an orchestra which was just getting together. 

00:19:07 Speaker 1 

And the exuberance and the excitement. 

00:19:11 Speaker 1 

And the intelligence of the young people in this orchestra was. 

00:19:16 Speaker 1 

Almost overwhelming. 

00:19:19 Speaker 1 

On my concert, I played as a closing piece. The young person’s guide to the orchestra by Benjamin Britten. 

00:19:27 Speaker 1 

And the. 

00:19:29 Speaker 1 

Piece brought us a standing ovation in every place we played. 

00:19:34 Speaker 1 

It’s just absolutely amazing, but the orchestra was really great. 

00:19:39 Speaker 2 

And you went. 

00:19:39 Speaker 2 

All the way across Canada. 

00:19:41 Speaker 1 

Well, no, we I did the eastern portion of Canada, we started out in Toronto. 

00:19:48 Speaker 1 

And we did. 

00:19:50 Speaker 1 

Quebec and the Maritimes. 

00:19:53 Speaker 1 

Ending ending up in at the Genesis musical camp at Mont Orford. 

00:20:04 Speaker 2 

I was asking you about. 

00:20:08 Speaker 2 

The setup in these you when you didn’t have a before the new studios at Hamilton St. 

00:20:12 Speaker 2 

and you used to record in churches and yes. 

00:20:16 Speaker 2 

Did that pull a lot of? 

00:20:17 Speaker 1 

Technical problems? 

00:20:19 Speaker 1 

As a matter of fact, I think in North Vancouver they for reverberation. 

00:20:24 Speaker 1 

They hung the mic in the. 

00:20:27 Speaker 1 

And the stairway, I think you know, in the wings of the theater. 

00:20:32 Speaker 1 

And UM, Ryerson is no problem at all. 

00:20:37 Speaker 1 

It’s an absolutely marvelous place to play in. 

00:20:41 Speaker 1 

You don’t have to use any artificial reverb of any kind at all, so much stone in that church. 

00:20:47 Speaker 1 

It’s a marvelous place to play. 

00:20:50 Speaker 1 

One of my favorites. 

00:20:58 Speaker 2 

Did they have the technical ability to? 

00:21:01 Speaker 2 

Get good, good sound I. 

00:21:04 Speaker 1 

Well, reverberation was a a problem as far as they were concerned. 

00:21:10 Speaker 1 

The studios were not adaptable to. 

00:21:14 Speaker 1 

Being able to change the reverberation period. 

00:21:18 Speaker 1 

There are some places in Canada which are extraordinary. 

00:21:21 Speaker 1 

It’s a place that. 

00:21:24 Speaker 1 

At music school in Montreal. 

00:21:29 Speaker 1 

Where they have panels which can be shifted. 

00:21:33 Speaker 1 

To expose either a certain amount of absorption material or a certain amount of hard surface. 

00:21:41 Speaker 1 

And that can be done from the booth. 

00:21:43 Speaker 1 

So Sal, Claude Champaign. 

00:21:48 Speaker 1 

But these are new things. 

00:21:52 Speaker 1 

And so. 

00:21:54 Speaker 1 

That they didn’t really bother about. 

00:22:01 Speaker 2 

As a conductor, did you have to continue yourself much with that or? 

00:22:03 Speaker 2 

The technicians take care of it. 

00:22:06 Speaker 1 

I was worried that we weren’t getting enough, you know, I was. 

00:22:10 Speaker 1 

Afraid of playing in a dead hall? 

00:22:14 Speaker 2 

That we need to plan. 

00:22:15 Speaker 1 

Yes, of course you’re going to be afraid also on the tour that I made with the National Youth Orchestra played as the police in the Maritimes. 

00:22:25 Speaker 1 

I think it was a skating rink. 

00:22:27 Speaker 1 

Sound came back about three or four times. 

00:22:31 Speaker 1 

Even after the piece had finished, it was still going on. 

00:22:38 Speaker 2 

When you’re when you’re recording or broadcasting last minute desire to have a certain amount of reverb, yes. 

00:22:47 Speaker 1 

Well, for the same reason, if you go to Vienna. 

00:22:50 Speaker 1 

There is a. 

00:22:53 Speaker 1 

A hall that Beethoven used to sit in as a matter of fact to hear his own chamber music. 

00:23:00 Speaker 1 

And although it was the palace of the Ambassador of Russia to the Court of Vienna. 

00:23:08 Speaker 1 

The reverberation seems to be absolutely perfect. 

00:23:12 Speaker 1 

As old mass, I don’t know how Massey it all is now, but that to me was another almost perfect place to conduct in. 

00:23:21 Speaker 1 

And yet that was before acoustical engineers were born. 

00:23:26 Speaker 2 

In that early period would. 

00:23:29 Speaker 2 

Would they mic? 

00:23:32 Speaker 2 

Sections of the orchestra separately. 

00:23:33 Speaker 2 

Or would they use a few mics for the? 

00:23:35 Speaker 1 

Whole orchestra they prefer. 

00:23:37 Speaker 1 

Usually if you use. 

00:23:38 Speaker 1 

A single mic. 

00:23:41 Speaker 1 

And two mikes further back. 

00:23:44 Speaker 1 

To give the impression of some kind of reverberation, in other words, almost hearing the orchestra twice, but with such a small period in between. 

00:23:54 Speaker 1 

That wouldn’t bother anybody at all, just added to the presence of the whole thing. 

00:24:01 Speaker 1 

But just use of a mic on separate sections. 

00:24:06 Speaker 1 

Requires somebody who is terribly competent. 

00:24:09 Speaker 1 

And to call out in advance to the operator. 

00:24:12 Speaker 1 

What Mikey wants. 

00:24:15 Speaker 1 

With how much level, it’s a very difficult business. 

00:24:19 Speaker 1 

As a matter of fact, my teacher William Steinberg. 

00:24:23 Speaker 1 

When he was the associate conductor to Toscanini. 

00:24:27 Speaker 1 

Saw Toscanini leave the podium. 

00:24:29 Speaker 1 

Of the NBC orchestra only once. 

00:24:33 Speaker 1 

And he went up to the booth. 

00:24:36 Speaker 1 

And he listened for only a very short time, came screaming back to his podium, said to Steinberg. 

00:24:43 Speaker 1 

I am not the conductor that fellow with those knobs is the conductor. 

00:24:48 Speaker 1 

So you’re dependent upon a good engineer. 

00:24:54 Speaker 1 

Latterly, of course, we had a very, very good one, the CBC fellow named Jimmy Reed. 

00:25:01 Speaker 1 

I hope that I was responsible for enticing him to come out from Toronto because it’s very, very good indeed. 

00:25:10 Speaker 2 

The producers of these programs of musical programs. 

00:25:16 Speaker 1 

Well, George Laverock, for example, who is now doing the Chamber Orchestra. 

00:25:21 Speaker 1 

He was got his Bachelor of Music degree from UBC. 

00:25:25 Speaker 1 

Very, very competent. 

00:25:27 Speaker 1 

Trumpeter played for me very often. 

00:25:30 Speaker 1 

Before he went to university. 

00:25:34 Speaker 1 

And Norman Newton has a very sharp set of ears. 

00:25:40 Speaker 1 

Turner was an excellent composer. 

00:25:45 Speaker 1 

Oh, of course. 

00:25:52 Speaker 2 

What was the the attitude of the CBC to the arts in general at that time in the 30s and 40s? 

00:26:01 Speaker 1 

Well, I don’t know what’s I think that they felt fortunate if they got on the air. 

00:26:09 Speaker 1 

Although these people like Andrew Allen. 

00:26:13 Speaker 1 

Suddenly coming out from almost nowhere. 

00:26:17 Speaker 1 

Established by themselves, a certain standard which was recognized not only in Canada but in the United States as well. 

00:26:27 Speaker 1 

We were doing the best drama anywhere. 

00:26:29 Speaker 1 

CBC Symphony Orchestra was quite unique. 

00:26:33 Speaker 1 

You know, for a country this size, this kind of a population. 

00:26:37 Speaker 1 

Because eventually the NBC Symphony Orchestra folded up. 

00:26:42 Speaker 1 

And the CBS Symphony under Bernard Herrmann that folded up. 

00:26:49 Speaker 1 

And we were left with the only large orcs. 

00:26:51 Speaker 1 

There’s really. 

00:26:53 Speaker 1 

Broadcasting on a continuing basis. 

00:26:57 Speaker 1 

Except the New York Philharmonic. 

00:26:59 Speaker 2 

That’s still the case, yes. 

00:27:04 Speaker 1 

The television is being helped out by. 

00:27:07 Speaker 1 

Grants lately. 

00:27:10 Speaker 1 

So they’re able to tour the broadcast at the same time. 

00:27:16 Speaker 2 

With the CDC. 

00:27:21 Speaker 1 

Oh yes, very definitely. 

00:27:24 Speaker 1 

And not only that, but encouraging to regions. 

00:27:31 Speaker 1 

I don’t. 

00:27:32 Speaker 1 

I’m sure we would not have had an orchestra in Halifax or. 

00:27:36 Speaker 1 

Or the orchestra in Winnipeg or any of the other places in Canada. 

00:27:40 Speaker 1 

If it hadn’t been for the encouragement of CBC. 

00:27:45 Speaker 1 

I mean, this was the old for many people, this was the only outlet. 

00:27:50 Speaker 2 

Did that actually change over the years at all? 

00:27:54 Speaker 1 

No, I don’t think so. 

00:27:56 Speaker 1 

The exception of. 

00:27:56 Speaker 1 

The fact is. 

00:27:58 Speaker 1 

They would at the end of the fiscal year. 

00:28:02 Speaker 1 

Be bothered by how little or how much they were going to get from the government. 

00:28:08 Speaker 1 

As a grant. 

00:28:10 Speaker 1 

This is the thing that troubles everybody, of course. 

00:28:13 Speaker 2 


00:28:13 Speaker 1 

I’m sure trouble troubles Canada Council as much as it troubles the CBC. 

00:28:19 Speaker 1 

And the one time Prime Minister of Canada was very much in favor of. 

00:28:24 Speaker 1 

Selling the CBC to commercial enterprise. 

00:28:29 Speaker 1 

Until he was warned by the Minister of National Defense. 

00:28:32 Speaker 1 

In case of any extreme emergencies. 

00:28:36 Speaker 1 

That it was worthwhile for the government to have its own network. 

00:28:40 Speaker 1 

Otherwise, he would have sold the whole thing. 

00:28:45 Speaker 2 

I’ve heard some people say that. 

00:28:47 Speaker 2 

Because it’s it’s under the. 

00:28:49 Speaker 2 

Wing of the government that. 

00:28:50 Speaker 2 

The the inherent. 

00:28:52 Speaker 2 

The inherent bureaucracy of the CDC can. 

00:28:54 Speaker 2 

Be a real problem. 

00:28:55 Speaker 2 

But you never have. 

00:28:56 Speaker 1 

To I think that happens anywhere I work for various organizations I work for KJ in Los Angeles. 

00:29:04 Speaker 1 

And the same sort of thing develops. 

00:29:07 Speaker 1 

There are always areas of power within every organization. 

00:29:13 Speaker 1 

I think Toronto, because it does the bulk of the broadcasting, you know, would fancy itself as opposed to the Central Office in in Ottawa. 

00:29:25 Speaker 1 

I don’t think it poses an extreme problem. 

00:29:30 Speaker 1 

You know they’re. 

00:29:31 Speaker 1 

Every location. 

00:29:34 Speaker 1 

Has its own little power group. 

00:29:38 Speaker 2 

You never felt that you were being prevented. 

00:29:41 Speaker 2 

From what you wanted to do or start. 

00:29:42 Speaker 1 

Not at anytime. 

00:29:45 Speaker 1 

As a matter of fact, I have. 

00:29:48 Speaker 1 

In all the years I worked for the CBC, I felt nothing but. 

00:29:54 Speaker 1 

From the music director in Toronto, all the way through the entire corporation, I was fortunate, of course, to have possibly. 

00:30:03 Speaker 1 

Made more recordings for the CBC than any orchestra of that size. 

00:30:09 Speaker 1 

And some of them became quite successful. 

00:30:14 Speaker 1 

Couple of them were used on the. 

00:30:21 Speaker 1 

And flight music on Air Canada. 

00:30:27 Speaker 1 

But they’ve been most supportive as far as I’m concerned. 

00:30:34 Speaker 1 

I’m delighted, of course, that. 

00:30:37 Speaker 1 

When they do an outside program, my name is still mentioned as conductor emeritus of the orchestra. 

00:30:44 Speaker 1 

Even though it is now under the conductor ship of John Eddie Gardner, whose splendid musician. 

00:30:51 Speaker 1 

But the concept of the orchestra is changing from the wide variety of material, which I did more toward the Baroque. 

00:31:02 Speaker 2 

And moving away from the more modern yes. 

00:31:08 Speaker 2 

What are some of the most memorable? 

00:31:10 Speaker 2 

Occasions with the CBC. 

00:31:15 Speaker 1 

Oh, I think the International Conference of Broadcasters I conducted, the Mendelson choir and the Toronto Symphony and Massey Hall with representatives from. 

00:31:28 Speaker 1 

All over the Commonwealth present. 

00:31:33 Speaker 1 

And opening with the most splendid arrangement of God save the Queen by Sir Ernest Macmillan for Chorus and orchestra. 

00:31:44 Speaker 1 

But we played a piece from every one of the Commonwealth countries. 

00:31:49 Speaker 1 

And I think that. 

00:31:50 Speaker 1 

To me, that was one of the highlights of my career. 

00:31:54 Speaker 1 

That and anytime I ever played anything with Glenn Gould. 

00:31:59 Speaker 1 

Or with Bob Aiken as the flutist, or with Maureen Forrester, Lois Marshall. 

00:32:05 Speaker 1 

We’ve got some splendid artists in Canada, and as a conductor, I can always say there was a joy to work with them. 

00:32:17 Speaker 1 

We don’t have to be ashamed of. 

00:32:20 Speaker 1 

Prowess of any of artistic people in Canada in any of the arts. 

00:32:27 Speaker 2 

Too many people let them go. 

00:32:33 Speaker 1 

Remarkable man. 

00:32:36 Speaker 1 

And for all his eccentricities, as just as charming as he is gifted. 

00:32:44 Speaker 2 

The the story I heard about Ben. 

00:32:45 Speaker 2 

Gould. I think he was. 

00:32:47 Speaker 2 

On television a while back. 

00:32:48 Speaker 2 

And he was talking about how he didn’t do live performances and. 

00:32:51 Speaker 1 

He doesn’t. 

00:32:53 Speaker 2 

Why is that? 

00:32:55 Speaker 1 

I don’t know. 

00:32:57 Speaker 1 

I’m sure I’ve never discussed it with him. 

00:32:59 Speaker 1 

I didn’t feel that I should. 

00:33:01 Speaker 2 

Well, I wanna maybe you could comment on on the his, his his feeling was that I think that he. 

00:33:11 Speaker 2 

In recordings, he had more control over the way the final product sounded. 

00:33:17 Speaker 1 

In all likelihood, that would be right, although I must say that. 

00:33:23 Speaker 1 

You know, he made a. 

00:33:26 Speaker 1 

A world success. 

00:33:28 Speaker 1 

And playing recitals in front of the public. 

00:33:32 Speaker 1 

Few people complained about his. 

00:33:36 Speaker 1 

But if I could play like that, I’d be delighted to to do it. 

00:33:39 Speaker 1 

Standing on my head. 

00:33:42 Speaker 2 

Did you ever encounter that difficulty that you? 

00:33:47 Speaker 2 

The relationship between playing live and playing in recordings, so one or the. 

00:33:52 Speaker 1 

Other no, no. 

00:33:56 Speaker 1 

I got so used to forgetting about microphones entirely. 

00:34:03 Speaker 1 

And you know, actually, I couldn’t control the engineers of the producer, but I just had to trust them. 

00:34:13 Speaker 1 

Very seldom I was disappointed. 

00:34:16 Speaker 1 

Well, I. 

00:34:18 Speaker 1 

I can work very well. 

00:34:20 Speaker 1 

I think possibly my experience in the army made it possible for me to fit into almost any situation. 

00:34:29 Speaker 2 

In the early period, with the CBC, were you satisfied with the fidelity you were getting, like when you had, when you had an? 

00:34:35 Speaker 2 

Opportunity to hear one of your. 

00:34:36 Speaker 1 

Well, it was just. 

00:34:37 Speaker 1 

It was just as good as anything else that was going on. 

00:34:41 Speaker 1 

We we were in what I call low five period. 

00:34:49 Speaker 1 

I can’t say that I was utterly happy with it, but at the same time that was the best that they could do. 

00:34:54 Speaker 1 

With the limitations of the equipment they add. 

00:34:57 Speaker 1 

I never felt that I had done a decent recording till I did one out of. 

00:35:03 Speaker 1 

Out Of Montreal, it is a series of recordings with a folk singer by the name of Emma Casler. 

00:35:10 Speaker 1 

And that was using the brand new German Siemens MIC with its own stage of amplifier within the microphone itself. 

00:35:21 Speaker 1 

But it took us a long time and those belong to international service took us a long time to get them into Vancouver. 

00:35:30 Speaker 1 

I used to plead. 

00:35:35 Speaker 2 

Well, you tell me about the CNV players. 

00:35:40 Speaker 2 

Did you? 

00:35:40 Speaker 1 

I don’t recall that group at all. 

00:35:43 Speaker 2 

I just know that know that no one in my reputation. 

00:35:50 Speaker 2 

Maybe we could return to the to the earlier period? 

00:35:53 Speaker 2 

Any any particular memorable events from that early period when you before you were with the CRV, when you’re working with responsibilities? 

00:36:02 Speaker 1 

I don’t know whether they were memorable or not. 

00:36:07 Speaker 1 

Things were pretty haphazard. 

00:36:11 Speaker 1 

You couldn’t. 

00:36:16 Speaker 1 

Quality of sound because. 

00:36:19 Speaker 1 

You know, as long as people heard anything. 

00:36:22 Speaker 1 

They thought they were doing very well. 

00:36:30 Speaker 1 

It was a pretty flimsy operation. 

00:36:34 Speaker 1 

But it pleased a lot of people. 

00:36:37 Speaker 1 

You know it. 

00:36:38 Speaker 1 

It was a great novelty. 

00:36:41 Speaker 1 

You know when the first vacuum tubes came out, they were exposed, I think was in an RCA set. 

00:36:47 Speaker 1 

That is, they thought there was a tremendous improvement. 

00:36:57 Speaker 2 

So I didn’t say. 

00:37:01 Speaker 2 

When you were playing on the on these various small stations and small Vancouver station, were you primarily on? 

00:37:08 Speaker 1 

Yes, played solo as well. 

00:37:12 Speaker 2 

Did you ever do request programs? 

00:37:14 Speaker 2 

Or anything like that. 

00:37:16 Speaker 1 

No, I can’t recall that. 

00:37:17 Speaker 1 

I did with sole exception of what I mentioned to you that if we were short a number, we’d just simply repeat something we did at the beginning. 

00:37:28 Speaker 2 

Was it a fairly casual arrangement? 

00:37:32 Speaker 1 

Oh yes. 

00:37:34 Speaker 1 

You know, phoning up for the day before, possibly same night as the broadcast. 

00:37:40 Speaker 2 

Did you find yourself in the position of having to rush in once? 

00:37:44 Speaker 1 

Yes indeed, yeah. 

00:37:49 Speaker 1 

My mother used to just give me enough money so I could either take. 

00:37:53 Speaker 1 

Well, enough money to take a taxi from one station to another and enough money to take a taxi home. 

00:38:00 Speaker 1 

Although she preferred, I think if I came home in the streetcar be far, far more reasonable. 

00:38:07 Speaker 2 

Did did you get reimbursed to call for those things or by the station or? 

00:38:12 Speaker 1 

I can tell you from the point of view of CFY C after two years of work, they gave me a $2.50 gold piece. 

00:38:21 Speaker 1 

I suppose that would be known as an honorarium. 

00:38:26 Speaker 2 

I imagine in in that. 

00:38:32 Speaker 1 

Goodwill offerings. 

00:38:38 Speaker 2 

And any particularly memorable people who you had occasionally. 

00:38:44 Speaker 1 

Oh, I would say Melchior, for example, who is a towering man physically as being. 

00:38:52 Speaker 1 

The Great Wagner tenor of his time. 

00:38:57 Speaker 1 

I played for Jeely. 

00:38:59 Speaker 1 

Who was? 

00:39:00 Speaker 1 

I suppose that one of the well I know is one of the finest tenors of his time. 

00:39:06 Speaker 1 

Zucchetti was one of the finest violinists of his time. 

00:39:09 Speaker 1 

I plead for him. 

00:39:11 Speaker 1 

Ossie Renardy was one of the 

00:39:14 Speaker 1 

Most gifted technicians to ever come out of Europe. 

00:39:17 Speaker 1 

And I played for him on tour all the way across the States and up into Vancouver and Victoria. 

00:39:26 Speaker 1 

But these are possibly the people I remember possibly best in my career. 

00:39:34 Speaker 1 

Friends of mine like John Weinzweig and Harry Summers. 

00:39:39 Speaker 1 

We’ve had some excellent Canadian composers. 

00:39:44 Speaker 1 

My friendship for a long period of time. 

00:39:47 Speaker 1 

With Fred Varley? 

00:39:49 Speaker 1 

Are you with Fred Varley? 

00:39:49 Speaker 2 

Yeah. So. 

00:39:51 Speaker 1 

One of the group of seven? 

00:39:56 Speaker 1 

Some of my best friends like. 

00:39:59 Speaker 1 

Late Doctor William Steinberg, who is my friend. 

00:40:04 Speaker 1 

Teacher Sir Ernest Macmillan, who was a very dear friend. 

00:40:08 Speaker 1 

Both he and Lady Macmillan had great influence on my musical life. 

00:40:15 Speaker 1 

In fact, practically every musician in Canada IMAGINE has had some sort of an influence. 

00:40:21 Speaker 1 

On the music that I play and. 

00:40:25 Speaker 1 

I feel. 

00:40:27 Speaker 1 

I suppose like most musicians, happier. 

00:40:30 Speaker 1 

In the company of musicians than they do anywhere else. 

00:40:36 Speaker 2 

Was was the radio broadcasting a big part of it or? 

00:40:39 Speaker 1 

This is the way I met people. 

00:40:43 Speaker 1 

You know, receiving letters from them. 

00:40:47 Speaker 2 

What was the general attitude among musicians to radio? 

00:40:51 Speaker 1 

I think they were glad to get their work performed. 

00:40:56 Speaker 1 

Which of course you know is the. 

00:40:59 Speaker 1 

Technical quality of broadcasting improved. 

00:41:04 Speaker 1 

So their demands. 

00:41:06 Speaker 1 

For better broadcasting improved.