Plant Managers and Prime Ministers

Journal Entry. Edmonton.
November 11th, 1980.

I work for a pretty interesting man. Bill White. A dyed-in-the-wool 1960s CBC "manager". A tall, gangly, John Cleese look alike who began his career as a technician at CBC Regina. Bill is the Director of Radio here and after hiring me gave me two words of advice -- "time checks" -- air lots and lots of time checks.

Sure enough, after my first month he pulled me into his office to give me shit not for playing George Thorogood or Tom Waits at 6.07 am .... not for doing items about body-rub parlours or paraplegic Christian aldermen getting their parts "massaged" by skanky hookers -- not even for Vicki asking Gail (on air) how many tooth brushes she had scattered around town - but Bill was pissed because we weren't telling the audience what time it was.

Bill White became a folk hero around the plant when he was caught by the Fire Marshall UNWIRING the station fire alarm because it kept shorting out sending us all into the parking lot for endless false alarms.

He took me for lunch recently and after half a dozen Rusty Nails told me a great story about when he was at CBC Regina running the tech board and John Diefenbaker came into the control room demanding to be put on air right then and there because he was angry about some item the show had run the day before. The producer refused and a small frakas ensued resulting in Dief being firmly escorted from the building.

Only in Canada would a former Prime Minister be thrown out of the national broadcaster.

March 31st, 2007.

This Journal entry reminded me of the time I was at Ikea in Ottawa standing in the returns line. Who should be three places in front of me, in a purple cardigan and brown tassled loafers, but former Prime Minister Joe Clark.

Joe was returning what appeared to be a broken brass desk lamp. When he finally reached the counter, the acne-faced kid who clearly had no idea who this Right Honourable man was asked him -- "do you have your receipt" ??

You gotta love this country.

1 comment:

Ernest James said...

Almost as weird as watching a forlorn and confused looking but very well dressed former PM John Turner waiting for a subway train at St. George station in Toronto. Of course no one recognized him...