Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bob Hope @ Fort William Gardens September 10th1978


We grew up watching Bob Hope on tv as kids, all of his specials on NBC. On Sept 10th 1978 Bob Hope came to Thunder Bay, at age 75 to perform. Hope started the show saying "he was glad to be in Thunder Bay in our beautiful garage". The sold out show was special for me as I was able to treat my parents to the show. I truly enjoyed watching the legendary Bob Hope, and it was made even more special as my mom passed away that fall. Hey Bob, Thanks for the memory....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The SURF Ballroom Clear Lake Iowa

“A long long time ago,I can still remember How that music used to make me smile…, But February made me shiver,with every paper I’d deliver BAD NEWS on the doorstep,I couldn’t take one more step. I can’t remember if I cried,when I read about his widowed bride But something touched me deep inside THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED” February 3, 1959

Don McLean "American Pie" 1972

This was ten months before I was born. I first recall being exposed to Buddy Holly. There was a commercial for a compilation of his music on tv, my ears perked up and I became a fan from that point on. I've always loved the early R&R, Buddy, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Everly Brothers.... Don McLean's fantastic epic "American Pie" nurtured that love of the music and made it grow further.

Travelling to Knoxville Iowa for sprint car racing we'd pass by Clear Lake, where "the music died" that Feb night so long ago. We finally stopped to visit the SURF Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa where that final concert was played. Dion was on that tour and talks of it on a 2003 DVD and a recent CD release. If you really want a good movie, watch "The Real Buddy Holly Story" that Paul McCartney did.

Brush with Greatness

Randy Bachman of The Guess Who & Bachman Turner Overdrive after "Rock the Fort" in 2006. Had my day of Rock & Roll" helping set up the BTO show at the Fort William Gardens in 1976.

Sprint Car Legend Steve Kinser, voted the Greatest Sprint Car Racer of All Time. Have met Steve several times through the years of chasing sprint cars. In 1981 at the Knoxville Nationals I wandered through the stands after the Saturday show was in the books. I came across Steve and Gary Patterson there pulled out a couple of Coors from my case, and Steve told me how they went around that place. He would know, he had won his second Knoxville Nationals earlier that night.

" King Richard" Petty at Richard Petty Fan Club meeting at Michigan in 1990. Richard signed every autograph request and posed for pictures with everyone that asked. The most gracious of all racers, if he charged for his autograph (like today's greedy SOB's) he'd be the richest man on earth.

Mario Andretti at Indianapolis in 1990. A guy I was chatting with said he'd asked Mario for a picture, but he said he couldn't stop. A short period later, Mario came out of Gasoline Alley, walked up to the guy asking if he was the one who wanted the picture. I took the picture for him and got one with Mario as well. It shows the true greatness of Mario, after eveything he accomplished in his career, it was still important to him to pose for a picture with a fan. Think some of todat's spoiled brats could take a lesson from him?

The Greatest of them all, "Supertex" AJ Foyt, in his garage at Indianapolis in 1990. Sometimes you just get lucky, the security guard I'd been talking to let me into "Gasoline Alley", he said take your time and get your picture with AJ. Walking through Gasoline Alley on the fabled grounds of Indy was incredible, the stories that place has written. First pass by the Foyt garage had them working on the car,do not bother them! Second pass I saw AJ, asked if I could take a pic, then asked for one together. Put my arm on his shoulder like we were best of friends.

Through the years I've had the pleasure of meeting some that have achieved greatness. Above are are some pictures with some of them. I've also met Burton Cummings many times when he was in Thunder Bay, my older brother Bruce knew them from their visit's here, before "These Eyes". When in Las Vegas for the 1982 Formula 1 race, I was crossing the street by Caesar's Palace, standing next to me was former World Champion Niki Lauda, we said hello shook hands and crossed the street. I subscribed to National Speed Sport News for several years (before the internet), in 1989/90 I sent a couple of clippings to its editor, Chris Economaki. After each submittion I received a post card thanking me for the submittion from Chris. I had the ultimate honor of him mentioning my submittion in his "Editor's Notebook" column. These are a few I've been lucky enough to meet, some neat people who have accomplished far more than I, and have taken the time to say hi or shake my hand.